Saying it with food - The culinary heritage of Penang’s Jawi Peranakan

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What’s culture without cuisine? And what better cuisine than that which developed through the fusion of varied culinary tastes? The dynamic life of the Straits Settlements could not but generate exquisite foods for transcending barriers.

History, kinship and family

The Jawi Peranakan was the most visible hybrid Straits Muslim community in the Straits Settlements during the colonial era. In lifestyle and material culture, they complemented the historic community of the Straits Chinese—the early Peranakan community. The Jawi Peranakan community comprised families descended from Indian Muslim, Arab or other Muslim patrilineages where men married local Malay women and where children were brought up to speak the Malay language, and among the elite, to use English as their mother tongue.


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