Butterfly pea flower food trend: 11 blue coloured dishes and drinks to try

February 27, 2018
  • 1 / 13

    It is out with millennial pink and in with the blues instead – thanks to the butterfly pea or blue pea flower.

    The flower, which is used in food and drink as a natural food colouring and barely has any taste, is commonly seen in Thai, Malay and Peranakan cuisine.

    It is said to be full of antioxidants and is touted to improve skin quality, among other health benefits.

    In Thai dishes, the ingredient’s colour represents vibrancy. As for Peranakan food, Folklore‘s chef Damian D’Silva says that it is used not only to mark certain dishes – such as Nonya Kueh Chang – as Peranakan, but, on a more sombre note, also signifies mourning.

    As the same type of kueh can be served at various events – be it weddings or funerals – one should note the colours used, says Peranakan cookbook author Lloyd Matthew Tan. For example, the nine-layer kueh lapis, if coloured blue and white, is meant for funerals.

    And if the glutinous rice layer is stained blue throughout for kueh salat, it is meant for funerals. The glutinous rice layer for the kueh is usually white or speckled with blue.

    He adds: “Blue is never used in nasi lemak for traditional Peranakans, who serve nasi lemak on the 12th day of the wedding ceremony. The rice must be white to denote the purity of the bride.”

    Related: 8 millennial pink foods to try in Singapore

    (Photo: 123RF.com)

    Load more
  • 2 / 13

    But in the age of social media, hip blue hues are definitely eye-catching and Instagram-worthy. Think everything from blue carbonara to glass noodles to tea – all infused with the blue pea flower extract. Plus, the natural colouring takes on deeper purple and magenta shades when mixed with acid.

    And if the glutinous rice layer is stained blue throughout for kueh salat, it is meant for funerals. The glutinous rice layer for the kueh is usually white or speckled with blue.

    He adds: “Blue is never used in nasi lemak for traditional Peranakans, who serve nasi lemak on the 12th day of the wedding ceremony. The rice must be white to denote the purity of the bride.”

    But in the age of social media, hip blue hues are definitely eye-catching and Instagram-worthy. Think everything from blue carbonara to glass noodles to tea – all infused with the blue pea flower extract. Plus, the natural colouring takes on deeper purple and magenta shades when mixed with acid.

    (Photo: 123RF.com)

    Load more
  • Eywa Natural Blue Carbonara
    3 / 13 Eywa Natural Blue Carbonara

    Blue Willow, a bistro themed after the 2009 Hollywood sci-fi film Avatar, is awash in blue – from the walls to the food and drinks. Highlights include the Eywa Natural Blue Carbonara (left, $14) with bacon, arugula and sous vide egg; FFL Da Bomb Burger ($19), a 200g beef patty with lettuce, tomatoes, bacon and egg, served with fries and salad and blue- coloured cheese sauce; and Neytiri’s Blue Pancake Stack ($14), blue pancakes topped with blueberry, maple sago and crumble.

    For dessert, there is a blue cake ($7.50) infused with Lupicia tea; and blue velvet cake ($7.50). Instead of the usual latte, order the off-menu blue latte (from $5).

    Where: Blue Willow, 28 Clementi Road
    Opening hours: 12pm – 12am (Tuesdays to Sundays), closed on Mondays
    Visit www.facebook.com/bluewillowsg

    (Photo: Facebook/bluewillowsg)

    Load more
  • Nasi Lemak
    4 / 13 Nasi Lemak

    Chef Wan’s Kitchen launched a new nasi lemak collection earlier this month, where the rice is coloured blue. Options ($15.90+ each) include sambal sotong, Javanese fried chicken, balado fish and balado prawn. The coconut rice is cooked before the natural blue colouring from the blue pea flower is added.

