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100 Stories: “A good spicy challenge strikes a balance between flavour and fear.”

“An amalgamation of Chinese with Malay and Indonesian cuisines, resulting in an exhilarating combination of all things tangy, spicy, herbal and aromatic.”

Peranakan Cuisine
A big fat Asian wedding of cuisines, which the Michelin guide perhaps describes best: “An amalgamation of Chinese with Malay and Indonesian cuisines, resulting in an exhilarating combination of all things tangy, spicy, herbal and aromatic.”
Also called Nonya (‘aunty’) cooking, it is an alluring mix of aromas, zing and spice. A marriage of rich food traditions resulting in mouthwatering flavours that Malaysians adore and offers travellers a ‘truly Asian’ taste of the Far East.

Origins
The Peranakans are descendants of Chinese migrants who settled in Penang, Singapore and Indonesia. The resulting intermarriage led to the growth of new traditions, culture and cuisine. And although there are many common themes in the cooking, the flavours of the dishes vary depending on geography - local tastes and availability of ingredients. Penang, ‘Assam laksa’, for example, has Thai influences, leading to a sourer taste. Southern Malaysia and Singaporean ‘laksa lemak’ has Indonesian influences with more coconut milk. But whether Thai or Indonesian leaning, laksa is a soup with thick noodles and vegetables.

Even without factoring in geographical influences; no two Peranakan dishes are the same. Each one is an interpretation. A balance of ingredients and flavours preferred by the chef. Signature ingredients used in Peranakan cooking include coconut milk, laksa leaves, lemongrass, tamarind, turmeric, lemongrass, pandanus, galangal, kaffir lime and ginger.

Peranakan cuisine takes a long time to prepare. The meat and seafood must be marinated to absorb all the fragrant spices. Fresh spices give stronger flavour and are ground with a mortar and pestle to add the distinctive mouthwatering flavours.

Desserts commonly include ingredients such as sweet potato, sago and yam that are combined with coconut milk and glutinous rice. Chinese influences of red beans and mung beans also play a starring role.

Peranakan Tasting Menu
TIFFIN DELIGHT
Chicken Roll, Charcoal Eggplant, Lobster Curries
GRILLED WHITE PRAWN
Asam Hed, Tamarind Roots, Malacca
STEAMED SILVER POMFRET FISH
Asam Pedas, Torch Ginger Jus
STOCKYARD WAGYU BEEF RIB
Malay Spices, Serunding, Nasi Ulam Rice
THAI TEA CUSTARD
Purple yam sorbet, coconut and sago sauce,
purple yam chips