Maureen’s Food

Chilli CrabMy cooking speciality is Nonya cuisine. Over the past two decades, I have expanded my repertoire and extended the menu to include favourite classic dishes from neighbouring South-east Asian countries – Laos, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia.

In addition, and like my ancestors, I have also created a few new dishes incorporating ingredients available in the West incluing game such as venison and wild boar, and imported exotic fish from the Seychelles such as marlin, mahi mahi and kingfish.

These are cooked to the traditional family recipes handed down from my Nonya mother and four generations of expert cooks in our family. Fresh herbs, rhizomes and aromatics are now flown into London daily and adhering to authentic family recipes with fresh ingredients is no longer a problem.

What is Nonya Cuisine?

Maureen Suan-Neo is famed for her Nonya cuisine, but what exactly is it?

Nonya cuising originated from the marrige of Chinese traders to local Malay women along the Straits settlements of Penang, Malacca and Singapore during the 15th to the 19th centuries. Inevitably this resulted in the mixing of Chinese cuisine with the use of indigenous Malay spices and aromatic herbs of the region.

The notion of mixing several cuisines within the same meal is not uncommon in South-east Asia. Unlike their Western counterparts, people in South-east Asia have always shared a communual style of eating – a myriad of dishes are placed in the centre of the table along with vegetables, soups, condiments and sauces, to be shared by everyone.

Examples of Nonya Food

Chilli Crab

Chilli CrabProbably one of the signature dishes of Singapore, originally made popular by the east coast stalls specialising in seafood and crabs. Best cooked in its shell, chilli crab is, of course, to be eaten in casual mode using your fingers to crack open the shell and sucking out the meat and the delicious sauce.


Mee Goreng

An unusual mixture of Indian and Chinese styles; Noodles cooked by Indian hawkers using ingredients such as beancurd and beansprouts.


Wonderfully crisp spring rolls with the distinctive flavour of taucheo (yellow beans), undoubtedly a Nonya influence.

Itek Sio

Braised duck with soya sauce and star anise. A delicacy from the Quangdong province of China.