Feeling Blue

Often, we use blue to denote sadness. I discovered recently, the Peranakans traditionally used blue in their food to signify mourning.

As it so happened, I had a plate of blue nasi lemak two weeks ago. The colour could not have been more apt, as a reflection of the morbid mood I was in.

And so, I had wondered, in my moment of sorrow, why blue signifies sadness. I googled and found several explanations. According to greek mythology, the god Zeus would make rain when he is crying, and rain is associated with the colour blue. Another source said the word feeling blue comes from the tradition of ships flying blue flags when an officer died. Then, another said, according to the Oxford Dictionary, the word could be derived from the word ‘blow’. A blow to your body would generally turn you blue. One more source cited the American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms – the relation may have come from  a blue devil , a 17th-century term for a baleful demon. Feeling blue may have been reinforced by the notion that anxiety produces a livid skin color.

So, how did I feel after my blue nasi lemak? No, not more blue. I liked it, but the blue rice did not make it anymore special, and I have eaten equally good nasi lemak elsewhere.

The blue colouring comes naturally from the petals of the blue pea flower, which the Malay name is Bunga Telang.

The eatery is small, so go early before the lunch crowd throngs the place.


 Jia Xiang Nasi Lemak
114 Lavender Street, #01-08/09, 338729
 Photo credit: KL