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.