by Maria Mahat

Go on GASTRONOMIC adventures with these Malay & Bilingual books with Singapore & Nusantara flavours. 

Buku-buku bergambar kanak-kanak dengan kuih-muih dan makanan Melayu dan Nusantara. Kenalkan kepada anak anda citarasa dan makanan Melayu dengan tema-tema yang dekat di hati si kecil.

1. Kuih Yang Mana Satu? (Which Kuih)
by Idayu Hussain, illustrated by Rizal Wahap

This is our favourite book simply because it is published by Ungu Pen. But more than that, this book showcases not one but more than 11 Malay kuihs for you to introduce to your children. On top of that, the story revolves around a boy and his sister who were looking for Malay kuih to break their fast during Ramadan, and they visited the Geylang Serai bazaar. And it’s bilingual. So much to explore with just one book.


2. Apa Nama Kuih Ini
by Maria Humairah & Siti Salmah, illustrated by EorG

Launched at the same time as Kuih Yang Mana Satu?, Apa Nama Kuih Ini? is like a riddle focusing on one Malay kuih that is round, green and yummy! Now, how many round, green and yummy Malay kuihs do you know? On the way to buy the Malay kuih, this boy forgot the name of the kuih but he knew what it looked and tasted like.  Have you guessed what is the name of the kuih?


3. Tok Bah Suka Apa?
written/illustrated by Mohd Khairul Azman Ismail

Another case of ‘forgetfulness’, this time Tok Bah wanted to eat a green-coloured kuih but he forgot the name. Nek Bah and Owly (the owl mascot which is part of a series of Owly books) tried to help Tok Bah to figure out the kuih that he wanted to eat. In the process, readers are introduced to other ‘green-coloured’ Malay kuihs. Once they discovered the name of the kuih, Nek Bah went about happily making the kuih to satisfy Tok Bah’s cravings.


4. Kuih Untuk Aidil
by Rilla Melati, illustrated by Bon Ten Vow

Nenek has made a special kuih today that is shaped like Batu Seremban and steamed! This gooey kuih wrapped in banana leaves is soft that it got stuck on Datuk’s dentures. Go on a little funny escapade with Adil and this special kuih.


5. Cef Cilik (The Little Chef)
by Shahidah & Nurwahidah, illustrated by Raihan Ismail

This book comes in both bilingual and Malay language versions. A little girl, Munirah cooked up a simple dish with the help of her dad for someone they both love. A dish that is prepared lovingly and peppered with love.


6. Telur
by Maria Mahat, illustrated by Nanimonda

The Twins, Adriana and Amalia, had a special breakfast that is prepared by their Dad. Now, how many types of egg meals do you know? Dad showed them various egg meals and they also discovered where the eggs come from. From food to animals that lay eggs or reproduce live, this story has themes of food and food sciences all rolled into this simple and easy-to-read book.


7. Raja Rojak
by Nur Shabrina & Nur Shaliza, illustrated by Isabelle Ho

Which is the King of all Rojak? Is it the Malay rojak, Indian rojak, or Chinese rojak? All the rojaks compete to be crowned as the King of all Rojak, but who would win in the end? A harmonious book with multicultural flavours for all foodies.


8. Kisah Raya Ramdan
by Rilla Melati, illustrated by Hairul Latiff

Ramdan’s mother runs a small home-based business selling kuih bahulu. In the evening, they are sent to those who have ordered them. The remaining kuih bahulu is given to Ramdan to sell from door to door. However, Ramdan got bullied by the neighborhood kids through name-calling. Ramdan is determined to think of a new way to sell the kuih bahulu. Will he succeed? A good book for lower primary schoolers.


9. Nenek, Kuih Apa Ini?
10. Enaknya Lemang Ini?
11. Jom, Makan Kuih Ini?
written/illustrated by Najidah Mohamed

From across the causeway, we see some kuih and Malay savouries that we do not know much about here in Singapore. We love lemang, but do we know how it is traditionally made and cooked? This series also showed two more special kuihs that are made during festive occasions and special majlis.


12. Air Tangan Nenek 
by Hasliana Md Lahir, illustrated by Rahimah Ramlan

“Air Tangan” is an idiom to mean “cooked by”. Often it is also an endearing term to mean “special touch”.  Hence, in this book, that evergreen comforting ‘epok-epok’ has Sarah’s grandmother’s special touch.


13. There are saga seeds in our pockets! (Bilingual version)
14. There are saga seeds in our pockets! (Mandarin version)
by Maria Mahat, illustrated by Idris Ali

The entire book is on Singapore and Malay culture, and what is Malay culture without showcasing a snippet of Malay food and eating etiquette. On their cultural adventure, Mahir and his friend, Aqil met Pak Awang and Mak Timah. Mak Timah served a tray of nagasari, and onde-onde to these two boys. A Mandarin version is also available for all to get a sneek peek into Malay culture.


15. Kek Cawan Sabar
by Maria Mahat, illustrated by Nanimonda

Okay, this is not a book on Malay kuih or Malay food, but nevertheless, it is a much-loved dessert in Singapore and elsewhere in the world. In fact, many innovative kuih-makers have included Malay flavours in cupcakes. In this story, the twins Adriana and Amalia made cupcakes with Mum, but were simply impatient. An easy-to-read book that inculcates basic maths and science concepts – from measurement to heat – and loads of patience.


We simply love our Malay/ Singapore/ Nusantara kuih and food, don’t we? 15 books on kuih and food are definitely quite a feast. Did we miss any other Malay or bilingual books related to our local food?

Moving forward, we hope to see even more themes (besides food) for our Singlits!