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.