The Baba Nyonya Festival Taiping 2015, held in conjunction with Malaysia Fest 2015 and jointly organised by the Taiping Heritage Society and Taiping Tourist Association, was held at the Perdana Hotel, Taiping recently to a sold-out crowd of over 400 people.
The festival began with a Peranakan Exhibition showcasing artefacts, fashion, food and lifestyle of the Baba and Nyonya in the early days, followed by the Best Nyonya Dish with contestants displaying their creatively-prepared Nyonya dishes.
The judges led by Chef Ricky Ng, Toh Puan Norisha and Helen Ong had a difficult time deciding the winners. First place went to Cheah Khai Weh (Acar Salt Fish), second to Tan Ah Meng (Nyonya Serai Prawn) and third to Rose Gabriel (Sambal Terong Peranakan).
In the evening, the guests were served an authentic Peranakan dinner specially prepared by Chef Ricky Ng, an award-winning chef and author of 14 cookbooks. Salbiah Mohamed, the Adun of Temenggor, representing Dato’ Nolee Ashilin, Executive Councillor for Tourism and Culture, officiated the event. During dinner, guests were entertained by a Baba Nyonya dance troupe from Melaka.
Highlight for the evening was the Nyonya Queen contest. Twenty ladies, dressed in intricately-embroidered kebaya and colourful sarongs with accessories inherited from their mothers and grandmothers and beautifully-beaded shoes on their petite feet, took to the stage. The panel of judges comprising Vinna Lim (Mrs Qi Pao Malaysia 2014), Steven Ong (Nyonya Kebaya designer) and Helen Ong (food and travel writer) took time to pick out the winners.
The Nyonya Queen Taiping 2015 title went to Christine Tham who was awarded a bouquet, certificate, cash and a large hamper. First and second runners-up, Sabrina Vun and Khor Poh Geok, received cash and a certificate each.
It was an eventful occasion filled with good food, camaraderie and fellowship. The fast disappearing Baba Nyonya culture must be preserved for our future generation and holding an event such as this is a step in the right direction.
Yeap Thean Eng