Food & Restaurants in Malacca
Besides the usual Malaysian fare, you'll be able to sample some rather peculiar Malaccan food. On top of the list is of course Peranakan or Baba-Nyonya food, which until recently was totally uncommercialised and confined to the kitchens of old grandmothers. Now, there is a string of restaurants claiming to serve Peranakan food, but most unfortunately seem to be on the tour bus circuit. The dishes are slightly different from those of the Penang Peranakan. Usual ones include ayam pongteh(chicken in bean sauce, originally cooked with pork), ayam buah keluak (chicken cooked with a bitter fruit) and a whole array of desserts. Another famous Malacca dish is what is commonly called "chicken rice ball". Although it is called Hainanese chicken rice, it is not from Hainan, China, but invented by the Hainanese immigrants to Malaysia a long time ago. The chicken for this dish is very much the same as the boiled chicken offered throughout Malaysia; what is unique is the rice - it comes in ping-pong sized balls. Yet another Malaccan speciality is satay celup. It is like lok-lokfound in other parts of the country but instead of dipping your skewered foodstuff (fishballs, crabsticks, meat, prawns etc.) into boiling water, you dip them into a boiling vat of satay sauce. The sight of boiling satay sauce may not appeal to you but the crowds at the satay celup outlets seem to suggest that many have overcome their phobias.
Of course, Malacca is where you'll find Portuguese-Eurasian food. The greatest concentration of outlets is at the Portuguese Settlement. Seafood is popular, as are the fiery "devil curries".
For local Malay delicacies, worth trying:
- Asam Pedas, the signature dish of the state. A very hot and mild sour fish curry which accompanying white rice. Normally eaten during lunch and dinner. From RM4.50.
- Sambal Belacan, very spicy local chilli prawn paste.
- Cencaluk, can be found sold along the roads near Klebang Beach. Made of fermented krills. A bit weird tasting for those who are not used to it.
- Lemang, glutinous rice cooked in bamboo, sold on the side of the road to Teluk Mas
- Ikan Bakar, head to Umbai, Pernu or Serkam for a dinner of fresh caught grilled fish and crustaceans.
- Kuih Udang, you can find this popular tea time dish in Alor Gajah town. The sauce is nice too.
- Kuih-muih, traditional cakes and deserts like dodol, wajik, lempok, inang-inang, gula melaka and many more are sold in shopping malls at Bandar Hilir, Klebang Beach and kampung area throughout the state.
Other local but not typically Malay food:
- Roti John, an invented omelette sandwich, very popular among the Malays. For a good one, look for the restaurant in Tanjung Kling.
- Local burger, the street stall vendors, generally local Malay men serve quite tasty and satisfying burgers and hotdogs and it's cheaper than ordinary fast food restaurants too.
The recent tourism boom has seen many new food and beverage outlets open in Malacca, and especially in the heritage area of Jonker and Heeren Street. However, competition is great and some outlets fail to survive. Places you discover on your first visit may not be around anymore on your second.
Chicken rice balls (Chinese)
- Chung Wah Restaurant (中华茶室, Kedai Kopi Chung Wah), Kedai Kopi Chung Wah 18, Jl Hang Jebat (first white building on the right after crossing the bridge towards Jonker Walk). 8AM-1PM. An early purveyor of Hainanese's chicken rice balls in Melaka. The building dates from the early 1900s, and the restaurant is family run. You might have to wait in a line for at least minimum up to an hour if you turn up after 10AM RM 8.00 per pax min..
- Famosa Chicken Rice Ball 28 and 30, Jl Hang Kasturi, (corner of Jln Hang Kasturi and Jl Hang Jebat-Jonker Walk). A huge restaurant serving the dish in an alluringly bright red building. It also has branches in Jl Bendahara, Mahkota Parade Shopping Mall, Tesco Malacca and Jaya Jusco Malacca in Ayer Keroh. Very slow service, but food is prepared very quickly so freshness is in question. Some hardcore connoisseur of the dish regard this as a tourist trap and its quality not up to mark. Chicken (better said bones without meat) with rice balls costs RM4.60. Open daily until 10PM.
- Hoe Kee Chicken Rice 4, Jl Hang Jebat (Jonker Walk. (few steps nearer to Malacca River from Famosa). You should get here early or you'll end up in a queue to get a table. This is an original chicken rice ball shop, and for most, the taste here is simply incomparable to the newer competitors. This outlet has been operating in this small corner for decades, but still attracts lots of customers. Open daily 8:30AM-3PM, closed last Wednesday of the month.
Jalan Kee Ann-night opening eating stalls
- Jalan Kee Ann. Hours 6PM-11PM every day. Open air eating stalls for locals and visitors. It is a good place to eat and see the world go by while eating in the open air. Local cuisines include won ton mee, popiah, yew keow, sugar cane water, sup kambing, satay,etc.
- Hing Loong Taiwanese Noodle, 11-J, Jalan Bachang. Located out of the town center but have been discovered by many non-Malaccans. Tasty beef, fried pork chop or pig trotter noodles in soup or in sauce. About RM4 a bowl.
Satay celup-(satay sauce 'steamboat')
- Capitol Satay Celup, 41, Lorong Bukit Cina. (a short distance away from the centre of town). You pay for what you eat and at the end of the meal, the skewers are counted. The price per skewer is RM0.80.
