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Phuket History – Nyonya-Baba link to Phuket and Penang

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket History – Nyonya-Baba link to Phuket and Penang | The Thaiger

PHUKET: The Chinese community in Malaya grew rapidly during the 19th century.

During this period, many Chinese immigrants were arriving in Malaya in hopes of finding jobs in the booming tin-mining industry. Most of the Chinese immigrants were concentrated around large tin centers along the Malay Peninsula, such as Malacca, Penang and Phuket.

Chinese immigrants were usually young unmarried men. Even if they were married, few would have brought their wives with them on such a long and difficult journey into a completely new world. Many were therefore not reluctant to take Malay, Sumatran or Javanese women as their wives or concubines once they had settled down.

Their descendants, who were ethnic mixes of Malay and Chinese, became known as “Nyonya-Baba”. The Nyonya-Baba soon became a separate group within the Chinese community in Malaya. The descendants of first generation Chinese settlers were mostly of Sino-Malay ethnic mixes.

The Sino-Malays who were born in Penang, Malacca and other cities on the peninsula in later years developed their own unique culture. They retained some of the Chinese traditions that had been passed down from their forefathers, but also adopted many aspects of Malay and Western culture.

The term “Baba” is derived from Hindi and is often used in Indian culture to address a respected elder or a wise person. Ethnic Chinese men who were born in the strait settlements during this time were often addressed as Baba, as a sign of respect.

Women on the other hand were addressed as “Nyonya”, a Malay term used to address non-Malay women of high social standing. The term “Nyonya” could be traced back to the Portuguese language, meaning “grandmother”. Whilst Baba men preferred to dress themselves in suits and western attire, the Nyonya ladies dressed in distinctly Malay clothes. Their home-cooked food was an interesting mix of English, Malay, Thai, Indian and Chinese cuisine.

Although English was the preferred language of education in the Nyonya-Baba community, the Nyonya-Baba of Penang spoke a strange mixture of Hokkien Chinese, English and Malay. Marriages were kept within the community and between those of equal socioeconomic status. After the marriage, the man would move in to live with his wife’s family.

Because of this it was not uncommon for wealthy families to seek promising young bachelors to marry their daughters, in order to increase the amount of “talent” in the family. The son-in-law would help support his new family by joining and working for the family business.

The earliest Nyonya-Baba community probably started in Malacca. In Malacca and Singapore, they are sometimes referred to as “Peranakan Cina”, or “local-born Chinese”. To be Nyonya-Baba, one had to be born in Malaya, Sumatra, Java or any of the strait settlements. However not every ethnic Chinese born in Malaya was a Nyonya-Baba unless they displayed certain characteristics. They dressed a certain way, spoke their own mix of languages and were typically educated in English.

Because of their inherited wealth and their English-medium education, most Nyonya-Baba families were economically better off than first generation Chinese immigrants.

Their fluency in English allowed them to work in the British civil service or as doctors and lawyers. Together with their family wealth and social connections, the Nyonya-Baba community rose to become the Chinese elite during their heyday.

The community in Penang started much later in the late 18th or early 19th century. The Nyonya-Baba people were coastal traders and businessmen. Many Baba men built their network of business interests in small ports and towns along the Thai-Malay Peninsula, all the way up to Rangoon.

From the 19th century onwards, Nyonya-Baba culture had become evident in Phuket as more and more Baba businessmen ventured into Phuket’s tin-mining industry.

Since the 19th century, Phuket became an important tin-mining center for Chinese businessmen in Penang. Soon many more Nyonya-Baba were settling in Phuket as the tin industry grew and more wealthy families started establishing their business headquarters on the island.

The Nyonya-Baba elite of Phuket strengthened their relationships with the Penang Nyonya-Baba community through marriage alliances. Well-bred Nyonya from Penang were highly sought after as daughters-in-law by wealthy families in Phuket. Marriage was a way of creating more wealth amongst the wealthy, therefore the rich usually married within their ranks.

During this period, although Phuket was part of Siam and Penang was an island within the British Empire, Phuket was more closely tied with Penang than with any other city in the region.

