BY CK Lam

A rich and colorful Peranakan wedding!

Baba-Nyonya wedding ceremony is fast disappearing and forgotten by many except for a handful of the older generation. In the heritage town of Penang, there has been a strong call for couples to revive this heritage by taking their vows in this traditional style. Won’t it be a lovely change for couples to wed in a truly unique traditional showcase of rich and colourful Baba-Nyonya culture?

Baba-Nyonya Wedding with a Peranakan Dining Experience by what2seeonline.com

The wedding ceremony of the Baba-Nyonya is one of the fascinating and colorful wedding ceremonies around town. The wedding is actually held over a twelve days ritual starting with the exchange of gifts between the couple’s parents which is then follow by a elaborate stream of traditional process, including the “cheow tao” ceremony to initiate the bride and groom into adulthood, the tea ceremony, the use of sedan chair to fetch the bride, and the lifting of the bride’s veil.

Baba-Nyonya Wedding with a Peranakan Dining Experience by what2seeonline.com

Unfortunately with modernization enveloping society, the Baba-Nyonya wedding ceremony nowadays is much simpler and less elaborate. It is more of incorporating the Baba-Nyonya elements into the wedding schedule rather than following the ritual. Given the time constrains nowadays; a lot of the time consuming practices and pomp have been done away or cut short!

Baba-Nyonya Wedding with a Peranakan Dining Experience by what2seeonline.com

Exchanging of gifts between both the family

Baba-Nyonya Wedding with a Peranakan Dining Experience by what2seeonline.com

The groom leading the sedan chair carriers to fetch the bride

Baba-Nyonya Wedding with a Peranakan Dining Experience by what2seeonline.com

Arrival of the bride, followed with rituals which include the lifting of the bride’s veil


The actual matrimonial costumes worn consisting of gowns, robes, head dress, accessories and beaded shoes (kasut manek) are elaborate and donned with intricate embroidery, beads and auspicious multi colored motives and symbols. The attire worn by the rest of the family is as elegant, especially the “sarong kebaya” and the Baju Panjang”.

Baba-Nyonya Wedding with a Peranakan Dining Experience by what2seeonline.com

Elaborate Nyonya bridal head dress and costume

Baba-Nyonya Wedding with a Peranakan Dining Experience by what2seeonline.com

Baba-Nyonya Wedding with a Peranakan Dining Experience by what2seeonline.com Baba-Nyonya Wedding with a Peranakan Dining Experience by what2seeonline.com

Gorgeous hand embroidered beaded shoes (kasut manik)


No matter whatever changes, an important element for the Baba-Nyonya wedding is the wedding banquet. Given that the Peranakan has a strong food culture and are affectionately with their cuisines, an elaborate spread of Nyonya dishes are usually served at the dining table. One experienced Peranakan restaurant in Penang that caters for Baba-Nyonya wedding banquet is Sri Batik Nyonya Cafe at New World Park.
*** The restaurant has since closed down and shifted.

Stepping up to the restaurant for a Nyonya wedding meal, I was faced with a heavy wooden door with huge lion-head door-knockers. Sri Batik gives a welcoming warm feeling as you enter the restaurant. Peranakan ornaments and furniture fill the restaurant with a touch of the modernist feel – most authentic indeed.

Baba-Nyonya Wedding with a Peranakan Dining Experience by what2seeonline.com

The restaurant is decorated with private collection of pictures and Peranakan artifacts, including ceramic pottery, old clocks, jar and basketry. This radiates a feeling of nostalgia, which is simply perfect for holding a Baba-Nyonya banquet!

Proprietor Kenneth Yip, who is a Baba himself, said that as a Penangite, his aspiration is to revive the art of Sri Batik Nyonya cooking whilst delivering traditional authentic Nyonya cooking to the younger generation.

Baba-Nyonya Wedding with a Peranakan Dining Experience by what2seeonline.com

The restaurant is decorated with Peranakan artifacts

Baba-Nyonya Wedding with a Peranakan Dining Experience by what2seeonline.com

This restaurant offers a wedding menu that seemed interesting. There is a wide range of seafood and chicken dishes. The all time favourite, Curry Kapitan (chicken curry with a tangy sour taste of kaffir lime leave) is one of the several items in the menu. Rich with milk, the robust gravy has lots of oomph in its aromatic spices.

Baba-Nyonya Wedding with a Peranakan Dining Experience by what2seeonline.com

Not to be missed is the Lobak (bean curd sheets wrap with pork). This pork roll is slightly shorter; half the size of what is normally served. The ingredients use in the lobak is three layer pork, which added another dimension to the palate.

