Culture and cuisine
> Berjaya University College promotes cultural awareness via Baba Nyonya exhibition
T Opreserve the food culture, it is said that one must first understand the root of the culture. Hence, the Berjaya University College, in its efforts to promote cultural awareness among its students and the public, delved into the Peranakan Baba Nyonya community to learn and share its findings.
The Baba Nyonya community enjoy a unique cultural heritage in terms of food, clothes, architecture, language, craft and customs. Information gleaned from engaging with this community led to a collaboration with the Peranakan Baba Nyonya Association Kuala Lumpur and Selangor (PPBNKLS), in which an exhibition titled: “Exploring Ethnic Diversity: Baba and Nyonya through the Lens of Culture” was held at the college’s city campus between March 8 and 9. The event was coordinated by the school of humanities and social sciences division under the liberal arts faculty of the college.
Visitors to the exhibition got to learn about the Baba Nyonya language, design of their clothes and shoes, architecture of their houses, details of specific household items, as well as some of their favourite games and food.
Students manning the exhibition booths even came in traditional Nyonya attire while those pursuing the college’s Culinary Arts and Heritage Cuisines programme took the opportunity to show off their culinary skills by preparing Baba Nyonya food for guests to try.
Some members of the PPBNKLS were kind enough to bring authentic homemade “Nyonya Kapitan chicken curry” and “Ayam Buah Keluak” for the students to try.
CEO and executive director of Berjaya’s Higher Education Sdn Bhd Mae Ho ( pix, in green) was present to formally declare the exhibition open.
“The university’s desire is to influence our young generation of today, to have a deep understanding and appreciation of our authentic cuisine and to preserve our culture and tradition of food heritage. Food always brings people together. Nothing bridges culture as well as food,” she said.
Ho also shared how pleased she was about the event on the whole.
“This event provides an excellent opportunity for us to learn more about the Baba Nyonya culture. It also brings the opportunity to taste popular dishes and kuih.”
Berjaya University College has a Faculty of Culinary Arts that offers a Diploma in Heritage Cuisine. The programme gives students the opportunity to master local heritage cuisine, which Ho believes should be introduced to the world.
PPBNKLS president Cedric Tan ( on Ho’s right) said that the event was part of the association’s objective. “We look forward to collaborations such as this with Berjaya University College, to encourage youth of today to learn and appreciate the traditions and customs of our forefathers.”
Tan also delivered a talk on the Baba Nyonya culture, symbolism of its food, the language and more.
On the whole, the exhibition is said to resonate with the content of Berjaya University College’s Ethnic Relations course, a compulsory subject for all Malaysian university students. Contents are also aligned with the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015-2025.
For more information, visit the Berjaya University College website.