The Internet has little to offer regarding kai fan. A dish once popular among hardworking locals in the 1960s, where rice comes ladled with soothing chicken broth and garnished with humble toppings, the hawker grub has since disappeared from the dining tables of Singapore.
That is, until today.
Chef Damian D’Silva’s latest and possibly most ambitious venture, Rempapa, preserves the forgotten recipe. Widely regarded as the forefather of local heritage cuisine, he continues to add to the repertoire of disappearing food from a bygone era by borrowing family recipes for over 50 dishes.
There will be more on the menu than just heirloom foods. While his previous concepts celebrated the past, the new Rempapa focuses on safeguarding Singapore’s culinary legacy for the future.
“Heritage cuisine came from a different culture; its taste was bold and robust,” D’Silva explains, adding that most ate just two meals a day, which meant loading up on starch and heavy flavours. “Our taste buds and eating habits have changed over time. Rempapa will adapt to accommodate diners while remaining true to its heritage values and taste.”