2D1N in Malacca, Malaysia

MY TUMMY IS SO BLESSED :3 / FOODIE POST ALERT

This week has been one of non-stop feasting and indulging. It started with a quick getaway to Malacca, then birthday celebrations for my father, which I would get to eventually in the coming posts. But first, MALACCA, also known as, MELAKA!

Having been to Malacca a few times when I was much younger, I’m no stranger to this city. Whenever we pass through (a short stopover before we make our way to KL), we’ll skip the attractions and head straight to our favourite restaurants ❤

But first, we took a quick detour to the Johor Premium Outlets. I’ve heard that there are shuttle buses from Johor and some tour agencies offer a one day package which makes it really convenient to get to. I wouldn’t recommend taking a taxi there. Like in the US, the outlet malls are a fair distance away from the city along the expressways. But this premium outlet looked exactly like the ones I frequented in Fort Lauderdale and at San Marcos during exchange days *cue emo music*. It really doesn’t feel like you’re in Malaysia.

It’s somewhat smaller than the ones in the US, but it has a fair bit of everything. From high end brands like Ermenegildo Zegna to more affordable ones like Coach, Raoul, Charles and Keith, Pedro and Cotton On. Suitcase stores, homeware shops, makan places (even a food court) but how can I miss out on…

BASKIN ROBBINS! And I love their Peanut Butter Chocolate.

Being a typical Singaporean, I take the opportunity when I’m across the border to indulge in food that is available in Singapore but which you can get for almost half price. A few others would be Nandos, Fish and Co etc. Teeheehee. We got a double scoop for RM9, that’s almost $4 or less?

I probably wouldn’t return to the outlet mall? It’s one of those places where you’ve been there, done that. But having said that, my sister got a really good deal at Fossil for her Adidas watch.

And so off we went to Malacca, we stayed at the Holiday Inn – a treat from my mom. We got an upgrade (yay!) to a Queen and Single. Clean, spacious room.

A late lunch at Nandos (hahaha, I told you so) which was somewhat disappointing actually, but dinner was super yums, it made up for everything else. I always look forward to the Peranakan food in Malacca. Penang is another one for good Peranakan food, and also where my grandma’s from. As a “diluted” Peranakan, I say “diluted” because we don’t wear the outfits nor keep to the practices but one thing that keeps us tied to our heritage, the food! I love my Babi Pongteh, Itek Tim, Bakwan Kepeting. Everyone should try it.

Restoran Bibik Neo has a somewhat humble shopfront but it truly delivers. Food is served piping hot,  which I think makes a world of a difference in determining standards and quality. We had the Ikan Goreng, even though it was served with the chilli on the side, the fish itself was fried till crisp yet still keeping it moist on the inside, and was good enough to eat on its own.

Then, Lady’s Finger with Sambal Belachan. It’s a really simple dish to do, a salad almost. The vegetable is simply steamed and topped with chilli on the side. From what I understand, lady’s finger can be somewhat complicated when cooking. It tends to get really slime-y so the best way is to steam it. Again, natural flavours, keeping it the bare minimum.

Then the Ayam Buah Keluak which is my sister’s must-have. I really can’t appreciate it as much, but basically the black nuts you see in the picture is from the kepayang tree. It’s a tedious dish to make. You create a small hole and remove the black flesh from inside, mix it with meat and stuff it back in. Then you simply korek the stuffing and eat it with rice. This one fell short, it merely had the flesh but not the chicken meat, which misses the point of the dish entirely. 
AND MY FAVOURITE, the Cincalok Omelette. Cincalok is made from fermented small shrimps, and may be too strong, even pungent and salty for some. The egg wasn’t dense, and you could taste the Wok Hei, or in other words, the flavours from a hot wok on food when you stir fry. Absolutely loved this. We were so stuffed, and I mean, zip-bursting stuffed, from these four dishes which was shared among the three of us. It cost us about RM69, that’s about $30 or less. 

Restoran Bibik Neo
No.4 & 6, Jalan Merdeka,  
Taman Melaka Raya,
75000 Melaka, Malaysia

One of the places I would recommend going is Jonker Street, one of the most famous streets in the city. At night, roadside hawker stalls are set up and the place is abuzz with activities. You have the ding ding man…

…touristy souvenir shops….

….legit hawker stalls, and my father said this was how Bugis Street in Singapore used to look like…

…and of course, a chendol stall to recommend!! This is part of a bigger shop which sells Wanton Mee and the likes. If you look closely, even Jeanette Aw-sans makeup has been here before. A crucial pressure point (quote, unquote Junior Masterchef Australia) is the Gula Melaka, which is usually sticky but somewhat watery from other chendols that I’ve tried before. Here, their Gula Melaka sticks to your spoon and the bottom of your bowl. It’s the texture of caramel, and it truly makes a difference to the dessert. When I dropped by a food snack shop the next day, I was told there are different grades of Gula Melaka. There’s of course the one with 100% and then lower grades. But this is absolutely a must-try!

Lunch on day two was at another old Peranakan favourite, Restoran Peranakan.  We always head there, even as we were little kids. The draw of the place is definitely the decor, somewhat like a museum/restaurant. Housed in a traditional Peranakan house, it enhances the entire experience, as evident from the tour groups that drop by.
Food portions were much smaller but also a little cheaper than the day before. From clockwise top left, Cincalok Omelette, Chap Chye, Beef Rendang and Ayam Pongteh. My father reckons this meal was more authentic than the previous. But the food was served lukewarm like the Rendang and Ayam Pongteh, it’s almost as if they cooked a huge pot for the day and just serves it as it is. Food is decent, but the draw is definitely the exhibits!
Restoran Peranakan
107, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock (a short walk from Jonker Street)
Malacca, Malaysia
What I’ll say is that Malacca has really been cleaned up. It’s a lot more touristy with a Venice like canal in the heart of the town, but still bearable. There’s alot more backpacker hostels sprouting up near Jonker Street, and new shops, cafes and bars dotting the city. I think it’ll be a favourite with the younger crowd soon enough.
As much as it is moving forward, you can still see bits of history preserved in the town, which they are very proud of. It’s a good mix of the old and the new, which I really like. And before I go, two more addresses to keep.
Accomodation
Courtyard at Heeren
I really wanted to stay here. It’s rated #3 on Tripadvisor and highly recommended by an ex-colleague. It’s right smack in the heart of the town, just off Jonker Street, and if you head to this boutique hotel on Weekdays, it’s just RM200 nett.
Local Products
Tan Kim Hock
Along Jalan Laksamana Cheng Ho
It’s housed in a red shophouse, really difficult to miss. Goodies to buy back are definitely Cincalok, Gula Melaka, Durian Dodol, and other Malaysian products like Heong Peah, Salted Fish etc.
Enjoy!
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