Having 2 glorious nights hosted at the Case del Rio boutique hotel at the Melaka riverside, I took the opportunity to (what else?) scour the streets of old charming Melaka to unearth some of its culinary gems.
All the Jonker overrated shops and insipid nyonya restarants has been getting all the coverage lately. I had followed the same path, since I needed to experience for myself what’s the fuss all about and frankly none of them left me impressed.
And of course, what better way to find the good stuffs if not by engaging with a local born, bred and current Malaccan resident? Vincent has been the most gracious host, taking time off his busy work schedule to help us satisfy our insatiable hunger.
Breakfast was following a tip from a Malaccan. Unfortunately his tip wasn’t too updated and we ended up having to settle for a quick red wine mee sua to hold back our hunger since the duck noodles he recommended wasn’t in business anymore.
I refused to spoil my appetite with mediocre food so I ordered a “Saturday Pah Poh”, thinking that it was some novel creation only to be disappointed by this.
It was basically ais kacang with 3 thin crackers on top. My mood turned really foul at this point.
The red wine mee sua did have strong undercurrents of wine so it wasn’t too bad but it wasn’t exactly memorable either.
Kevin said his coffee was so-so.
Name: Saturday Ice Cafe at Melaka
Address: Along Jalan Parameswara
GPS: TBU – to be updated.
We moved on quickly to Baba Charlie Nyonya Cake as I figured some rich, creamy nyonya kuih would somewhat pacify the stomach while we figure out somewhere else to head for nyonya laksa.
At Baba Charlie I selected some of my favourites (separate blogpost coming up) namely the tapioca kuih, the famous bongkong, layer kuih and my top pick – the durian apom.
I had wanted to try the mee siam, nasi lemak and popiah as well but was told that that would be available only after 2.30pm.
Unfortunately there wasn’t any table for me to take a quick bite so I ended up holding my hunger .
Name: Baba Charlie Nyonya Cake
Address: 72, Jalan Tengkera Pantai 2, 75200 Malacca, Malaysia. +60 19-666 2907. 11am to 3pm
Open daily except on Thursday.
GPS: N02° 20.325′ E102° 23.154′
Things took a turn for better as Vincent must have somewhat “felt” my distress a mile away and called at that moment asking me where I was.
I immediately grumbled about being hungry and not getting to eat what I originally planned (yes, I’m a huge whiner when things don’t go my way) and he decided to step in to my rescue!
After meeting him, the first place he bought me to was this low key laksa stall in Taman Peringgit Jaya. Only laksa, prawn mee or yee kiao mee are on the menu.
I took the laksa (RM4.00), and Kevin the yue kee mee (RM3.50).
The laksa was full bodied richness, creamy and tasty. No fancy ingredients were added (no chicken, big prawns) but just small cockles, beansprouts, fish cakes, shredded cucumbers and “tau pok” – beancurd puffs. It was the broth made all the difference!
The layer of oil on top put me off at first but surprisingly it didn’t really affect the overall taste. I was careful not to mix the broth and not to scoop any oil onto my spoon.
Overall, it was a humble bowl of good nyonya laksa for RM4.00!
Kevin’s yee kiao mee (a kind of local fishball/fish cake soup noodles) was just decent at best. The soup is good, but other than that there wasn’t any reason to drive to Juat Lye for this.
We washed it all down with leung cha (herbal tea), a refreshing herbal drink.
Name: Juat Lye Melaka
Address: 371G, Taman Peringgit Jaya Melaka 75400 Malaysia.
GPS: To be updated. A few kilometres out of town and a very quiet area.
A short drive away was for chicken rice balls. These iconic spheres of Melaka had never impressed me. I have went to Chung Wah twice and I very much preferred Huang Chang’s version!
For once I actually enjoyed eating chicken rice balls.
It’s cheap too, the service friendly and the condiments – soy and chilli was commendable. The chicken is tender and firm while the rice balls were nicely seasoned, fragrant and firm to bite (not mushy).
Here is the ordering process. We arrived earlier than lunchtime so there wasn’t a queue. Whew!
Queue, make your order, pay, get a chip. Once food and drinks are served, return the chip to the wait staff.
Food is cheap and good, service systematic and warm. I’ll recommend Huang Chang for chicken rice balls in Melaka anytime!
Name: Huang Chang Chicken Rice Restaurant
Address: BB-376 Taman Melaka Baru, Batu Berendam, 75350 Melaka. Telephone Number : +606 317 0299
Business Hours : 645AM to 3PM (Close on Thursdays)
GPS Coordinates : N02° 23.792′ E102° 25.946′
Then it was time to check-in at my hotel and we took a break from our food hunt. Casa del Rio is beautiful (check out the post HERE) and we forgot all about food once we stepped in. The vibe and the relaxed atmosphere just blanketed me and eased my tension.
We finally dug into our Babe Charlie kuih seated at the balcony, overlooking the river and the lago.
But more on Baba Charlie’s delicious nyonya delicacies later.
After checking it was a spa session at the Satkaya Spa. That would be in another post. All I can tell you now is it’s very good! The therapist are knowledgeable and her hands worked magic on my stressed physical self.
