If there’s one cuisine I think best represents Malaysia’s storied history of immigration and assimilation, it’s Peranakan, or Nyonya, cuisine. The Peranakans (also called Straits Chinese) are descendants of early Chinese migrants who settled mostly in Malacca and Penang in Malaysia, parts of Indonesia, as well as Singapore in the late 18th to early 19th centuries. Many Peranakans intermarried with locals, adopting Malay customs as their own. As such, Nyonya cuisine is an interesting blend of Chinese influences and cooking techniques, paired with Malay ingredients and spices.
For those craving authentic Melaka-style Peranakan food, Nyonya.love at Bandar Kinrara dishes out popular favourites the likes of Ayam Pongteh, Nyonya Curry Laksa, Nasi Lemak, kueh, and more – served in a cozy and intimate setting that’s perfect for get togethers or casual hangouts. The fam and I were here for my aunt and uncle’s 50th anniversary wedding, and we got to try a wide variety of their specialities.
The restaurant’s interior is spacious, with tables adequately spaced to adhere to social distancing rules. The grey concrete walls and floors boast an ‘unfinished’ look which is the in thing these days, but it lends the space an air of elegance. The counter also features interestingly-shaped concrete nooks made to look like traditional Peranakan tiles. The industrial look is spruced up by cozy wood accents and lots of plants, while cute decorations – such as the colourful tiffin carriers at the counter – add character.
The aunts had ordered two platters of traditional Nyonya kueh for sharing. The vibrant colours of these assorted bite-sized snacks were as much a feast for the eyes as they were for the stomach. My favourites are the angku (‘tortoise cakes’ – glutinous rice snacks filled with mung bean paste) and kuih kosui (steamed rice cake made from tapioca flour and rice flour), as they have a chewy texture.
Once all the fam members had arrived, our meals were served. I had the Nyonya Curry Laksa, which came in a humongous portion. In hindsight, I should have shared this with someone else because although it was tasty, I struggled to finish the noodles. The curry is notably different from regular curry laksa – as you can tell, the curry was lighter in colour, creamy but not cloying, and I could taste the distinct blend of spices such as turmeric, lemongrass, onions, and shallots. The bowl also came with generous servings of fish balls, tofu pok, shrimp, and a dollop of sambal for that extra kick.
The Hubs and Pops both had Nasi Lemak Rendang Ayam. The coconut milk rice was tasty, but the star of the dish for me was the chicken rendang. The meat was fall-off-the-bone tender, and the rendang was rich and creamy.
Our mains alone were enough, but then the aunts also ordered some pai tee. These crispy snacks are shaped like top hats, with the crunchy shells holding braised jicama within. The contrast of textures makes it super addictive to munch on!
The Bro’s Curry Chicken with Roti Jala. Compared to the rendang, which has a thicker texture, the curry is more soupy and is more savoury.
Nyonya acar traces its roots to India, where the dish is known as achar (or literally, pickles). Pickling vegetables has long been a practice in ancient India, and with the spread of Indian culture via powerful Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms, the cuisine spread to Maritime Southeast Asia.
The version at Nyonya.love is very refreshing – there’s sliced cucumber, carrots, pineapple, and cabbage (?) in a sweet, sour, and savoury sauce, topped with sesame seeds. I think it’s perfect as an appetizer, as it really whets the appetite.
Rounding off the meal, we shared a bowl of cendol. Sweet, cold, and refreshing – what more could one ask for?
The restaurant also allowed us to cut the cakes we bought from Torte by Linda, which is located within the same building. Try their medovik (Russian Honey Cake) – it’s too die for!
Aside from awesome Peranakan food, we were grateful for how accommodating the Nyonya.love team was as well in making our occasion a memorable one. 🙂 Definitely a recommend spot for when the craving for Peranakan cuisine kicks in!
B-LG-5, Eight, Jalan BK 5a/3, Bandar Kinrara, 47180 Puchong, Selangor
Open: Tues – Sun (11.30AM – 7.30PM)