I was recently invited over for a food-filled weekend in Malacca, courtesy of a bloggers event hosted by people from the Asia Food Guide.
the chinese-inspired architecture of kampung kling mosque
It was not too long ago when I last visited this UNESCO World Heritage city on a daytrip. Nevertheless, I was really looking forward to this “revisit” as Malacca is well-known as a food-lover’s paradise – especially when it comes to Nyonya cuisine – and I didn’t really get to try much during my last visit. I was staying overnight this time so I reckoned I would have more time to see and appreciate more of the nooks and crannies of this historic town.
This is probably mentioned before – the general friendliness of people in Southeast Asia never fails to be an added plus to me during my trips. My host this time around were true exemplars of the warm Malaysian hospitality, making sure that we were alright and trying their best to make the event enjoyable for all (which they succeeded in doing!). It was great to again have the chance to venture someplace much friendlier, and Malacca proves that it needn’t be far.
I arrived in Malacca just a little bit before noon, after taking the earliest possible bus from Singapore on a Saturday. I found some of the event organizers already waiting in the car for me and we swiftly made our way to Alor Gajah to see Julie’s Factory.
i was expecting to receive packets of waffles but they were nowhere to be found!
The brand Julie’s is no stranger to me. I’m a big fan of their butter waffles which I purchase almost every week. It’s too bad they did not have it featured during our visit but we were treated to many of their other products such as peanut butter crackers, oatmeal crackers and some wafers. We also got to tour around their factories — they have one large complex dedicated solely to biscuits – and also given a buffet lunch. I also met fellow travel bloggers, Ron of Fliptravels and Ferdz of Ironwulf there for the first time!
the loft-style rooms at the homely sayang-sayang guesthouse!
Then we were off to our accommodations. Frankly, I was most curious about the hostel assigned to us – Sayang Sayang Guesthouse. Many of my fellow international bloggers were shocked when they saw the rooms – they had never stayed in a guesthouse before! To me, the rooms were alright though it was the very first time I’ve stayed in a guesthouse room that functioned as a loft. In that sense, it was a bit more obscure compared to other hostels I’ve stayed in but it was great that we each had our own rooms. Good thing I had no roommate for that night and I had the space all to myself! The guesthouse also faced the river from which there are a lot of artworks in the walls. I would have wanted to explore more of that side of town but our day was already too jampacked for that.
my snack quartet @ uncle keong’s – clockwise – chendol, vermicelli soup, chicken curry noocle, eight treasures dessert
We got to try out two eating places later that day. The first was Uncle Keong’s Desserts which seemed to be quite famous in Malacca. We were offered several dishes – from traditional Chinese desserts such as “Eight Treasures” consisting of barley, gingko nuts, lotus seeds, longan and white fungus; to Chendol, and even snack items like Curry Chicken Noodles and Vermicelli Soup. I especially enjoyed the flavorful Curry Chicken Noodles – it was spicy without being overpowering, and the tender chicken portions were just right. The Eight Treasures Dessert was a great way to cool off especially after a long day walking around town. We had a good fill by the end of the food serving and this wasn’t even dinner yet!
my top 4 from Eleven Bistro & Restaurant (clockwise) – Hai San Steamed Fish, Portuguese Sambal Crab, Calamari and Sambal Prawns
When our hosts told us that this was a food trip, they weren’t kidding! Barely an hour after we finished having our “snack,” we walked a few blocks and proceeded to our dinner place – Eleven Bistro & Restaurant. An upscale restaurant that serves Malacca-style Portuguese cuisine at the heart of the city’s bar district, the place had a modern if not, un-Asian ambiance. But the food certainly was a lot more Asian than Portuguese. We had all the meats that one normally expects from a Chinese-themed feast, including crab, steamed fish, prawns, noodles and more, though cooked in a Malaysian/Peranakan fusion kind of style. It was an interesting set, and my favorites again included the chicken plus the sambal prawns and the calamari.
With our stomachs again filled for the second time in a span of two hours, we were taken by a bus to Mahkota Parade for a meet-and-greet session with the Tourism Minister of Melaka. Much of his speech was in Bahasa Malaysia so I barely understood anything except for his acknowledgement of the international bloggers. In between, there were soaring performances by local artists, including a great rendition of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.” After the program, my fellow bloggers wanted to try out the Nadeje Cake House within the mall which turned out to be a great decision.
the rickshaw driver with the “glamorous” hat
jonker street comes alive at night!
Our day was not over yet! We were then dropped off at the famous Jonker Walk which featured a night market during weekends. It was already 10pm by this time but the heat was still unbearable. The street market kind of reminded me of my visit to Hanoi in August – the wares mostly consisted of souvenirs and other knick knacks, though there was also a sprinkling of food vendors selling everything from tea leaves to Taiwan street snacks. We walked the whole stretch just to absorb the frenetic street atmosphere, and returned to the guesthouse after that for some much needed sleep!
This is part 1 of a 2d/1n trip hosted by the guys from Asia Food Guide, and sponsored by various food, lodging and tourism-related establishments including those cited in bold above. Watch out for part 2 up next!
Sayang Sayang Guesthouse
16 Jalan Kampung Hulu 75100
Eleven Bistro & Restaurant
9/11/13 Jalan Hang Lekir
Batang Melaka, Malaysia
Uncle Keong Delicacies
58 Jalan Tokong 75000
Nadeje Cake Shop
G/F Mahkota Parade