A finger-lickin' reunion dinner

Dad’s nothing short of excellent when it comes to whipping up culinary gems in the kitchen. He often reminisces about his childhood kampung days in Malacca when he was younger; how he helped his mum prepare meals and mentions with much pride, of his mum’s finesse in Peranakan dishes including Devil Curry & Ayam Buah Keluak. I can’t help but thank God for my Dad’s Peranakan roots – it sure helps to keep my Perankan food cravings at bay 🙂

Food plays a huge role in my home. It’s probably because Dad is such a great cook and tries to cook at home whenever he can. Being a family-centric man, he’d rather have a homecooked meal at home than eat out. I can see why – seriously, I’m a huge advocate of homely food. There’s nothing like gathering together at a table and talking about your day and enjoying the delectable spread in front of you.

Today’s the first day of the Lunar New Year and in Chinese tradition, families usually celebrate on the eve with a reunion dinner. It’s kind of like a day where family members would gather and share a meal together. People who are overseas fly home, and those who are busy usually make an effort to be home with the family.

This year, our dinner included Dad’s super yummy Ayam Buah Keluak (chicken curry with black nut), a typical Peranakan dish. My my, the buah keluak rocks my world. Though it is an acquired taste, the black nut goes down well with me. “Black Gold” I call it:

Detractors might refute and call it black s*** but I really couldn’t care less. Haha, this is heaven to me. There’s just something so appealing about a mysterious smokey, musky black paste that sends waves down my oesophagus – well, after it makes an impact on my tastebuds.

Then there were prawns:

Butter prawns cooked with black pepper. Simply divine. Oo-la-la!

And in my household, chilli is a must-have. No chilli, no smiles; for me at least :p

… and for my Dad. Both of us consume the most amount of chilli and it’s not hard to figure out why. We live for spicy and totally dig our curries, sambal and fresh chillies.

To complement the ‘Sey ba’ (or kong ba as it’s more commonly called – it’s pork cooked with soy sauce, honey and spices like cinnamon, ginger, star anise etc), we had some red hot chilli:

My favourite way of eating sey ba, is to wrap it with lettuce and add a generous amount of that chilli above. The taste that explodes in my mouth is too yummy for words. The savoury tinge of soya sauce accompanied by the slight sweetness from the honey makes this dish a winner. Dad’s known for his sey ba.

Don’t you think it looks gorgeous?

Mmmmmmm….. I really must say that this year’s dinner totally rocked my world. But then again, Dad’s food always rock my world – so well it’s either that I’m just biased, or I’m really satisfied. I think it’s the latter because I ate so much of everything!

Anyway here’s wishing all of YOU a very Happy Lunar New Year! May you get loads of red packets and enjoy the good eats 🙂

Posted on 17th Feb 2007 in Chinese New Year, reunion dinner


There Are 14 Comments


Little Nutbrown Hare commented on February 17, 2007 at 10:32 pm

Your dad is a really good cook, lucky you. The sey ba looks out-of-this-world. I can almost imagine the flavours just by looking at the colours and texture.


zanas commented on February 18, 2007 at 10:58 am

wishing u, ur family and everyone a very prosperous and wonderful lunar new year. make the pig proud…oink oink


hui commented on February 18, 2007 at 3:50 pm

wishing u a very happy & prosperous piggy year!


Freya commented on February 19, 2007 at 2:44 pm

The food all looks very delicious! What exactly is the black nut?


tigerfish commented on February 20, 2007 at 4:32 am

Wishing you a happy golden pig year! Oink Oink!
I love buah keluak and all the food you are having! It’s so Peranakan/Nonya :p
Love it!


the hungry cow commented on February 20, 2007 at 12:51 pm

Looks yummy! Happy Chinese New Year too!


myCoffee commented on February 22, 2007 at 1:25 am

Hi! Wishing you and your family a Happy, Healthy & Blessed New Year!


evelyn commented on February 23, 2007 at 8:35 am

buah keluak is my love!!! do you know how to cook this dish?


Steffles commented on February 24, 2007 at 10:16 am

Lucky you! Your dad sounds like a superb chef. I hope you’re secretly writing down all his wonderful recipes so you may one day share it with us… 🙂 Gong Xi Fa Chye to you and your family.


Anonymous commented on February 25, 2007 at 9:47 am

Hi There,

Your entry on peranakan food really interests me. I am a primary school teacher and currently doing a project work on Singapore food with my pupils. Most of my pupils are unfamiliar with the Peranakans, their background, culture and food. Do you mind if I could show your blog to my class?



the baker commented on February 25, 2007 at 5:15 pm

Little Nutbrown Hare: haha yea, i’m a lucky daughter! it’s really yummmy!

zanas: thanks girl 🙂 oink back! :p

hui: Happy Lunar New Year to you too!

Freya: hey hey, it’s actually a black nut from Indonesia. To find out more, visit this site that explains it in detail:


tigerfish: thanks! yea I totally dig Peranakan food. rocks to the max 😀

the hungry cow: Happy CNY to you too!

myCoffee: thanks! same to you.. Here’s to a year of good eats!

evelyn: yay another like minded foodie. haha unfortunately I have yet to master this dish. but i intend to.. soon!

Steffles: yea his culinary skills are superb. I will definitely share the recipes once i’ve mastered them 🙂 Happy Lunar New Year to you too!

Sue: Hi sue! Sure, go ahead 🙂 here’s a glossary of Nonya ingredients that i found> http://pachome1.pacific.net.sg/~ccchia/glossary1.html
it’s rather useful. You should bring the kids to Katong! :o)


evelyn commented on February 25, 2007 at 8:19 pm

try it soon dear! post the recipe and tips. cos I really don’t like buahkeluak from restaurants and the only person I know who cooks buahkeluak real good is my exbf’s mum. 🙁


Adelyn commented on February 28, 2007 at 7:27 am

I’m on exchange and missing out on CNY made me miss home a lot more. Great post to remind me of home! I -heart- buah keluak!!! Have a good year ahead.


Andy commented on July 28, 2014 at 1:44 pm


thank you….

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