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Malacca this Place is a Food Mecca

Brian Kennett

Brian Kennett

Amateur Chef and Foodie Extraordinaire

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On the West coast of Malaysia lies Malacca

 
Jonkers Street, the night market in Melacca
Jonkers Street, the night market in Melacca

It is just an amazing place, that only takes us about 3-4 hours to get there by car.

You really should try to get there if you have not been before.

Recommendation to stay in old town.

Recommendation to stay at Casa del Rio on the water front.

Recommendation to eat in old town.

A little Daddy-Pedia for you quickly. Did you know Melacca is;
  • a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site since July 2008 (together with George Town of Penang – yep exactly where Ollie went for his school trip);
  • located on Southern region of the Malay Peninsular next to the Straits of Malacca – now I wonder where it got its name, hmmm;
  • the 3rd smallest state after Perlis and Penang;
  • was very prosperous until those naughty Portuguese came in to power (well conquering it) in 1511, massively removing the power of the Sultans and its very Trade, and then trying to kill the religion by bringing in Catholicism – but because of that there is a Portuguese influence on food and buildings;
  • the Dutch then had a go back in 1641 when kicked out those naughty Portuguese, although not a great deal happened re the trade situation. They stayed though until 1798;
  • In 1824 the Union Jack was erected there, yep the Dutch handed over to us from then until something like 1946 – during this time The British East India Company was running her;
  • she is now part of the Federation of Malaysia, following Malaysia’s independence – good on her;
  • she is VERY similar to George Town in Penang, Singapore’s Malay Quarter, and in fact most of the Asian shipping ports of it’s time – it’s just great;
  • As a foodie this is the GREAT part, she is a mix of approx;
    • 57% Malays,
    • 32% Chinese, including Peranakan,
    • Indians,
    • Kristang (people with Portuguese blood line), and
    • etc
  • Dripping with places to visit and hang out;
    • St Peter’s Church – Dutch one in 1700’s,
    • Fort A Famosa – interesting one this, originally Portuguese construction in 1511, us Brits then said tell you what let’s the blow bugger up as we’re new Sherriff’s in town. This action was stopped by the one and only Sir Stamford Raffles, of course of Singapore fame,
    • Tranqerah Mosque – oldest in Malacca,
    • Jonker Walk – antique shops and food, oh my goodness food – this is also where they shut the street on a Saturday night and have the night market, and
    • The list goes on, and on…
On this wonderful Saturday we decide to go say Hi – driving through the then haze from Indonesia.
When we get there, Malacca is just a mass of tiny streets and roads, lined with amazing shop houses in a grid system, with the old quarter located near to the river. Of course back in the day this was all for trading from small boats that had unloaded cargo from bigger boats out on the sea. Small boats that could navigate up the river to the shop houses to sell and trade to the shop houses.
Some of these streets are so narrow they are one way, so miss a turn and you are in strife having to go back to the start and start another run. Almost like Star Wars when attacking the Death Star – “Stay on target, stay on target…” Hmmmm back to Chewbacca again.
So now picture me, trying to find myself around this 1500’s market town in a car, with Mary who is just rubbish at map reading (sorry babe but you are), reading non-English signs, on a Saturday which is market day, with two kids starting to get annoying in the back, using a map from 2008, going through a series of one-way street – yes it was a challenge indeed.
But we got there in the end and man oh man the hotel that I had booked did not disappoint, it was just amazing! Right on the river – so smack bang in the middle of all the action.
Our fantastic hotel The Casa Del Rio - front and centre to the river and all the food action
Our fantastic hotel The Casa Del Rio – front and centre to the river and all the food action
Quick kids dump bags, toilet break, quick change…
Let’s go eat.
But before we could even leave we get served this as a welcome treat.
IMG 0396 e1410706963309 Malacca this Place is a Food Mecca
local delicacy, that is sweet, coconut, chewy, gooey – really nice ” width=”720″ height=”605″ /> Onde Onde – local delicacy, that is sweet, coconut, chewy, gooey – really nice
“I’ve also come to turn down your bed!” he said,
“Hold on a minute I didn’t even ask if you wanted it!” said I (cough cough).
And to lunch.
You know me – where there’s a queue of local looking people it has to be good – right?
Well there was a monster at this place.
Massive queues here for world famous, well maybe Melacca famous <a class=
This was the very place Laurence and Kirsty had bought Nina and I with the kids nearly 5 years ago now – my last trip to Melacca. To be honest it has taken a while to want to go back with memories of here – our last family holiday as we were.
I had to try it again, but sadly it did not live up to memories.
No chicken rice balls and about half of the rest of the menu being sold out. Hmmmmm!!!
Still I love the history of this place.
I don’t know for certain but you tell me this is not;
  • Grandad;
The grandfather...
The grandfather…
  • Dad; and
The father...
The father…
  • Son.
The son...
The son…

All working together in the same place – 3 generations now.

