November 11, 2009

Nyonyas Letting their Hair Down!!

Only a handful of pure Peranakans can be found in Miri while some others have a grandmother or a mother who is Peranakan.

Anyway we ladies decided to have a Nyonya themed night sometime ago so that we could have a Nyonya themed potluck dinner. It was time for us to refresh our cooking skills too as Nyonya cooking is time consuming and painstaking (though some are really easy). And so we dressed up and struggled with our kerongsang. But we did let our hair down which is too short any way.

Here is a photo to show us all "dainty" and smart. One of the Nyonyas actually had grandmother's earrings and kerongsang.

the photo also showed some of our dishes - Babi Chin-fried beehoon - tumeric/tandoori chicken- nasi lemak (2 styles) - sago pudding melaka - black glutinous rice - prawns and green beans masak pedas and young mango kerabu.

Fried Mee Hoon with lots of limau perut - bunga kentang - dried prawns and fresh chilies.

Below is assam pedas prawns with long beans.

Babi Chin a recipe which requires more than 2 1/2 hours of slow cooking and 2 hours of standing to give the aroma of a good Nyonya dish - (spiced up with lots of coriander powder and aromatics) It is best eaten the next day!!

Black glutinous rice and gandum porridge - to be dressed up with gula melaka and a little saltish coconut cream. Gandum is hard to buy in Sarawak so we usually buy a few packets from West Malaysia whenever we travel over.

coconut cream

Tandoori Chicken prepared by the hostess - seasoned early in the morning and oven baked just before the dinner.

Two styles of nasi lemak - truly fragrant and delectable.

Here's the iced gula melaka served in small dainty bowls.

Beautiful pot of Chinese tea and dainty tea cups served by the Baba of the house.

It was a fun night with good food and table topics . The healthy and humourous interchanges made us feel young. Nothing is too challenging for us Nyonyas if it is to put a good spread on the table!!

Stay tuned to hear more about our fun themed nights !


Bengbeng said...

they r wearing an updated version of the original thing. my mum wore this during my growing up yrs until i was perhaps 18?

as she lost her hour glass figure, her corsets, button jewelry, and other stuff were set aside for more conservative stuff.

i saw a replica of my mum's outfit an a second hand store in KL being sold for RM800 the last time i was there. everything was handmade n exquisite.. my mum pickep up Chinese n soon picked up the ways of dressing of the Chinese thereafter

Sarawakiana@2 said...

That means you are part Peranakan. From which family and which state?
Tell us more about your mum? Lots of things to write about there!!
Yes Nyonya outfits etc cost a bomb now....
Losing a good slim figure does not really mean we have to give up kebaya...but then she might have given up because it was more practical.

Your dad full Chinese?

all3 said...

wow...u all look so pretty in the kebayas...very nice n unique....the food looks great as so nice...

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Audrey
Yeah it was a Tuesday Night...and we had time to cook too.
Thanks for saying we are pretty...the kebaya makes a lot of difference...and I think when "sisters" get together there is a lot of love around.

May be one day we can have a bigger Nyonya gathering....with Nyonya food. I will never forget your Nyonya bakchang.

God bless.l

Anonymous said...

Hahahah Sarawakiana...this is fun...and here's something for you....(copy and paste lah)

Ada satu Cina Hailam,

Pergi pasar beli ayam,

Habis duit berjudi malam,

Pulang rumah cuci tilam.

Ada satu Cina Makau,

Pergi pasar beli tembakau,

Habis duit main pakau,

Duduk rumah jadi risau.

cantek-cantek nyonya melaka,
berbaju kebaya warna biru,
hendak tidur mata tak lena,
nyonya ku pandang mata tak jemu,

sayang baba bajunya ketat,
pakai sarong pun tak muat,
kalau direnong buku maarifat,
alamat hari mo kiamat,

Jangan Marah eh?

Abang XX

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Thanks Abang XX...even copy and paste makes the posting very exciting. I could not think of any pantun to dress the posting up!!
Thanks again..

Bengbeng said...

i think my mum was not peranakan but she lived n dressed as one. she was from pasai, palembang n later Medan. she later picked up Hockkien.Among the family, they still speak Malay often but speak Chinese to us. She could read Mandarin, Dutch n English though.

