As I attended the launch of Red Carpet Avenue at Encorp Strand last month, I also had the honor to chow down at a new Malaccan Nyonya restaurant, The Tranquerah, located smacked in avenue itself!
Most of you folks would know that Nyonya cuisine is sectioned into north and south, hence the cuisine has differences in the dishes depending on which part of Nyonya heritage one is from. As I was from the northern side, Penang, I have not really tasted much of the south Nyonya heritage. So I was truly excited to savor what Malacca Nyonya cuisine brings to the table!
Well news is already out… The Tranquerah is partly owned by our dashing actor, Alan Yun and I also found out that the recipes are from none other than our famous chef Florence Tan!
Here is a lovely picture of a younger Florence dress in a pretty frock!
As soon as I walked into the restaurant, the décor had me at hello! Gosh, it was charming as the whole place had a very modern contemporary design but if you looked closely, the décor is actually derived from pieces of antique from the Nyonya heritage in Malacca!
Quite amazing as I could see old wooden doors and window panes, odds and ends of the tables and chairs, gorgeous hues of colors that really bring an authenticity to the whole restaurant!
I spied old batik printing molds melded to the wall… what a gorgeous piece of modern art and yet truly charming!
Another jewel found sitting on the window edge was a very old wooden mold for ‘Angku Kuih’… J
Loads of knick knacks from the Nyonya household added the rustic charm to the whole place. See this chair made from an old biscuit tin? Gosh… I loved it so much I wanna bring it home with me.
Alrighty… let’s check out the food!
A sourish Asam Jawa Juice to kick off the dinner.
First up to whet our appetites was a plate of very delectable looking Pie Tee… crispy top hat shells filled to the brim with cooked jicama and other vegetables. Crispy, sweet and full of the jicama flavor, our foodie gang ended up fighting for this!!
Ayam Pongteh is chicken cooked in fermented bean paste, mushroom and potatoes. The version here is lovely as it had a beautiful balance of salty and sweet taste from the soybean paste and gula Melaka. There is a pork version of this Nyonya stew too. The gravy is thick and goes really well with rice.
Almost all of the Nyonya dishes need this to boost up the flavors. Sambal Belachan is a significant benchmark for Nyonya cuisine and the one here certainly passed with flying colors. A good sambal needs a fairly strong hint of belachan and this one has a great aroma with a good spicy bite!
One of my favorite Nyonya dish is Sambal Udang Petai. Auntie Florence’s recipe is delicious! Sweet, spicy and a hint of sour, the sambal gravy was truly scrumptious and I scraped the plate clean for its gravy. There were plenty juicy prawns with the stinky beans and onions. My only gripe is I would love a bit more gravy for this… J
Another favorite dish of mine is Kangkung Belachan. If my mom makes this dish, I will gladly enjoy this with rice alone. The kangkung belachan has good pungent flavors of shallots, chili and belachan with a nice wok flavor.
I like the taste of the sweet Honey Crispy Sotong. It was not overly sweet and there is a lovely aroma of the caramelized sugar to this. The squid texture was a bit hard in my opinion but that is easily remedied as we provided our feedback to the kitchen staff. This dish also makes a good snack as munchies!!
Inche Kabin is another signature Nyonya dish and the dish relies heavily in a great spice seasoning to bring out the taste of this dish. The chicken was exceptionally fragrant with its spice marinade and coupled with the aroma of garlic, onions, lemongrass and curry leaves, it was a bomb!! A stellar dish for the young and the old… J
My ultimate favorite dish of the night was the Nyonya Curry Chicken. Although the others thought this dish was too spicy, I adored it as the spice flavors was fabulous. The curry was thick, creamy and chocked full of tender chicken and potatoes. I had to suppress the urge to order another bowl of rice just to savor more of this delectable curry. Do tell the staff to reduce the heat if you are not a fan of spicy taste. This is a must order for me!!
When the Ikan Cincaru Sumbat came, everyone scrambled for a whiff of this dish. Two huge Cincaru fish came fried to crisp and cramped with loads of sambal chili paste. The flesh of the fish was firm and moist while the chili paste had an amazing aroma of spice and chili. Our gang loved this to bits and polished this off with great speed.
One of our lovely foodie, Nyonya Merryn, had to have her favorite Cincalok Omelette. A simple dish that boast of strong savory flavors, the omelette also had a nice mixed of shredded vegetables to provide some textures. Although the omelette was a bit salty, probably due to the cincalok, I thought the dish went well with rice to counter the saltiness. Cincalok is a pink fermented sauce made from fermenting miniscule shrimps called ‘geragau’. I was told by Merryn to squeeze some calamansi juice for extra kick!
Our last dish to go with our rice was the Ayam Sioh which was highly recommended by Alan himself. The dish had a thick gravy base and tasted slightly sweet and tangy with a good flavor of spices. If only I wasn’t filled up with rice and curry, I would have gladly savored this dish with pleasure.
We finished off with some delectable Nyonya Kuihs such as Seri Muka, Angku, Kuih Bingka, Kuih Lapis and some coconut coated Ondeh Ondeh! The kuihs were so vibrant in color and sweet in flavors. A nice sweet ending to our meal!
We also celebrated the lovely Emily Lim’s belated birthday on that day! She was so pretty dressed in Nyonya kebaya and heels.
BBO made her a gorgeous fashonista cake in the form of an LV hangbag! Uber cute and pretty…. J
Here’s a picture of Emily with her LV cake!
Malacca Nyonya cuisine does have a slight difference compared to my northern heritage. Despite the slight difference, the authenticity and flavors were just as amazing. Food here is fresh and flavorful with loads of spice and aroma to entice me for a return. I already spied the Ikan Masak Kuah Lada and Itik Tim for my next order!
Great food with a gorgeous ambience, The Tranquerah is already visited by lots of other foodies who seek true Malacca Nyonya cuisine. With Auntie Florence’s recipe, one can definitely look forward to sumptuous southern Nyonya cuisine.
62A-G, Red Carpet Avenue
Encorp Strand, Jalan PJU5/22
Kota Damansara, 47810, Petaling Jaya
Tel: 603 – 6142 4106
*Psst… Alan hangs out at The Tranquerah quite often so if you like a glimpse of the charming man himself, do bring your camera!