Hidden within Central Market lies Precious Old China, still a popular choice for lunch a decade after its debut. The reasons why, do not surprise us: decorated with antique furniture, big, bright paintings and sculptures, the restaurant reflects a resounding charm synonymous with the Baba Nyonya culture. Displays aside, the kitchen never disappoints, the food prepared within occasionally bringing a nostalgic tear to the sentimental soul. Accompanying the traditional blue rice are ju hu char, beef rendang, assam fish fillet, lemak nenas sotong, and lady’s finger (Okra) Kerabu. Ju Hu Char is a dish unique to the state of Penang, consisting of shredded cuttlefish, turnip, carrot, onion, mushroom, and minced chicken cooked in a brown bean sauce. Served alongside a shrimp chili paste, one typically consumes the dish by wrapping the condiments into a lettuce leaf. Best eaten as an appetiser, the dish helps ease a growling tummy, while the crunchy lettuce leaves provide a refreshing boost. For the mains, there is local favourite, beef rendang, a fragrant and slightly spicy dish typically cooked with coconut floss and an array of spicy Malay herbs. The assam fish fillet is delicious to say the least, dressed with a red, spicy and tangy tamarind sauce. A highlight of the meal is the lemak nenas sotong, consisting of squid and pineapples prepared in a thick yellow curry, which gives the tongue just the right tingle of spicy, awash with bold flavours from the chilies and coconut milk. Evening out the playing field are lady’s finger kerabu, which is blanched okra tossed in an aromatic and spicy mix of chili, shallots, lime leaf, ginger flower, and dried shrimp, brightened with a dash of lime juice. To clean the palette is a hybrid of two desserts made from country’s finest durians – D24 and musang king. The former comes with a strong bitterness, while the latter is a sweeter affair, more subtle in flavour. The two are mashed together with a dash of coconut milk, bringing forth a euphoria of divine flavours, but be warned as the flavours of this dish may vary from person to person. If strong tasting durian is not your thing, you may be more partial to the Sago Gula Melaka. More mellow in taste, but big on flavour, the dessert is a sago pearl pudding, bathed in coconut cream and Gula Melaka, also known as palm sugar. The dish is a treat: light as air, and distinct from other local sweets. Aside from the delectable food, one can also find pieces of furniture carefully displayed throughout the restaurant. Although certain pieces are for sale, the owners have decided to halt sales and preserve the remaining furniture for the younger generation. Those that have been saved are found in the restaurant, from dining tables to partitions, and antique vases subtly illuminated through the elaborate stained glass window. Central Market is known for its rich history and abundance of Malaysian trinkets. In every nook and cranny lies a surprise, whether it’s a sale rack of kaftans, or calligraphy artisans eagerly displaying their work, you’ll be nothing short of delighted. And if you’re hungry during your visit, take a break and enjoy all that the Baba Nyonya culture has to offer in Precious Old China Restaurant.