Image, Bandar Kinrara Puchong

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, 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 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!

Happy 50th Wedding Anniversary!

Aside from awesome Peranakan food, we were grateful for how accommodating the 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)

Food Review: H&H Restaurant & Catering, Kota Damansara

Moo had a sudden craving to seek out a restaurant she tried years ago, so we went for lunch at a place called H&H Restaurant & Catering, all the way in Kota Damansara. It used to be located somewhere else before moving operations. The place’s decor was minimal, almost canteen style, and it was close to empty during our visit. There were many items on the menu so we opted for the set meal for four instead.

Stir-fried veggies with garlic, which was nice, sweet and crunchy without being too oily.

Claypot assam fish was a tad disappointing. Flavours were too salty and the fish didn’t seem fresh.

Meal was redeemed with the deep fried sotong (squid) – lightly battered, crisp and crunchy, lightly salty. Great as a snack or accompaniment to rice, especially with the chilli dip.

The Chicken Kapitan, despite this rather unappetising photo,  was really good! A bit on the greasy side, but the chicken was tender and juicy, and the blend of herbs and spices created a robust flavour with a strong hint of lemongrass. It wasn’t too spicy. Fought to spoon up the sauce to our rice lol.

All in all, 3 out of 4 is not bad at all. Consider having a quick and economical lunch/dinner here if you’re ever in the neighbourhood! 🙂

H&H Restaurant and Catering

25, Jalan PJU 5/12, Dataran Sunway, Kota Damansara
47810 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
11.30am to 2.30pm
5.30pm to 10.00pm

Limapulo: Baba Can Cook @ The Row KL

The Peranakan (Straits born-Chinese), or the Baba Nyonya as they are known in Malaysia, is a unique community – born from hundreds of years of assimilation, where Chinese immigrants adopted Nusantara customs in British Malaya (now Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore) and the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). The cuisine, therefore, has heavy Malay and Chinese influences and is hard to find anywhere else in the world.

Now you might be able to find Baba & Nyonya restaurants by the dozen in KL, but few would rival Limapulo: Baba Can Cook when it comes to flavour, authenticity, and most of all, heart. Located along The Row at Jalan Doraisamy, the resto sits amid trendy cafes, art galleries and event spaces – but maintains a certain homely charm. Diners might even spot a kindly-looking elderly gentleman seated outside on the terrace – this is the Baba himself, Uncle John. 


Pai Tee, or ‘tophats’, are a great appetizer to kickstart the meal. These crunchy pastries are filled with chopped jicama (yam beans) and carrots. The filling here very juicy and the sauce threatened to run down our chins – not that we minded! As we ate, we chatted with Uncle John, who told us a story about how the name ‘Pai Tee’ came to be. According to him, many traditional Peranakan dishes are steeped in culture and symbolism. Since the Peranakan spoke Hokkien and still retained the custom of praying to the Jade Emperor (Tian Gong), or ‘Bai Thnee Kong’. Bai Thnee Bai Thnee, eventually became Pai Tee… geddit ? xD

Speaking of tophats, the shape does resemble one. I put it down to ingenuity, coz it’s easy to put the filling in and easy to eat as well.


One of their specialties is their Nyonya Laksa, a spicy noodle soup loaded with herbs and spices such as turmeric, galangal, chillies, lemongrass and candlenut.

This dish is only available on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, as Uncle John blends the paste himself – an arduous process that starts with him buying ingredients at the market early in the morning, followed by long hours spent mashing them (no blenders are used, since only by pounding can the flavour be brought out fully) and then simmering everything in fragrant coconut milk.

The yellow noodles and vermicilli soak up the rich soup really well, complemented by tofupok (beancurd) , springy fish cake slices, shredded chicken, boiled egg and calamansi.

There’s another story about the origin of the word Laksa, which Uncle John relates. It was said that in the old days in Melaka, there was a very famous stall selling these noodles (which didn’t have a name back then). The stall number as 63, or Lak Sa in Hokkien. Hmmm makes sense.


Moving on, we had Sambal Petai Udang (spicy shrimp with chilli and stinkbeans). It wasn’t too hot nor too mild – just enough to pack a punch, but not have you reaching for a cold glass of water. The shrimps were fresh and springy, while the stinkbeans gave the dish a crunch. It was totally worth it to have bad breath for a couple of hours afterwards!


Curry chicken rice, served with generous chunks of potato and tender chicken meat. What can I say? Packed with flavour, and great to go with rice. It was served nasi-lemak style with a side of cucumbers, sambal, boiled egg and fried anchovies.


