Singapore chef Kristopher Cheng shows off the Hawkerlicious buffet.
Singapore chef Kristopher Cheng shows off the Hawkerlicious buffet. Letea Cavander

Singapore chefs with street cred

A GROUP of chefs has taken Singapore street food into their restaurant and the result has proven popular with visitors and locals. Singapore chef Kristopher Cheng and the rest of the team at the Flavours restaurant in the Ramada at Zhongshan Park created their Hawkerlicious buffet about a year ago.

Hawkers are big, mostly open-air markets that offer traditional Singapore dishes. The Flavours team, after trying several buffet concepts over three years, finally took inspiration from the markets that throng the city.

"We start to make food so people know us and come to us. It's local food for local people,” Mr Cheng said.

As part of the experience, diners choose the seafood they would like to eat and the team of chefs cook it with the diners' choice of sauce.

Mr Cheng has been a chef for nearly two decades and gained experience in a number of international kitchens. He said the black-pepper crab (a Singapore staple) and salted egg yolk sauce (a creamy sauce) were his favourites to cook.

Mr Cheng shares a recipe from the restaurant with Weekend.

Seafood three ways.
Seafood three ways. Letea Cavander

Wok-fried black pepper crab

INGREDIENTS: 2kg mud crab

METHOD: Pull back the apron of each crab, remove the top shell, then intestines and feathery gills. Rinse quickly and brush away the mud.

Cut each crab into quarters and crack the legs gently (I use a meat mallet) so the flavours can enter. Keep dry in a strainer.

BLACK PEPPER SAUCE INGREDIENTS: 100g black peppercorn crushed 20g white peppercorn crushed 10 cloves chopped garlic 100g white onion, chopped 6 tbs oyster sauce 2 tbs light soya sauce 1 tbs dark soya sauce 1 tbs sugar 1 tsp salt 50ml oil 50g butter 100ml water 2 tbs potato starch

METHOD: Heat the oil in the wok, add the chopped onion, chopped garlic, and crushed black and white peppercorn.

Fry until fragrant then add the oyster sauce, light soya sauce and dark soya sauce. Stir in the butter and add the crab.

Stir the crab well and pour 50ml of water in the wok. Cover with lid and simmer for five minutes.

Open the lid and add sugar and salt. Mix the other 50ml of water with potato starch. Stir the crab to make sure it is fully cooked and thicken with potato starch.

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