January 19, 2012

The Tranquerah, Authentic Malacca Cuisine: Celebrate The Dragon Year with Malaccan Nyonya Cuisine!

An Early Lou Sang Affair with Alan Yun, Isaac Ong and fellow Bloggers at The Tranquerah!

Calling out all Nyonya fans! How about celebrating this coming Dragon year with a Nyonya Lou Sang and Set Menu? No stranger to Nyonya cuisine, I admit I am a super huge fan since I do have the Nyonya blood running through me… J. Craving for something a little different? Check out The Tranquerah at Encorp Strand that serves authentic Malacca cuisine with recipes from Chef Florence Tan! Read about my first visit here.

We were graciously hosted by Alan Yun, multi-talented actor and restaurant owner together with Isaac Ong, Malaysia’s Top male model, one lovely Sunday lunch to savor a Chinese New Year menu with a Nyonya twist!

The ambience at Tranquerah certainly held its charm and with the second visit, I saw more knick knacks from the past that really brings out an old school charm to my memories. From marbles or ‘Ba Ku Li’ to cigarette holders, wooden panels, batik molds and biscuit tin chairs, the eclectic mixed of décor is truly mesmerizing!!

Seen here is the ever charming Alan who was kind enough to explained Tranquerah and its origin and cuisine while hunky Isaac posed a photo with little genius Ethan!

I also caught three lovely bloggers in my lenses… Fish, Yvonne & Merryn!

Starting off the festive journey of gastronomic Nyonya fare is a Baba Nyonya Yee Sang!

Truly unique and obviously different from the usual Chinese Yee Sang, the Nyonya Yee Sang served at Tranquerah mimicked the Nyonya Jelly Fish Pasembur where the ingredients are kept to a minimal but the flavors are fabulous. The Yee Sang comprised of shredded jicama or ‘Bangkuang’, lettuce, cucumber, crispy fritters, brown squid and jelly fish. The sauce is a sweet concoction of chili sauce with crushed peanuts, sesame seeds and lime or ‘Kat Chai’.

A squeeze of limes and a pouring of sauce will get one ready for the tossing of the Yee Sang!

Let a four year old Ethan show you how to toss a Yee Sang! Btw… little genius Ethan has Malacca Nyonya blood in him too… J

Huat Ah... shouted everyone! I heard them asking for salary increment, big bonus, lottery winnings, more food, more business etc… hahaha!! How about you… what will you be shouting when you are tossing your Yee Sang this year?

A platter of fresh crunchy vegetables jazzed up with chewy squid and jelly fish while crispy fritters added more crunch and lime jazzed up the citrus aroma. What you get is a gorgeous flavor of sweet, spicy and savory with a myriad of textures! Do order this for that extra Nyonya experience this festive holiday. The Yee Sang is a separate order from the CNY set menu.

Here’s a sneak peak at some of the dishes from the Chinese New Year Menu!

Pie Tee… oh my sweet Pie Tee! How I loved thee…J. Call these snack whatever you want, Top Hats or Pie Tee, these little pastry shells filled with vegetables are highly addictive with its crispy sweet flavors.

Nyonya cuisine features quite a number of braised dishes and for this menu; Sek Kay or Sek Ark is an aromatic dish of Nyonya Braised Chicken or Duck. Accompanying the bird is braised boiled egg and tofu. The flavors are deeply seasoned with soy sauce and chili, lending a lovely savory and slightly spicy taste.

In a Nyonya household, curry is a must and every household has its own secretly guarded spices for that authentic curry flavor. Chef Florence’s Nyonya Chicken Curry is delicious! Redolent of spices, the curry was not overly creamy but sufficient for flooding one’s rice. My first visit, the curry was super spicy but it has been toned down to cater to more general customers. However, if you love your curry super spicy like me, ask the wait staff to spice it up!

Chicken Meatball Soup is featured but I was told that the soup in the CNY menu is actually Hee Peow Soup or Fish Maw Soup. Simple and sweetened with cabbage, the soup makes comfort moments in one’s meal!