That I love and respect.
This has to be surely – they all look so similar!
Mary ordered fish head Nyonya style, which is like a spicy stew. She actually didn’t like as it was a river fish of some kind and therefore quite earthy tasting. I agree there. Still it looked pretty good.
IMG 0407 e1410703840274 Malacca this Place is a Food Mecca
fish head curry, I think I prefer my Tom Yam fish head curry ” width=”720″ height=”480″ /> Nyonya fish head curry, I think I prefer my Tom Yam fish head curry
Chicken was nice, but served on bone, with loads of chipped bone from the chopping – not way I love it to be honest.
The sauce was lovely though! Liked that a lot.
No rice balls though which made it over all very disappointing, sad to say.
Sorry to say not worth a 4 hour trip, could have driven 4 minutes to <a class=
This was a winner – Chinese cabbage stir fried in some Oyster sauce or other – this was great!
I really really liked this one! Just delicious.
Stunning cabbage dish - this was an absolute winner, simply delicious
Stunning cabbage dish – this was an absolute winner, simply delicious
Is this Ollie’s toilet the next morning after eating a load of chili?
Dodal Panas - looks pretty gross, but tuck in, it's bloody nice
Dodal Panas – looks pretty gross, but tuck in, it’s bloody nice
Nah – not really, just messing – although…
I would give you friends in the West a MILLION guesses for this, and I bet you would not have a clue.
OK go on then scroll down further.
We bought one of each flavour – one normal and one with Durian (yes we did!)
Dodal Panas - now in tins, scrum my
Dodal Panas – now in tins, scrum my
Simply gorgeous is Dodol – melted cane sugar with molasses is the normal flavour, but then add some durian for the rather more funky option. It is sticky like a new-borns first nappy. But tastes – WOW! Don’t eat this with your eyes folks.
I love this picture below for three reasons.
But first some scene setting – we spotted on one of the first stalls we passed in the night market something called Nyonya Dumplings. Basically sticky rice surrounding this sort of char siew pork, wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed. These were still warm as the guys had just cooked them at home and put them on his stall nearly straight from steaming.
All I can hear them saying is "WTF", ha ha
All I can hear them saying is “WTF”, ha ha
But why I love this picture, is for three reasons;
  1. I am tucking in to this delicious packet of pork, stick rice, banana leafy thing which was just scrumptious;
  2. You cannot see the literally 100’s of people walking towards me (that I can) murmuring under their breath “look at that pretentious Angmo idiot, having a photo with a dumpling”; and
  3. And because I love the guy to the left, again murmuring “what kind of f*cking shirt is that you’re wearing dick head?”
Anyway who cares, clearly not Ollie.
Like father, like son
Like father, like son
One or two stalls down the street and this.
What is that? Looks too interesting to walk past, I must have a look.
And hold on a minute is that SPAM, is it really, yes it is it’s SPAM.
STOP everyone!!! Let’s have a looksie at this.
IMG 0447 e1410705732751 Malacca this Place is a Food Mecca
Spam, spam, spam, spam…” width=”720″ height=”420″ /> Spam, spam, spam, spam…
Welcome to Han-Bao, apparently this literally means hamburger in Chinese – this as you can see actually originates from Taiwan.
You order you ‘interior’ ingredient. Of course being a Brit I went with ‘ham’ – come on guys it’s flipping SPAM from a can and you’re calling it ‘ham’. Anyways go with the flow. I’ll have one of them please!
Han-Bao Malacca
Stage 1 & 2 of the preparation process
Taiwan Han Bao Malacca
It goes like this;
  • Stage 1 – Crack egg in to the round hole which is a series of round holes atop a burner. Add some sprinkling of something. Add some spices of spam and let it cook a while.
  • Stage 2 – Then in burner with holes add some batter and transfer the spam thing from burner with holes number one in to the batter mix as below, and let it cook a while…
Han-bao Malacca
Stage 3 of the process

Stage 3 – Repeat back in burner number one some batter mix and flip the thing from burner two on top of that and again let it cook a while. It takes about two minutes all up, and I had mine finished off with a good squirt of mayo.

