The Baba-Nyonya or
Peranakan Chinese are early immigrants from China. They openly adopted local
beliefs and practices, resulting in a unique culture that is solely their own.
Peranakan culture in Malaysia can be found in Penang and Malacca but the Penang
Peranakans differ from their Malaccan counterparts in some ways
Although both sides
use a mixture of Hokkien and Malay, the Penang Peranakans speak mainly Hokkien
with some borrowed Malay words whereas in Malacca, the Peranakans have adopted
a Malay patois, with some Hokkien words included in.
The Peranakan style of cooking fuses
Chinese and Malay elements. In Penang however, there is an added Thai influence
in the Peranakan cuisine, bringing in a sweet and sour edge and differentiating
them from the Malaccans.
From rituals, cuisine, dressing to language, the
Peranakan Chinese have created a fusion of cultures that stands as a true
hallmark of Penang’s rich multi-cultural diversity.