Ash & I were honoured to be invited by the Peranakan Museum to the Cooking Capers, A Peranakan Culinary Adventure for kids last Tuesday. This interactive hands-on workshop kickstarted Children's Season at the Peranakan Museum, and of course Ash will only be too glad to attend especially when cooking is involved!
To be honest, visiting the Peranakan Museum didn't really rank as one of my top places to bring my monkies before this (even though their Mummy is of a Peranakan descent). One of the main reasons is because I thought that the kids will most probably be bored easily and that the exhibits would appeal more to the older generation.
Boy, was I wrong big-time.
Prior to the workshop, we had the opportunity to linger in the Ixora Room which has been converted to a haven full of activities for children.
There were paper 'tiles' to be coloured so that one could stick them onto a long wall, and this was one of Ash's fave activities there.
There were also jigsaw puzzles to be solved, a big Perankan-style 'dollhouse' for kids to re-arrange its furniture and also educational exhibits that expose the kids to the Perranakan culture - like this 'smell booth' which wafts out smells of different spices when each of the drawers are opened.
There's a dress-up area as well - for all aspiring Babas & Nyonyas to dress up in Peranakan outfits. Cute.
Ash declared he would want to come back to the Museum again, and bring Mummy, Ayd & Ale along too. And I couldn't find any reason to disagree with him! :)
But lest we forget, we still have the small issue of the cooking workshop.
The kids were first put through an ice-breaker game where they had to go around the room and find someone with certain traits so as to collect names. That certainly made the kids more spontaneous (and incredibly chatty too). :P
Anyway, in accordance with the cooking theme, the kids were then brought up to the third level of the museum so that they can have a first-hand look at a Peranakan kitchen of yesteryear.
That bird cage looking like thing is actually a place to store meat and other foodstuff.
Because there were no refrigerators last time, food had to be kept high up in the air to prevent the ants or other bugs from helping themselves.
I believe Ash , as well as the other kids, were pretty fascinated by the stories told and how many of the things that were used in the past were replaced by the more familiar technology that they are used to now.
They even had a mini game where they had to match the modern appliances to those that used to serve a similar function in the past, much like this washing machine & the washing board.
The kids were then shepherded to the Dining Room exhibit, where they were shown how elaborate some of the dining ware were last time.
And with that, it was time to start the cooking proper and no surprises that the kids were only too eager to start!
Back in the room, Chef Benjamin from True Blue Cuisine, an award-winning Peranakan restaurant beside the Musuem, was already waiting for all his little baba & nyonya chefs to be seated.
I particularly loved the little aprons that were given to the participants - it has the imprint "Peranakan Baba' for the boys and 'Peranakan Nyonya' for the girls.
It would be perfect if the parents were issued with an adult version too. :P
Chef Benjamin (or Baba Ben) first explained the various spices used in Peranakan cooking and passed around some lemongrass & lime leaves for the kids to smell... to hilarious reactions I would say.
After clearing their noses, the kids were all raring to start on their first item on the menu - a spice-infused lime juice.
After a demonstration by the chef, the kids proceeded to concoct the drink on their own.
And for Ash, I think he must have loved pounding the lemongrass in the mortar! Haha.
After adding lime juice & rose syrup to the battered lemongrass, all it needed was a good shake...
And voila - his very own refreshing drink is served!
And in this workshop, the kids are expected to serve their parents with the food that they had prepared. Who am I to argue? Heh.
Cold tofu salad was next on the list, and once again Chef Benjamin went through the process first.
And one by one, each kid was invited to the front to prepare their own cold tofu salad with some supervision from the chef himself.
It was an extremely easy dish to prepare, but the satisfaction on the kids' faces on holding a bowl of tofu in their hands was no less immense.
And how did Ash like the dish?
He only offered me ONE spoonful and walloped the rest, and asked for a second helping after that.
Last item on the menu was ang ku kueh, where Chef Benjamin prepared the glutinous dough first.
I think the prospect of playing playdoh thrilled the kids, not to mention Ash too. Hah!
For the ang ku kueh, the kids would be making a tortoise-shaped one and once again, the chef first demonstrated the process.
One cute tortoise!
Kids' turn next - and rolling the red bean paste and moulding the dough seemed so much fun that I was almost tempted to make one myself.
DONE, and proud of it! :)
A sauna session was then lined up for all the tortoises...
And then - it was ready! Ash's very own handmade ang ku kueh... with a Certificate of Participation too!
Ash even made a new friend in Boon Wee, from the Sengkangbabies blog!
Overall, it was a fun 2-hour workshop and I think Ash enjoyed himself tremendously. Many thanks to the Peranakan Museum for the kind invite!
And all thanks to them, I have realised that the Peranakan Museum has something to offer to people of all ages and we will definitely be back soon with the whole family sooner rather than later!
*And from now til 3 July, ALL MEN enter the Peranakan Museum for FREE! Yup, whether you are aged 1 or 100, you get free entry just for being a male. Who says the men don't get it??? Hee.
But fret not women, you get 50% off the admission fee (U.P $6) if you bring a male along! Now there're simply no excuses for not going! :P
For more information on the list of workshops at the Peranakan Museum for the little ones, click here: http://www.peranakanmuseum.sg/exhibitions/events.asp
For more information on the event listing of the Children's Season happening at all the various Musuems around the island, click here: http://www.museums.com.sg/cs11/events.html