Ikan Talapia Goreng Chili has my vote for sure! Fried till crispy, the fish was also dressed up in a spicy chili sauce. Hit the dish with lime and you’ll find a spicy and sour flavors contrasting against the flaky fish. I wanted to hog this whole fish to myself… hehehe.

Sotong Masak Lemak Nenas is squid cooked in a creamy curry sauce with pineapples. This curry is more gentle in flavors but definitely richer with a creamy edge.

Everyone at our table loved the Sambal Bendi. Sliced Lady’s Finger or Okra was stir fried in a pungent belachan spice paste… decent and yummy for me!

One will often find Chap Chye in a Nyonya household, a medley of vegetables chopped and stir fried with bean paste. The version here also faired decent with savory flavors.

One has not experience a Baba Nyonya cuisine without the infamous Sambal Belachan! This kick-ass chili is powered up with pungent shrimp paste and lime juice to kick up the dishes another notch!!

In the CNY set menu, there are other dishes besides the above so be sure to check out the menu at the end of this post. In addition to the above dishes, we also savored some other dishes available on daily basis in their regular menu.

Uncle John, Chef Florence’s hubby, sure knows how to make a fabulous ‘Har Peng’ or prawn fritter. I am officially naming this as Uncle John’s Cucur Udang. Uncle John, I will certainly be asking for this when I go back to Tranquerah ya!

Isaac Ong who hails from Malacca sure knows his favorites at The Tranquerah! The hunky model (with a six pack... ahem ahem!) insisted we need to savor his favorite dishes of Gerang Asam Stingray and Sambal Terung.

I was glad we took his advice as the Gerang Asam Ikan Pari was superb! A sour curry laced with pungent ginger torch and asam, the gravy was just like how my mom makes it. Spicy, sour and very aromatic, I kept spooning the gravy on to my rice. Lady’s finger was added to soak up the flavors while the chunks of stingray were soft and moist. Highly recommended!!

Sambal Terung looked quite ordinary till the flavors hit me like a ton of bricks. Long pieces of soft brinjal or eggplant had soaked up the flavors of the sweet and savory sambal sauce and were utterly delicious with white rice. Another must-order if you are a fan of eggplant… J

We finished up our meal with a few Nyonya desserts like Ice Kacang, Bubur Cha Cha and Sago Gula Melaka. I for one loved the Ais Kacang for its fine shaved ice, sweet and aromatic gula Melaka and rose syrup and the abundance of cendol, corn, leong fun, peanuts, sea coconut, red bean and more in the dessert! Bubur Cha Cha is a little different from the northern one as this one had gula Melaka to perfumed it to another level of savory and sweet coconut flavors.

At The Tranquerah, it may seem that you’ll be reminded of the past with its décor and authentic dishes but rest assured, you will definitely make new memories with the experience of Malacca Nyonya cuisine! There are just so many dishes that are high on my favorite list from the first and now second visit. I am still seeing other dishes I would like to try Kerabu Mangga, Ayam Buah Keluak and Tamarind Prawns at The Tranquerah!

As Chinese New Year is just around the corner, here’s wishing everyone an Auspicious Gong Hei Fatt Choi from us all!

Call for reservations at 603 6142 4106 for a mix of the old with the new at The Tranquerah!

The Tranquerah
62A-G, Red Carpet Avenue
Encorp Strand, Jalan PJU5/22
Kota Damansara, 47810, Petaling Jaya
Tel: 603 – 6142 4106

Open for business on CNY eve and during the 1st to 7th days of CNY. Closes from 30 Jan - 2 Feb 2012

*Thanks to Alan for the gracious invite!


  1. wow, Nyonya lou sang, cool~~
    PS: Alan is charming as usual!

  2. huiyoh the pictures are so good, i realised that i forgot to take pictures of the cigarette holders and old bottles lol.

  3. wow.. Nyonya food in CNY dish.. nice!

  4. the chicken platter looks awesome. simple but flavourful dish.