    Where: Chef Wan’s Kitchen, 02-14 Esplanade Mall, 8 Raffles Avenue
    Opening hours: 12pm – 2.30pm and 5.30pm – 10pm (Tuesdays to Sundays), closed on Mondays
    Visit www.facebook.com/ChefWansKitchen

    (Photo: Chef Wan’s Kitchen)

    Related: 7 Nasi Lemak burgers to try in Singapore

    Load more
  • Butterfly Pea Glass Noodle Salad
    5 / 13 Butterfly Pea Glass Noodle Salad

    Due to popular demand, Thai restaurant Soi Thai Soi Nice’s special butterfly pea menu – launched in October last year – is still available.

    One of the dishes, Butterfly Pea Glass Noodle Salad ($9.80++), has already made it to the permanent menu.

    Other savoury options include basil mince pork with butterfly pea rice ($8.80++) and sweet dishes include butterfly pea sticky rice with coconut ice cream ($5.80++). Complete the meal with hot butterfly pea tea ($3.80++) or iced butterfly pea coconut drink ($4.80++).

    Where: Soi Thai Soi Nice outlets at 01-29/30 The Seletar Mall, 33 Sengkang West Avenue; and 02-01 Alexandra Central, 321 Alexandra Road
    Opening hours: Seletar Mall: 11.30am – 10pm (weekdays), 11am – 10pm (weekends); Alexandra Central: 11.30am – 3.30pm and 6pm – 10pm (weekdays), 11.30am – 10pm (weekends)
    Visit www.facebook.com/soithaisoinice

    (Photo: Soi Thai Soi Nice)

    Load more
  • Ora King Salmon Aburi
    6 / 13 Ora King Salmon Aburi

    At Morsels, the dried blue pea flower is soaked in warm niboshi dashi to extract the natural colouring. It is then used to make Italian meringue, which is torched and serves as a cream to the baek kimchi, pearl barley and Ora King Salmon Aburi. The dish is available – with an additional $8 – on the set menus (from $55).

    Where: Morsels, 01-04, 25 Dempsey Road
    Opening hours: 12pm – 3pm and 6pm – 10pm (Tuesdays to Thursdays); 12pm – 3pm and 6pm – 10.30pm (Fridays and Saturdays); 11am – 3pm (Sundays); closed on Mondays
    Visit www.morsels.com.sg

    (Photo: Facebook/morselsinsingapore)

    Load more
  • Crab Meat Yellow Curry
    7 / 13 Crab Meat Yellow Curry

    Thai restaurant Blue Jasmine offers a few dishes that use the butterfly pea flower, including crab meat yellow curry ($26++) with Blue Jasmine vermicelli; and mango with Blue Jasmine sticky rice ($14++). There is also a Blue Jasmine mocktail ($10++) infused with yuzu and lychee juice.

    Where: Level 5 Park Hotel Farrer Park, 10 Farrer Park Station Road
    Opening hours: 11.30am – 10pm daily
    Visit www.bluejasmine.com.sg

    (Photo: Blue Jasmine)

    Related: Best staycations in Singapore: Park Hotel Farrer Park

    Load more
  • Mermaids’ Tears
    8 / 13 Mermaids’ Tears

    Butterfly pea is used in a small selection of drinks at bubble tea brand Bobii Frutii. Ice-blended options include Mermaids’ Tears ($5.90), with mango, lemon, honey, milk and butterfly pea “bobii” (pearls). Pandora’s Treasure ($5.90) has a colour- changing purple hue that comes from the natural reaction between the butterfly pea extract and the acidity of lemon juice. The bobii – available in original, butterfly pea and brown sugar flavours (extra 60 to 90 cents) – can be added to any drink.

    Where: Bobii Frutii, 04-K4, The Clementi Mall, 3155 Commonwealth Avenue West
    Opening hours: 10am – 10pm daily
    Visit www.facebook.com/bobii.sg

    (Photo: Bobii Frutii)

    Load more
  • Butterfly Pea Flower Lemonade Cold Brew
    9 / 13 Butterfly Pea Flower Lemonade Cold Brew

    Launched two weeks ago, Starbucks’ Butterfly Pea Flower Lemonade Cold Brew ($6.90) is a layered drink with butterfly pea flower extract, lightly sweetened lemonade and slow-poured Starbucks cold-brew coffee on top. The coffee is slowly poured onto an inverted bar spoon placed over the cup to ensure that a clear layer sits on top of the lemonade – an interesting and unusual combination not for the faint-hearted.

