The Peranakan Nonya community in Malaysia is a pretty unique group. They are descended from Chinese migrants who settled here hundreds of years ago and adopted many of the local cultures and practices.
Apart from speaking a special Malay dialect and adopting the Kebaya as their traditional clothing, the Peranakan is known for their delicious fusion cuisine. These Nonya dishes are the perfect marriage between Southeast Asian spices and oriental seasoning, using local produce as a base
These are some of the best Nonya Peranakan restaurants in KL that are worth making a trip to.
1. Baba Low’s 486, Lorong Kurau
Baba Low offers up simple, home cooked Baba Nyonya (another name for Peranakan) dishes. You’ll find authentic Pai Tee on the menu, which is a must try. This appetizer is made of little ‘cups’ of crispy fried pastry, filled with braised jicama, cucumber and sliced eggs.
Another dish to try is Mee Siam, which is rice vermicelli flavoured with a tamarind and chilli sauce.
Address: Lorong Kurau, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours: Daily, 7am-10pm
Note: There’s also another Baba Low branch at Bangsar Utama too (https://www.facebook.com/babalowbangsarutama/)
2. Precious Old China
Precious Old China allows diners to experience Peranakan food in a setting that resembles a classic Baba Nyonya house. Full of antique furniture and fittings, the restaurant also boasts a menu full of Peranakan favourites, especially from Penang.
You’ll find dishes like Chicken Kari Kapitan (RM19.80), Asam Fish Fillet (RM 22.80) and Pucuk Paku Belachan(RM11.80) here, which you can order to eat with rice.
Address: Lot 2, Mezzanine Floor, Central Market, Jalan Hang Kasturi, 50050 Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours: Daily, 11am-10pm
3. Shelley Yu’s
Fans of Peranakan food will be overjoyed to know that there are a Peranakan restaurant and bar in the heart of Bangsar’s nightlife district. Shelley Yu’s serves up some classic dishes like Nyonya Laksa (RM24), Telur Dadar Concalok ( RM20) and Ayam Pongteh (RM20).
They’ve also got a full bar serving up Peranakan inspired cocktails, like the Pandan Ekspress (RM45) made with Gin, Pandan, Coconut milk, lime, egg white and nutmeg.
Address: 49 Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Opening hours: Daily, 12pm-2am
4. 1919 Restaurant
1919 isn’t strictly a Peranakan restaurant, as it serves Chinese dishes too. However, this charming eatery on Jalan Yap Kwan Seng has delicious Nyonya dishes sprinkled all over its menu.
You can order things like Belachan Kangkung ( RM17.90/RM30.90), Cencaluk Sotong ( RM 29.90/RM49.90) and Nyonya Fried Rie (RM14.90) to satisfy your cravings.
Address: 15A, Jalan Yap Kwan Seng, Kuala Lumpur City Center, Kuala Lumpur 50450
Opening hours: Mondays-Saturdays, 12pm-3pm, 5.30pm-10.30pm; Sundays, 5.30pm-10pm
5. Sarang Cookery
Sarang Cookery in Jalan Galloway is popular for hosting cooking classes, but you can drop by to sample their dishes too. The best seller here is their Nasi Ulam ( RM12.50), a rice dish that’s mixed with herbs and vegetables, topped with prawns and dried fish.
You should also try their otak-otak ( RM8 per bag) which is a steamed spiced fish and egg mixture, as well as their selection of traditional Nyonya kuih or desserts.
Address: 8 Jalan Galloway, Bukit Bintang, Off Jalan Pudu,50150 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Opening hours: Daily, Mondays to Saturdays, 11am-9.30pm. Closed on Sundays.
6. Big Baba
Big Baba is a family run Peranakan restaurant that has its roots in Melaka. The recipes here have been passed down from generation to generation, so what you get is rich and authentic Nyonya traditional flavours that have been well preserved.
Among the unique dishes here is Curry Debal (RM26) which has its origins in Melaka’s Portuguese community and Ju Hu Char (RM12).
Address: No 34. Ground Floor, Jalan 2/109E, Desa Business Park, Taman Desa, Jalan Klang Lama, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Opening hours: Tuesdays to Sundays, 11am-3pm, 5pm-9pm. Closed on Mondays.
7. Sri Nyonya
Just how Ah Mah used to make it’ is Sri Nyonya’s tagline. They promise Penang Peranakan recipes that are not ‘fusion, adapted recipes or short cuts’, just the original and made from scratch. House specialities include Ju Hu Char ( braised Jicama and dried squid), Nasi Ulam, Hong Kay ( Coriancer gravy chicken) and other Peranakan specialities that come from Penang.
Address: 14, Jalan 22/49,46300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
Opening hours: Tuesdays to Sundays, 12pm- 2.30pm, 6pm-9.30pm. Closed on Mondays