10 Must-Try Nyonya Dishes in Melaka

Memories of my childhood are still vivid in mind.

I can clearly recall those precious moments in the kitchen where my late grandpa was stirring up pots of thick curries - prepared meticulously in accordance to the Peranakan recipes he inherited from his grandparents, who were descendants of the Chinese immigrants living along the Straits of Malacca for decades. He would tell me the history of our family, the reasons as to why our lifestyle and traditions are so heavily influenced by the British (more so than both Chinese and Malay combined), and how truly unique it is to be of a Peranakan descent. I truly hope there comes a day when I'd be able to learn more about my ancestry and to preserve its ways before it becomes history!

There are many Nyonya dishes (of all variations) worth mentioning in this post. However, listed below are 10 must-try Nyonya dishes in Melaka:


Ayam Buah Keluak

Arguably one of the most popular Peranakan dishes, the black color in this chicken dish is derived from the buah keluak nut. The complex flavors is a result of the delightful combination of shrimp, tamarind, turmeric, candle nuts and galangal.

popular nyonya dishes
Ayam Buah Keluak
Image source: The Star Online

Babi Pong Teh

Literally meaning "meat tea", this pork and potato stew is prepared notably using salty fermented soy beans and gula melaka. The pork belly is braised for long hours to achieve a complex and layered flavor and is best eaten with a bowl of warm fragrant rice.

best nyonya food melaka
Babi Pong Teh
Image source: Nyonya & Baba

Itek Tim

This duck and salted vegetable soup is the perfect dish to be eaten on a cold, rainy day, served with a steaming bowl of rice. Simple yet comforting, it consists of salted vegetables, tomatoes, tamarind juice and asam gelugor, as well as meat from a whole duck which gives the broth a distinctive aroma.

best nyonya food in kl
Itek Tim

Otak-otak

Otak-otak is made from ground fish meat (without the bones) and mixed with spices such as chili, turmeric, and curry powder. Soy sauce and tapioca flour are added to the fish meat for a thicker consistency.

best nyonya food in petaling jaya
Otak-otak
Image source: EatnDine

Bak Chang

Also known as Zongzi, this specialty Peranakan cuisine uses an exotic combination of pork, sambal, coriander powder, aniseed powder, winter melon and ground roasted peanuts as filling. It is widely consumed during the Dragon Boat Festival each year

popular nyonya dishes
Bak Chang
Image source: Season with Spice

Ngoh Hiang

Ngoh (Ngo) Hiang, also known as five-spice meat roll or loh bak is usually made during Chinese New Year.

best nyonya food melaka
Ngoh Hiang
Image source: Lee Wee & Brothers

Nyonya Laksa (Laksa Lemak)

Rice noodles served in a rich coconut gravy, topped with prawns, cockles, lime and sambal belacan.

best nyonya food in kl
Nyonya Laksa
Image source: Seasaltwithfood

Pie Tee

Bite-sized crispy tart shells filled with a spicy and sweet combination of grated vegetables and prawns.

best nyonya food in petaling jaya
Pie Tee
Image source: cooksister

Asam fish head

A dish of Chinese-Indian origins, this dish is cooked in fragrant tamarind and coconut milk which results in a sweet and sour gravy. Vegetables such as tomatoes, eggplants and okras are added to complete the curry broth.

popular nyonya dishes
Asam fish head
Image source: Recipes Hubs

Babi Asam

A dish of pork stew cooked in tangy tamarind juice, shrimp paste and taucheo (salted bean paste).

best nyonya food melaka
Babi Asam
Image source: Feast to the world

Peranakan dishes are best eaten with a bowl of hot, fragrant white rice - anytime of the day!
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