Mahota Commune occupies the top floor of Kitchener Complex, a relatively new mall that houses a few food outlets right on street level of Lavender MRT Station. The large communal dining space also includes a full-blown organic, natural supermarket, a yoga studio and clinic. While some friends make repeated visits for a certain steamboat they swear by, I’ve only gotten round to roaming the supermarket (it reminds me of Whole Foods) and walked away with Buah Keluak Cookies, an adventurous treat for Chinese New Year.
This jar cost $30, and the only excuses I could make on its behalf were the 1) Chinese New Year Season, 2) It’s organic 3) IT’S BUAH KELUAK.
Buah Keluak mess for Chinese New Year at my bestie’s, where her grandma, mom and auntie spend days preparing the dish
Buah Keluak is a naturally poisonous fruit grown in Southeast Asia, but it’s mostly known for its role in Peranakan cuisine. The fruit can only be eaten fermented, and prep is hella tedious but reaps the most delicious and exquisite chicken dish synonymous with Baba and Nyonya households.
To be honest, I was underwhelmed by what I thought would be a punchy first. Maybe I’d been accustomed to the pungent, savoury dish and had expected to be met with something less… mild? I thought if they wanted to make it mass-friendly, it wouldn’t be possible with the acquired taste of Buah Keluak. Us Buah Keluak lovers know what we’re getting ourselves into when we pick these up.
But at the end of each cookie there’s definitely a bite of spice that’s assuring, and the almond bits work to keep you coming back for more. It makes a friendly introduction to Buah Keluak which might otherwise offend home visitors.
Mahota also boasts other fun flavours like Pineapple White Wine Tarts, Cashew Polvorón, Ikan Bills, Chocolate Garlic Bacon, Goji Berries, and Pink Peppercorn Cookies. I might line up for some of them, but most times the traditional CNY bites do more than fine. Click here to check out our recipe for the classic, super quick-to-make White Almond Cookies!