Whilst it was cooking I asked to take the picture of the cook, and he sort of turned away and flicked his spatula at me.

Han-Bao Malacca
Ouch, I say my good man watch what you’re doing with that spatula.
“I say my man, don’t you know who I am?”
“We ruled you blighters in 1824!”
Haven’t you read my Daddy-pedia blog?
“Dear me! What a blighter!”
“God Save the Queen!”
Whatever – you end up with this little beauty.
Taiwan Han Bao in Malacca
Like a little egg and bacon McMuffin – street food at it’s best
It’s like a Taiwanese Egg McMuffin (can’t believe I have compared it to that) – OK only in looks. Sort of a batter on each side cooked to crispy, then egg and Spam in the middle, with the mayo on top – oh yeah street food to die for – heavenly!
Mary’s food nose kicked in then.
“I can smell dried fish, I can, I can smell it.” says she.
“Yeah I can too smell something that smells like it has been dead for rather a long time hun. It must be dried fish.”
“Yummy you know much I love that, let’s go find it!”
“I can’t wait until we do! Goody!”
Ah Shit! We did!
Baby squid BBQ'd Jonker Street Malacca
Mmmmmm these smelled really nice (NOT). X did not mark the spot, the smell did!!!
Not really dried fish, it’s these little buggers. Baby squid that have been dried, spiced and then served up following a brief bash and flip on the BBQ to get that smoky coal flavour going on.
Not a lover myself as you know, but Mary, Ollie and Amy were tucking in to these as if they were a bag of sweet candies. In fact look carefully at the right of the picture above, I wonder who’s bump, hands and cash that is – could it be Jude at his 1st street market in Asia!

This place we tried to get in both days we were there, but the queue at all times was overflowing and up the street on Jonkers Walk – filled with locals so must be good. There’s always the next time.

“I know where you live Jonkers 88!”

