Feasts of Penang: Muslim Culinary Heritage (Second Edition)
ISBN : 9789674155407
Author: Wazir Jahan Karim
Published Date: March 2020
This book was written out of love and passion for Straits Muslim heritage foods, inspired by Wazir Jahan Karim’s mother, Begum Bismillah Munawar, a well-known philanthropist and hostess in the 1960s who, amidst her volunteerism for the poor and disadvantaged, took much pride and joy in entertaining friends and relatives to gastronomic home dinners. If she had invited 10 persons, 15 would turn up with profuse apologies that they thought they were on the guest list, and if she invited 15, 20 would turn up saying they were house guests! There was always plenty of food to go around and everyone left satiated and happy. For fear that many of these recipes would remain only part of the nostalgic memories of newer generations of Straits Muslims, Wazir Jahan embarked on a project to document the culinary heritage of Straits Muslims from the northwest of Peninsular Malaysia, mainly Penang. Malay (Melayu) herbs and foods are strongly featured as the indigenous foods of Penang. Of all the port cities along the Straits of Melaka, Penang is the heart of Straits Muslim hybrid communities—urban Malays (Jawi Peranakan, Jawi Pekan and Orang Tanjong), Arabs (Arab Peranakan), Indian Muslims (Mamak), Pakistani Punjabis and Sumatrans, who adopted aspects of Malay culture. In this book, Wazir Jahan—a Punjabi Muslim who has assimilated into one of these hybrid communities of Straits Muslims, known commonly as the Jawi Peranakan in Penang, Melaka and Singapore—takes the reader through a dazzling array of anecdotal insights into this unique culinary heritage.