Hello, foodies! It’s a great day and we’re here to share with you another hidden gem. Rooted deep within our heritage, the Peranakan culture perfectly blends both the Chinese and Malay customs. One of the best things that we earned from this, is undoubtedly the food itself.
Using Chinese ingredients with distinct Malay spices, we’ve adopted a unique Nyonya cuisine. Today, we’re going to share with you a hidden restaurant that serves authentic Nyonya cuisine. And that is at Sifu Nyonya Cuisine (惜福娘惹私房菜).
Established in 2017, this Nyonya gem is located in the UNESCO heritage city of Georgetown. Stepping into this little spot, it rings a little bell of nostalgic memories. From beautiful displays of traditional kebaya to cabinets that are passed down by generations, it’s a one-of-a-kind place to dine in. Without further ado, let’s get started with what to order!
Snacks To Get At Sifu Nyonya Cuisine
1. Lor Bak (Five-Spice Pork Roll)
Tender pork meat that is marinated in Chinese five-spice powder and then rolled up in bean curd skin, this is one of the delicacies to be eaten during the festive seasons. Fried until golden brown, it is crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. Resting next to this is their special chili sauce that is mixed with sesame seeds. Dip your Lor Bak into this and it adds nuttiness and sweetness to the savoury meat roll.
2. Jiu Hu Char
This colourful plate of Stir Fry Jicama with Cuttlefish is another popular Nyonya side dish that is commonly prepared at home. But the knife work and constant stirring during cooking sometimes tick us off. So why not just order it? Sweet and savoury that enriches the umami flavour of this dish, it’s best eaten by wrapping it in fresh lettuce and the flavourful homemade sambal belacan sauce.
3. Tu Thor Th’g (Pork Stomach Soup)
A soup with a spicy peppercorn kick, it is believed to be a great alternative to warm your body up. Cleansed thoroughly and cut into decent strips, this pork stomach is tender and leaves no weird aftertaste. It’s subtle, refreshing and is a good counterpart to pair with other dishes.
4. Nasi Ulam (Mixed Herb Rice)
In Malay, ‘nasi’ means rice and ‘ulam’ means salad. This dish that literally translates into salad rice is a traditional rice dish that uses local vegetables and herbs as the main ingredient. Featuring kaffir lime leaves to turmeric leaves, it gives off a strong aromatic herbal taste that is touched with a little salt. Served with salted egg and a healthy dose of sambal belacan and you’ll dig in for more.
Seafood Dishes From Sotong To Prawn
1. Assam Prawn
Assam or tamarind is a paste that gives a bold and tart flavour. Pan-fried until the tamarind sauce fully covers the prawns, this is a delightful dish that is tangy yet accentuates the naturally sweet taste of prawns. Paired with pickled vegetables at the side, this is an appetising plate of marinated prawns that makes you go for more.
2. Petai Heh (Petai Prawn)
This Petai Prawns or Stink Bean Prawns is a Nyonya signature that features homemade sambal, prawns and petai. It presents a simple ingredient list but it’s spicy, pungent and sweet with subtle petai flavours that penetrate evenly into the prawns. This is a saucy dish that tastes irresistibly good with white rice. So remember to scoop a good amount of sauce before you dig into your rice!
3. Stir-Fried Sotong with Garlic & Onion
This stir-fry cuttlefish cooked in soy sauce is a dish that didn’t disappoint us. It could be the most tender cuttlefish we’ve ever tried. Soft and flavourful, this cuttlefish is cut into bite-size pieces that absorb a little spicy kick from the dried chili. So if you’re a cuttlefish lover, it’s our recommended dish for you to try!
4. Assam Tumis Red Snapper
This is a type of curry that is on the watery-side when compared to the typical Malay or Indian curries. To describe it better, it would be better to name it as spicy gravies or soups. A small sip of the gravy, it’s a familiar taste that is similar to assam laksa as they include the main ingredient, torch ginger flower. Sprinkled generously with mint leaves, it adds more depths into this flavourful and colourful dish.
Meaty Meal With Chicken, Pork
1. Tu Kar Chor (Black Sweet Vinegar Pork Trotter)
Tu Kar Chor or pork trotter that is braised for long hours in a black sweet vinegar sauce, this is a must-try dish. Simmered until the collagenous and meaty part soaks up the sauce, it’s as if there’s no need to chew because it just melts. An addictive sauce that mainly focuses on black vinegar and ginger, it is lightly sweetened to make this a sweet, sour and flavourful meal to go with your rice.
2. Red Dates Wolfberry Chicken
This Red Dates Wolfberry Chicken is for those who would love a healthy yet delicious twist on their food. Using basic ingredients that are known to nourish the body like red dates and wolfberries, it comes with lots of gravy to top on your rice. The chicken itself is soft and succulent. Just a few bites down and it breaks apart easily!
3. Curry Kapitan (Lemongrass Chicken Curry)
If you’re a curry lover, then this is your must-try dish. Simmered in coconut milk that gives a milky texture, this is a curry that is made from scratch. Using fresh ingredients to make the base of this curry, you can taste the strong aromatic flavours of the spices. Cooked together with the potatoes, it’s the type of curry that is cooked until the chicken bone breaks down.
Desserts To Sweeten Up Your Meal
1. Pengat (Bubur Cha Cha)
This simple Bubur Cha Cha is a coconut milk dessert that is both colourful and delicious. With large chunky pieces of purple sweet potato, yellow sweet potato and yam, it’s a good play on the texture. The watery soup itself is pure coconut milk goodness that leaks out hints of pandan taste. Recommended!
2. Bee Kor Moey
Bee Kor Moey is one of the more popular desserts in Nyonya cuisine. Bee Kor Moey or Black Sticky Rice Dessert is a sweet delicacy that has a creamy texture with little grains of purple rice and longan fruit. Drizzled with a decent amount of coconut milk, it acts as a great balance to the sweeten black sticky rice.
3. Nyonya Bubur Gandum
Sweet wheat porridge with coconut milk, this is a dessert made from pearl wheat, coconut milk and coconut palm sugar. Sweet but with the fragrance of our local coconut palm sugar, there is a slight caramel taste to it. And like any typical Nyonya dessert, you can’t miss out on the coconut milk. Creamy, sweet and thick, it’s an addictive dessert that you’ll miss after trying once.
From snacks to cure a lingering craving to authentic Nyonya desserts, Sifu Nyonya Cuisine is a spot to visit if you’re needing a taste of traditional Nyonya food. Here’s a little information on how you can find them and where!
Operating Hours: 11:30AM – 9:45PM
Location: 154, Jalan Pintal Tali, George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia.
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