Food

Chef Daniel Chin talks about the challenges of preserving the authentic taste of Singapore

Singapore on my plate

The world is a global village and this island state could very well be where citizens go for a bite. While Singapore is touted as a tourist destination for die-hard shoppers, art aficionados and animal lovers, it is also a foodie’s paradise.

Hailing from Singapore, Chef Daniel Chin is currently based out of Mumbai, heading the Nasi and Mee restaurant there as well as the other branches of this South East Asian restaurant in India. During a recent visit to Bengaluru, he talked with obvious pride about his country and the style of cooking prevalent there.

With a background in French and Italian cuisine, Daniel has experienced flavours and tastes from around the world and now, that includes Mumbai’s street food too. “Indian food uses a lot of masala which masks the natural taste of the meat or vegetable,” says Daniel who has now been in India for two years.

He has attempted to introduce subtle flavours to the local palate as well as showcase the authentic cuisine of Singapore. To this end, he is keen on stirring up sauces crafted from local ingredients that appeal to Indians.

He talks about the addition of a butter creamy crab dish to the menu seasoned with black pepper and the challenge of procuring fresh seafood. “So right now, this dish is only available in our Mumbai outlet,” he smiles.

Similarly, his version of the otak-otak, a grilled fish cake, is different in Mumbai with the addition of prawn and squid and served in a coconut shell. “I see to it the original flavour of this dish is maintained. The response has been fantastic as everyone is happy to try something new.” He pairs Sambal, a chilli paste or sauce typical to Singapore, and coconut milk with dishes here in his bid to innovate with taste and textures.

When it comes to Indian food, Daniel admits to a fondness for tandoori chicken, pakoras and vada pav. Since Singapore hosts diverse races, cultures and ethnicities, he says it didn’t take too long to adapt to authentic Indian food. “The bigger challenge was to find new flavours to incorporate into my dishes,” he says.

Popular dishes at Nasi and Mee outlets like chicken rice, Cantonese steamed fish, nasi goreng, kueh pie tee (a vegetarian cross between a taco and a cup cake) and char kway teow (flat rice noodles in soy sauce), could soon sport interesting variations along with the too-good-to-change satays, kaya toast (made with coconut jam — a popular breakfast spread in Singapore) and Milo shakes.

In Bengaluru, Nasi and Mee has branches in Koramangala, Bellandur and Whitefield.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 3:30:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/chef-daniel-chin-talks-about-the-challenges-of-preserving-the-authentic-taste-of-singapore/article30970975.ece

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