Living in... Singapore, Uncategorized PERNAKAN CULTURE 3 March 2007

Peranakan is used to describe Chinese Indonesians. In both Malay and Indonesian, ‘Peranakan’ means ‘descendants’. Babas refer to the male descendants and the Nyonyas the female. The word nyonya (also commonly spelled nonya) may originate from the Portuguese word dona, which means ‘lady’.

So says the all-knowlegable Wikipedia. I’m a huge fan of Peranakan cuisine.. and as I’ve learnt, the culture is pretty cool too. We spent a couple of hours mooching along the Peranakan area of Singapore.. checking out the shops and learning about their artwork and culture. And buying lots of their food, of course 😉 Their artwork is spectacular – especially the beaded shoes.. they take 7+ weeks to bead by hand, using rare and highly-coveted tiny glass beads. I was hoping to buy a pair to bring back to Australia with me.. but they cost around $700 a pop, whoa!!


Display of lovely Peranakan clothes and trinkets

Scarves and material

Beaded artwork to go on shoes

48 Comments

  • joejunior posted on March 3, 2007 at 2:14 am

    My uncle used to make and sell Peranakan beaded shoes/slippers in the 90s before he suddenly became a monk.

    I’ve a friend whose uncle runs this Peranakan cum Eurasian restaurant not too expensive, the ox-tail stew is excellent as is the famed Ayam Buah Kalah which they sell in a bowl instead of having you to scoop it out of nuts (which can get very messy!)


    Oxtail Stew


    BBQ Stingray


    Potato Cutlet & Fried Towpok

    They also open for lunch and sell their dish in nasi-padang style 🙂

    Reply
    • beverly posted on March 4, 2007 at 7:51 am

      My aunt makes those shoes too! But not to sell, just as decoration for the house or something.

      Mmmm I love oxtail stew, the pics look great!

      Reply
  • joejunior posted on March 3, 2007 at 2:16 am

    Oh, its at Seah Street, behind Raffles Hotel 🙂

    Reply
  • starbucksweetie posted on March 3, 2007 at 3:38 am

    Wow for $700, you could buy a pair of Louboutins

    Reply
    • beverly posted on March 4, 2007 at 7:52 am

      Yeah, so $$ :X But I guess they’re homemade with $$ beads, and take 7 weeks. I wouldn’t make one myself, I don’t have the patience!

      Reply
  • dreamsailboat posted on March 3, 2007 at 3:50 am

    I wonder if they could make beaded chucks?

    Reply
    • beverly posted on March 4, 2007 at 7:53 am

      Hehe that would be so unique! Bet they’ll baulk at that though, since they only do it on slides 😉

      Reply
  • Anonymous posted on March 3, 2007 at 5:00 am

    Wow that shop looks so cute! Just out of curiosity, what type of camera do you use? I noticed in all of the places that you visit, the pictures turn out so crisp and colorful – I feel like I’m actually there and it makes me want to buy the stuff! Haha.

    -Meredith

    Reply
    • beverly posted on March 4, 2007 at 7:54 am

      Mine’s a 3.2mp Exilim, but it’s really old and crappy when I take photos in the dark, so I don’t recommend it at all! :X

      Reply
  • etherealprey posted on March 3, 2007 at 5:23 am

    can u post a pic of these shoes? or what they look like?

    Reply
    • beverly posted on March 4, 2007 at 7:54 am

      I didn’t take a pic of them 🙁 Wish I had now!!

      Reply
  • kisstheviolets posted on March 3, 2007 at 7:05 am

    Those photos are gorgeous!

    Reply
    • beverly posted on March 4, 2007 at 7:55 am

      everything was so colorful and lovely.. I would’ve bought the shop if I could 😉

      Reply
  • glassextreme posted on March 3, 2007 at 9:45 am

    “Peranakan is used to describe Chinese Indonesians.”

    This is inaccurate. Some Chinese Indonesians may be Peranakans, but Peranakans do not refer to them. Peranakans are those whose Chinese ancestors married local women (Malay), especially in the Straits Settlement that include Penang, Melaka and Singapore. They have adopted the Malay culture, yet still retaining the Chinese culture. It has evolved to become a Peranakan culture. These people speak a kind of language that has elements of Malay and Hokkien.

    Assuming a Chinese man marries a Malay woman now, they will not become Peranakans.

    That’s what I know.

    Reply
    • beverly posted on March 4, 2007 at 7:58 am

      Ahhh you should update that in Wikipedia, I copied/pasted directly from it!

      Reply
  • joejunior posted on March 3, 2007 at 2:14 am

    My uncle used to make and sell Peranakan beaded shoes/slippers in the 90s before he suddenly became a monk.

    I’ve a friend whose uncle runs this Peranakan cum Eurasian restaurant not too expensive, the ox-tail stew is excellent as is the famed Ayam Buah Kalah which they sell in a bowl instead of having you to scoop it out of nuts (which can get very messy!)


    Oxtail Stew


    BBQ Stingray


    Potato Cutlet & Fried Towpok

    They also open for lunch and sell their dish in nasi-padang style 🙂

    Reply
    • beverly posted on March 4, 2007 at 7:51 am

      My aunt makes those shoes too! But not to sell, just as decoration for the house or something.

      Mmmm I love oxtail stew, the pics look great!

