nonya culture

Nonya culture, east meets west. Food loving blog.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Just finished my website

Memories of my kids when they were small will always stay with me. I still remember my teenage son, the day he was born. How you looked so intently, defiantly the hour he was born. His mischievous pranks starting the day after he was born. I created the website Little Kids Games documenting the games that I found useful and earning a living through this and my many other lifestyle websites ten years ago but closed it down when I joined my previous employer, in order to be in line with their regulations. I thought I'd retire there, but life is never the way we plan. I left.. moved on. And rebuilt from scratch. Do check it out. It's got educational games for kids plus some fun stuff brought over from my own childhood memories and adventures with the next generation, my kids.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Durian Fiesta!

Mom's god daughters visited her with durians . One felt the four or five boxes of that luscious fruit wasn't enough so she went to get a few more boxes of the best.

Once she was back, we had a durian feast, Singaporean style !

We certainly had a blast. *burp*

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Nonya noodles

Went to my parent's home for dinner. Mom made nonya noodles, the way my dad's family does it.

It's like the regular hokkien mee but with no bee hoon. Just the yellow noodles. Streaky pork sliced thinly. Lots of big fresh prawns. Yum

What makes it special is the grated cucumber heaped generously on the noodles. Add finely sliced omelette and garnish with shallots which I forgot to add. It was delicious !

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Mom's cheese cake

Since I was a little girl, I loved my mom's cheese cake. As a teen, she taught me to make it too though I've forgotten the recipe. It's been years since I moved out and had the time to bake.

The cheese cake starts with a crumbly biscuit base. I remember smashing Marie biscuits with the mortar and pestle years ago. Til this day I prefer that to the blender. The rhythmic pounding is therapeutic to me.

Next comes the cheese cream base. Philadelphia cream cheese if I remember correctly, dissolved gelatin in hot water, I think. Memory gets fainter with time. If I don't write about it I will forget altogether one day.

After the 2 layers have been firmed in the fridge, on goes slices of canned peaches followed by dissolved jelly crystals.

Refrigerate and serve cold.

Delicious. Mom still makes these and my kids love it too!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Lobster bisque

Lobster bisque. With large chunks of sweet lobster meat.

Topped with cream.
Blissful lunch at delifrance.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Cold crab

This nonya married into a traditional Chinese family which loves regular Chinese cuisine.

For father in law's birthday , we had lunch at a high end teo chew restaurant. They served cold crab

It's cooked, fresh , salted and served cold. Delicious. Oh, there was lots of roe too.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Ondeh ondeh

Sitting outside Bengawan Solo, enjoying chilled ondeh.

They're usually hulk green but today, they are a tad more like the thing.

I'm happily reading marvel comics while savouring the chewy nonya kueh with that intensely sweet liquid gula melaka center that oozes out with each bite.

A little like an Asian take on mini lave cakes.

Saturday, 15 September 2012


A French delicacy. Fabulous in garlic herb butter, still sizzling as it is served.

Some people are grossed out at the thought if eating snails, but these are not your typical garden snails. They are farmed, free of pesticides and safe to eat.

Absolutely tender and tasty when done just right.


Thursday, 9 August 2012

Beaded slippers

My aunt took a year to bead these slippers.

Nonyas in the past wore elaborately decorated clothing and slippers beaded with fine beads, which they made themselves.

The amount of loving work that goes into each is astounding

She made these perfectly symmetrical with shading of colours to bring the picture to life. This photo just cannot do it justice

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Moms who are Olympians

The summer olympics 2012 have begun. Men and women from all over the world are participating in these.. the games worth waiting 4 years for. And some of these women are moms.

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Beef steak at Hans

Pay day. Treat Ian to a set meal at Hans. I was craving beef so I went for the beef steak. Medium well but turned out well done.

Hans set meals are value for money. For $15 I get a steak set with soup of the day, dessert and a drink

The creamy tomatoish soup was tasty enough . Dessert was a half peach with the syrup it was canned in. Orange drink on ice.

The steak was ok. Not fantastic though but good enough. Tender Tasty but the meat was.. Somewhat lacking.. Maybe I should have ordered medium rare instead

Saturday, 23 June 2012


On a day so hot the heat triggered a headache, a bowl of ice chendol was a welcome sight.

In this bowl, there's killney beans , green jelly that's a tad salty and attap chee, covered in coconut milk. A mountain of ice shavings go on top if the concoction that is topped with gula Melaka liquid.

It tastes better all mixed up when the sweet brown syrup mixes with coconut milk and the rapidly melting ice for an excellent thirst quencher .

Nice :)

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Nonya dumplings

Mom gave me some home made nonya bak chang - rice dumplings made nonya style.

This Chinese delicacy is seasoned tender meat, sweet and salty, with a blend of spices, wrapped in glutinous rice and then wrapped in pandan leaves into the shape of a pyramid.

I had one for breakfast. Delicious!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Sky ride for the acrophobic

I'm in Sentosa relaxing by the beach after going up the sky ride and down the luge.