Jonkers 88 Restaurant Malacca
Packed out at Jonkers 88 – just could not get in either day – we’ll be back
Even to Japanese octopus balls – deep fried in to little balls in a special skillet, served with bento flakes and some mayo and other sauce – yep we’ll have a tray of them too please!
Octo balls Jonkers Malacca
BBQ Octo Balls – ouch makes my eyes water just to say it
Can you tell we were pigging out here.
You just really could not help yourself walking down this night market street.
This guy was amazing – making this sort of honeycomb texture sugar thing.
Sugar sweet Jonkers Malacca
What a proud fellow – even displaying a picture I assume of his Mother and Father making exactly the same many years previous
He must be 80 if he’s a day and look he has a picture of mum and dad above his little stall.
They must have been a family manning this stall for decades.
We bought both malt and mint flavours of this sweet delicacy – oh yeah twas amazing – as long as you don’t mind losing all your teeth, your current sized clothes, having to pay for two seats on the bus home etc…
Nancy's Kitchen Malacca
Small but perfectly formed it seems… But on later trips we did indeed get in there.
This even smaller than 88 and potentially with a bigger queue.
Stating the bold statement of hand me down recipes from mother to mother to daughter.
Nancy – I now know where you live again! We’ll be back to sample your Nyonya fair, don’t worry.
One quick food shot from the hotel. Mary and I had the Pho – well as the menu called it Pho – Vietnamese beef noodle soup with Angus beef from Australia.
Looks OK but man oh man - roof slate <a class=
I think they shipped the Angus beef from Australia when the UK first colonized it. Man it was so tough I am thinking of taking it to my Cambodia House Building this year. That stuff would sustain itself in any storm, as it was harder than the hardwood last year we had to hammer through. In fact you could probably not get a nail through it so maybe not a good idea! But there were a couple of bits of fillet beef in there that were amazing. So once I had removed all the timber like pieces and left the fillet bits this was bloody lovely Pho. A little lighter than I am used to but still very very good.Just please hotel guys lose that flank steak you use, or tile the flipping roof with it or something.
It’s lunchtime – off we go again, all wearing masks now (sadly) as was everyone else due to the haze now hitting Melacca too.
Streets a little more deserted that yesterday as you can see – maybe because of the smog, or maybe because its a Sunday?
Hazy fantasy - our neighbours the Indonesian's causing all sorts of trouble with the haze this year - dear me
Hazy fantasy – our neighbours the Indonesian’s causing all sorts of trouble with the haze this year – dear me
Who knows.
Still we loved walking and roaming the streets, taking in the sights and smells of this great place.
Here every year, this guy sells the same sweetened, stewed monkey nuts. Just the thought of them makes you want to reach for a beer
Here every year, this guy sells the same sweetened, stewed monkey nuts. Just the thought of them makes you want to reach for a beer
This is a street vendor we actually bought from the day before – this chap is selling stewed peanuts, still in the shell – monkey nuts basically that have been boiled in some secret liquid – they are mushy, they are sweet and savoury all at once, they are more-ish, and would go great with a beer – but one is driving one’s family home this afternoon so no beer may be consumed (maybe we should stay another night?)
We had a look again at 88 on Jonkers – packed to the rafters.
Walking back we spotted this joint on a corner.
You absolute beauty... Our life saver for this trip!
You absolute beauty…
Our life saver for this trip!
Like the name – “Restoran Famosa Chicken Rice Ball”. Plus no queue but very busy in side.
Gets my vote!
Definitely gets my vote – he’s got roast pork too!
He's even got pork belly - you have now become my very best friend Sir
He’s even got pork belly – you have now become my very best friend Sir
Daddy Happy – Daddy Very Happy!
What a wonderful place.
No airs, no graces, simple food being prepared and served with smiles and major efficiency!
Not plush by any means, almost food court style restaurant - just how we love it of course
Not plush by any means, almost food court style restaurant – just how we love it of course
Why is it famous, sorry famosa… Because of these little beauties. The world famous Singaporean chicken rice is taken to new levels (sorry Singapore). The rice is cooked in chicken stock (massive secret what goes in that), rolled to a ball and steamed/fried to these. I tell you I am not really a massive rice person but I had 5 of these and ordered 16 take away to bring home – absolutely delicious!
Wow with balls like that I'd love to meet the chicken...
Wow with balls like that I’d love to meet the chicken…
His pork came out top trumps too.
So crispy.
So salty.
Bloody good!
Nicely done with the pork belly too, this was right up there with some of the best I have ever had
Nicely done with the pork belly too, this was right up there with some of the best I have ever had
Yes the two monsters equally polished off something like 12 chicken rice balls between them!
No1 Son
No1 Son
No1 Daughter
No1 Daughter
Mary enjoying her kampong chicken. It’s a naturally raised chicken, like organic on steroids. Its a tad ‘wiry’ for my liking, very lean and therefore served on the bone, and a yellow in colour. She gave it thumbs up. Well she didn’t actually as she wouldn’t put her cutlery down for a second!
Come on Mary - in the words of Luke Skywalker; "Use the forks..."
Come on Mary – in the words of Luke Skywalker; “Use the forks…”
Yours truly having a ball of a time – ha ha, excuse the pun.
Having a right ball of it - I do excuse the pun, ha ha
Having a right ball of it – I do excuse the pun, ha ha
I was truly in heaven, truly – best meal of the trip – and it was a casual lunch only, I loved it.
Seemingly watched on carefully by the Chinese Mafia or FBI.
The chicken with the rice – WOW.
Ollie said – “Best I have ever had”.
Ollie's "best ever" chicken with rice - big statement that one!!!
Ollie’s “best ever” chicken with rice – big statement that one!!!
A veritable FEAST.
Loads of food.
What a feast, cheap, fresh, delicious - gets my vote every day of the week
What a feast, cheap, fresh, delicious – gets my vote every day of the week
2x chicken, huge portion pork belly, loads of rice balls (more than enough for a game of snooker – in fact 2 games), veggies in form of these amazing bean sprouts, drinks for all and it came to 15 quid tops!
Did we enjoy this place, did we enjoy Melacca. I’ll pass over now to Amy to answer that one…
Ah, Oh Dear…
Fore!!! Who hit that? Phew it's not a <a class=

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