Baba-Nyonya Wedding with a Peranakan Dining Experience by what2seeonline.com

The soft and fluffy Nasi Ulam was a mix of flavours from the generous amounts of fresh herbs and spices. The daun kaduk, daun cekur, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and tumeric leaves are finely shredded and mixed together with the correct proportions of rice, chopped shallots and grated coconut to make a sensational aromatic rice dish.

Baba-Nyonya Wedding with a Peranakan Dining Experience by what2seeonline.com

Another all time traditional Peranakan dish is the Assam Prawn (tamarind fried prawns). The prawns are fresh, well absorbing the marinating of the tamarind pulp. The dark soy sauce coating the prawns not only adds a wonderful taste to this dish but also work up your appetite.

Baba-Nyonya Wedding with a Peranakan Dining Experience by what2seeonline.com

It is a nice change to enjoy a simplistic dish to complement the authentic traditional cuisines. Sri Batik came out with the Singapore Beehoon which makes a good choice over rice. It is a pleasant fried noodle with fresh ingredients of seafood.

Baba-Nyonya Wedding with a Peranakan Dining Experience by what2seeonline.com

Other dish that came was the Gulai Tumis (curry fish) with pieces of fish cooked in thick sourish gravy with an aroma of spices. The gravy has course grounded ingredients of lengkuas, lemongrass and laksa flower topped with kaffir lime leaves.

Baba-Nyonya Wedding with a Peranakan Dining Experience by what2seeonline.com

The Nyonya Chap Chai (mixed vegetable) is a unique dish. Sri Batik’s version maintains a sense of simplicity. This tasty stir-fried dish was presented colorfully with ingredients of gingko, broccoli, cauliflower, mushroom and carrot.

Baba-Nyonya Wedding with a Peranakan Dining Experience by what2seeonline.com

In between the meal, guests were entertained by performances by the “Nyonya Belles”. The ladies together with Johny Chee, a Baba, were invited to present several songs and dance promoting the Baba-Nyonya culture.

Baba-Nyonya Wedding with a Peranakan Dining Experience by what2seeonline.com

The ladies in their colorful kebayas embroidered with beautiful motifs

The meal ended with the serving of Nyonya dessert. Sri Batik dishes out Bubur Cha Cha and large varieties of Nyonya kuih. The Bubur Cha Cha has a mixture of flavours and texture with the combination of soft sweet potato, yam and coconut milk. The amazing types of Nyonya kuih were equally satisfying.

Baba-Nyonya Wedding with a Peranakan Dining Experience by what2seeonline.com

Varieties of colorful Nyonya kuih

Baba-Nyonya Wedding with a Peranakan Dining Experience by what2seeonline.com

The delicious Bubur Cha Cha


The Baba-Nyonya wedding meal was indeed an enjoyable experience. George Town World Heritage Site with its many heritage buildings and Nyonya restaurants is an ideal place for a Baba-Nyonya wedding as it provides many backdrops for photography and dining venues.

Sri Batik Nyonya Cafe
102-E-2, New World Park
102 Jalan Burmah
10050 Georgetown
Penang

Tel: 04 2288 919

Business Hour: 11 am – 11 pm

For further information regarding Baba-Nyonya Weddings:

Nyonya Belles -  contact Johny Chee at 016 4231109
Baba Nyonya wedding ideas – contact Susan at  Focal Concepts

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* This is a reproduction of my article published in New Straits Times

 


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This entry was posted on Thursday, October 14th, 2010 at 7:27 pm and is filed under Events, Media Preview, New Straits Times (Life & Times), Non-Halal, Nyonya Cuisine, Penang, Peranakan Cuisine, Restaurant. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

20 comments so far

foodlust
 1 

frankly, i tasted quite a few nyonya restaurant in town and all has disappointed me. My grandma’s cooking was far more better then them.

CK, great pictures you took and all looks delicious. But how is the taste? I do not want to be disappointed again. I am only willing to go try out if ck give 5/5 on food taste.

cheers!

CK Lam Reply:

The food I tasted was the food served in a wedding banquet, the food was reasonably tasty.

October 15th, 2010 at 9:20 am
 2 

Nice photos again, CK! So colorful :)

October 15th, 2010 at 10:10 am
 3 

I am hungry, now

October 15th, 2010 at 11:10 am
Amanda
 4 

just tried it yesterday…the service and food was disappointing. most of the dishes we ordered was not available..and the time is only 730pm!

the table next door also complained on the bad service given. Personally, the owner should make some effort to hire more experienced waitress or waiter to handle the crowd rather than getting those part timer that have not been well trained…

food wise…so so….

CK Lam Reply:

Thanks for your feedback! Hope the owner will take note of your feedback, and improve from this. :)

October 15th, 2010 at 2:28 pm
 5 

Oh wow! The pictures are amazing! So colourful and elaborate! Would definitely love to try out this restaurant one day

October 15th, 2010 at 2:59 pm
 6 

Hungry looking at that asam prawn ….

