MALACCA

In Malaysia by thedustyroad3 Comments

Malacca, A Charismatic Heritage Town

Malacca is a region on the southwest coast of Malaysia, with the regions capital also called Malacca. Located on the Malacca Strait, the city was a major trading port prior to the rise of Singapore (in the early 1800’s). Malacca had been flying under the radar as a tourist destination until July 2008, when UNESCO listed the city as a world heritage site.

Having lived in Malaysia as a child, I was curious to return here to see if it was how I remembered. What my memory didn’t elude to was the level of pollution and the number of neglected, derelict buildings. It was a bit overwhelming for us when we arrived in Malacca, however, once we got settled into our characteristic guest house and had some lunch the city started to ooze appeal.

Malacca has quite a diverse history. Having being founded by a Hindu prince in the 14th century, protected by the Chinese, overrun by the Portuguese, ruled by the Dutch until British reign in 1795 the cityscape is extremely diverse. This is what attracted me to the city initially and added to the charm which eventually won me over.

ACCOMMODATION

We stayed for two nights at the Riverside Guesthouse in one of their private rooms. Centrally location on the river which runs through the city, staying here allowed us to walk everywhere we wanted. The staff were friendly and very helpful, really adding to the overall experience.

Riverside Guest House in Malacca

Riverside Guest House


FOOD

It is all about the food in Malacca. It all got a bit exciting so we cracked the camera out for a few candid meal time shots. I really did enjoy the food here, the flavours and contrasting ingredients were fascinating.

Discovery Cafe

On a bustling corner in central Malacca is the Discovery Café. We stumbled across this soon after arriving and had Nonya Laksa (Laksa is a Peranakan (Malay and Chinese fusion) spicy noodle soup and Nonya is a subcategory of Malaysian food predominantly from Malacca) and Mee Goreng (fried noodles). Both were beautiful.

Discovery Cafe in Malacca

Discovery Cafe

Capitol Satay

This small satay shop was just far enough out of the way you wouldn’t walk past it without trying. The food was absolutely incredible. A bubbling hot pot of satay was placed on a gas burner in the middle of the table. The restaurant staff returned periodically to add more bits and pieces into the satay.

Capitol Satay in Malacca

Capitol Satay

The choice of what to satay is up to each individual. English was limited here and there were a few suspicious looking foods on display so I stuck with what I could recognise. The cooking process added to my excitement and the food did not disappoint.
Easily the best satay I have had to date.

Capitol Satay Entrance in Malacca

Capitol Satay Entrance

Riverside Cafe

We had lovely omelettes for breakfast here. Most notable was the coffee, served black. It had the viscosity and colour of oil and was so strong it was bound to put hairs on your chest. A great way to kick start the day!

Riverside Cafe in Malacca

Riverside Cafe

Selvam

This authentic Indian restaurant was the perfect spot for a Friday lunch. Banana leaves were placed on the tables as plates and what followed was incredible. A man came round with a tray of curries to choose from, quickly followed by a man with chutneys, rice, papadums and cucumber. Again the food did not disappoint. The flavours were incredible, all different but complimentary of one another. And it was all off a banana leaf!

Banana Leaf at Selvam in Malacca

Banana Leaf at Selvam

Jonker Walk Markets

The Jonker Walk is one of the main areas of the UNESCO heritage area. Throughout the day the endless shop houses thrive, full of nifty trinkets, coffee houses and various other goods.

Jonker's Walk Malacca, by day a busy street and by night a bustling market place.

Jonker’s Walk Malacca, by day a busy street and by night a bustling market place.

Over the weekends, the street shuts down at night and a thriving market place sets up. There is an amazing range of things sold here but most exciting is the food. We shared an oyster omelette which was scrambled and served with fresh coriander and lime. It was the perfect way to finish off the Malacca food experience.

Jonkers walk oyster Omelette in Malacca

Jonkers walk oyster Omelette


ACTIVITIES & ATTRACTIONS

As we only spent two nights in Malacca we mainly focused on the food experience and wandering through the UNESCO heritage area. As the river runs through the centre of town, We decided to take a river cruise. It was nice to get a different perspective, however, as we had traipsed along the river multiple times a day, we knew what we were expecting. A hot tip from a local: if you are sitting close to the front, cover your face when another boat passes as the extremely polluted water splashes into the boat.

PEOPLE & CULTURE

Most Malay people are generally Muslim, Hindu or Christian. Being a smaller city, the people in Malacca are a bit more reserved than those in places such as Singapore. Over the short taxi ride from the bus stop to our accommodation, I was on the receiving end of a few too many lengthy stares. As hot as it was, I changed into long pants and bought a pair of breezy elephant print pants as soon as we came across them. While many of the locals wear shorts, I didn’t feel comfortable enough and chose the pant option. I really enjoy the culture and all the locals were super friendly. The people reflected Malacca perfectly, charismatic and relaxed.

MISHAPS

I had issues with the shower. It either timed out before I could think about washing my hair or was spurting out barely enough water to wash the soap off. Jimmy has informed me (since we have left) there was an ‘on’ button you had to push before you went in.

WHAT WE LEARNT

Majority of people speak English, but I found I could communicate effectively with those who don’t. Different languages are becoming more and more fascinating. I am starting to recall bits and pieces of Bahasa Melayu (the local language) which helps but it would be great so speak another language fluently.

BUDGET

We blew the budget on food (but it was worth it!). We are considering adding an extra RM40 (approx. $13 AUD) to give ourselves a bit of leeway. That would be RM200 (approx. $67 AUD) per day between us.

PLAN

Next stop, Kuala Lumpur. Then off to the Cameron Highlands. We are now thinking we might head to the East Coast of Malaysia and check out the islands and beaches before heading back across the country to Penang.

Comments

  1. I’m feeling very envious and feeling hungry. Liz, this blog is excellent. Keep the news coming! Xxx

Leave a Comment