One-Day Trip: Malacca

Road trip to Malacca!! The last time I stepped into Malacca (dubbed as the ‘Historical State” in Malaysia) was probably a good 9 years ago. Coming back to this town brought back a lot of fond memories, especially of the food and the adventure! The photo above is part of a row of shops – the designs of it reminds me of the shophouses in the town where I grew up. Since it was scalding hot walking under the sun, it was good to be able to feel some breeze while walking along the stretch of corridor.

One-day trip to Malacca. What should we do? Makan of course!

Very near to where the first stop for makan is a Dutch-influenced town area.

The red coloured buildings in the photo in the middle are called the stadhuys, built in the 17th century. Right in the middle of the square is a beautiful fountain surrounded by tourists. After some photo-taking, it’s time to get back to the main mission of us visiting this state: food. The only thing we’ll have to do is to cross the bridge just above the Malacca River.

Just across the bridge, we can see Jonker Walk, famous for its antique shops and the bountiful of delicious foods! Since it was still the holiday season, there were many people in this street.

I know, it didn’t look like the street was filled with people in the photo. Feeling very hungry, with our stomaches deprived of food and growling (it was 2.30pm by the time we got through the traffic and found parking! Not to mention the confusing parking tickets that we had to scratch using a coin).

So, here it is, our first stop and what I’ve been craving for for the past few days – Chicken Rice served with rice balls! Apparently, this is the most famous restaurant in Jonker Walk.

And we know why the street looked empty! It’s almost like everyone’s queue-ing up to eat here!

Since it’s supposed to be the best in town, we queue-ed up for about 5 minutes under the hot sun. The thought of take-away did come up in my mind, but there was a sign which said, “Take-aways are Sold Out”. Oh, okay, queue-ing up it is then; which was another 10-15 mins amongst the jam-packed crowd full of hungry people. We finally got a table for us, and managed to jump the queue just because we were a small group (whew~!).

Of course, nobody leaves the restaurant without first having ordered and eaten the chicken with rice balls. When I was peering into the kitchen while in the queue, I was thinking to myself why there were so many fishballs in the restaurant. Isn’t it a chicken rice shop? Later then did I realise and remember that they’re actually rice balls! Maybe I was just too hungry – the smell of the chicken, sesame oil, and assam fish didn’t help either. We didn’t order the assam fish, but it smelled soOooo good! My friends and I had some of the rice, the chicken and some herbal tea. We had about 4 rice balls each with half a chicken. The dish of vegetables cost us RM1 per person. The total came up to about RM7 per person. I think it’s a tad too expensive, but hey, it’s a tourist area, and they’re famous, so, I can’t complain. We left the restaurant in search of more food.

The only problem was the long queue! Was it worth it? The answer is, yes! Probably applied to everyone else queue-ing up at Jonker88. Ha ha…

We ordered the Nyonya Assam Laksa and two types of ice-kacang: Mango Ice Kacang and Sea Coconut Ice Kacang (we had to queue up on two different lines to get these). Hardly able to wait any longer, we digged into the ice kacangs first (we totally deserved it after standing for so long outside in the hot sun!). It was lovely and we devoured it all within minutes. Yum yum…~ As for the assam laksa, it was spicy and a coupld of us actually choked on it (especially on the first sip). It was nicely balanced on its spiciness, sweetness and sourness. I liked it. I was to engrossed in eating it that the only differences I noticed (comparing to the Penang Laksa that I’ve tried) were that this didn’t have the shredded pineapples nor visible mint leaves (there was some kind of chopped up green leaves added into the bowl), although I did taste the shrimp paste in the broth (but it wasn’t strong). Interesting also, is that there was an egg! We were also offered the deep fried bean curd sheet with fish filling (it did cost us RM0.50 extra for it). Anyhow, it was all yummy! So yummy that we’ve decided to go on another round of ice-kacang. We wanted to get what everybody else, especially the what the grandma on the next table was having – Baba Chendol.

This is Baba Chendol – a bowl of chendol topped with a mountainful of very fine shavings of ice, aromatic coconut milk, and generous splashes of the thick and sweet gula melaka syrup. Ooh la la~! Was I glad that we actually ordered two bowls of this! Well, after about 10 mins of queue-ing up, of course.

After all the food intake, it’s probably a good idea for a walk before we go on the next food quest. So, we walked around Malacca, and saw some evidence of the Portuguese settlement in Malacca back in the 16th century.

We didn’t walk around too much because it was hot and there were too many tourists around. We went into a nearby shopping centre and spent a good amount of time doing some window shopping before deciding that it’s time to finalise our dinner: satay celup or Baba Nyonya cuisine. The winner was the Baba Nyonya cuisine. We had a restaurant in mind, and off we went in search of it in Melaka Raya. After 30 mins of driving around blocks of shops and Nyonya restaurants, we came upon “Ole Sayang“. We knew that it had to be a good restaurant because there was a queue just outside the restaurant! – what is it with queue-ing up today?! It’s everywhere we want to go eat!

It was 9pm when we arrived (it took me a few minutes of patient waiting – waiting for our number to be called and waiting for people to disperse – before I got the chance to take this photo). Once again, because we were in a small group, we managed to get a table pretty quickly (10 mins).

While waiting to be served, we started to play the card game, UNO. We’re still playing while waiting for our food to arrive. We didn’t wait for too long – maybe 15 mins? Lost track of time because we’re playing a game I guess.

Well, it was definitely worth the wait!! From top to bottom: Ayam Pong Teh, Sambal Sotong, Assam Fish, and Belacan Kangkung. Can I just say that they’re all scrumptious and goOoood~!? The Ayam Pong Teh was more on the sweet side, which was a good selection because the rest were kind of spicy. The Sambal Sotong were spicy and great with the rice. The Assam Fish was not as expected (it wasn’t as spicy and sour nor did it smell as tempting as the one at the chicken rice shop), but it was still appetizing and went well with the rice. I like the Belacan Kangkung too. Looking the tables around us, these seem to be the standard orders. Anyway, did I mention about the rice?

The rice was just plain white rice, but, it smelled so aromatic just because it was wrapped up in layers of banana leaves. I went for seconds – can’t resist the smell of rice in/on banana leaves and the inviting gravies of the dishes above. Ooh la la~! The dishes above, including the drinks, cost us about RM21 each. The fish was the most pricey, and they charged us for the keropok (which we ate without knowing we’d be charged and the wet towels which we didn’t even use!

In conclusion though, it was a great day with great company and great food!

I would give the Chicken Rice 9/10, the Nyonya Assam Laksa 9/10, the Baba Chendol 9.5/10 (10/10 if they give me just the ice with coconut milk and gula melaka), and the Nyonya food 8.5/10 (points deducted for the extra charges). Malacca, I will be back. It had been a wonderful one-day trip to Malacca.

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