Hilton Petaling Jaya,
No 2, Jalan Barat,
Tel: 03-7955 9122 ext 4060
Opening hours: noon-3.00pm (lunch)
IMMERSE yourself in the colourful culture and tuck into the flavourful Nyonya cuisine at Hilton Petaling Jaya’s Paya Serai from now until end of June.
The Malacca Peranakan community are descendants of intermarriage between local Malays and Chinese immigrants who traded their wares in Malacca from the late 15th and 16th century. The hybrid culture also resulted in Nyonya cuisine, a unique blend of flavours.
Known for being the guardian of traditional Nyonya cuisine, chef Florence Tan was the suitable spokesperson for the “Legacy of Malacca Peranakan” promo, which features Nyonya food and art and craft.
She cited her mother and aunts as sources of her inspiration.
“They are all great cooks,” she said.
The charming chef’s eyes lit up and rattled off the history of Peranakan culture and the names of Nyonya dishes, such as Udang Masak Lemak, Ayam Pong Teh, Itik Tim, Hee Pioh Soup (fish bladder soup), and Sambal Jantung Pisang.
Other dishes available during the promo are Sambal Udang dengan Petai, Ketam Goreng Kari, Kangkung Masak Lemak dengan Keledek, Pong Tauhu dengan Sengkuang.
The cuisine is tangy and robustly flavoured due to the spices used.
“We use lots of chilli, without it the food will be bland, as well as onion, garlic, belacan, buah keras (candlenut), tumeric, lemongrass and lengkuas (galangal).
“Whether it is salty, spicy, tangy, sweet; we have it all.
“What’s unique about Nyonya cuisine is that we have special foods for special occasions, for example the Nasi Kemuli is prepared for birthdays and weddings,” she said.
While Nyonya cuisine is a fusion of Malay and Chinese cuisine, Tan is a firm believer in tradition when it comes to cooking Nyonya.
“The recipes originating 600 years ago. If we create a fusion, there will be confusion; along the way the original recipe will be lost.
“I believe in tradition not fusion when cooking Nyonya food, we must not make changes to our heritage,” she said.
Those who enjoy spicy food may enjoy the punch that comes with some of the curry dishes, but non-spicy options like the crispy Pai Tee, Popiah Basah and Kuih Koci are also available.
The buffet spread is available for lunch at RM68++ for adults and RM45++ for children below 12 years old; dinner is priced at RM75++ for adults and RM45++ for children below 12 years old.
Get up close with Tan at exclusive private dinners on June 14, 15, and 16. Learn culinary tips as she demonstrates her specialty cooking, introduces her cookbook, dines and mingles with participants. The event starts at 7.30pm and is priced at RM150++ per person. Limited seats available.
This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement by StarMetro.