It’s really a Restaurant Review : When Fusion is in your DNA : Baba Nyonya culture is like a tropical Narnia on steroids

The Baba Nyonya culture belongs to a very interesting group of people, their DNA is so colourful and vibrant. They usually come from a line of estbalished well-to-do families, they carry themselves as amabssadors of thier own blood line and heritage. They are wanderlusters by nature, absorbing all they come across and adopting the best of what they learn into thier lifestyle. From spices infused in their cooking, to the batek motifs and crafts adopted from Indonesia and Thailand. They came from China, and like good citizens of the world,  you can find communities of them in Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, and strong essence of their identity in parts of Malaysia, predominantly ; Penang and Melacca. The Brittish called them the Straits Chinese , but they were in Malaysia way before the Straits Settlements.

The Baba Nyonyas are Taoists, yet they embrace and respect all local rituals and beliefs. They have a very large green artistic thumb, they love nature so much that they dedicate and worship their thanks to mother nature by filling thier everyday lives and tradition with  flowers, leaves, happy animals and colorful birds. I think if they could, they would fill this world with rainbow colored peonies, roses, and dust everything over with sprinkles of gold and jade and silver. A kind of glittery Narnia on steroids perhaps.

I went for lunch at Li Er Café with Joy of DelishAsia , she says the “Nasi Kari Ayam” (Rice and Curry Chicken) is to die for. I do like the Nyonya curry, its creamier and richer with herbs and spice and less of the spiciness, the way I like it. My Grandmother is a Nyonya, a Chinese- Indonesian , which may explain my funny taste buds. Baba Nyonya cuisine and culture is to infuse local ingredients and styles. They integrate their ancestral traditions into what they find from thier new homes. For generations this has been their way, thats why you can find some Indian, Indonesian, Malay, Thai and even European traits in thier dishes.

UNFORTUNATELY , today, they were out of Nasi Kari Ayam , excitement screeched to a stop. The other food and sweets made up for it though! I’m comming back here to claim my curry chicken cravings on Friday (they close on Thursday). Salivate over the photos below:

We came throught the kitchen door, the back entrance of the café, I like how they allowed us to do that, the kitchen was clean and busy . I came face to face with a tub of sweet potato,  I was allowed to capture that:

Tub of Sweet Potato clean and sliced before boiling into a thinck paste as base ingredient. 
Counter is lined with Nyonya kuih (cakes and pastries)
Nyonya Kuih sweet and salty.
They do take aways for large groups too! This will feed 12
Nasi Kerabu (rice steamed in blue flower, crunchy fried shrimp, chicken pieces , spicy sweet sambal sauce, and garnished further with chopped salad leaves.
Belachan Chicken (kids loves these)
Tomyam Beehoon garnished with sliced lemon grass and bunga kantan (torched ginger flower)


For reservations / Enquiries call: +6 017-464 3757

Li Er Café

7.30 am -4.30 pm Closed on Thursdays

349, Jalan Burma
George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Type: Restaurant / Café

Price range: Low to Low/Medium

If I could describe it in 3 words: “Home cooked quality”

Good for: Families with kids, friends, corporate

2 Comments Add yours

  1. The food looks amazing!

    And Malaysia is just too far away! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Penang Local says:

      It really isn’t! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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