Melaka, also known as Malacca, was our last destination in Malaysia before moving on to Singapore. When we got to Melaka, a small travel fatigue hit us so we decided to take it easy for the next four days and do only what we really wanted. We didn’t even pretend to be interested in Melaka’s many museums and tourist attractions so we simply concentrated on good food and wandering around.
Melaka is another very popular tourist destination besides Penang, but the atmosphere on Melaka’s main street, Jonker street, was way more touristy than in Penang. There were many tourist shops and restaurants squeezed next to each other and colorfully decorated rickshaws driving back and forth on the street, accompanied by loud music. Unlike in many other touristic places, most of the restaurant prices were very affordable though. Many places offered food or ice cream portions for a bit more than one dollar so there is no need to hunt cheap restaurants outside the city center.
On Jonker street, we tried coconut laksa that is one of Melaka’s food specialties. The most popular place to try this noodle soup seasoned with coconut milk seemed to be Jonker 88. It was so full of people that it was impossible to even move inside. We got so frustrated that we gave up and moved to Jonker 86 next door (how originally copied name). And it was definitely a good decision.
Jonker 86 was remarkably more spacey and the coconut laksa that cost 8 ringgit ($1,90), was unbelievably delicious! The broth was rich and nicely spicy and the noodles perfectly chewy. This dish was very similar to curry mee that we really liked in Penang. Later we ended up trying the same dish in Jonker 88 that was quieter than on the other day. The portion was enormous but the taste didn’t compete at all with the less popular neighbor restaurant. In this case, quantity was over quality and we didn’t really understand why this place was so popular.
One of the best dishes we had in Melaka was the famous tandoori chicken in Indian Pak Putra restaurant. The reputation of this restaurant has reached the ears of both locals and tourists so when we arrived, the restaurant was very full. We ordered naan bread with triple cheese (mmmm) and garlic, and that tandoori chicken of course. The food was definitely worth waiting as the chicken was perfectly tender and well seasoned. The naan bread was fresh and soft. Respect to the employees who worked so hard at the hot tandoori oven and ran from table to table while serving the customers but still kept the smile on their face. For the meal of two with drinks, we paid 24 ringgit which is $5,60.
Besides these treats, we tried fried noodles, rojak, kaya toast, ice kacang and chendol as well as the Melaka’s trademark food; chicken with rice balls. We ate rice balls in popular Ee Ji Ban Chicken Rice Ball Melaka restaurant where we had to queue for a while even in a normal weekday and had to wait for the food pretty long too. Roasted chicken was good and rice balls tasty as well. But eventually, this dish didn’t really impress us in all its simpleness.
Besides all the eating, we did do some sightseeing in the city too. There is a night market on Jonker street every weekend. At this time, the street fills up with people and different stalls. The riverside in the center of Melaka is also beautiful and there is plenty of street art on the buildings. In the evening, many restaurants and bars open at the riverside where you can sit and watch the passing boats.
Have you visited Melaka?