The gluttony continued right after.
First up was to satisfy my craving for a good bowl of claypot asam fish. Vincent bought us to one that is just simply known as Pasar Borong Asam Fish.
There are actually 2 sides to it. One is for the Muslims, another is for those who do not mind pork.
No prize for guessing which side we sat at. Kevin the non-lover of seafood ordered a wantan mee with added siew yok (roasted pork belly). I happily took a few mouthfuls and my; the noodles, condiments and most importantly the roast pork was good!
Other than roast pork there’s roast duck, char siew and chicken as well. When I saw the stall and all the meat on display, I understood how Kevin got tempted to order the noodles!
But we are here for the assam fish. Leading the way Vincent chose 3 sizeable stingray for our dinner. Our claypot asam fish is cooked in superb sour spicy stock, thick and redolent with spices.
This cried for rice and even I couldn’t resist a small serving of carbs. The ladyfingers were a bit old, but the long beans crunchy and the stingray so sweet and fresh!
It was easy to polish one whole claypot of this with orders of ‘kah fan’ (add rice) but we had to pace ourselves since this was the first stop of the evening.
I spied on another table this soya bean curd with unique toppings of wheatgrass, longan, corn, peanut cream, sesame cream and many more. Heck there’s even a chendol tau fu fa!
See the menu? So many flavours! Who said eating taufufa is boring?
I ordered a sesame cream taufufa, cold (RM2.80). I regretted that as the sesame cream was very diluted once the ice melts. Other than that it was quite nice to devour the smooth bean curd with the thick creamy sesame cream.
This venue is like a food court so the wantan noodles, the taufufa and the claypot asam fish are ordered from separate stalls. I like it here; it’s clean, the food is good and cheap and there’s variety!
Name: Asam Pedas Pasar Borong Taman Merdeka
Address: 11 Jalan IKS M2, Melaka 75350
Business Hours : Evenings.
GPS Coordinates : To be updated.
Our next pursuit was bloody cockles and fresh seafood that Melaka is so famous for. Everyone told me to try cockles, fresh lalas (siput kepah) and the cuttlefish so I told Vincent I want to try the best there is in Melaka. His pick was however this Hock Chin outlet somewhere in . Everything was so cheap and absolutely fresh!
Here’s a dedicated post on the food we had that evening.
Name: Kedai Makanan dan Minuman Hock Chin
Address: Kedai Makanan dan Minuman Hock Chin, Jalan Jasa Merdeka 2, Taman Merdeka.
GPS: (will update as I got my GPS coordinates all mixed up for now).
Closed every Sunday.
The legendary queue of the Melaka Tengkera Putu Piring had me intrigued for some time. Anything with a queue does. We tried our luck that night and though there was queue it was a reasonably short one so we didn’t mind.
As soon as I took a bite I knew what’s all the fuss is about. Damn, this is good stuff!
Read more on: http://www.rebeccasaw.com/putu-piring-tengkera-melaka/
Name: Putu Piring Tengkera
Address: No. 252, Jalan Tengkera, Melaka. Available only in the evenings from 6pm, closed on Sundays.
GPS coordinates: N02° 12′ 3″, E102° 14′ 21″
The plan was to head to a satay celup place. Along the way I saw this spooky little shop with a sign that reads “Famous Malacca Hainanese Mutton Herb Soup”.
Now that’s an uncommon dish.
Kevin had been craving for hainanese mutton soup for eons, Vincent haven’t tried it before and I’m pretty game for everything and anything.
We were stuffed, so as tempting as the menu read of Hainanese Pork Chop, Hainanese Lotus Leaf Chicken, Hainanese Stewed Meat, we just couldn’t stomach anymore food after the Hainanese Mutton Soup. It’s RM35 for 2 pax and that’s the smallest portion they offer.
But it was really aromatic. How do you say “No” to a whole bowl of thick mutton soup with generous of tender mutton? Nevermind that the meat terribly gamey, the key factor is the amount of herbs used and the hours taken to coax the flavour of the meat and herbs into the liquid, resulting in a broth that is flavourful but not overpowering. As we sipped spoonfuls of it, the deep hearty broth warmed our inside and bought back memories of old, sadly forgotten cuisine.
Name: Heng Hong Tin Tee Restaurant – Famous Malacca Hainanese Mutton Herb Soup
Address: 62, Jalan Tengkera, Melaka, 75300, Malaysia. Contact: +60 6-282 2172
GPS coordinates: To be updated.
Gratified, we called it a night. It’s been a long day and I can’t wait to hit the bed!
But that’s not all.
Stay tuned for day 2, day 3 and day 4 as we navigate the streets of Malacca; savouring yong tau foo, duck noodles, the famous Bukit Cina wantan noodles and more; all of which will be published soon.
Meanwhile I appreciate any suggestion you may have for me as I’ll be heading to Melaka again soon. Do drop me a comment of what I should eat/drink/see/do/buy when I’m there next!
If you’re heading to Melaka soon, I have compiled a list HERE which may be helpful. Take a look!