Welcome to the fantastical culinary world of Peranakan cuisine
From the team behind crowd favorite Your Local in the central business district of Makati, Peranakan cuisine takes center stage at Hey Handsome! in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.
With the success of Your Local — which earned them a spot as the sole Philippine restaurant in the Conde Nast “Best Restaurants in the World” list — no one would’ve batted an eye had executive chef Nicco Santos been satisfied with that. But he decided to open Hey Handsome! with his business partner Charles Paw (of Hole in the Wall at Century City Mall, Makati) as an opportunity to promote his dedicated and competent culinary team.
According to Chef Nicco, the name “Hey Handsome” came from the expression of uncles and aunties serving in hawker stalls in Singapore. They often call the people waiting in line, “hey handsome!” to ease the pangs of waiting for food.
Bold, fresh, and oozing with robust tones, Peranakan cuisine is a glorious marriage of Malaysian, Singaporean, Chinese and Indonesian flavors. Their main dishes are definitely worth a try, and often contains four to five components perfectly combined in a plate.
Bebek Penyet is a deep-fried white peking duck with a decadently savory sauce with just the right amount of sweetness. It’s almost reminiscent of the Philippines’ adobo, but Hey Handsome’s modern take on this Peranakan dish has authentic ingredients like nasi ulam and achar. The whole dish is rounded off with a rich duck egg.
Another must-try entrée is their Buah Keluak. This dish is made with slow-cooked goat meat, ground buah keluak nuts, nasi ulam, spicy and savory sambal matah, and the most delicious homemade belachan kerupek (shrimp crackers) you’ll ever try.
Their fusion desserts are also something you cannot miss.
Phoebe Punla’s Homemade Yogurt is this light and guilt-free dessert that has Alphonse Sotero’s black sesame tuile and a surprise at the bottom: black sesame paste that perfectly compliments the creamy yogurt.
Kueh Dadar is a trilogy of delicate pink crepes stuffed with subtly sweet coconut (imagine pan de coco but tastier) and served with galangal cream, galangal powder, and Cadena de Amor blossoms. This is a sweet union of Asian flavors in one plate.
Donkey Punch, one of their signature drinks made by Chef Nicco’s resident barman Jom Calangian (you can also find him at Your Local) is a refreshing cocktail containing lengkuas, lemongrass, passion fruit, and elderflower.
“These are the flavors I love and we hope more people will explore these bold combinations,” Chef Nicco tells Expat. “In a way, we hope to educate [people] about these very diverse flavor profiles that work really well together.”
Hey Handsome is located at Net Park, 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. They are open Monday to Saturday, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. For reservations and inquiries, call (02) 946-3815. Check them out on Instagram @HandsomeCome. Catch Chef Nicco Santos’ specially made dish exclusively for Expat Travel & Lifestyle magazine’s “Urban Revival” issue. Coming out on bookstores soon!
By CHING DEE