Food is one of the most distinctive aspects of Peranakan culture, and preparing Peranakan dishes is a skill passed down to family members, most particularly between mother and daughter(s) and/or daughter(s)-in-law.
However, there is no one “conventional” way of cooking Peranakan food as the process differs by individual, and indeed, preparation methods constantly evolve, such as using blenders to mix spices instead of pounding them by hand with a mortar and pestle.
An example of Peranakan cuisine is laksa, noodles served in a curry-based soup. In Singapore and Southern Malaysia, the curry is lemak (creamy) as it contains santan (coconut milk), while the curry in Penang and Northern Malaysia is prepared with fish stock, tamarind and pineapple instead, giving it a sour taste.
Other famous Peranakan dishes include ayam buah keluak (chicken braised in thick spicy gravy made with the black Indonesian buah keluak nut), babi pongteh (a pork stew seasoned with taucheo or yellow bean paste) and nyonya kueh (cakes made with ingredients like gula melaka and coconut). These festive dishes would have been prepared during festive periods such as Chinese New Year and less well-known are the simpler, daily home-cooked dishes.