Bengbeng said...

as a young woman she dressed too in baju kebaya with slits here n there as it was in the fashion of yesteryears

Ah Ngao said... many Ah Chims.btw,you dont mind me commenting,mmm...younno the one next to you looks like Aung San Suu Kyi- Myanmar's future greatly depends on her.

wenn said...

lovely pic of the nyonyas..

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Wow Bengbeng
You have a great ancestry! What a fantastic mother! I am sure she was a great treasure to the family.
Hahahah...slit here and there...that was really esciting at that time. I remember Saloma and all those Cathay Kris Malay movie stars under their umbrellas.

Sarawakiana@2 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Wenn

Thanks for the compliments. We are all going to buy our char kiaks from Kuching soon....hehehe and of course improve our nyonya cooking.

Anonymous said...

Hi there
All my women relatives used to wear the kebayas until the t-shirt and blouses came into the market. Your picture of nyonyas bring back a lot of memories.

But again the sulaman may be too expensive according to my sisters nowadays for ordinary wear.

what a nostalgic evening for you ladies!!


Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Ah Ngao
I will tell Chritina that Aung Sang Sun Kyi looks like her. They do indeed have the same shape and similar facial features. Same grace too.

BTW there are three Ah Chims and two Ah Chis. (spelling?)

Have a great day!

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Yes I the embroidery today is very expensive and good materials are in shortage too. However the Indonesians continue to make very good kebayas. Without them the fashion cannot continue actually.
In terms of sarong - the best is still good natural cotton.
Hope your sisters will continue to wear sarong kebayas.
thanks for visiting.

Superman said...

The setting of the foods and table is like a restaurant already. So nice. I am hungry now looking at all the yummy foods. My wife's grandmother can cook Nyonya foods but the age is catching up and she didn't cook anymore. She is Baba.

Ann said...

All the lovely Mak Chiks, so charming. Your purple.mauve top and sarong is so lovely.

Talking about Nyonyas, do you know a Phylis Mao in Sibu? My Dad teased her that she is not Chinese, and she retorted that she had the same surname as Mao Chi Tung. Wonder where the family are now.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

My friend (the tall lady in the middle) is exceptionally gracious and creative. She has a beautiful house too and we love to get together with her for fine food.

You can always learn to cook nyonya food....

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Thanks. I don't usually wear purple Ann. But this time my cousin encouraged me to get this set. Turned out ok. For New Year I am going to get a red one...
Phyllis Mao/Mowe comes from a great Nyonya and Baba family. My classmates were the late Alice Mowe and her brother Bill Mowe. Later I also got to know Patrician Mowe. These Mowes are very strong Anglicans and speak very good English. Remember they live next to the Methodist School?
Their cousin Catherine Mowe is the Princpal of St. E at the moment if I am not mistaken.
The retort (relative of Mao Tze Tung is a really good one).

Free Bird said...

Nyonya food can be considered a fusion recipe from all the ethnic races in Asia. There's spices from different continents in each dish, different tastes to go with different everything.

All of you forever look like beauty queens in my eyes. Especially the seemingly never aging Eva. She still looks the same. No, why do all of you still look the same since I was a kid? You don't ever seem to look older at all. Maybe its your camera ;) Mauve/lavender/light blueish purple looks good on you.

I own 2 baju kebaya nyonyas and I'm always still trying to get the grace of wearing one. The way you sit, the way you talk and even how to keep your back straight like all the ladies in the olden days(minus that painful corset/girdle). I think wearing the kebaya nyonya is a skill.

Maybe one day I may buy you a nice authentic silver kerongsang set :) (that you'll pass back to me and me passing it to my children and you to your great grandchildren. hehe)

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Oh dear Freebird...well said...Aunties are to be forever young..especially aunty Eva...she has that special look which does not go out of fashion.

Beige and blue or purple and red and light green are good colours...

Corsets are still good for some people. It trims the body so that the kebaya can sit nicely....

Nyonya food is always so delicious...but it is always the loving hands which bring out the best tasting food - no matter what cuisine!!

Will look forward to kerongsangs!!

Sibu Tales : Making Bah Gui from Scratch

The pioneering families of Sibu Foochows continued to practise the  adoption of girls from poor families who become their maids (slaves). ...