Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Malacca - A gluttony Escapade

Malacca is a town deep in history and was named after a tree called "Melaka". It has provided the stage on which the Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and English played their roles in shaping the history of this little town on the West Coast of Peninsular Malaysia. It is with this rich mix of culture that the well-known baba & nyonya style cuisine evolved. Apart from this spicy & special cuisine where coconut milk is an integral part of the cuisine, Malacca also has a good mix of other delights, namely...

  • The "satay celup" or "satay steamboat" where skewers of meat, seafood, shellfish, vegetables and more are cooked by dunking it into the boiling pot of peanut sauce, which is similiar to the satay gravy with added ingrdients and then eaten. Although there a a few of these stalls around, the famous one is "Capitol Satay Celup" located at 41 Lorong Bukit Cina. The quality has somewhat dropped, I guess due to the onslaught of tourist and the many foreign helpers they hire. This place can be quite daunting as you will have people standing and staring at you while waiting for a table. Reservations not welcome and be there early if you don't want to wait.

    Note:The sauce is recycled, albeit its brought into the kitchen and poured into a clean pot before serving again.

  • Tua Kor Wantan Mee, 40 Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock
    This is one stall I would not want to miss. The noodles are prepared with a specially prepared sauce and a dollop of vinegarish chilli paste. The lady cooks the noodle to "Al dente" with clock-work precision and is then garnish with some greens and sliced sweet barbecued pork accompanied by a small bowl of soup with the wanton inside. They are served either "dry" or "soup" with a choice of thin yellow noodles or flat white ones, "kway teow".

    Note: Stall closes at 3pm

  • The chicken rice ball, Chung Wah Coffee Shop.
    At the corner of Lorong Hang Jebat and Jalan Hang Jebat, opposite OCBC bank. This coffee shop serves only hainanese chicken rice with a choice of boiled or roasted chicken. The chicken is smooth and cooked to the right texture(still with a little blood oozing), served with rice shaped into "ping pong" balls. The chilli is just right with a slight tang of vinegar and ginger blended into.

    Note: Be prepared to queue and wait for a table during weekends.

  • Teochew food, Teo Soon Loong Chan, 55 Jalan Hang Kasturi.
    This run-down restaurant, with you having to walk past the cooking area then into the dining hall proper has only about 8 tables, is a haven for Teochew food in Malacca.
    The list of customers who have dined here includes the former President of Singapore and the vast number of Singaporeans who make the 2 hour journey up north for a short weekend getaway. Malaysians from other parts are also a feature here though the locals do not patronise much due to the pricing. The restaurant is helmed by the spritely "old" boss, always with a smile, his 2 sons as chefs and another running the operations inside. The hit list here includes,
    • "Steam Pomfret teochew style", the fish is steam just right with simple garnishes like plums, salted vegetables, sliced mushroom and more. The flesh just falls off when tucked into.

    • The run of the house, "fried oyster noodle", is a staple here. Yellow noodles fried in thick dark sauce and topped with plump oysters. To accentuate the flavours, add chopped garlic, black vinegar then mixed thoroughly and topped it off with the "homemade" sambal chili, simply mouthwatering...

    • The "steam live mud crabs" is so sweet and the meat chunky. You can tell the freshness when the whole chunk of meat just lifts off from the claws

    • "Braised Duck", another teochew specialty. The duck is braised in dark sauce with chinese spices and served with slices of braised beancurd. The meat is so tender, it falls off with a slight push of the chopsticks.

    • "A combination of steam rolls", this house specialty is first steamed and then drizzle with a thick gravy. The combinations of chopped turnips, meat and more wrapped in a thin layer of skin is one dish worth trying.

    • "Braised Bittergourd with Stewed Pork Ribs in fermented beancurd" is one fantastic dish. Yet again, the meat just falls of the bones and the bittergourd so tender, it melts in your mouth. The gravy is so good, you can just have a bowl of steam rice with it...

