Honouring the tongue-in-cheek Singlish expression for 'can-do spirit', Can Lah is one of IFC's latest openings, celebrating the rich and diverse flavours of Singaporean and Malaysian cuisine. Helmed by celebrity chef Francis Chong Wui Choong, the former President of the Society of Chinese Cuisine Chefs in Singapore, Can Lah is a tribute to creative Southeast Asian culinary regions. We stop by as SINGMAKASE diners to try the new menu, set within a glitzy and vibrant space fitted with an expansive terrace area with sea views.
Hailing from Malacca, the Black Nyonya Kuih Pie Tee (HK$88 for four pieces) is a starter snacking dish with a fun play on DIY servings, incorporating prawn, egg and other Nyonya sauces into a Japanese black bamboo charcoal pie tee.
Taking note of his grandma's recipes, Chef Chong ensures that the shrimp is hand-chopped to keep the moisture of the flesh before it's coated in batter and deep-fried. A nostalgic dish for Chong, the hand minced deep fried shrimp roll is widely embraced by Singaporeans.
Sambal stingray is a Singaporean cult classic, but at Can Lah, chefs replace the ingredient with grilled Sambal turbot fish (HK$238) for an exotic change. Succulent and rich, the dish wasn't overpowering in fishiness at all and incorporated shallots, garlic, ginger and herby lemongrass for an aromatic uplift.
Chef Chong's most signature dish is none other than the extravagant crab (HK$498) which is made with deep braising to replace the traditional method, bringing a juicy, buttery complexion that was difficult to compete with. Although this dish requires quite a bit of work to get to the meaty parts—hence the pliers and gloves—it's well worth the effort once you get to the interior, which is creamy and soft at every bite.
A comfort food frequently sought after on a weekly basis by Singaporeans, the Hainanese chicken at Can Lah comes solo without the rice. Simple, clean and even boneless, the poached chicken was silky and tender, arriving with a myriad of dipping sauces including garlic and chilli. This was a much plainer course in terms of flavours but it was nice to have a break in between the heftier dishes.
Can Lah also offers cocktails, wine and beer to go with your meal.
For dessert, we tucked into the Nyonya Kuih (HK$68), a dish that uses vegetables like pandan, carrots and butterfly pea for a unique and hot selection of sweet treats to complete the Singaporean dining experience.
Can Lah, Shop 3705, Podium Level 3, ifc mall, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2802 9788, ifc.com.hk