The Peranakan Experience
A Uniquely Peranakan Experience
Embark on a colourful journey into the history and lifestyle of the Peranakans. The Babas (refer to the men) are the descendants of the early Chinese immigrants from the Fujian Province of China who, in the 17th century, settled in the Malay archipelago consisting of Singapore, Malacca and Penang , and married the local Malay ladies. The Peranakan culture is a rich blend of the Chinese with some influence from the Portuguese, Dutch, Thai, Indian and Indonesian cultures. What has evolved in time is a community of people who observe traditional Chinese festivals and traditions, yet show a strong Malay influence in their food, language and dressings.
First and foremost, tour the grounds of the spice garden (located within Fort Canning Park) which sits on the original site of the first Botanical Gardens. Learn about the intricacies of Chinese spices and herbs that are often grinded into powder and pastes which imbue the dishes with a flavour that is distinctly Peranakan.
Next proceed to the Peranakan Museum which houses the best collection of Peranakan artefacts in the world with a fascinating display of Peranakan costumes, embroideries, jewelleries, porcelains, furniture and craftworks that provide an insight into the captivating culture of the Peranakans.
Onward to the bustling enclaves of Katong and Joo Chiat areas. The distinctive charm of Katong can be traced back to its Peranakan roots whereby a residential area formerly dominated by wealthy Straits Chinese (another name for the Peranakans) families once stood. Admire rows of colourful traditional shophouses built in the 1920s and 1930s. The houses are a mix of architectural details and ornaments from the East and the West. Corinthian columns and Mediterranean windows and shutters are juxtaposed with Chinese glazed tiles and plasterworks with ornamental Chinese symbols. Katong is also where rich and deliciously home-made Peranakan cuisine like the Ayam Buah Keluak and Nonya delicacies can be found. End the tour with a demonstration of the Nonya intricate embroidery and dumpling wrapping, a sampling of Peranakan food tasting plus indulge in a rich and deliciously home-made Peranakan cuisine lunch at the Kim Choo Kitchen.