    • "Stir fried arkshell with salted vegetables", this is reminiscence of a simple family dish done superbly. The shellfish is cooked with small chunks of salted vegetables, young corn, sliced mushrooms in a sticky sauce.
    The list goes on... If you have more people dining, the lobster cold dish and roast suckling pig is a good option. A wide array of vegetables are also available and the affable "old" boss will stop you from ordering too much...
    After all these, you must make room for the ultimate in teochew dessert, "Orh Nee" or yam paste . This is the "icing on the cake" for me, the paste is silky smooth coupled with the subtle taste of yam. I must say it's the best I've tested and is accompanied the traditional way with ginko nuts and steamed pumpkin. Oh so heavenly.... Now the meal is complete.

    Note: Reservations required for weekends. They are open for lunch and dinner. Tel: 06-2822353 / 012-6066503

  • Nonya Food, Peranakan Restaurant, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock. This is one nonya place I frequent but its getting more touristy. The dishes are still good albeit the portions are getting smaller. My favourites are, Ayam buah keluak, Assam fish(tenggiri), fried brinjal, Ponteh and Lodeh. This is one satisfactory eat though I will gladly give it a bye after a few times...

  • Nonya Cendol, Jonker Dessert, 88 Jalan Hang Jebat.
    This place serves one of the best cendol, an icy dessert topped with "Gula Melaka" and coconut milk with an extravagant mix of cooked red beans, peanuts, nutmeg slice, palm fruit and more. They also serve good "Assam laksa", a spicy and sour noodle dish with eggs and prawns together with a spoonful of shredded fish to add. The soup is just right with a subtle sour tang and spiciness. It's a very appetising dish I must say, a close cousin to the Penang laksa. Other dishes tried, include the nonya laksa, which is coconut based served with thin vermicelli noodles and the "goreng goreng" platter, a mixed of beancurd, fishcake, "tau pok", and beancurd skin accompanied with a sweet and spicy paste topped with coarsely ground peanuts. Other kueh kueh is of acceptable standard.

  • Roast and barbecued Pork, Bunga Raya Lane.
    This stalls operates from 11am till about 3pm. The roast pork is very crispy and the barbecued sweet pork, "char Siew" is also a good try. Queue starts as soon as the stall is open with people already waiting. The coffee shop adjacent to this stall also serve good roast duck and char siew.

  • Fried Oyster omelette, oyster omeletteBunga Raya Lane.
    The roast pork stall is taken over by the "Orh Luak" or fried oyster omelette hawker in the evenings. This version of it, is crispy and you will not find any "gooey" strands of the rice flour present. It is fried with a big dollop of sambal and garlic, fried till crispy and topped off with a generous serving of oysters. The coriander leaves adds good aroma to this dish.

    Note: Be prepared to wait and it cost RM$5 a pack.

  • Luo Han Guo & Mata Kuching drink, Opp. Hotel Mimosa. Located in a lane with just a makeshift stall, this drink makes a real good thirst quencher on a hot day. The concoction is just superb and I would rate it better than the famous KL one located along Petaling Street. Definately a must try...!!!

  • That's all for now and till the next trip... "Eat your heart out"

    Food Prints - An Introduction

    Hello there,

    Welcome to Food Prints, the blog where food is a major talking point and nothing less... I strive to find the best food locations during my travels in this endearing planet of ours though I must add, sometimes, "One man's meat is another man's poison". Well, some people "Live to Eat" and some "Eat to Live", I leave this for you to decide which better describe yourself...

    For me, enjoying good food is an integral part of my life, particularly good food eaten in company, promotes a deep sense of well-being; it's simply one of life's greatest pleasures. From the past of eating by the roadside with "appalling" hygiene standards to the present of air-con comfort restaurants and diners, I have tried them all....!!! The food and dining places mentioned in here are of my opinion and of people that have dined together with me, make no mistake, I am no food critic nor writer. Places that I have never tried will not be mentioned and "biasness" is not my game. In this blog, the eating places will be categorised according to country (not very many I must say) and for some, to different cuisines. To the restaurant owners, thank you for allowing me a chance to try your food and may I wish you every success in your business.

    People come and go, so do the food places and I will appreciate you leave a comment if you find anything amiss. So without further a do, let's get on with the journey....

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