Nyonya (or Peranakan) cuisine is a regional specialty that evolved from the fusion of Malay and Chinese cultures in Malaysia (Malacca, Penang), Singapore. Indonesia and Brunei. In the 15/16th century, Chinese men who sojourned to these places were bachelors, and often took Malay wives. These amazing women adapted Chinese ingredients and Malay spices to create a new blended cuisine.
Nyonya cuisine, which includes Kapitan Chicken, assam laksa and kuihs, is now part of the mainstream food culture in Malaysia.
Location: Unit D, 87 Picton Street, Howick
Phone: (09) 537 6168
Opening hours: Wed – Mon for lunch and dinner, closed Tuesday.
Pie-tee (Top Hat) is a well-known nyonya snack, which consists of a crispy deep-fried case filled with shredded vegetables (3 for $5.50).
The specialty of the house is ‘Golden Pillow’; this is a creation of the restaurant, but contains elements of what nyonya food typifies, – a blend of cuisines. Golden Pillow consists of Kapitan Chicken (you can request Beef Rendang as a substitute as we did) wrapped in foil and encased in bread, $28. It was fantastic to have crusty bread to mop up the savoury rendang gravy, and this is definitely a must-try when you visit. This must be pre-ordered, so make sure you let them know you when you book your table.
The butter prawns ($28) was good, but did not have the depth of flavor of what we were expecting.
Garlic Kankong ($16) never fails. The regular dish on the menu is sambal kangkong, but I unfortunately have a low tolerance for spicy foods (yes, I know, I am Malaysian, – this is a constant source of mockery in my family).
To finish off, we ordered bubur cha cha ($5.50) and chendol ice ($5.50). The chendol was a huge disappointment, – the bright luminous green colour, texture was sort of crumbly and had a hint of sourness. Got to learn to make this myself.
Overall, this place has some unique dishes, which makes it worth a visit, or a few.