6:30pm – Wednesday, July 7 on ABC1
Poh continues on her Malaysian adventure, heading south to spend her second week in the historic port of Melaka. Once a vibrant maritime trading centre at the heart of the international spice trade, Melaka boasts a rich culinary history. Over time it has been occupied by the Portuguese, Dutch, British and Japanese, who have all left their influence.
It’s the ‘Baba and Nonya’ culture that most interests Poh. The Babas and Nonyas are descendants of Chinese settlers who arrived in Melaka around 600 years ago and intermarried with the local Malay people. The men, who are known as the ‘Babas’ and the women ‘Nonyas’, are said to be very Chinese in spirit and tradition, but Malay in form. The interweaving of these two cultures has given them a unique and increasingly popular cuisine, commonly known as ‘Nonya’.
To find out more about this fascinating culture, Poh enlists the help of Nonya chef, Florence Tan, who is recognised as the country’s leading ambassador for Nonya cuisine. Florence introduces Poh to Melaka’s central market which hosts a myriad of exotic ingredients. Having bought the ingredients, Florence shows Poh one of her favourite Nonya dishes, spicy prawn and pineapple curry. This sweet, sour and spicy dish is exceptional and the best Poh’s ever tasted.
Intrigued by the Malay influence on Nonya cuisine, Poh meets up again with chef Ismail, who takes her to his childhood ‘kampong’ or village, not far from Melaka. The warmth and generosity of the kampong folk is extraordinary and they prepare a feast in Poh’s honour. Chef Ismail and Poh cook a green papaya curry with ingredients from the village garden. A storm threatens, but not before Poh and Ismail sit down and share an unforgettable meal with this village community.
Next week Poh heads north to Penang.
Poh’s Kitchen will be repeated on ABC2 – Thursday, July 08 at 6:00pm