Snuck that shot past my photo bombing son ;)

The sky ride's interesting. I like the way they automated the luge ride with the sky ride. You take the sky ride up the hill, together with the luge bikes..

Then you take the luge like a speedster riding down the winding road back to the start of the Sky ride

I got on the sky ride with my son. When my feet were dangling way above the tree tops, I remembered my fear of heights. Clung to the safety bar tighter than ever while my son enjoyed the joy ride. After a while I got used to it. The view was fantastic.

Then came the fun part. The luge. Both hands were needed to control to ride so couldn't take photos but speeding down that winding road was awesome.

3 rounds up the sky ride and down the luge. Then we met my hubby and older son for a picnic at the beach.


Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Dinner at flaming grills

Just has dinner with my sister at Flaming Grills.

My sister gave me a belated birthday treat. It's been a long time since we last met so it was wonderful chatting. So much to talk about

We're 6 years apart. As kids, that was a huge age gap. She was always my baby sister.

Now, at times, she seems like my older wiser sister who is sensible and whom I love dearly.

At times I feel so alone, but when we meet, I have a dear sister I can lean on. Even when I feel like my life is collapsing

Yes, I have God with me and my loving Father sends people to encourage me when I feel down

Enough whining . Back to the food which was utterly amazing . That was one super tender thick anson beef steak. Juicy, tasty and smooth.

I polished off every bit if it, including the fat. The gravy was the icing on this delightfully sumptuous meal.

I had cream if spinach soup with was light and palatable, even to this carnivore

Even the sides , the char grilled corn was perfect, I think it was seasoned with some spice that made it totally delectable.

Every bite was pure ecstasy.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Jacks Place

My birthday is on a working day so my hubby brought me for a dinner for just the two of us at Jacks place, on Sunday night. An early celebration

We're broke but he's chalked up enough credit card points for a jacks place voucher to surprise me with. We had that rare treat. Tenderloin steak, slowly savoring every bite.

The baked potato with sour cream, bacon bits and chives set off the tender juicy steak perfectly. I dipped each morsel in their delicious pepper sauce for a totally indulgent meal.

Bliss . That was a delightful private celebration.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Shepherds Pie

Growing up in my mom's home, I loved the shepherd's pie my mom would bake. It's basically mashed potato with butter that encases a yummy minced beef filling.

Guess what? I had lunch at my favourite western food stall at ubi ave 3 vertex. The lady whispered to me she had 2 shepherd's pie left in the oven. Did I want one?

Yes! Since I was having their fabulous strip loin steak for lunch, I packed a shepherd's pie for dinner.

Needless to say, I had a blissful dinner tonight ... mmmm...

Saturday, 12 May 2012

A simple breakfast

My kids were hungry. What's for breakfast?
I sent my son to buy some bread. Then I made ham cheese toast for them. They loved it. Simple and nice.

  1. Coat baking tray with olive oil

  2. Bake honey baked ham 10 minutes high heat

  3. Set the ham aside and spread more olive oil on baking tray

  4. Place the bread on the baking tray

  5. Cover with cooked honey baked ham

  6. Cover with smoked cheddar cheese

  7. Bake 5 minutes to toast bread and melt the cheese

  8. Serve hot and crispy

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Roadside ice cream

As a little girl, I'd get so excited whenever the ice cream man came along with the cart. I loved the home made ice cream in plain crunchy cones.

Imagine my delight when I found this elderly couple selling home made ice cream near my work place.

Yeah there is the ever popular mass produced Ice cream cut in slices, sandwiched in wafer or bread.

There's the old fashion home made type on flavors like attap chee, mango, sweet corn and chocolate.

I went for the home made in all flavors . Yum!

Friday, 4 May 2012

Rib eye steak at tiong baru food court

Tiong baru plaza has a pretty decent food court with western food. The rib eye steak costs about $12

I wanted meat. Had minestrone soup out of the can for lunch and was hungry.

The steak is really tender served medium well. 70% cooked. The sauce was average . The fries superb. Crispy on the outside. Soft and fluffy inside

Not bad at all.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Katong laksa

Why is it all the laksa shops in Katong are called Katong laksa?

Ian and I walked down the streets of Katong at sunset. That's where we started dating almost 2 decades ago. Kids were home. We abandoned them. :p

Anyway, we were looking for food that's good and cheap. There's lot to eat in Katong if you're willing to spend. But not us. We're broke. What's affordable and yummy?
Katong is so famous for laksa, you see store after store selling laksa and otak, each proclaiming that they're the famous Katong Laksa store.

What's laksa without the chilli or sambal that goes without it?

We settled down at one of the Katong Laksa stores for a bowl of laksa each. Laksa is an asian dish that consists of the thick round noodles in spicy coconut gravy with prawns and cockles.

