Nyonya Kueh

Kueh is bite-sized snack originating from Malaysia. The kuehs are usually made from rice or glutinous rice. The term kueh is widely used in Malaysia in reference to the sweet or savoury desserts. There is no specific time to eat the kueh, people could eat the kueh any time of the day.

Nyonya kueh is the snack synonym to the Peranakan (Baba and Nyonya) community in Malaysia. The Peranakans are the Chinese community that settled in Malay Peninsula for more than 200 years and have integrated the Malay culture and tradition in their daily lives. This include the way they dress and the way they cook the food.

Majority of Nyonya Kueh share the common flavouring ingredients which are grated coconut, coconut cream, screwpine leaves and palm sugar.  Whereas the base are usually built on rice flour, glutinous rice flour, glutinous rice, tapioca flour or green pea floo. The usage of green pea flour is also more common in Peranakans community.

The most famous Nyonya Kueh are chwee kueh, pie tee, seri muka,.niangao, kuih lapis, onde onde and ang koo. However, there are still a lot more different type of delicious Nyonya Kueh to be savoured.

Image by: Ariel Hii

Hear From Others

One especially exceptional aspect of the life of the Peranakan people—and a very delicious one, at that—was their cuisine. Nyonya kuih (pronounced as ‘koo-eh’) is a prime example of this, with its varying textures, flavours and appearances that captivate all the senses. From savoury to sweet, these treats are incredibly decadent, and each bite is known to bring about a great amount of pleasure.


Nyonya cuisine is a fusion of Chinese and Malay influences, one that evolved after Chinese people settled in the Straits, and they couldn’t find certain ingredients, so they substituted with whatever they could find locally such as Malay or Indian spices,”

Caroline Lim

Nyonya Kuehs are rich and varied, made from ingredients such as glutinous rice, coconut milk and palm sugar. Some examples of Nyonya Kuehs are, Ang Ku Kuehs, 9-layered Kuehs, Tapioca Cakes and Rice Cakes. However, as there are little confectioneries that are selling Nyonya Kuehs, these delights are no longer common among the younger generation today.