The Cucur Udang was another delightful dish. Apart from the fried prawn fritters, which were crispy on the outside and doughy on the inside without being oily, the plate was beautifully laid out with tofu, cucumber, boiled egg and jicama (yambean), drenched in a sweet chilli sauce. Portion was big enough to be a meal on its own – sort of like a salad but much heartier.


To wash it all down, Peranakan ‘Ale’, which tasted like Hacks sweets and was very refreshing.


If you’re looking for authentic food prepared with love, then you can’t go wrong with Limapulo. Price is super reasonable and the portions are big too. A gem of a restaurant 🙂

Limapulo: Baba Can Cook
26, Jalan Doraisamy, Kuala Lumpur
Open for Lunch & dinner
Mon-Sat (closed on Sundays)
Tel: 03-2689-3268

Things to Look Forward to in Ipoh: Home Cooked Fam Meals


One of the great things about visiting relatives in Ipoh ? Glorious food. My third aunt, whom I call Sar Kor, is a great chef, and probably the only aunt among my dad’s many sisters to have inherited my late grandmother’s cooking chops. The cuisine is a mix of Hokkien (my great grandparents came to then-Malaya from Fujian province on junk boats in the late 19th century) and Peranakan (Straits Chinese) influences, as my Ah Ma learnt her dishes from a Peranakan neighbour. Simple but hearty comfort food.

A typical home-cooked meal would look like the one above. Blanched vegetables in soy sauce are a must-have for every meal (gotta get them greens in!), while steamed chicken is more of a Hainanese/Cantonese thing (aunt does it really well though. Moist, tender and great when dipped in soy sauce) – but there are also distinctly Hokkien/Peranakan dishes. Sambal petai (stinkbeans in spicy shrimp paste) delivers a hot kick that is addictive with rice, so its worth it to have bad breath for a few hours. Then you have braised pork belly with herbal egg in dark soy sauce, which is kind of like the adobo of the Hokkien world. The way Sar Kor makes it, the belly is so soft and tender with the right amount of lean and fat that it just melts onto your tongue. To wash it all down, a warm hearty bowl of sweet carrot and corn soup with pork.

We’ve been suggesting to her to do one of those home-kitchen thingies (what do you call them, underground kitchens?) where, say, a group of 10 guests come to your home to enjoy excellent home-cooked food. Concepts like these have been picking up lately and you can find homekitchens offering local, Sri Lankan or even Korean fare. We don’t know if she’ll take up the idea, but it would be great if she did, don’t you think? 🙂


Nyonya Cuisine @ Taiping Lang, Puchong Jaya

UPDATE: The place has been closed as of Jan 4 2016.

The Straits Chinese are a unique group of immigrant Chinese who came to Malaya and Singapore in the 1800s, adopting the local Malay customs and cultures by intermarriage. This fusion of cultures has brought about a distinct cooking style and taste, known as Peranakan cuisine.


In Puchong, one can find tasty, homecooked Peranakan food that is as authentic as they come. Taiping Lang (literally person from Taiping in Hokkien) was started by six siblings, and the recipes were handed down by their mother. The restaurant has been around for more than ten years, but still enjoys immense popularity. Maybe it’s cos it’s hard to find good Peranakan food outside of Malacca and Penang (where there were many Straits Chinese).

The interior is cosy and decorated with loads of nostalgic items, like old posters, photos and kitchen utensils. The walls are also papered with newspaper cuttings, Tv programme photos and magazine writeups.


The selection is not wide, but enough. 🙂 We ordered one of their sets, which came with (refillable) rice, soup and a side of fresh vegetables.


Bee Ba Special – braised pork in soy sauce. Super tender, half fatty, half lean pork that melts on your tongue is bathed in a glorious soy sauce with green onions and fermented bean paste. The sauce has that fragrant smell of soy beans and it’s salty savoury flavour is great to go with rice.


Kali Kay – curry chicken. The curry’s blend of herbs and spices is rich, creamy but not overpowering, and not too spicy. Generous serving of soft potatoes.


Sambal Hae – shrimp with sambal (spicy sauce) and cucumber. This was quite fiery but also great with rice.

If you noticed, all of the items come with lots of sauce, which is a distinctly Chinese influence (because you can pour it over rice, see?)

The food at Taiping Lang is simple but hearty. My dad loves it because it reminds him of my late grandmother’s cooking (she was Hokkien but learnt cooking from a Nyonya). The price is affordable – this set set us back about Rm50.


No.19-01, Jalan Kenari 18B, Bandar Puchong Jaya, 47100, Puchong, Selangor, Malaysia.

tel : +603 – 8076 2686

Tuesday – Sunday: 

  • Lunch  : 11.30am – 3.00pm
    Dinner :  6.00pm -10.00pm