A short history of Peranakan Cuisine
The Peranakan cuisine is a unique blend of international cuisines mainly incorporating Chinese, Malay and Indian cooking preparations. Indonesian, Portuguese and Thai influences also contributed to what could be regarded as the world's first "fusion" cuisine.
The evolution of historical Indonesian/Malay cuisine can be traced back to an early Indian influence in the 1300 brought by the foreign colonization of the Hindu Majapahit Empire and movement of sea trade from Gujarat and Peres in the Malay Archipelago . Indian methods of cooking and spices like sirih (betel), nutmeg and coriander were adopted as traditional Malay curries we know today.
Around 1500, China's Ming dynasty began courting the kingdoms of the Malay Archipelago birthing into a distinctive community - The Nyonya-Babas - who eventually became part of the larger diaspora known as The Peranakans or the "first-borns".
Subsequent arrival of the Portuguese, Dutch and English led to the creation of Nyonya desserts. Fujian Chinese also brought with them traditional Hokkien style food like popiah, which became incorporated as part of traditional Nyonya cuisine.
By the early twentieth century Peranakan cuisine had taken on more definition with the core cuisine coming from Malacca, Penang and later Singapore.
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