Tok Panjang setting courtesy of PAA NSW Tok Panjang Chinese New Year Dinner
While helping to plan for the Peranakan Association NSW Chinese New Year dinner, I was asked about Tok Panjang, and its significance in today society, as the dinner was set in the Tok Panjang setting.
Traditionally, when we mention Tok Panjang, it does not just mean Long Table; its actual meaning is serving up a lavish peranakan / nonya feast laid out on a long table during special occasions with family and friends.
So, what’s the significant of Tok Panjang today?
Why are we still trying to re-produce this Long Table feast and rituals since we are all living in a different culture now?
The Tok Panjang setting is not only unique, the cuisine that are served on the table are just one of its kind, and worth preserving.
Personally, I feel that it is important to share your culture with your children or grandchildren, and more so when you are living overseas and far away from your families and community – thus the Tok Panjang setting!
When we live far away from our family and friends, it is always important to remember our roots, our loved ones overseas, and most of all, introduce and share our traditions, culture and values with the younger generation – and the easiest way is through our cuisine.
By introducing your cultural dishes to your children or your grandchildren, you are actually introducing your cultures to them indirectly, which in turn, allows your children to have a better understanding of your culture, heritage and your background. Thus, it is easier for them to establish deeper and more meaningful relationships with you and your extended families.
Your children may be limited by language or may have adopted different lifestyles and attitudes to their relatives back in your home country due to generational gaps, but it does not mean they need to miss out on understanding your culture and their heritage.
So what are you serving on your tok panjang today!