Miss Malaysia Universe goes Peranakan with her National Costume – we love it!

Miss Malaysia Universe Shweta Sekhon donned a truly Malaysian pageant dress that pays tribute to our Peranakan kuih culture – and we’re impressed!

What’s great about it? Peranakan flair!

The 28kg outfit comes complete with a selection of our favourite Peranakan kuih-muih, such as kuih talam, kuih koci onde-onde, ang ku kuih, kuih lapis, red eggs and bakul siah.

Inspired by Peranakan bridal costume, it is made out of songket with intricate embroidery, vibrant wings to represent our colourful Nyonya batik, and a headgear with aster flowers.

Want to learn how to make Peranakan kuih in Melaka? Join our local expert in her Melaka Nyonya Kuih Cooking Class to make 3 famous Nyonya kuih: Onde-onde, Pineapple Tart and Kuih Lapis.

As is tradition, the costume is an extravagant take on the country’s heritage and culture. So no, you wouldn’t expect a simple kebaya or cheong sam. Go big or go home, am I right? In the past, Malaysia’s participants have worn costumes inspired by our nasi lemak and bangauu perak, a traditional Malay boat.

This is the brainchild of 51-year-old Malaysian designer Carven Ong, who told NST: “There were many challenges in designing and creating such a delicate and complex national costume, which is something that we are truly proud of. It took me three months to complete the costume.”

Winning our hearts and stomach

Although Malaysia didn’t win the best dress award (it went to a well-deserving Miss Philippines), the costume did win plenty of praises from netizen for its creative take on our multicultural diversity.

Here’s a video of Malaysia’s costume!

What do you know about Peranakan culture in Malaysia?

The Peranakans, also known as the Straits-Chinese, descended from Chinese settlers who moved to then Malaya during the 15th to 17th century, and married the local Malay community. Their whole culture is indeed a marriage of two cultures. Their clothes, food and heritage have a unique style of their own, adapting both Malay and Chinese cultures.

For anyone looking to get an understanding of it on your next Malaysian adventure, we’ve compiled 8 ways anyone can discover Malaysia’s Peranakan Culture with the local community in Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Melaka.

LokaLocal connects travellers to activities and authentic cultural experiences. hosted by locals. Discover and book more activities here!

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