Traditional Coconut Grater

April 16th, 2010Nyonya Ware18 Comments
Coconut Grater
Coconut Grater pictures (1 of 5)

I am a nostalgic and sentimental person. Certain things, dishes, and songs remind me of certain phases of my life. For example: a song that I used to dance to when I was in high school, a certain dish that reminds me of my family’s celebration, or in this case, a traditional Nyonya kitchen tool that brings back flood of memories of my childhood—the wooden coconut grater.

My late grandmother had a traditional coconut grater, which I believe it’s still in our possession somewhere in our home in Penang. I spent a lot of my childhood days on this tool, riding it like a real horse, while I helped my late grandmother and my aunt grating the coconut as they made their assortment of Nyonya kuih. The wooden coconut grater was more like a toy to me than a cooking utensil…

The pictures above are courtesy of Madam Kwong, who used it for her kuih bengka guest post. Traditional coconut grater is such a neat Nyonya ware but it is also fast becoming an antique or obsolete in today’s modern kitchen.

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18 comments... read them below or add one

  1. Kate says:

    This is such a cute looking coconut grater. It does look like a wooden horse for kids. LOL. Thanks for introducing all these ethnic kitchen tools. I am always intrigued by this topic.

  2. Cynthia says:

    I too love old kitchen tools and find them very useful even in these modern times. To date, I still use the grater I grew up seeing my mom use which is similar to the one you have here only, the metal is secured on to a broad flat piece of wood upon which you sit. It takes me all but 5 minutes to grate a coconut.

    Love this post!

  3. sarah says:

    I found your site while searching Google and have found your website information and advice to be a very good fit for our visitors.

  4. teng says:

    When I saw the picture of the grater at the top of your post, a torrent of fond memories came flooding over me!!!!! Never knew this could be such a powerful visual stimuli. Regret that i did not keep my Mum’s grater. I’ll surely get one for keepsake, when i balik Penang next.

    Was back in Penang 3 weeks ago and bought a tub of kiam-hu acar (threadfin)…from a Nyonya in Tg Bungah (Ah Moh Nya). It was alright, scoring 6.6666 out of 10, rempah was ground too fine using blender, which i thought was shame, really. Would have been great to feel & taste the rempah in your mouth, if the rempah was tumbuk or giling. Wondering if you have any decent recipe for this great dish.

    • Teng – I am glad this post brings back fond memories to you. :)

      I am not sure about kiam hu acar. Have never had it in our family. I am very interested to find out though.

  5. Bee, I actually have a coconut grater similar to the one you show. It’s not antique, but it’s the same idea. In the Philippines, it’s called a coconut horse, or kabayo.

    Check it out here:

  6. sidik says:

    We have a similar grater at home, but it comes with a knife too, a sickle shaped blade that ends in the round grater. It is used to cut food, meat etc and also used to grate coconut.

  7. Lily says:

    I lived in Australia and just wandering where can I buy the coconut grater?

  8. Lily says:

    where can I buy a coconut grater in Australia?

  9. awesome coconut grater…

  10. Nazri says:

    Aww…this grater really bring backs memories for me hehe. Except it doesn’t have the same design as that. The grater that we used was foldable. When it opens, it forms like the word X (when u view it from the side).

    When I was small (and light), I used to sit on top of it and grate coconuts especially when Hari Raya Aidilfitri is just around the corner. It is rather tiring and also not to mention you might accidentally cut your self while grating it. At least, it doesn’t look as deadly and menacing as the electric coconut grater that’s available at your local grocery store.

  11. bamboo says:

    that is original in tne philippines,in bicol espicially in buhi we call it kakabgan.

  12. Mei-Mei says:

    OMG!!! I love this stuff. I was one of the luckiest ones who ever used this when I was a kid.LOL.I remembered I had fun,pretending having a horse ride and scratched my skin.ha ha ha ha ha.

    Can I copy paste and share this to my family and friends,please? bet they’ll laugh remembering the past.

    Thank you!!!


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