Saturday, 11 January 2014

Mamanda Restaurant Special "Air Mata Raja" Royal Banquet Menu Singapore

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Kf Seetoh of Makansutra invited me to join him for a special culinary experience at Mamanda Restaurant in Singapore yesterday.

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It was the book launch of the novel Air Mata Raja or Tears of the Sultan written by Professor Shaharudin and Chef Norzailina. Besides the book launch, we were treated to a Royal banquet based on dishes recreated by Chef Norzailina based on the historical records.

It was an unique culinary experience - thanks for the invite bro Seetoh.

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Mamanda is located at the Sultan Mosque area, one of my favourite parts of Singapore. Mamanda Restaurant itself is inside the former Sultan's Palace. Resplendent in Royal yellow, the Palace is carefully restored and some of the fixtures like the large mirror in the dining room are originals.

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I find the lovingly preserved heritage buildings and the daily cultural activities at the Sultan Mosque area fascinating and very charming.

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* This post is my humble tribute to Professor Shaharudin, Chef Norzalina and Mamanda restaurant for their efforts in preserving our precious culinary heritage.

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We were entertained like royalty by students from Singapore's Republic Polytechnic.

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Professor Shaharudin sharing with us the historical basis of his novel.

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Celebrity Chef Norzailina, who has 20 years of culinary experience, sharing with us (in Bahasa Malayu) how she recreated the royal dishes based on the historical records. The records were scattered here and there in bits and pieces which Chef Norzailina painstakingly pieced together, relying on her culinary expertise and imagination. I was already drooling despite my limited Malay, as she spoke so passionately about the dishes.

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Kf Seetoh noticed that I was munching away at these keropok (fried tapioca). "You like these eh..?" he said as I reached for the nearly emptied bowl. "Yeah, yeah... " I replied. I needed these to tame my overworked salivary glands lah bro :p They were darned good though :)

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The much anticipated moment - end of the book launch by Member of Parliament Mr Hawazi Diapi, signifying that the Royal banquet is finally about to begin :P

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This is the special "Air Mata Raja" menu. Chef Norzailina's recreation of a banquet hosted by the Sultan of Melaka centuries ago, in the 1300s.

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"Let's eat" the King declared.

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I have no idea what a Royal banquet was like in the days of the Melaka Sultanate but this certainly does feel dignified and regal.

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Gulai Rusa or Deer Meat in Spicy Gravy. Chef Norzailina recreated this dish based on Sultan Mahmud Shah's love for deer hunting and the spice trade in Melaka. The deer meat and spices were cooked in Rendang Johor style as the Melaka Sultanate ruled Johor at that time and hence influenced Palace cuisine.

Tender deer meat in aromatic, mildly spicy gravy. I love this dish. 

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Gulai Lemak Umbut Kelapa or Heart of Palm in Coconut Milk. The crunchy "heart of palm" is harvested by cutting down a coconut tree and extracting the less fibrous inner core. The tree is killed in the process. This is a considered a delicacy.


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Sup Hayam or Chicken Soup (Hayam is the old form of the modern day word ayam). Unlike present day chicken soup, sweet potatoes were used instead of potatoes (which were imported from the West much later).

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Gulai Siput Barai or Barai Snails in Chili Padi. Chef Norzailina recreated this mussel dish which the palace chefs used to cook for the Sultan using freshly harvested mussels and fragrant spices. I like it's mildly spicy, aromatic gravy. 

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The Kerabu Rumpai Laut or Seaweed Salad made with seaweed, shredded young mangoes, wild ginger flower, lemon grass and drizzled with freshly squeezed lime juice. Refreshing and appetising.

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Nasi Kunyit Minyak Sapi or Turmeric Rice with Ghee. Unlike nasi beriani, the rice is not cooked in ghee but rice and ghee were mixed before serving.

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An appetiser of lightly stir fried long beans, French beans,  kacang botol (winged beans) with grated coconut and spices. Tasty and crunchy.

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Hand pounded fresh sambal chili.

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Pisang Rebus or Boiled Bananas.

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Bananas were abundant during the Melaka Sultanate. Chef Norzailina recreated the boiled banana dessert which is eaten with grated coconut flesh and drizzled with nira (sago palm) syrup. 

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Rounding off our royal feast with a cuppa Arabica which brought us back to modern day Singapore :)

This Royal banquet at Mamanda is one of the most memorable meals I've ever had :)

Restaurant name: Mamanda Restaurant
Address: 73, Sultan Gate, Singapore
Map: http://goo.gl/maps/KLo1R
GPS: 1.302406,103.860183
Hours: 10:00am to 10:00pm
Halal

Date visited: 20 Sep 2013

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