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What is Tok Panjang?
“Tok”, means Table in Hokkien, and “Panjang” means Long as a Malay term. Tok Panjang in Malaysian / Baba Nonya (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peranakan) means Long Table.
In traditional terms, when we mention Tok Panjang, we usually refer to a type of feast associated with weddings and special occasions and the amazing peranakan cuisine that is served on this occasions.
For my family back in Malaysia, we had a “Tok Panjang” (long table), where family members would gather during special occasions, festivities or during meal times and be serve delicious baba nonya dishes.
What does Tok Panjang represent?
To me personally, I chose the “theme” of Tok Panjang to represent my message – it is about CONNECTIONS with family and most of all with yourself through your cultural food.
Tok Panjang to me represents:
- Keeping my cultural cuisine / childhood dishes alive – home away from home.
- It is about FAMILY relationships – bridging cultural and generational gaps with your children from your kitchen.
- It is about YOU – reconnecting to your roots through your cultural food.
So, let’s introduce Nonya cuisines to your family and friends the FUN way!
A little bit about Nonya Cuisine
First let’s talk a bit about Nonya cuisine. Nonya or peranakan cuisine is a fusion of Chinese and local Malaysian dishes.
A proper nonya cuisine is very labour intensive as the nonyas are meticulous about their food presentation. For example, vegetables, like carrots, were crafted into floral designs or were very finely chopped, while kaffir lime leaves were finely sliced etc.
It the olden days, in order for the nonya ladies to be considered an ideal nonya bride, they were expected to be proficient in preparing delectable cakes and dishes. Thus, the training in cooking and domesticity would start at a very young age.
For me personally, I grew up in a nonya family and enjoyed nonya cuisine almost every day of my life until I left for Australia, and I still crave and cook nonya dishes at home. I am sure many Peranakan will agree with me… once you were brought up with such fine dining, it will stay with you forever!
However, due to the smaller community (Peranakan community) cooking such amazing dishes, not many restaurants are able to replicate the refinement of such dishes locally and overseas.
Also, with more and more nonya pursuing careers of their own, the art of nonya cooking is now gradually becoming a thing of the past.
Therefore, I would like to bring back the amazing nonya cuisine to the Peranakan community and the public in general, irrespective where they live in the world.
However, I am aware of the following practical cooking considerations:
- Lack of time due to careers
- Lack of knowledge of understanding of how to blend and harmonise the spices together
- Lack of raw ingredients for people who live in another part of the world.
Thus, in order to overcome these three issues, the best solution is to use readymade nonya pastes from Penang; my mission is to show you how to create different nonya dishes from these amazing readymade pastes – all the way from Penang!
Why the pastes and why am I doing this? My Mission
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