Nyonya Dumpling and butterfly pea flowers

Butterfly pea flowers –

I just want to write a little blog about the Butterfly pea flowers and Nyonya dumpling.  A little discovery during my second day of the Melaka trip.

The night before I visited the night market in Melaka, a historical town in Malaysia.  I were attracted by the Nyonya dumpling with blue sticky rice.  It made me think of the ocean in a little nice dumpling.  How could the Nyonya make the sticky rice to blue colour?  I was curious.  Got to buy one to try how does a blue food taste like.  Does it taste like an ocean?


The next morning when me and my mom enjoying the breakfast prepared by Cyclamen Cottage, a little nice guest house in Melaka,  I saw the Chris, the owner of Cyclamen Cottage.  He is an expert in Peranakan culture so I showed him the little nyonya dumpling we bought with ‘satisfied’ expression and asked him how does the sticky rice was made to blue colour.  I just hope it is not artificial colour.


We started a little lesson on Peranakan culture after this.  “Let follow me”, said Chris.  “I show you the flower”.  I quickly jumped out from my chair and left my mom alone who was still enjoying the dumpling and the breakfast.  When I saw the Butterfly pea flowers, I smiled like a kid.  “See the little creepy plant with blue flowers.  This is where the blue come from.  Peranakan people used this flower to dye their food to blue”,  Chris proudly told me the fact.  There are plenty growing at the garden outside of a abandoned old house next to Cyclamen Cottage.


I really like the flower.  The blue is so bright and I felt that I were sucked into the deep purple blue.  Before I left Melaka, Chris gave us some of the plant and told me it is really an easy plant to grow.  “Just give it a try.  It is easy”.  He said.  My mom planted the flower at the little garden of my hometown home when we reached home.  She left home and travelled to Singapore to visit us 1 week later and left the plant grow by itself.  Another 2 weeks when she travelled back, she saw the plant has already grown nicely with a number of flowers blossom.  I was happy to hear that because it would mean I can slowly and take my time to admire these little blue butterfly pea flowers right at home next time.

If you asked me what are the highlight of this Melaka trip, I would say the little butterfly pea flowers in my heart but I would probably tell you some other things like the Nyonya food, the night market or the Jonker street.  Just in case you think I am over crazy with the little butterfly pea flowers 🙂


Just a side story I found from one of the blog writing how to make the nyonya dumping with blue glutinous rice –

There was a show on the telly, one of those with a celebrity chef in it. These food boffins of the media can sometimes make me cranky.  Case in point: this chef was critiquing/ commenting on a contestant’s use of blue colouring in a meringue – “it looks unnatural, there’s no blue foods, change it”.  She’s got a point, blue food doesn’t happen often in nature. Purple does, blue, not so often.   Does that make the use of blue a bad thing? Not according to the Nyonya/Peranakan Straits Chinese it doesn’t.

For my own reference.  These are some of the nice links I found about how to make nyonya dumpling with blue glutinous rice –



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