Melba

At The Man­sion fea­tures a spe­cially crafted menu stem­ming from Chef Melba’s col­lec­tion of trea­sured fam­ily recipes.

YTL Life - - Life Feature -

A de­scen­dant of the Dutch and Por­tuguese set­tlers who, around the early 16th cen­tury mar­ried the lo­cal peo­ple of Malacca, she’s part of a com­mu­nity that still ex­ists in mod­ern- day Malacca, most no­tably in the city’s Por­tuguese Set­tle­ment or Ujong Pasir. While the cre­ole lan­guage of the Kris­tang con­tin­ues to be spo­ken among the 1,000-odd peo­ple who live in the Set­tle­ment, and their pas­tel- coloured houses with­stand the test of time, it is through food that Chef Melba safe­guards and cel­e­brates Kris­tang cul­ture. “If I don’t high­light these dishes at my restau­rant and in my books, they’ll be for­got­ten,” says the au­thor of two cook­books, A Kris­tang Fam­ily Cook­book and Ev­ery­thing Kris­tang. The lat­ter book gar­nered Chef Melba the Best in the World Award in the Best Woman Chef cat­e­gory at the 2016 Gour­mand World Cook­book Awards.

Look­ing through Melba at The Man­sion’s menu, the cui­sine might seem ex­otic even to Malaysians, which goes some way to il­lus­trat­ing ex­actly how rare and un­der-the-radar Kris­tang cui­sine is.

With in­flu­ences drawn from Por­tuguese, Dutch, Bri­tish, Malay, Chi­nese and In­dian culi­nary tra­di­tions, it is per­haps the finest ex­am­ple of fu­sion cui­sine done cor­rectly – over a pe­riod of 500 years.

From her mor­eish sil­ver kar­ing- kar­ing thread­fish ap­pe­tiser (fried to a crisp and ex­cel­lent with a beer) to her grand­fa­ther’s show-stop­ping chorka pretu - slow-cooked squid in a sam­bal cre­ated from its own ink – there’s his­tory, joy and the tan­ta­lis­ing sug­ges­tion of dis­cov­ery in ev­ery bite.

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“IF I DON’T HIGH­LIGHT THESE DISHES AT MY RESTAU­RANT AND IN MY BOOKS, THEY’LL BE FOR­GOT­TEN,” SAYS THE AU­THOR OF TWO COOK­BOOKS, A KRIS­TANG FAM­ILY COOK­BOOK AND EV­ERY­THING KRIS­TANG.

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