Facing challenges in an increasingly colonial world, Chye Hoon must learn to embrace her mixed Malayan-Chinese identity as a Nyonya—and her destiny as a cook, rather than following her first dream of attending school like her brother. Amidst the smells of chillies and garlic frying, Chye Hoon begins to appreciate the richness of her traditions, eventually marrying Wong Peng Choon, a Chinese man. But the cultural shift towards the West has begun. Chye Hoon finds herself afraid of losing the heritage she so prizes as her children move more and more into the modernising Western world.
This is a beautiful, enriching and interesting story. Also it is well written with such wonderful descriptions of the changing times of Malaysia in 1870s and onwards.