Peranakan or Nyonya food is quite possibly the original fusion food of this country, if not the region. The intermarriage of Chinese traders and local Malays in the colonial days has produced a vibrant, unique culture and cuisine, where both Chinese and Malay cooking techniques, flavours and ingredients are intermixed, thus creating a cuisine that is complex in execution and robust in flavours. When you need to get your fix of pai tee, inchi kabin (Nyonya fried chicken) or ayam buah keluak, head to these top Nyonya restaurants in Petaling Jaya and Kuala Lumpur.
Located at the newly rejuvenated The Row, this vintage-cool Nyonya eatery serves up dishes and desserts at a price point most people will be happy with. Their cendol and sago gula Melaka are must-tries. If you like brinjal, you’d love their terung kukus that comes with sweet roasted chilli sauce. Also commendable: pai tee, laksa and fried fish with sambal.
Complete with function rooms, this Peranakan restaurant is decked out like an opulent home of the Babas and Nyonyas, complete with authentic artefacts. Recommended dishes are assam tumis (you can choose your favourite fish) and nasi ulam, which is tossed with finely cut aromatic herbs from the plants right outside. The fried popiah makes a good starter as it’s light and filled with crunchy jicama. Don’t miss the acar rampai, which is served as a tidbit.
This stalwart has been around for several decades, located in an older part of PJ and favoured by families and the older folks. Specialising in Penang Peranakan cuisine, its signature dishes are a generously-sized curry fish head with lots of vegetables, a tart perut ikan with lots of julienned pineapple and fish bellies preserved in brine, and crispy inchi kabin, the Nyonya version of deep-fried chicken.