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Michelin-Starred Chef Shares 'Crazy Rich Asians’-Inspired Recipe

August 15, 2018

Kekenapep –

Chef Malcolm Lee Food Crazy Rich Asians
‘Crazy Rich Asians.’ Courtesy of Warner Bros. Picture

Ready to eat like a Crazy Rich Asian? As any fan of the Singapore-set book series knows, food plays a crucial role in the novel. Furthermore, the movie of the same name, which premieres on Wednesday, August 15, and stars Constance Wu and Henry Golding, features several scenes that center around unique Singaporean eats.


Celebrity Chefs

With that in mind, Us Weekly spoke to chef Malcolm Lee of the world’s first Michelin-starred Peranakan restaurant, Candlenut, and got his thoughts on Peranakan food – a cuisine that combines Chinese, Malay and other influences – and the importance of learning about a culture through its food.

Chef Malcolm Lee Food Crazy Rich Asians
International director of Michelin Guides Michael Ellis and Chef Malcolm Lee during the inaugural Michelin Guide Singapore 2016 Awards Ceremony at Resorts World Convention Centre in Singapore on July 21, 2016. Sam Kang Li/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Malcolm says his award-winning restaurant maintains the traditional aspect of family dining because that’s what Peranakan food is about. “It’s the commoner, it’s the sharing, getting together, passing the food around,” he explains. “Some people say [Candlenut] is too modern, but I think it’s actually relevant … it helps people to re-explore what the traditional Peranakan culture is, because if we do not do that then it will become lost.”

For Malcolm, the food scene in Singapore is unparalleled. “You can eat every day, all day. All kinds of cuisines, different prices as well,” he tells Us with a laugh. “Food always, I feel, is very representative of a culture of a place.”

One of his favorite aspects of the Singapore food scene are the hawker centers, which are open-air markets in Singapore with hundreds of different food stalls. Hawker centers feature heavily in both the Crazy Rich Asians book series and movie, and Malcolm recommends visiting one to get a (literal) taste of Singaporean culture.


Celebrity Foodies

Malcolm Lee Babi Pongteh
Malcolm Lee’s Babi Pongteh. Courtesy of Candlenut

“Every time I go to a new place, I to try eat first. I think through that, you can see and understand a bit of who they are, what they do and where they come from, the influences. Even the way it’s presented. Everything tells a story,” he says. “I think that’s the best way to share first, and then from there really explore people’s culture … we have a very powerful message in our love for food.”


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Speaking of food, check out Candlenut’s recipe for babi pongteh – braised pork in fermented soy bean sauce – below.

Candlenut’s Babi Pongteh

Makes 4-6 servings

INGREDIETNS:

• 20 shallots, peeled
• 10 garlic cloves, peeled
• 4 tbsp cooking oil
• 2 tbsp preserved soy bean paste
• 1 tbsp ground coriander
• 2.2 lbs pork belly, thickly sliced
• 4 1/4 cups water
• 1 tbsp sugar
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
• 2 red and 2 green chiles, crushed using the back of a spoon

INSTRUCTIONS:

Using a blender, process the shallots and garlic into a fine paste.
Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic paste and stir fry until fragrant.
Add preserved soy bean paste and ground coriander and stir fry for one minute.
Add pork belly and stir fry for an additional minute.
Add water, sugar, salt and dark soy sauce.
Lower the heat and simmer for one hour, or until the pork is tender.
Plate and garnish as desired. Serve with crushed red and green chiles.”
Source

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