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Cherki Modern Nyonya Cuisine
23 April 2022
Cherki, a modern Nyonya dish , is located on the ground floor of the Singapore Chinese Cultural Center, a quiet place in the financial district. I usually turn to this corner behind the Singapore City Hall when I have nothing to do, and I never thought that there would be a dining place in the Chinese Cultural Center. The first time I visited was on a Monday evening, the restaurant was so noisy that it was almost full, which was a bit unexpected.
The bosses are a few young people, so don’t imagine the “old style” of traditional Nyonya style. The restaurant began operations during the pandemic last year. The name Cherki comes from a card game common in Peranakan families. It aims to reproduce a fun and happy atmosphere, allowing guests to dine here as if they were playing a game. The boss revealed that the restaurant also has a Chinese name “Xi Qi”, which is not seen on the signboard or menu, but the atmosphere is indeed joyful and lively.
The decoration of the restaurant is bright and young, and the most eye-catching is the bar counter, which is also the most entrancing element. The beverage menu lists 15 handcrafted cocktails with pictures and texts, including Dancing in the Moonshine ($23), inspired by a traditional dessert, Pulut Hitam ($25), butterfly pea-style Bellvine Mojito ($21), Nyonya flower style Potpourri ( $ 23) and more.
After ordering a drink, get ready for a unique dinner. There are only two options for soup. The popular duck soup was sold out when I visited. The other option is Crab Meatball Soup ($18), which is common in Nyonya cuisine. The pork balls are made with crab meat and bamboo shoots, seafood soup.
Sambal Lava Eggs with Petai ($13), the eggs are crispy on the outside and runny on the inside. After soaking in the slightly spicy sambal sauce, the freshness of the eggs is more prominent. This adds a rich layering to the dish.
Yuzu Seafood Kueh Pie Tee ($14). The small golden cup has a traditional outer skin but an unconventional filling. Yuzu is added, elevating the taste of the shrimp and scallops with a sweet and slightly tangy flavour, bringing excitement to the fresh fragrance of seafood.
The five-spice meat roll (Cherki Ngor Hiang, $14) is handmade by the restaurant. The fillings include minced pork, foie fat, duck pate, shrimp, and bamboo shoots. It tastes more moist and is softer than usual Ngor Hiangs.
Homemade Crab Cakes ($19) have a crispy and fresh fragrance when served.
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