The Peranakan Story

Peranakan Food Melaka

As early as in the 15th century, Chinese merchants and traders, mainly from the Fujian Province of the South of China, started sailing across the great ocean in search for trade opportunities within the lands and islands of the Malay Archipelago along the sea route which eventually led them through the Straits of Malacca. Historically, Malacca was known as the ‘World Trade Center’ as it was located strategically in the middle of the eastern and western countries. These Chinese ships were filled with large quantities of tea, silk and porcelains to be traded while they stopped and seek refuge to wait for the North-East Monsoon Season to pass before continuing their trip back to China.

During that time the Chinese merchants did not have their wives with them, and eventually some of these merchants began courting and marrying the local women and settled down in the region. These inter-marriages then gave birth to the unique Peranakan or Baba-Nyonya culture.

The term Peranakan is an Indonesian/Malay word used to describe a local born. The men are known as ‘Baba’ while the women are known as ‘Nyonya’. The Peranakan culture in itself is a hybrid of the Chinese and local cultures layered with Portuguese, Dutch and the later English influences due to colonisation. These influences are reflected in the homes and lifestyles of the Peranakans, as they are a perfectly unique race and also rich in cultural values.

The Baba-Nyonya families greatly value the industriousness and virtuousness of the females. From a young age, the Nyonyas would start to learn from their own mothers how to cook up a table of mouth-watering Nyonya dishes. These Nyonya cuisines integrates the cooking skills of the Chinese and Malaysian cuisines with many local specialties as ingredients, featuring strong, rich flavours with a mixture of sweet, sour, and spicy taste. It is known as one of the most special and delicate cuisines in Southeast Asia. The sauces are generally made up with over ten types of spices, which includes lemongrass, laksa leaves, palm sugar, santan, turmeric, shrimp paste, tamarind, chili and etc. Other than herbs and spices, the Nyonyas also tend to use marinated ingredients and fermented shrimps as seasonings for the dishes, for example, the famous cincaluk paste. 

During each important festivals, the Baba-Nyonyas enjoy holding parties in their homes. The tables for these parties are generally rectangular, people also call them “tok panjang” (long tables). In order to show the hospitality of the host, the dishes on the “tok panjang” are usually quite rich, and they normally include the Kapitan Chicken, Nyonya Laksa, Ikan Asam Pedas, along with Nasi Lemak and some Nyonya Kuih as well. A good dish of sambal belacan is also a great compliment with almost all of these Nyonya dishes, but it is best when taken with the Nasi Lemak.

Peranakan food Melaka has now become a must whenever they people to Melaka. Many visitors insist on having some Peranakan food Melaka whenever they come on a trip to Melaka. This is because Peranakan food Melaka is one of the bridges to reminisce the memory of the good old days. If you have yet to try out the Peranakan food Melaka, Cottage Spices should be your first go-to choice of place. This is because Peranakan food Melaka is one the few traditional dishes that remains within the Baba Nyonya culture. The unique taste of Peranakan food Melaka is one of the many reasons that many people are fascinated with this culture. Peranakan food Melaka also is a good chance for the younger generations to get to know more about the culture that remained from a very long time ago. For the majority of people, Peranakan food Melaka is a unique culture that must be kept alive in this society. This is why you can see there are a lot of visitors who pay their visit just because of the uniqueness of Peranakan food Melaka. If you have yet to try the Peranakan food Melaka, Cottage Spices is a destination you must include in your itinerary. Peranakan food Melaka has become a priority for many people when they travel to Melaka. You can schedule a daily trip and try out the Peranakan food Melaka for your travels.

Leave a Reply