Ivins Peranakan Restaurant
I'm not really a fan of Peranakan food, but I strongly believe that people who don't like a particular type of food simply have never had a good version of it before (think of people who say that they hate beer but have only tasted Natural Light). So with that thought in mind, I willingly came to Ivins tonight (19/21 Binjai Park, 6468-3060), as I was assured that this place is one of the best. Unfortunately, the typical spicy fishy coconut stench that whacked me in the face as I walked in the door of the place did little to reassure me. But at least it was very crowded - something must be good about this place.
We started with the babi ponteh, which is allegedly a Peranakan pork classic. It was better than I thought it would be, but the pork was still a bit dry and the sauce was still a bit sweet (it reminded me a lot of beef rendang, which I'm not a big fan of either). But the sotong assam puteh was surprisingly good, featuring a tamarind-based broth and little or no fishiness from the squid. In fact, it tasted more like tom yum soup than anything. And of course, we got the obligatory sambal kangkong, which was also really tasty (and not fishy at all). I gobbled that stuff up.
To close off the meal, I got a chendol, which despite the disturbingly unnatural and wormy-looking green things in the bowl, was very refreshing with crushed ice and lots of coconuty goodness. OK, so maybe Peranakan food isn't that bad (I liked three out of the four dishes we got tonight). And I'm willing to come back here again to try that thin meatball-like soup (the food here is really cheap too). I'll just need to select dishes that don't taste like beef rendang, that's all.