— Anand Singh

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Phuket

Top 10 restaurants in Phuket

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Top 10 restaurants in Phuket | The Thaiger

There are many excellent dining experiences in Phuket. Here, in no particular order, are some tried and proven examples of great dining on the island you just have to visit when on the island. From Thai to European to Italian…

The 9th Floor

Patong. The 9th Floor Restaurant & Bar, located in The Sky Inn Condo in Patong is a rare hidden gem offering award-winning Mediterranean cuisine. The 9th Floor has created a unique dining experience with spectacular sunset, and a dramatic night view of Patong with a refreshing sea breeze. The well-trained “Angels” are there to guide you through the exclusive menu and the 300-label+ wine list.

If you’re looking for an unforgettable night while you’re at dreamy Phuket, the 9th Floor Restaurant promises an experience that will send you to cloud nine. Perched on the, well, ninth floor of the Sky Inn Condotel, you’ll be able to take in sensational views of the city or the spectacular sunset through the cascading floor-to-ceiling glass windows. You’re also served by ‘Angels’, a team of elegant women who are renowned for their stellar service. All this plus elegant yet unpretentious Mediterranean fare that has sated the appetites of hungry diners for the past 10 years, what’s not to like?

While the restaurant remains loyal to its Swiss roots with four types of fondue offered as the cornerstone of the menu, the selection here’s impressive and expansive. If you’re a true aficionado of classic cuisine, be sure to look out for the 9th Floor’s monthly degustation evenings for a finely curated experience. To complete the night, take your pick from their newly expanded selection of premium wines and spirits. Think gin and whisky from Scotland, rum from Nicaragua, and many many more. If you need any recommendations, just ask any one of your friendly ‘Angels’! Now, who can resist a great meal, spectacular views, and exceptional service?

Website | Facebook | Bookings  081 079 2699

Top 10 restaurants in Phuket | News by The Thaiger Top 10 restaurants in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

White Box

Kalim. The White Box Restaurant of Phuket, is the quintessentially elegant, white-washed beach restaurant in Phuket, attracting both tourists and locals alike. This Phuket restaurant offers an experience which blends the best fine French and Thai Cuisine on the island.

Once a famous Kalim beach-front house, this stunning venue was redesigned as an elegant Phuket restaurant, decorated in white and blue, boasting a mediterranean ambiance, while keeping a minimalist style.

This Phuket restaurant boasts a location which is nothing short of breathtaking. With unobstructed views of Patong Bay, and waves almost crashing at your feet, this restaurant in Phuket is paradise.

An impressive three-storey complex by Kalim Beach, this is a one-stop experience for dinner, drinks, and an after party. Built on huge granite rocks, White Box is like the beach house you’ve always wished you had: tastefully decorated in white with an expansive view of the surrounding sea and coasts, serviced by a superb kitchen and wait staff.

Food here is ‘Mediterranean Asian’ shot through with refined French sensibilities, revolving around seafood-heavy plates. Hokkaido scallops are served as a light carpaccio atop a bed of wilted spinach and pickled artichoke hearts, then dressed with little more than olive oil and a touch of lime.

Website | Facebook | Bookings 076 346 271

Top 10 restaurants in Phuket | News by The Thaiger Top 10 restaurants in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

Infuse Restaurant

Located 5 min from Boat Avenue, Infuse Restaurant by Diamond Resort is a sophisticated yet undemanding venue serving up European and Thai dishes under the expert and creative direction of Executive Chef Rieno Huyghebaert. Offering his elegant take on rustic home style meals, options include juicy burgers, delicious pizzas, authentic Thai and real European tastes. ‘Gusto Francese Pizza’ and ‘Smoked Salmon Salad’ are highly recommended.

The restaurant is inspired by a contemporary loft design for a more casual business lunch, or for an exciting family dinner, or set menu events, Infuse caters to your need. Guests can choose to sit inside, or in an outside space with a pool view.

Website | Facebook | Instagram|Bookings 076 609 542

Top 10 restaurants in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

Top 10 restaurants in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

PRU

Nai thon. PRU takes its name from Phuket’s indigenous lore: a place where the wild forest meets the sea. At this confluence of land and water, the earth is verdant and nourishing, enlivening the local cuisine and stirring epicurean ambitions with newfound creativity.

