November 21, 2023 — In a surprising yet delightful turn of events, Chef Nurl Asyraffie Mohamed Shukor, the culinary mastermind behind the popular private dining outfit Arang, has embarked on a new gastronomic adventure. After the closure of Arang due to the end of his tenancy at Golden Mile Complex, Asyraffie has now opened a hawker stall in Yishun Park Hawker Centre, bringing his unique blend of Malay cuisine to a wider audience.
Arang, known for its contemporary Malay fine dining that included luxurious ingredients like sea urchins and caviar, was a hit among food enthusiasts. However, Asyraffie’s new venture is a departure from the “atas” (high-end) and intricate plating of his previous establishment. His new hawker stall, Kerabu by Arang, focuses on serving “not very atas food” in a more relaxed and accessible setting without compromising on quality or taste.
At Kerabu by Arang, patrons can savour the traditional Malay dish, nasi kerabu, which consists of turmeric rice served with a choice of chicken, fish, or lamb, accompanied by a kerabu salad, fish keropok, sambal budu, and salted egg. The dishes are priced affordably, with an opening offer running until the end of November: S$8.50 for chicken, S$11.50 for pomfret, and S$15.50 for lamb ribs.
His travels through Malaysia and Thailand served as inspiration for Asyraffie’s culinary style at Kerabu. He incorporates unique grilling techniques, using coconut husk for a smoky flavour and banana leaves for wrapping delicate proteins like pomfret fish. The turmeric rice, a twist from the usual blue pea rice, adds a visual and flavorful dimension to the dish.
The chef emphasises the kerabu salad as the highlight, featuring fresh winged beans, pomegranate, and pomelo to balance the flavors. Asyraffie’s dedication to his craft is evident in his hands-on approach, personally grilling each order over a charcoal fire and preparing sambal from scratch.
Asyraffie’s vision for Kerabu by Arang is to create a casual yet quality dining experience, akin to The Coconut Club’s approach to nasi lemak. He aims to offer his nasi kerabu at a price point that reflects the labour-intensive nature of his cooking while remaining accessible.
Transitioning from a fine dining chef to a hawker has been a learning curve for Asyraffie, a SHATEC-trained chef with a background in restaurant cooking. The hawker life has introduced him to new challenges, including managing high volumes of orders and adapting to the long hours and space constraints of a hawker stall. Despite these challenges, Asyraffie is enthusiastic about his new venture and is already planning to introduce larger sharing dishes like ikan bakar to the weekend menu.
In addition to his hawker stall, Asyraffie plans to revive Arang in January, offering private dining experiences in customers’ homes. Bookings are already underway for next year, indicating the continued popularity and demand for his culinary expertise.
For those interested in keeping up with Asyraffie’s culinary journey and updates on Arang events, following the Instagram page @arang.sg is recommended. Asyraffie’s transition from fine dining to a hawker stall not only showcases his versatility as a chef but also brings a unique dining experience to the heartlands of Yishun, making his exquisite cooking accessible to a broader audience.
Stay tuned for more updates in DEI.