    Where: Till early April or while stocks last at all Starbucks outlets, various opening hours
    Visit www.starbucks.com.sg

    (Photo: Starbucks)

    Load more
  • Lychee Martini with Trio of Flowers
    10 / 13 Lychee Martini with Trio of Flowers

    Modern Singaporean restaurant Wild Rocket offers a dessert called lychee martini with trio of flowers – ginger flower, butterfly pea flower and elderflower ($16++). It comes with a lychee sorbet and lychee martini gummy.

    Where: Wild Rocket, Hangout @ Mt Emily, 10A Upper Wilkie Road
    Opening hours: 12pm – 3pm (Tuesdays to Saturdays), 6.30pm – 10.30pm (Mondays to Saturdays), closed on Sundays
    Visit www.wildrocket.com.sg

    (Photo: Facebook/wildrocket.sg)

    Related: 7 Singapore cafes, restaurants and food companies that do good

    Load more
  • Spiral Galaxy
    11 / 13 Spiral Galaxy

    A popular tea mocktail from d’Good Cafe is Spiral Galaxy ($15), with butterfly pea flower extract, jasmine green tea and grape juice. Just pour grape juice into the glass layered with butterfly pea flower extract and jasmine green tea, stir and add ice cubes.

    Where: d’Good Cafe, B1-56 Ngee Ann City, 391 Orchard Road
    Opening hours: 10am – 10pm daily
    Visit www.facebook.com/dgoodcafe

    (Photo: Facebook/dgoodcafe)

    Load more
  • Pea Flower Coconut Muffin
    12 / 13 Pea Flower Coconut Muffin

    You cannot miss the striking pea flower coconut muffin ($7.50++) at the Wildseed Cafe counter. The muffin is infused with the natural colouring of the blue pea flower and its centre is filled with gula melaka coconut.

    Where: Wildseed Cafe, 3 Park Lane
    Opening hours: 9am – 5pm daily
    Visit www.thesummerhouse.sg/wildseed-cafe-bar

    (Photo: Wildseed Cafe)

    Load more
  • Ink Gin & 1724 Tonic Water Cocktail
    13 / 13 Ink Gin & 1724 Tonic Water Cocktail

    The drinks menu at Spanish restaurant FOC Pim Pam includes Ink Gin & 1724 Tonic Water with hibiscus petal and orange zest ($36++ for 60ml, $358++ for a bottle). The colour of the Ink Gin comes from the natural infusion of petals from butterfly pea flowers that have been hand-cut and dried.

    Where: FOC Pim Pam, 01-29, 442 Orchard Road
    Opening hours: 12pm – 3pm daily; 5pm – 11pm (Sundays to Thursdays), 5pm – 1am (Fridays and Saturdays)
    Visit focpimpam.com

    (Photo: Instagram/focpimpam)

    A version of this article first appeared on The Straits Times.

    Related:
    Unicorn food trend: 9 rainbow food and drinks in Singapore you must try
    3 hip new food courts in Singapore you must check out

    Load more
safety tips for spa for kids

5 safety tips you must know about spa treatments for kids

How to train your child for a fun run, get ready for race day

Universal Studios Singapore Halloween

Halloween at Universal Studios Singapore that’s not about Horror Nights but kid-friendly fun

free playgrounds in Singapore such as this playground in Toa Payoh

Video: This adventure playground in Toa Payoh is great for energetic kids!

overeasy-singapore-unique-restaurant-one-fullerton

Video: Unique restaurants in Singapore worth visiting

Latest stories

video kid-friendly guide admiralty park's playground

Video: Kid-friendly guide to Admiralty Park’s playground

how to choose the right enrichment class

Enrichment programmes for babies: 5 things to look out for during a trial class

Baby recipe: Salmon with tofu and vegetables

8 baby massage mistakes to avoid

washing baby clothes

Washing baby clothes: 6 things the doctor wants you to know