Here at Hg2, we’re looking forward to the Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday; an amazing nighttime street circuit F1 race, and that of course set us to thinking of yummy Singaporean food. So we got in touch with Shu Han of Plussixfive Singaporean Supperclub and the drool inducing mummyicancook blog, for some ideas on where to get those goodies here in London.
Shu Han, you’re one of the talents behind +65. How did you end up cooking such accomplished food?
It’s funny; before I moved to London 3 years ago to study, I couldn’t cook at all. I was thrown into the deep end when I had to cook for myself, but I began obsessively searching recipes, calling my mum, trying out, and I really, really loved it, and it just grew and grew. I started a Facebook album of the edible things I cooked, to show her I haven’t starved away, which then evolved into my blog.
What has been your favourite experience as a supperclub chef?
The most memorable supperclub I had was the one showcasing Singaporean food with the best of British summer produce. I run the farmer’s market at Pimlico on Saturdays, and this menu really represented what I’m all about—food grown with love, and then prepared with lots of love (and chillies).
What made you want to bring your home dishes here – aren’t there enough Asian flavours in the capital?
Singaporean food needs to be better known, beyond the non-existent dish of Singapore fried noodles. Our food reflects a traditional yet creative mix of influences; the nonya (Malay-Chinese) and the mamak (Indian-Muslim) styles of food, for instance, are all very unique to Singapore. I want to bring the comforting flavours and vivid colours of our food to the British; it wouldn’t be fair to keep it all to ourselves.
Do you have any other places in the UK you go to get the taste of home?
I recently discovered the hidden Bayswater gem, Malaysia Hall Canteen. It’s cheap, cheerful, and their setup actually really reminds me of canteen food from my childhood. One tricky bit though, you have to be Malaysian or bring a Malaysian with you to enter, but I think they’re generally quite relaxed about that door policy.
Other Asian food recommendations:
Dragon Castle, is another hidden gem for dim sum, while City Caphe does crisp yet fluffy banh mi stuffed with goodies and lovely Vietnamese noodle soups. The fat udon noodles at Koya Udon are wonderfully chewy, but my favourite dish is the delicious, melt-in-your-mouth cider-braised pork belly.
To get a taste of Singapore in one dish or meal, what should we order?
Friedcarrotcake/charkwayteow/chickenrice/laksa/bakchormee/prawnnoodles/hokkienprawnmee/oyster omelette/chillicrab/fishheadcurry. Does that count as one?
What’s your favourite London restaurant or dining experience?
Stripped Back by Ben Spalding, was an amazing experience. It’s brilliant, sitting before this chef who’s worked at the top Michelin restaurants from around the world, and seeing him make gorgeous-looking and tasting food right in front of you, all in a casual, laidback setting [of London Fields Primary School].
I love street food in general. I love the buzz. I love food that’s not posh and expensive. I love getting to try many things at once. I love eating food messily with my hands; I’m glad it’s finally catching on in London.
Where do you like to go out to eat in Singapore?
Definitely hawker centres; it’s such a big part of Singapore’s food culture. The food is just wonderful, served by people who love and have been at their craft for ages, and who sincerely just aim to make your bellies happy, without fuss or frill.
The Singapore Formula One race will be shown live on Sun 23 Sept, 12:10 pm on BBC One.
Have you been to Singapore? What were the best things you ate there? Tell us in the comments section below!