Chi­nese and Ny­onya

Expatriate Lifestyle - - Kuih -

While the Chi­nese have a wealth of sweets and pas­tries, the ones that kuih or gao usu­ally ap­ply to are the steamed sort. It’s of­ten quite dif­fi­cult to de­ter­mine whether a par­tic­u­lar kuih is Chi­nese or Ny­onya in ori­gin, es­pe­cially be­cause half of Ny­onya cul­ture is Chi­nese (Ny­onya gen­er­ally refers to a mix of Chi­nese and Malay cul­ture, which hap­pened when Chi­nese im­mi­grants as­sim­i­lated into the lo­cal pop­u­la­tion).

Ang ku kuih, named ‘red tor­toise cake’ for its re­sem­blance to a tor­toise shell, is a sta­ple in this cat­e­gory. The chewy cake is made from gluti­nous rice with a mung bean or peanut fill­ing. It’s said to bring longevity and for­tune and is of­ten used as a re­li­gious of­fer­ing. The pink fa gao is also known as a ‘pros­per­ity cake’ for its name is a homonym with the Chi­nese word for pros­per­ity. How­ever, it’s al­most taste­less and is eaten more for luck than flavour – another vari­ant is the shock­ing pink-and-yel­low cupcakes you might have seen of­fered at tem­ples.

Yu tou gao (steamed yam cake) topped with chopped onions and dried shrimp is usu­ally eaten with chilli sauce, while chai kuih (steamed veg­etable dumplings) con­tain shred­ded turnip, mush­rooms and other veg­eta­bles, not un­like other dim sum of­fer­ings. They say you’re meant to peel off each layer of kuih lapis (steamed layer cake) to eat it as each rep­re­sents a stage of life to be savoured; and the blue pu­lut tai tai is made with gluti­nous rice, coloured by blue pea flow­ers and flavoured with kaya (co­conut jam).

7 6 8 5 9 1 4 3 2

1. ANG KU KUEH 2. PU­LUT TAI TAI 3. CHAI KUEH 4. PU­LUT INTI 5. FA GAO 6. KUIH LAPIS 7. KUIH TALAM 8. SERIMUKA

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.