For as long as I can remember, which is a long time ago, food ruled our household whether it was a normal day or an occasion to celebrate. In the 1960s, dinner was the highlight when delicious home-cooked food was laid out lovingly by my mother after we children took our bath and obediently sat together at the dining table in our home-sewn pyjamas.
We were eager to gobble down the best meal of the day before watching The Andy Williams Show on black-and white television. Those days, massive feasts (makan besair) were the norm when dear aunties – the Kim Pohs and the Kohs who pakay kain, or wore sarongs at home – came out of the woodwork for cook-ins at someone’s wedding or during holidays while we children gaily played after school, with no homework to torture us unlike children now.
Food is the joie de vivre for us Peranakans! Is it any wonder that we have so many cookbooks? In this issue, we take what is dearest to our hearts and open up Dalam Dapor to the varied styles of Peranakan cooking in the region. From Phuket to Jakarta and Melbourne, see how some dishes have evolved uniquely even as common ingredients like buah keluak or belachan are used.
Apart from life’s best moments, the afterlife was of extreme concern to our forefathers. Our special feature on the grave side of life unfolds the great lengths that Peranakans took to secure the best for eternity unknown. Indeed, the ‘Palace’ that is Bukit Brown is a testimony of these concerns. So many of our forefathers, many of them pioneers of Singapore as well, are buried there.
Make no bones about it, Bukit Brown is a precious part of our Peranakan heritage.
This article is taken from the Peranakan, the Peranakan Associations’s Magazine. Read the full magazine here.