Malaysia Country Guide



Nyonya Cuisine

The most identifiable cuisine in the region is Peranakan or Nonya cuisine, born from the unique blend of Malay and Chinese cooking established by Chinese immigrants who once settled in the British colonies of the Straits Settlements (Singapore, Penang and Melaka). Nyonya cuisine has a tangy and spicy taste with key ingredients being coconut milk, tamarind juice, shrimp paste, lemon grass and lime. However, there are regional variations with Nyonya cuisine, the cuisine in the north has a Thai influence while in the south the cuisine has an Indonesian influence.

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Outside a Nyonya restaurant in Melaka by Booboo
Ayam Pongteh
Ayam pongteh is a chicken dish flavoured with fermented soy bean paste, dark soy sauce, sugar and other ingredients. This mild and slightly sweet is made daily in some Nyonya households.

Otak-otak is a popular Nyonya dish throughout Peninsular Malaysia and is a blend of fish, coconut milk, chilli paste, galangal and herbs wrapped in banana leaf and cooked over an open fire.

Chilli Crab
This is a Malaysian specialty which is now available in Singapore as well, is a whole crab ladled with oodles of sticky, tangy chilli sauce. Notoriously difficult to eat (breaking the shell) and messy but irresistibly delicious.

Ayam Buah Keluak
Ayam buah keluak is a distinctive dish combining chicken pieces with black nuts from the Pangium edule or kepayang tree to produce a rich sauce.

Enche Kabin
Enche Kabin are bite-sized pieces of fried chicken marinated in soy sauce, five-spice powder, black pepper, ginger and scallions.

Itek Tim
Itek Tim is a soup containing duck, tomatoes, green peppers, salted vegetables, and preserved sour plums simmered gently together.

Assam Laksa
White rice noodle served in a hot and spicy soup and complemented with a variety of vegetables including onions, basil and cucumbers.

Assam laksa by MichaelJLowe

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