Passing on a Timeless Heritage and its Cuisine with Peranakan Culture Consultant Cedric Tan and Peranakan Chef Debbie Teoh !
Arrival of the Groom and Chim Pang (Unveiling Ceremony)
The arrival of the groom is a noisy affair. He is led by a procession of musicians, men carrying lanterns, best man Puah Kiah and young boys making loud noise on gongs. The groom is also dressed in a fully embroidered two piece suit and a grand gold embroidered cap with a glittery brooch. He carries a fan and wears heavily embroidered shoes with thick soles. He is greeted by the relatives of the bride and proceeds to move on to the Chim Pang ceremony.
The groom has to walk with his hands paying respect like this throughout his journey to meet his wife!
His best man called Puah Kiah will usually follow him everywhere likewise for the bride!
Waiting with a grin for his bride!
This will be the first time he meets his new wife. As they face each other and he unveils her, all eyes are focus on both their reaction.
Here comes the unveiling ceremony where he sees his wife for the first time!
They will then sit on the prepared wedding altar or in the confinements of the wedding bedroom. To denote a sweet and long beginning for the new couple, they will both savor Kueh Ee, glutinous rice balls soaked in sweet syrup, and a cup of tea.
Sohjah 3 Hari (Third Day Ceremony)
This ritual is all about paying respect to the elders. The ceremony requires both bride and groom to kneel and pay respect to all elders in accordance to their ranking in the family hierarchy.
Respecting all elders and guest by serving sweet tea while in return, the bride and groom is blessed with a monetary red packet.
Nasi Kemuli Tok Panjang Luncheon
Guests that day were treated to a special Nasi Kemuli Tok Panjang luncheon as what a Peranakan wedding would showcase. The lunch is served on long tables and everyone would gather to savor a feast that usually takes days to prepare in a typical Nyonya household. In olden days, all relatives would chip in to help as there is so much preparation to be done for this feast alone.
Chef Debbie Teoh has been busy preparing a sumptuous list of the menu for the feast. Everything is prepared from scratch and no expense is spare in using the best quality ingredients to produce authentic flavors. A lot of effort goes into this luncheon and I can definitely feel it through the taste of the feast!
Menu of the day:
Deemed the Malacca Nyonya spiced wedding rice, Nasi Kemuli is gorgeously fragrant and spiced up. The fluffy rice is cooked with a spiced stock and crowned with lots of fried shallots. It is so flavorful, one can even enjoy this on its own.
Kuah Hee Peoh
Hee Peoh or Fish Maw is a much sorted ingredient in many household. Chef Debbie uses high quality fish maw in this special soup. I spied prawns balls, carrot, jicama, cabbage being placed in the bowl before hot stock with fish maw is ladled into the bowls. Served piping hot with a dash of fried garlic oil, this is soothing, sweet and delicious!
A robust vegetable dish, eggplant is cooked in a thick spicy robust curry till soft. The eggplant acts as a sponge, soaking up the flavorful curry. Savoring this with the rice is satisfying as it has an abundance of flavors.
Lobak Puteh Masak Lemak
Radish cooked in coconut milk, this one is creamy and renders a distinctive white radish aroma.
Nyonya are famous for their curries. Chef Debbie’s version is perfectly flavored to my taste. I adored the creamy and well balanced of spices in the rich luscious curry filled with soft braised chicken and potatoes. It has a good note of heat while one gets a lovely savory spicy note overall. I was very pleased with this curry and heap on lots of curry gravy to my rice.
Crunchy sliced cucumber is laced with a spicy pungent sambal sauce. This one has a lot of kick in flavors and provides a nice crunch factor to the meal.
Using spices again, chicken pieces are marinated and fried to golden brown. It’s a dish that really hard to say no too…
Udang Goreng Asam
Big prawns are seasoned with tamarind and fried till cooked. A bite of this lends tangy savory sweet flavors to the senses. One gets to suck all the sweet juices of the prawns with shells and it was clearly a favorite among the guests that day.
Telor Rebus is simply hard boiled eggs to accompany the Sambal and rice.
The southern sambal belachan has a lighter hue compared to the northern one simply because the south belachan or shrimp paste is lighted in color due to a different processing method. Bright red, the pungent sambal has an instant kick to the taste bud with its fiery chilies, toasted shrimp paste and lime juice. A little goes a long way and it is simply a must-have in every Nyonya household… including mine!
Nyonyas are also well-known for their kuehs and cookies. There was a lovely array of Nyonya Kueh like Onde-Onde, Pulut Tekan with homemade Kaya, Apom Bakwa, Kueh Lapis and Tat Nenas.
Ang Choe Teh
The feast was washed down with warm sweet red date tea.
After the feast, the bride and groom walked around to present the tea drinking ceremony to guests and guests would present the newlyweds with a prosperous red packet. Guests were also entertained with singing of local folks, Dondang Sayang and some fun joget dancing.
It is with much salute to both Cedric and Debbie for their effort in sharing the knowledge and experience of a Peranakan wedding and feast. Though the event had ended few weeks ago, I am pretty sure I will always remember this awesome experience for the rest of my life!
For anyone who is interested, there is a Peranakan Convention in Kuala Lumpur
*More photos of the event at my Facebook: Chasing Food Dreams
**All information on the Peranakan Wedding is obtained from the event and some research from various websites.