- Portuguese Settlement, Popular for its fried squid, Portuguese baked fish. Local favorite stalls are numbered 1 and 7.
- Tengkera Mee Soup, Jl Tengkera, (near the famous Tengkera Mosque). Many varieties of noodles are served Chinese style by a Malay/Muslim vendor and are Halal. Open from mid-afternoon until when the noodles are sold out.
Original Malay 'fusion' cooking blending Chinese ingredients and wok cooking techniques with spices used by the Malaysian community. The food is tangy, aromatic, spicy and herbal.
- The Seafarer Restaurant, . 1516, Batang Tiga, Tanjung Kling (Nearby Klebang Beach). Enjoy a variety of Peranakan, Chinese, Western and Seafood cuisines encompanied by gentle sea breeze ambience. Opens daily with nightly live music. Dance floor,big screen projector & bar with virtual golf simulation are available. Watersports activities such as waterski, jet skis, banana boat rides, kayak and sunset cruise are available upon bookings.
- Cafe 1511. Serves local specialities at attactive prices in the same beautifully restored building as the Baba Nonya heritage museum
- Geographér Cafe, 83 Jalan Hang Jebat (Jonker Walk). +60 6 281 6813. The restaurant/bar occupied a renovated old Malacca shophouse. Comfortable and lively/noisy restaurant/bar serving Malaccan standards. Occasional live music.
- Kapitan House, , e-mail: [email protected]. No. 71 & 73, Jalan Merdeka, Tmn Melaka Raya, Melaka. (Between Eon Bank and Classic Bridal Studio). The main chef of this restaurant is Kenny Chan, the celebrity chef also known for his stint on RTM, Nyonya Baba. He also has his own line of sauces known as Kenny's Delights. The food here is truly authentic dishes cooked by Nyonya families. On weekends, they serve an array of homemade 'nyonya kueh' for lunch, amongst them are very traditional apam berkuah and kueh bongkong.
- Restoran Ole Sayang. 198, Jalan Melaka Raya. One of the original Peranakan restaurants in town.
- Restoran Makko. 123, Jalan Melaka Raya. A few doors down from Ole Sayang. Closed on Tuesdays.
- Restoran Peranakan. 107, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock (Heeren Street). Enjoy the experience of eating good Peranakan food in the airy courtyard of a huge Peranakan house. Standard dishes available. Count on about RM10-15 per person.
- Restoran Nancy's Kitchen. 7 Jalan Hang Lekir (off Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock). Closed on Tuesdays. Unpretentious, affordable Nonya food. Try specialties like sambal sotong petai (squid with a spicy tangy sauce with bitter beans) and their smooth-skinned popiah (spring roll) in an old Peranakan house. Counter doubles as a shop selling all sorts of kueh and kaya. (The restaurant is non-halal.)
- Riverine Coffeehouse, , e-mail:[email protected]. No 108 Lorong Hang Jebat (1st Cross Street). Opens daily from 11AM-midnight offers river view dining in the evening. Home cooked style Peranakan dishes also offers Nyonya pastries and Colonial Western food.
- Sibaraku, . Level 2, Mahkota Parade, no. 1 Jalan Merdeka.; 2 branches of the same restaurant side by side; one branch serves only Japanese cuisine à la carte; the other branch serves eat-as much-as-you-like Chinese and Japanese cuisine (mostly sushi - about a dozen types to choose from, okonomiyaki, etc.); some of the dishes are buffet style (they are already cooked; you help yourself with them), other dishes the cook will cook them in front of you; soups, salads, cakes, other desserts (custard, mousse, etc) free flow cold and hot drinks also available; unlimited buffet dinner RM25.90 plus 10% on weekdays; limited buffet dinner (9-10PM only, choose only from about 15 dishes, only one serving per dish but free flow cold and hot drinks) RM15.80 plus 10% on weekdays.
- Sajian Ummie Seafood Restaurant, Located at Umbai Floating Seafood Village about 14 km from the city. it's the special place to eat fresh seafood with your own choice from grilled, sweet and sour, steam, 3 rasa, special Malay sauce, asam pedas and many others. Fresh seafood from fish, crab, prawn, cuttle fish even a variety of shell ready for you. +60 13 340 0664, +60 13 365 1970.
- Man jing Yuan Seafood Restaurant (滿景園活海鮮飯店), Located at the heart of Malacca, Kota Laksamana Utama, near Marvelux Hotel. They serve fresh-from-water seafood, include famous Soon Hock fish(marbled sleeper), unbeatable freshness taste with various cooking style, specially prepared by 'Ah-Liang', the head chef. +60 12 603 3888, +60 16 660 0222(Mr. Lim).
- Coconut House Studio, 128, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock (Heeren Street). Popular for its wood-fired, thin-crust pizzas, which you can eat in a renovated Peranakan house complete with a courtyard. Service may be a bit slow when there are crowds. The same people run a similar outlet in Kuala Lumpur.
- Wok and Pan:East Meets West Cuisine, 22G PM4, Plaza Makhota. Popular for its pork ribs and pork chop. It also serve Chinese and local cuisines. The boss is the former head chef for Renaissance Hotel.