The first night of my Singapore trip our hosts took us for dinner at a restaurant called Candlenut Kitchen that was located in a budget hotel in a residential area. I thought it was weird until I got the back story, met the chef and saw that all the patrons were locals not tourists. Self-trained chef Malcolm Lee is both owner and chef of the restaurant which serves Peranakan cuisine with a modern twist. Peranakan is unique to Singapore and is the result of intermarriages between the local Malays and immigrants from China and India. As a result, the culture and food of these ethnicities has come together to create a heady melting pot of cultural flavors using a blend of spices, curries and herbs.  One of the dishes he called both rat tail and snot noodle because of shape. It was delicious but I told him the chef he needs to come up with a better name. For dessert my friend Sandra, a vegetarian, had Chef Lee’s homemade sesame ice cream which tasted like peanut butter. That alone is worth a visit.

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