Celebrity TV chef Nigella Lawson recently predicted pandan would overtake avocado and matcha as the next big thing, but this aromatic plant has long been a culinary staple in the region.
What’s different now is that its use is no longer limited to traditional snacks. In Singapore, pandan has made its way into contemporary creations. Baba Chews Bar and Eatery serves kueh dadar (sweet coconut crepe) with gula melaka (palm sugar) ice cream, while the Michelin-starred Candlenut offers kueh salat (glutinous rice and custard cake) with coconut cookie crumbs. At The Andaz, pandan chiffon cake comes with bandung (rose cordial), chocolate and durian glazes.
Pandan also features in savoury dishes. At Morsels, it is steeped in beetroot stock, which is used to cook black glutinous rice for the Sakura chicken dish. Even alcoholic beverages get the pandan treatment. Using pandan-infused bourbon with coffee bitters, Potato Head has translated local breakfast staples of kopi and kaya into a single delicious cocktail called Yakun Kaya. At The Warehouse Hotel, sip on the Singapore Sazerac, where pandan bitters are a key ingredient to the potent rye-based tipple.
Where to get your old-school pandan cake fix
Known for its homely Swiss rolls, this 20-year-old cake shop’s top item is arguably the pandan-green Kaya Swiss Roll.
This Hainanese wok-fry joint whips up a pillowyand wildly aromatic gula melaka pandan chiffon cake.
Place a personal order, made with 100% pandan juice and no artificial additives.
This article was originally published in the March 2018 issue of Silkwinds magazine.