Before you go all ape, there is no actual orangutan in this salad. It’s all plants. Andre Chiang, chef at the acclaimed Restaurant Andre in Singapore, has created the dish and named it after the rainforest dwelling primates to bring attention to deforestation.
The salad, a part of Chiang’s Rainforest Kitchen project, will include plants that orangutans might eat like wild ferns, wild tree mushrooms, wild figs, tree berries, orchid leaves and durian flowers. The chef hopes that while diners enjoy their meal, they also might think about the animal that inspired the dish and how their home is being torn down every day.
The restaurant is sourcing its ingredients directly from villagers in Sintang, West Kalimantan on Borneo. They hope that by providing funds for items in the rainforest, the locals might see the benefits of maintaining the forest rather than cutting it down.
Chiang said, “I use a lot of edible plants that you don’t really see, all the rare edible plants. For them it’s just five minutes’ walk into the jungle to pick, but they don’t see the value of it. They say this is everywhere, but for us it’s fantastic.”
The 35 year old chef will start offering the dish in March, after one more visit to Sintang. If you’re interested in trying it, book early. The restaurant was named one of San Pellegrino’s top 100 restaurants in the world this year.