      Reply
  • joejunior posted on March 3, 2007 at 2:16 am

    Oh, its at Seah Street, behind Raffles Hotel 🙂

    Reply
  • pandora76 posted on March 3, 2007 at 10:39 am

    Colleague said she wanted to get a kebaya top from Rumah Bebe…and was told it cost $1,000!!! @_@

    Reply
    • beverly posted on March 4, 2007 at 7:59 am

      ARGH! I assume it was beautifully embroidered/beaded or something. Their stuff is so nice but so $ 🙁

      Reply
      • eviltofu posted on March 4, 2007 at 12:51 pm

        All hand-made. Plus there aren’t that many Peranakan tailors around. Ditto for the footware. Those made in Malaysia might be a bit cheaper.

        Reply
  • starbucksweetie posted on March 3, 2007 at 3:38 am

    Wow for $700, you could buy a pair of Louboutins

    Reply
    • beverly posted on March 4, 2007 at 7:52 am

      Yeah, so $$ :X But I guess they’re homemade with $$ beads, and take 7 weeks. I wouldn’t make one myself, I don’t have the patience!

      Reply
  • dreamsailboat posted on March 3, 2007 at 3:50 am

    I wonder if they could make beaded chucks?

    Reply
    • beverly posted on March 4, 2007 at 7:53 am

      Hehe that would be so unique! Bet they’ll baulk at that though, since they only do it on slides 😉

      Reply
  • eviltofu posted on March 3, 2007 at 12:51 pm

    I’m not Indonesian! 😛

    Reply
    • beverly posted on March 4, 2007 at 8:00 am

      Heh I dunno, that was just copied from Wikipedia!

      Reply
  • Anonymous posted on March 3, 2007 at 5:00 am

    Wow that shop looks so cute! Just out of curiosity, what type of camera do you use? I noticed in all of the places that you visit, the pictures turn out so crisp and colorful – I feel like I’m actually there and it makes me want to buy the stuff! Haha.

    -Meredith

    Reply
    • beverly posted on March 4, 2007 at 7:54 am

      Mine’s a 3.2mp Exilim, but it’s really old and crappy when I take photos in the dark, so I don’t recommend it at all! :X

      Reply
  • etherealprey posted on March 3, 2007 at 5:23 am

    can u post a pic of these shoes? or what they look like?

    Reply
    • beverly posted on March 4, 2007 at 7:54 am

      I didn’t take a pic of them 🙁 Wish I had now!!

      Reply
  • kisstheviolets posted on March 3, 2007 at 7:05 am

    Those photos are gorgeous!

    Reply
    • beverly posted on March 4, 2007 at 7:55 am

      everything was so colorful and lovely.. I would’ve bought the shop if I could 😉

      Reply
  • glassextreme posted on March 3, 2007 at 9:45 am

    “Peranakan is used to describe Chinese Indonesians.”

    This is inaccurate. Some Chinese Indonesians may be Peranakans, but Peranakans do not refer to them. Peranakans are those whose Chinese ancestors married local women (Malay), especially in the Straits Settlement that include Penang, Melaka and Singapore. They have adopted the Malay culture, yet still retaining the Chinese culture. It has evolved to become a Peranakan culture. These people speak a kind of language that has elements of Malay and Hokkien.

    Assuming a Chinese man marries a Malay woman now, they will not become Peranakans.

    That’s what I know.

    Reply
    • beverly posted on March 4, 2007 at 7:58 am

      Ahhh you should update that in Wikipedia, I copied/pasted directly from it!

      Reply
  • pandora76 posted on March 3, 2007 at 10:39 am

    Colleague said she wanted to get a kebaya top from Rumah Bebe…and was told it cost $1,000!!! @_@

    Reply
    • beverly posted on March 4, 2007 at 7:59 am

      ARGH! I assume it was beautifully embroidered/beaded or something. Their stuff is so nice but so $ 🙁

      Reply
      • eviltofu posted on March 4, 2007 at 12:51 pm

        All hand-made. Plus there aren’t that many Peranakan tailors around. Ditto for the footware. Those made in Malaysia might be a bit cheaper.

        Reply
  • eviltofu posted on March 3, 2007 at 12:51 pm

    I’m not Indonesian! 😛

    Reply
    • beverly posted on March 4, 2007 at 8:00 am

      Heh I dunno, that was just copied from Wikipedia!

      Reply
  • jade_blossoms posted on March 14, 2007 at 7:28 am

    Hi! Just wondering where the Peranakan area is? Thanks 🙂

    Reply
    • beverly posted on March 15, 2007 at 1:06 am

      Around the East Coast area, apparently!

      Reply
  • jade_blossoms posted on March 14, 2007 at 7:28 am

    Hi! Just wondering where the Peranakan area is? Thanks 🙂

    Reply
    • beverly posted on March 15, 2007 at 1:06 am

      Around the East Coast area, apparently!

      Reply
  • eviltofu posted on March 16, 2007 at 12:05 pm

    This is where my mom got hers made.

    http://www.hotfrog.com.my/Companies/Ang-Eng-Baju-Kebaya

    My mom says the above named company also supplies to stores in Singapore, that’s why the prices are so high.

    Reply
    • beverly posted on March 17, 2007 at 1:08 am

      Ahh thanks for the tip! It figures that in SG it’ll be raised prices 🙁

      Reply
  • eviltofu posted on March 16, 2007 at 12:05 pm

    This is where my mom got hers made.

    http://www.hotfrog.com.my/Companies/Ang-Eng-Baju-Kebaya

    My mom says the above named company also supplies to stores in Singapore, that’s why the prices are so high.

    Reply
    • beverly posted on March 17, 2007 at 1:08 am

      Ahh thanks for the tip! It figures that in SG it’ll be raised prices 🙁

      Reply

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