October 15th, 2010 at 5:05 pm
Eric Ng
 7 

How quaint. Seeing all the “old ladies” prompted me to ask the question, have any one seen any old ladies with “bound feet”? Are there any more still alive? I used to see the odd few when I was a kid in the 60s’. Giving away my age here!

CK Lam Reply:

Hi Eric – I have yet to see ladies with bound feet. Hope to do so and will update you if I come across just a golden opportunity :)

October 15th, 2010 at 10:02 pm
Joshua
 8 

I personally been to this restaurant several time, and I have to say, there is no good or bad good. It all depends on the person’s taste buds, and surprisingly, i find the food in the restaurant matches mine. The price is also fairly reasonable, although not cheap, which is normal for a restaurant. Also, I’ve also been craving for local desserts like bubu chacha and bee koh moi which is hard to find nowadays but all can be found here. All in all, I think its safe for me to say, I’d rate this place 4/5

October 16th, 2010 at 1:36 pm
Dylan Yeoh
 9 

Good spread of menu and recipes are very authentic. Love the jiu hoo char, just like what they did in the old days. Will definitely come again…

October 16th, 2010 at 1:38 pm
 10 

Good post, CK. Something different for a change, a Baba Nyonya wedding.

I have tasted quite a few Nyonya restaurants in penang too, but like foodbin, I did not think much of the cooking. Maybe not accustomed to the authentic flavours of Nyonya cuisine, but a few dishes I have tasted better ones elsewhere.

I am awaiting for a CK-Lam tailored food tour around Penang again. :)

CK Lam Reply:

Nice of you sharing your views on Nyonya food. Hope you do have time to drop by and I will go on a tailored food tour with you.

October 17th, 2010 at 1:55 pm
 11 

woa! this is the first time i see a baba nyonya wedding ceremony.. so classic and so got feel eh~
nicely taken the pictures

CK Lam Reply:

This is a first time for me too…thanks for the comment.

October 18th, 2010 at 1:56 pm
 12 

I’m from Malacca and one-eight Peranakan but have never witnessed an authentic Baba-Nyonya wedding before… this is amazing! Thanks for sharing, dear. :)

CK Lam Reply:

Glad you enjoyed reading this article.

October 18th, 2010 at 10:11 pm
 13 

P.S. If you have an end-of-year contest of your readers’ fave posts, I’d pick this one – for the words and the pictures and all the colour and festivity! Gorgeous. :)

October 18th, 2010 at 10:17 pm
musang
 14 

CK dearie : Wow, an excellent write-up of a Baba Nyonya wedding by you ! Love reading your foodie blogsite. As a matter of fact, I was one of the attendees at this Peranakan wedding event. Highly recommended venue to host such type of wedding luncheon or dinner @ New World Park, Penang !

October 20th, 2010 at 1:57 am
khyeoh
 15 

Enjoy the real nyonya food taste in Penang, Sri Batik Nyonya Cafe in Penang New World Park is the best.
My kids always enjoy the “choon piah”, “roti babi”, “chian bak”..one order of the snack type is enough for one meal.
We also have a family meal. We are satisfy the meal and always looking forward back to enjoy the meal.
“TRY IT! TASTE IT!ENJOY IT!”
From: khyeoh

October 20th, 2010 at 2:12 pm
 16 

Is the restaurant only cater for wedding or anytime?
Love Nyonya Kuih and the Nyonya dishes. Hope can try them when I am back to Penang.

CK Lam Reply:

They are open for business from 11 am till 11 pm, which sees them serving lunch and dinner. Do call them for more info regarding the catering for wedding functions.

November 23rd, 2010 at 4:30 pm
CKT
 17 

i have been going there a few times, food was ok but nowhere near my nyonya grandma’s standards. however, when i went last Sunday with my family, service was very bad and food was not really good. the waitress was only interested in getting us to order more and more, and there was poor hygiene (the waitress hair was not tied and touched our drinks). watch out when they recommend fish-the price in the menu is very misleading. i got hit RM120 for a so-so average size grouper sambal tumis (the menu says RM28-88). but when we confronted the manager, she insisted that the menu price was for fish meat and not whole fish. will complain to authorities and NEVER go again…

December 30th, 2010 at 12:32 pm
OM LEONG
 18 

I have lunch with my colleagues last month. The fish was not fresh the portion was so small. Other dishes were also a dissappointment.

There is anotherThai restaurant just next door – Tharn Thai – where the food are delicious and price are resonable.

April 3rd, 2011 at 6:25 pm
Gilian
 19 

Its wonderful wedding style , & its so meaningful. Good lesson for us to learn.

July 13th, 2011 at 9:47 am
SEah Phey Fern
 20 

what is the baba nyonya values?

February 26th, 2014 at 7:15 pm

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