Food is a national obsession in Singapore. Yet traditional Nonya recipes have remained closely guarded secrets, handed down through generations of female descendants.
Fortunately, we can now all relish the authentic, complex flavours delivered by a range of six distinctively spiced, cooking sauces and condiments created by Nonya Secrets.
The Malay Archipelago has for centuries been a melting pot for different cultures, encompassing Penang, Malacca and Singapore. The region was made great by its fortuitous geography which facilitated trade between the East and West, through the Malacca Strait. Flourishing commercial opportunities and prosperity brought with it an influx of Chinese immigrants, who, over the years, forged a new culinary tradition through their intermarriage with the indigenous Malay population.
This union became a wealthy and educated class in South East Asia’s Colonial society. The Nonya (females) were renowned for their exceptional culinary skills.
The Baba (males) were similarly famed for their generous hospitality. Nonya Secrets’ founder, Maureen Suan Neo, spent her childhood in Singapore and grew up with vivid memories of the fantastical family feasts celebrating ceremonies and rituals. Fastidious and attentive, Maureen’s mother was the perfect teacher for a budding chef. Later, when Maureen moved to Europe, she adopted the cosmopolitan spirit of her Nonya mother and Baba father, adapting the recipes passed down through her ancestors.
During the 1980’s and 90’s Maureen and her husband, John, opened five successful restaurants in London. Known as Singapura, they served classic Nonya cuisine to a loyal and adventurous audience.
During this time, Maureen was responsible for the painstaking and lengthy preparation of the Rempah (spice mix required for each dish) for all five of Singapura’s restaurants. So when Maureen and John decided to look for a new challenge, the adaptation of these recipes into a ready-touse cooking sauce format made sense!
Consequently, Maureen has honed her repertoire into six show stopping examples of Nonya cuisine. From a fragrant Sambal Curry Mix to a rich Rendang, Nonya Secrets removes the need for time consuming preparation whilst delivering all the intense, complex flavours that epitomise this culinary style.