Sunday, July 20, 2008
A Malay Wedding Feast
We got invited to a Malay wedding! I haven't been to one in ages, so it was something we looked forward to. This was held at the Eunos Community Club. The main hall was converted into a banquet area richly decorated with roses. For this special occasion, the couple are raja sehari, King and Queen for a day. Here's the "royal" couple seated upon their pelamin (ceremonial dias). The groom arrived earlier accompanied by a kompang (hand drum) band. All part of bersanding (literally, sitting together on the bridal couch) ceremony.
Celebrations extended to the sheltered basketball court outside, where the kenduri (feast) was held. I remember in Malaysia, such feasts were often held under festive marquees right along the road near the bride's and bridegroom's homes. Families and friends chipped in to prepare the feast in the spirit of gotong royong (helping each other). In Singapore, the kenduri is more frequently held at void decks of HDB flats.
These days, it's common to find caterers doing the cooking. This couple chose not one caterer but several. Each one was a specialist - there was a briyani guy, a satay chap, a dosai cook and even the desserts came from a separate shop. Doesn't the briyani look good? Fluffy basmati rice to go with mutton, chicken, prawns and vegetables and achar (pickles). There was also rojak and mee soto.
The satay man was kept very busy - the guests loved these delicious skewers of beef and chicken.
Here's the dosai station, which I didn't get to try because there was just so much food!
There must have been easily 30 different kinds of cakes and desserts! Both Malay and Western alike. Nadine loved the bubur cha-cha, tako (water chestnut in coconut jelly wrapped with pandan leaves) and strawberry coulis even though she normally detests sweet things.
We enjoyed the satay very much. The meat was lean but moist and well-marinated. Generous portion per skewer and the all-important peanut sauce was a beautiful blend of spices and flavours. I was quite happy I got the caterer's card.
JAMIL SATE CLASSIC
Azman Jamil 9007-8029
Aliman Jamil 9041-9731
Kitchen at 18 Rowell Road, Singapore 207976
Staples at Malay weddings - briyani with mutton, ayam masak merah (chicken cooked in spicy red tomato sauce), vegetable dhal curry and curried prawns.
At the end of the wedding, guests are given little gifts. Traditionally bunga telur (eggs decorated with flowers) symbolising fertile union are given out to herald the pitter patter of little feet that the marriage will hopefully bring. Chocolates and candy are common substitutes these days. We also got as souvenirs some lovely white coffee cups.
The mood was simply festive. Many guests from all walks of life came together to cheer and congratulate the newly wed. It was a beautiful event and we wish the happy couple many years of wedded bliss!