Nothing excite Malaysians’ fervor like food, and passions and forks were proudly to the fore during the launch of a new restaurant in George Town’s Beach Rd.
Restoran Pinang Peranakan serves Baba and Nyonya cuisine – which combines Malay, Chinese and other influences such as Thai and Burmese into a unique blend evolved by the upper-class Straits Chinese – in a large, airy dining space that was packed with hundreds of people for its official lunchtime opening today.
Many Nyonya ladies were wearing their colourful and stylish kabayas, the traditional blouse-dress combo of the Peranakans, the upwardly mobile descendants of late 15th and 16th-century Chinese immigrants to the Indonesian archipelago during the Colonial era.
As celebrations literally spilled into the street – a marquee covered the areas where the starving hordes queued for pork sausage, noodles and kuih (bite-size desserts from the Malay archipelago and southern China) – the queues were enthusiastic though not unruly as security ensured traffic was not unduly impeded by the masticating multitudes.
The restaurant’s menu offers many Baba-Nyonya favourites, such as Belacan Chicken, featuring that Penang specialty, fermented shrimp cake, and Devil Curry, which gets three chillis on the spice rating. There are soups, starters such as Poh Peah, and desserts include classics such as the coconutty, jellied Cendol, or the coconutty, yammy, Bubur Cha Cha.
Main dishes cost from around RM15, depending on size. Gathering from the queues, the fried chicken here is also extremely popular.
Guests included Michael Cheah, Nyonya expert from the Pinang Peranakan Mansion, who is thinking of writing a memoir of his upbringing (Baba, being male) and his female, or Nyonya, ancestors.
Restoran Pinang Peranakan
4 Logan Heritage
Beach St, Penang
04 261 2269
Lunch daily 11am-3pm
Dinner daily 6pm-10pm