Baba Nyonya is a subgroup of “Straits-born Chinese” formed since 1459 when Chinese Princess, Hang Li Po, was married to the Malacca Sultan. Her marriage was escorted by a Chinese entourage of five hundred servants and a few noble women who then intermarried with Malays in Malacca. That marked the beginning of Baba Nyonya. And, Nyonya cuisine is the “food” version of the Baba Nyonya tribe, an amalgamation of Chinese and Malay cuisine with blending of spices and herbs as the key element.
Though Baba Nyonya has been here since decades but finding authentic Nyonya cuisine in Malaysia is still not easy especially if we’re not in Malacca. However, recently we came across a newly opened Nyonya cuisine restaurant located at the Little India of Kuala Lumpur. Seeing all the good reviews and high rating on Anak Baba’s social media page, we decided to give it a try.
Our meal started with some Nyonya light refreshments 一 Popiah Peranakan and Pai Tee. Popiah Peranakan is a Nyonya spring roll stuffed and wrapped with turnip, coriander, shallots, bean sprouts, egg strips, cucumber, and seasoned with Gula Melaka sweet sauce, garlic, and grounded red chili. The stuffing was sweet and savoury with a tad of spiciness and the bean sprouts added a nice crunch to each bite. Pai Tee is a Nyonya traditional ‘top hat’ snack filled with turnip stuffing, cucumber slices, egg strips, and topped with fried shallots. The ‘top hat’ was crispy and thin it contrasted nicely with its flavoured juicy stuffing. Although it was served with vinegar chili sauce, we felt that even without the sauce, it was already oh-so-yummy! To compare and differentiate both, Popiah is crunchier and more refreshing to us, whereas Pai Tee is juicier and more flavoured. For those who prefer stronger taste like us, we strongly recommend Pai Tee.
Moving forward, let us present to you our long-awaited main dishes 一 Nasi Nyonya platter with Sambal Udang, curry chicken, and Nasi Lemak with Ayam Goreng Kunyit.
This Sambal Udang deserves a SUPER LOUD shout-out. The real highlight of this dish was the Sambal. It looked normal (like any other Sambal selling outside) from its appearance, but it was very delicious and addictive with a balance of all flavours. The prawns were tasty as it was cooked and all coated with Sambal. Eating the Sambal Udang with just plain rice was like heaven in our mouth and we just couldn’t stop binging on the Sambal even after finishing the prawns and other main dishes. still drooling thinking about it
This curry chicken was cooked using Anak Baba’s secret Nyonya curry powder. The portion of chicken was generous and enough for two servings. We like the fact that the curry was watery but still flavourful because it means that there was less or no thickening agent added in the curry.
Here comes the last part of our main dishes, Nasi Lemak with Ayam Goreng Kunyit, Malaysian’s all-time favourite comfort food. We were first tempted by the aroma of the Nasi cooked out of coconut milk, then the subtle creamy coconut taste in the rice with a hint of sweetness. The next moment after our first mouthful of Nasi Lemak with a small piece of Ayam Kunyit, some Sambal, and Kangkung, it was never-ending mouthful until the whole plate was completely cleared. So fattening but so satisfying!
Last but not least, one thing we must not forget to mention here is the cozy atmosphere and environment of Anak Baba that will make you feel at home. The shop looks aged from the outside (probably because of the other shops along the same row), but once you stepped into the shop you’ll be surprised by how cheeky the interior decoration and design are. The air-conditioned seating area that we were sitting at is covered with a glass panel, bringing in natural sunlight and making the whole environment more lively and vibrant. Besides, there are also books on the shelves for us to read while waiting for our food. It is really an ideal place not only for lunch but for us to “lepak” or spend time with our friends over good food.
So, if you’re curious about the food of Anak Baba and how cozy the place is, go and try out yourself now!
- Anak Baba, Malaysia
- Location: 159, Jalan Sultan Abdul Samad Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
- Operation hours: 7am - 7pm (Daily)
- Contact no.: 03-2276 2815