After a jampacked Day 1 of “A Date With Bloggers in Malacca 2012”, our Day 2 was shaping up to be another smorgasbord of exotic dishes, cultural sights and audiences with VIPs. We had an early Sunday morning – our early morning wake-up call was due to a scheduled visit to the Cheng Ho Museum for breakfast and a short tour.
day 2 – me wearing our sponsor’s (Julie’s) shirt
Breakfast was simple, and consisted of some fruits and bee hoon (rice vermicelli). It was followed by a short tour of the museum which was a showcase of the life and times of Cheng Ho, the famed Chinese explorer who preceded the well-known Spanish and Portuguese explorers of yore. The museum consisted of four floors but I only managed to see two. Various methods are used for presentation here, including dioramas, multimedia and even interactive means. It’s a place befitting history buffs, and certainly wouldn’t disappoint those interested to know more about Southeast Asian history.
inside the cheng ho museum
Afterwards, we made our way to the Malacca Hainan Association where we were supposed to have a Peranakan-themed lunch and meet with the Governor of Malacca State. While waiting, we had a cooking demo of some interesting Hainanese dishes, notably the Chicken Rice Balls. It was not particularly hard to make. All one had to do is press together the lumps of cooked marinated rice and try as best as possible to form a spherical shape. Easy peasy!
my fellow blogger shirley holding on to her rice ball
Next came a demo on “suncake” preparation by Mei Zhong Yuan. By the way, suncake is a pastry popularized in Taiwan. It’s typically a round shape, similar to a cookie. With a crunchy crust, it is usually stuffed with various fillings. For today’s demo, the filling used was durian paste!
one of the many pastries being baked fresh in mei zhong yuan
I am not a foodie at all but I must say I was really looking forward to lunch. We were promised a Peranakan / Nyonya (Straits Chinese) themed meal and we were not disappointed. While similar cuisine is also common in Singapore, I never got to try more than 2 or 3 dishes at a time. For this occasion, we got to try some of the more common dishes, prepared in the traditional manner.
We were also graced by the presence of the Chief Minister of Malacca (similar to a Provincial Governor) – Datuk Seri Hj. Mohd Ali b. Mohd Rustam who gave a speech highlighting all the things where Malacca is #1, from cleanliness to number of tourist arrivals. Then it was on to our lunch.
udang goreng asam
As mentioned, our lunch was a showcase of traditional Peranakan / Nyonya cuisine. To the unfamiliar, the dishes are very much distinct from what most people recognize as Chinese cuisine. There’s a more prominent usage of tropical ingredients and spices, with the feel of a home-cooked meal. Our food was prepared by the nice people from Restoran Anak Nyonya, a popular Peranakan restaurant in Jonker Street.
The food was relatively simple – no usage of fancy ingredients and relatively simply presentation – but it belies the enjoyment our group had in consuming it. Most people in our group agreed that it was certainly one of the food highlights of the trip.
mei zhong yuen
By this time, our “food trip” was almost over. We just had one more place to go – the premises of Mei Zhong Yuen, whose owner made a demo during our lunch earlier. A lot of people from our group bought pastries to bring back home – including the special suncakes which was used for demonstration earlier.
with fellow bloggers
And that folks, was the end of one epic food trip! Those who have been following this blog would probably note that food-themed posts are rarely made here, so I was initially not 100% sure of joining this trip. But I’m glad I did. Not only did our hosts consist of some of the friendliest people I’ve met in my travels, but I had the wonderful opportunity to meet fellow bloggers as well who were great company!
Until the next food trip!
Mei Zhong Yuen
No.125 Jalan Hang Jebat
Restoran Anak Nyonya
88 Jalan Tokong
Cheng Ho Museum
51 Lorong Hang Jebat