Inspired by Phuket’s legacy as a culinary crossroad and the island’s unique terroir, PRU at Trisara is pursuing our own culinary ambition – to elevate farm-to-table cooking to a new level. We use nature’s gifts from our own farm and do our part to give back, ensuring that life’s cycle continues to blossom and ripen.

Our meals tell a story, drawing out subtle and bold flavours from the herbs, flowers, plants and roots that grow wild in our garden, producing dishes that are both poetic and honest. Our culinary style is founded on Western tradition and influenced by the exotic, regional cuisine at our locale.

Bookings 076 310 100

Top 10 restaurants in Phuket | News by The Thaiger
Thong Dee – The Kathu Brasserie

Kathu. Not quite ‘fine dining’ but a very popular restaurant of excellent integrity in Phuket which was the Trip Advisor Most Popular Restaurant in Phuket for 2017. You will treated like a fine-dining guest and the food is reliably excellent.

“We invite You for a great dining experience,
Where You come as You Are and leave like a Star
Located on a quiet street, just 10 min drive from Patong,
You will find a fine choice of European Classics, Thai Cuisine & House Specialties
with something to suit every occasion and pocket
On Sundays We serve our famous Sunday Roasts – All day from 12pm-22pm
Come and make a Memory with us in a modern, warm and friendly ambiance
with chillax tunes playing and free pool table on 2nd floor.”

Bookings 076 319 323

Top 10 restaurants in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

Black Ginger

Nai Yang. This fusion Thai fine dining restaurant sits within the scenic surroundings of The Slate five-star hotel. The distinct indoor and outdoor dining space incorporates traditional Thai architectural style with contemporary design and luxurious touches, set on a platform over the hotel’s lagoon. The restaurant’s chef Anongrat Meklai cooks up classic and modern Thai dishes using fresh, locally sourced ingredients, and is particularly well known for her flavorful som tam, tom yum and Panang curry.

Bookings 076 327 006

Top 10 restaurants in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

Acqua

Kalim. This award-winning restaurant in Kalim Beach showcases the modern Italian cuisine of the accomplished Sardinian chef Alessandro Frau, with a particularly extensive range of Italian wines and modern interiors exhibiting chic black and white décor. The exceptionally appealing menu comprises dishes such as yellowfin tuna carpaccio marinated in extra virgin olive oil and lemon, topped with fresh artichokes and bottarga, Sicilian red prawns with jus, poached Maine lobster, and wood fired roasted suckling pig with saffron.

Bookings 076 618127

Top 10 restaurants in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

Royal Namtok

Unique, bespoke, boutique. After 20 years running their own award-winning, high-class restaurant “De Tafeljoncker” in Antwerp/Belgium, Marc and Corry shipped all their decorations and equipment to Phuket where they build in 2007 a private villa which at five o’clock it turns into a French, fine dining restaurant.

Chef Marc De Schrijver (owner) creates French classic dishes with a personal touch of healthy/detox, Thai Plants, herbs and local, natural products and flavors.

Your host, Corry Ringoet (owner) takes care of the guests with a personalized service with eye for details, also table cooking in front of the guest,  that many suspected had long ago, died out.

Only six tables,  richly decorated with golden plates and silver cutlery, crystal glassware and napkins in engraved silver napkin holders to pamper you and your table friends, celebrating special moments.

Their motto:  “Dining out must be a precious moment, fine gastronomy served with an eye for details”.

Bookings 087 263 7327

Top 10 restaurants in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

Siam Supper Club

This chic bar and grill is considered one of Phuket’s most sophisticated drinking and dining spots, combining elegant interiors with West Coast cuisine and an ambience created by jazz and lounge music. Expect to see aged grilled tenderloin steaks, fresh seafood and an array of pasta and pizza dishes on the menu. Perhaps start with the Wagyu beef carpaccio or pan-seared foie gras, followed by lobster ravioli, pizza Napoletana or classic tom yum goong, with one of the restaurant’s indulgent desserts to finish.

Bookings 076 270 936

Top 10 restaurants in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

Blue Elephant

Phuket Town. Be transported away from the hustle and bustle of Phuket Town as you step into the lush rounds of the Blue Elephant. Located in the 105 year old Phra Pitak Chinpracha Mansion, which was built in the Sino-Portugese style and combining elements of traditional Feng Shui in its architecture, Blue Elephant is Thai cuisine at its finest.

