Experiences - Asia

7 Must-try Authentic Peranakan Dishes

Peranakan dishes have a unique gastronomic appeal with a subtle taste and flavours, which are quite unknown to the world around.

Peranakan or Nyonya Cuisine originates from Penang and Malacca and have distinctive flavours and taste as per the region.

Peranakan cuisine in the South has Indonesian influence with sweet notes and rich use of coconut milk and traditional Malay spices. While in Malacca, the Peranakan cuisine is heavily influenced by the Portuguese-Eurasian style of cooking which incorporates similar methods of cooking and ingredients.

You can often find Peranakan dishes all over Malaysia especially in Penang and Malacca.

Here are 7 must-try authentic Peranakan dishes:

Assam Laksa :

A tangy fish noodles soup  is a famous Peranakan dish which is from the ‘hawker food capital’ of Malaysia – Penang. It is a famous Peranakan dish and makes for a hearty weeknight dinner for those chilly nights. Here’s how you make Assam Laksa in 5 simple steps.

Otak Otak:

How do you like a fish steamed in banana leaves? Otak-otak is made from ground fish meat without the bones mixed with spices like chili, turmeric, and curry powder. Soy sauce and tapioca flour are added to the fish meat to get a thicker consistency. This popular street food is quite difficult to make but the mélange of flavours that bursts forth is something you just can’t miss.

Bak Chang:

Also known as Zongzi, a specialty of Peranakan cuisine uses minced pork as the filling with candied winter melon, ground roasted peanuts and a spice mix. The filling includes minced pork, ground roasted peanuts and spice mix.  It is eaten during the Dragon Boat Festival ( Lunar New Year). The usage of coriander powder, aniseed powder, the inclusion of winter melons and the pandan leaves and sambal make this exotic dish so different from the regular Zongzi.

Bak Chang - Peranakan Dishes

Image Courtesy: Yann used under the Creative Commons Licence

Mee Siam

Mee Siam means Siamese Noodles, a noodle dish influenced by Thailand which was formerly known as Siam. It consists of thin rice vermicelli that is stir-fried in a special sauce with shrimp. A squeeze of limau kasturi (kalamansi limes) is added for that tangy twist just before eating.

Mee Siam - Peranakan Dishes

Image Courtesy: wEnDy used under the Creative Commons Licence

Ayam Pongteh

A Peranakan dish, Pongteh means ‘Meat Tea’ is  a chicken and potato stew cooked with salted fermented soy beans, and gula melaka. It has a salty-sweet flavour and is easily available in Peranakan restaurants and household.

Ayam Pongteh - Peranakan Dishes

Image Courtesy: Lyrical Lemongrass used under the Creative Commons Licence

Sambal Udang 

A perfect match with plain rice, Sambal Udang is prawns cooked in sambal belacan paste.

prawn sambal - Peranakan Dishes

Image Courtesy: HishMFaz used under the Creative Commons Licence

Ngoh Hiang 

Ngoh (Ngo) Hiang, also known as five-spice meat roll or loh bak is usually made during Chinese New Year.

Ngoh Hiang - Peranakan Dishes

Image Courtesy: Tomoaki INABA used under the Creative Commons Licence

Other Peranakan authentic dishes include Cinculak omlet ( eggs fried with fermented krill/shrimp), Kuih pie tee, Nyonya fried chicken and sambal sotong.

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