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  • Writer's pictureChen Weiyu

Nyonya Dishes of Malaysian Specialties

Writer: Chen Weiyu

Editor: Zhang Chuqiu


Nyonya cuisine is a cuisine formed by the merger of Chinese cuisine and Malay cuisine among Penang and Malacca, while 1919 Restaurant is a well-known Nyonya restaurant in Kuala Lumpur.

1919 Restaurant is a few hundred meters near KL, and because of this location, they have increased a lot of passenger flow. The customers at their seats almost all ordered the same dish, Nyonya fried rice, signature tofu, and white coffee ice cream.

Actually, traditional Chinese cuisine is perfectly combined with Malay spices, blending sweet and sour, spicy, slightly spicy, and other flavors, with a strong taste. Nyonya dishes can be prepared by different cooking methods, including frying, boiling, steaming, frying and grilling, etc. This variety gives Nyonya cuisine a rich texture and layers.

In addition, Nyonya cuisine usually uses a lot of spices and seasonings, such as chili, curry powder, ginger, garlic, shallot, dill, lemongrass, bean paste, and coconut milk. These spices give Nyonya cuisine its unique flavor and aroma.

Coconut milk is one of the main ingredients commonly used in Nyonya cuisine. It imparts a rich, creamy flavor to dishes and neutralizes the spiciness of chilies and other spices. Commonly used ingredients in Nyonya cuisine include fresh seafood such as prawns, fish, crab, and shellfish, as well as various vegetables such as long beans, cucumbers, and eggplants. These ingredients make dishes more delicious and rich.

Mr. Chen Huakang, the chef of 1919 Restaurant, explained why their dishes are so popular. “The most important thing about Nyonya cuisine is to mix a variety of flavors together in an appropriate proportion, but it is difficult to adjust to everyone. We need to regularly follow the suggestions given by customers. Make political changes to the cuisine,” Chen said.


1919 Restaurant's dishes are slightly higher in price than their peers, but they are still very popular. The manager Danny explained this problem: "Because our restaurant has very high requirements on food raw materials, some seasonings may need to be purchased in other countries, and there is a transportation cost here. Then there are some meat and vegetables. We will also choose the best ones, generally speaking, we have higher requirements on the quality of raw materials, so everyone will taste better."


In addition, 1919 Restaurant also holds some activities every year. For example, let customers participate in the creation of Nyonya cuisine, from the ratio of seasonings to the preparation of ingredients to the arrangement of dishes, they will teach customers one by one. Let everyone know more about Nyonya cuisine culture after tasting.


They showed 1919 Restaurant's most popular Nyonya cakes, which are steamed, fried, baked, sweet, salty, spicy, etc. The main raw materials are glutinous rice, rice, tapioca flour, etc., and different special materials are added according to different tastes, such as Pandan, coconut milk, shredded coconut, banana leaves, pandan leaves, mung bean paste, red bean paste, peanut powder, coconut sugar, sambal, etc., with moderate sweetness. The bright colors and the strong fragrance mixed with various spices are the biggest features of Nyonya cakes.


(Photo by Chen Weiyu)

In addition, click on the sharing notes on the food sharing platform, and it can be seen that keywords such as "authentic taste", "high cost performance" and "stylish dining environment" have almost become the primary criteria for diners to check in Nyonya restaurants. Therefore, if a Nyonya cuisine brand wants to stand out among the endless new catering consumer brands in the future, it is obvious that it needs to retain the Nanyang style to the greatest extent in terms of dish taste, store environment and other elements, and achieve extreme innovation.


For example, the chain brand Nyonya cuisine restaurant has combined the tastes of Bak Kut Teh, which is divided into Teochew style in Singapore and Hokkien style in Malaysia. After moderate localization and improvement, the pepper flavor and medicinal flavor have been better balanced. The interior decoration also incorporates more thoughts on Nyonya culture.


How to ensure a stable level of taste, ingredients, etc., and improve the quality of the supply chain will also be the only way for Nyonya cuisine to highlight product characteristics and differentiation.On the road of continuous innovation and development, the distinctive Nyonya cuisine will definitely become better and better.



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