Here's what's left of mine, by the time I remembered to take photographs. :p

Still got a long way to go before I can be a proper food blogger. Need to remember to shoot before eating.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Euroasian food

I'm in a coffee shop at ubi ave 3 waiting for my mouthwateringly delicious striploin steak from m2cuisine, a shop that specializes in euro asian food.
The store owners are friendly . Their accent is vaguely familiar. Exactly like my late grandpa's a 3rd generation straits born Chinese, aka peranakan.
The food tastes exactly like grandpa's cooking .uncanny. Peranakans embraced the British culture too . We speak English as well as a kind of Malay mixed with toneless Chinese
Grandpa loved a good steak. As do I. My food just came. I'm going to tuck in . Steak with veggies in teriyaki sauce. With that x factor that makes it a class above the rest.

I had a chat with the owners. Guess what, they're peranakan too :) That's why the food had that distinct straits born taste. It's in the marinade. Their secret recipe.

Nonya Cuisune

I miss mom's cooking.

You know the saying, translated to English, it's "A married daughter is like water that's been poured out."

How true. I married out of a peranakan family and into a traditional cantonese family. No kebayas for me. When my figure was good, I wore cheong sams.  I visit my parents twice a year. On Chinese New Year's day and on Christmas eve.

Mom cooks up a storm each time we go there. I mean, there's all the Wee family specialties mom learnt from Ah Kong (My dad's dad who is by far the best cook this world has ever known.. in the eyes of this grand daughter)

This was what Mom cooked last Chinese New Year.

There's the quintessential Buah Keluak that takes a week to prepare. You need to soak and scrub these underground nuts daily, dry them completely in the sun, crack them open and scrape out the hard kernel from each nut. The result is a highly prized nonya delicacy. It's the first dish all true blue peranakans attack at the feast. Cooked with chicken (some families use pork), it's heavenly.

There's Pong tau hu. Mom's favourite which she learnt from grandpa. Something you can't get in stores either. It's tauhu  meat balls, cooked in a prawn based soup with bamboo shoots, carrots and tau cheo (salted bean paste). I loved it. Used to cook it too a very very long time ago.

Ayam sio. The nonya version of fast food. I used to make this when I first married but my hubby got so sick of it as I served it for every meal. You marinade the chicken overnight, then boil the chicken in the marinade to cook it. At this point, we'd freeze it into smaller portions. Oh, my family will cook in bulk for convenience, and then freeze for later meals.  When we're ready to eat it, we fry the chicken in the marinade until the marinade is all dry. Grandpa would do it til it's slightly burnt. Heavenly!

Chap chye. Its a veggie dish with cabbage and dried soya pieces and vermicelli, prawn, black fungus.. can't remember what else. I just eat it.

There's pong teh. Another favourite with pork cooked in salted bean paste, carrots, potatos, bamboo shoots.. kind of.. stew-like?

She did a braised duck for my in laws who were unable to show up that day. They are used to a different style of cooking altogether ;)

When I married, on our first chinese new year's eve together, my hubby wanted me to cook the new year's eve dinner for his family. I panicked. Nonya style is so different from canton style and I had no idea what to cook. In the end, I cooked what I was familiar with. A full scale nonya dinner, which my father in law.. had some problems adjusting to. Oops.

The bright side is... they never asked me to cook again. Mom in law volunteers to cook each year.. telling me tactfully, that my father in law has rather.. erm.. different.. taste in food.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Lunch at Killiney's

Our favourite wan ton mee coffee shop was packed, so we walked on and found Killiney's

There was some air con, that much needed cool air in the headache inducing heat. And there were seats.

Many things have changed in Singapore. Old favourite coffee shops replaced with swankier eateries. The Siglap market is gone. In its place, cold storage.

My hubby had his favourite curry chicken knowing very well his stomach would kill him later for it.

I had to have my Penang char kway teow. Lard and all, diet begins tomorrow like they always say. Hey what happened to my cockles ?

Next time I'll order my own instead of letting my well meaning hubby order for me :p I can eat cockles and still live, ok?

Not bad. Though like any nonya would say, my family does it better ;)

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Nonya kueh

The one nonya kueh I don't buy because the ones sold outside always disappoint is kueh kosui. Or kuih kosui. It's made with Gula Melaka, Pandan leaves, tapioca flour, and grated coconut.

Everytime i bought it and bit into it, I was sorely disappointed . It was hard compared to the soft yummy ones my mom used to make.

Growing up in my parents home, kuih kosui was a favourite mom would make. She's steam it, cut it up, roll it in grated coconut with a pinch of salt. We'd eat it right away, while still warm. That was heavenly. So soft, just the right texture and sweetness. How I miss mom's cooking.

I do buy nonya kuehs now and then, like ondeh ondeh.

I love how the sweet liquid gula melaka oozes out with every bite. The ones from bengawan solo are good.

Though I'm a nonya by birth, I hardly make kueh since I married out of the nonya clan. I buy my kuih instead :p

But I can make a mean chocolate truffle ;)

Saturday, 21 April 2012

The last piece of pizza

Barely had time to photograph this last slice of cheesy 7 bliss pizza before Luke ate it.

Paremesan cheese poured over it while I was taking this shot.