At Blue Elephant, award-winning Chef Nooror Somany Steppe takes diners on a culinary adventure commencing with traditional Thai heritage dishes through to her vision of the “Thai Kitchen of Tomorrow”. Specialty dishes drawn from the royal courts and literature of the Kings of Thailand give diners a most delicious history lesson.

Drawing inspiration from Chef Nooror’s myriad of travels and overseas experiences as a Star Chef, and accurately reflecting the present-day cosmopolitan nature of Thailand, diners can also expect to see Western classics with a decidedly Thai twist – Croquettes Koong Kiew Wan is a fusion dish inspired by the strong relationship between Thailand and Belgium, while Thai red curry paste and sweet chill sauce give the Crispy Crab Soufflé an extra zest.

Bookings 076 354 355

Top 10 restaurants in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

Da Maurizio, Kalim Bay

Location, location, location. Da Maurizio Bar Ristorante offers the finest in contemporary Italian cuisine RIGHT on the beach at the far north end of Patong.

Da Maurizio’s has always distinguished itself from other Italian restaurants and the new menu lives up to its already firmly established long term reputation amongst the island’s expats. From among the assorted items on the menu is live fish and lobster, imported meats, homemade pastas and the chef’s special tasting menu.

Delicious food, a gorgeous sunset and the serenade of the surf make this open air restaurant at Kalim Bay a must for any visit to Phuket.

Top 10 restaurants in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

Bookings 063 078 5567

 

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Entertainment

Game of Thrones: Thirsty actors leave water bottle in shot

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Game of Thrones: Thirsty actors leave water bottle in shot | The Thaiger

Oh my GOT. They’ve done it again.

For the second time this season Game of Thrones fans, with eagle-eyes and a trigger finger on the pause button, have spotted another out-of-place-and-time item on screen.

This time, a plastic water bottle tucked in behind the leg of ‘Samwell Tarly’ has been spotted on the series, now concluded. Actually you’ve got to be looking pretty hard and it takes a bit of Photoshop and zooming in to see what it really is glinting in the lights. But, there it is!

Two weeks ago it was the Starbucks coffee cup. Now the thirsty actors have left a water bottle, not quite hidden away, in the full view of the cameras.

Continuity? Props? Editors? Directors? Hello?!?!

Following the Starbucks coffee cup incident you would have thought there would be some extra care given to the actors, sesames and props before they rolled the cameras.

Last week, fans thought they spotted another blooper in a photo released of Jaime and Cersei Lannister where the Kingslayer’s amputated hand had appeared to have grown back, but the image did not appear in the episode that was broadcast. And then there was the battery pack and cable that appeared on screen during Stannis Baratheon’s death scene.

Game of Thrones took its final bow on Sunday night, US time, after eight seasons and 73 episodes, wrapping up a series that became one of the most popular shows around the world.

Game of Thrones: Thirsty actors leave water bottle in shot | News by The Thaiger

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Phuket

Boat Pattana’s Cherng Talay villa project reports strong pre-sales

Bill Barnett

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Boat Pattana’s Cherng Talay villa project reports strong pre-sales | The Thaiger

Thai developer Boon Yongsakul’s latest development Shambala Grand Villa in Cherng Talay is experiencing strong pre-launch sales. With 22 available units, the Boat Pattana group has already reserved 17 units.

The landed properties feature two bedroom pool villas with land plots ranging from 300 to 600 square metres. Property management is through an affiliated company and buyers are offered a 6% guaranteed return on their investment – a fairly standard inducement in modern Thai new property sales.

Pricing for a fully furnished units starts at 16.9 million baht. Freehold and leasehold options are available.

Cherng Talay has become the latest ‘next big thing’ in Phuket property with the new Blue Tree Phuket waterpark opening sometime mid-year, Central’s new concept retail development called Central Porto de Phuket and countless new condo and inland hotel developments.

Boat Pattana’s other developments include the nearby Cherng Talay’s Boat Avenue. For more details email boon@boatpattana.com

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