Londoners are single-minded about restaurant identity: Indian is curry and French is expensive and never the twain shall meet. So the opening last year of Notting Hill's Nyonya, which serves a spicy, delicious blend of Chinese and Malaysian cuisine, caused much head scratching. The beautiful curved-glass windows with a minimal interior designed by London's Four IV gives little away and, to the uninitiated, menu entries with names like otak-otak and ju hu char don't help much.

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But the food has a centuries-old pedigree, as the product of Chinese settlements in Malacca, as Malaysia was known during the...

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