If you ask me to recommend a must-visit place to a first-time visitor to Malaysia, my recommendation will be Malacca, which is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. Malacca has a colourful history spanning over 600 years, from its humble beginnings in the 14th century to the centuries of colonisation by the Portuguese, Dutch and the British. Its unique religious and cultural legacies are all reflected in its food culture.
The interracial marriages of Chinese immigrants and local Malays gave us Straits Chinese and Peranakan cuisine, which uses mainly Chinese ingredients with local spices while retaining local Malay cooking techniques. Peranakan or Nyonya food is distinctively tangy, aromatic and spicy. A foodie trip to Malacca is not complete without trying some of these Peranakan offerings such as Nyonya laksa and Nyonya kuih. Check out Donald & Lily’s, a small Baba and Nyonya house that dishes up simple but tasty Nyonya classics, and indulge your sweet tooth by savouring some of Baba Charlie’s finger-licking Nyonya kuih.
Malacca also has quite a number of pork satay specialty stores. Xiang Ji and Lung Ann are said to be two of the better ones as their pork satays are juicy, slightly fatty and well marinated with smoky-charred edges.
Join us as we take you on a two-part foodie trail of this heritage town.
Donald & Lily’s
Donald & Lily’s is located off the beaten track, in a small house that’s done up pretty much like a family’s living room. You get the impression you are dining at a friend’s, rather than in a restaurant.
The mee siam consists of vermicelli noodles tossed in a spicy, sweet and slightly sour gravy, and comes topped with shredded egg omelette and fish cake. The side serving of chilli sambal adds a nice kick to it. The Nyonya laksa has a creamy and savoury-sweet soup, one that is bound to have licking the bowl clean. We love the slow-braised ayam pongteh for its delicious gravy with hints of soy sauce and gula Melaka.
Donald & Lily’s
Address: No 16 (Ground Floor), Jalan KSB 1, Taman Kota Shahbandar, 75200 Melaka (opposite Bei Zhan and same row as a hotel ‘Place 2 Stay’)
Tel: 012-292 3157
Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday 8am – 5pm (Closed on Mondays)
GPS Coordinates: 2.193854, 102.237284
Baba Charlie started by selling their sweet delicacies at various night market locations in Malacca town 20 years back. Today, it is a major Nyonya cake supplier to restaurants and hotels in Malacca.
Baba Charlie’s wooden house is not easy to locate – look for the red “Baba Charlie” signage on Jalan Tengkera.
Prices range from RM0.60 to RM2.00. Yhese sweet delights are good souvenirs for friends and families. Just remember to dispatch everything out on the day itself as these Nyonya kuih are freshly made without preservatives.
Baba Charlie Lee
Address: 72, Jalan Tengkera Pantai 2, 75200 Melaka
Tel: 06-2847-209, 019-6662-907
Opening hours: Fri – Wed (Closed on Thursdays)
GPS Coordinates: 2.202983, 102.231433
Kedai Satay Xiang Ji
Xiang Ji is located off Jonker Street. The pork satay (RM0.70 each) is grilled on a charcoal stove and is simply delicious, with just the right balance of lean meat and fatty bits. The peanut gravy is a stand-out; it is loaded with chopped pineapples and starfruit zest, giving it a slightly tangy and sweet aftertaste.
Lung Ann Refreshment
Lung Ann is another popular establishment serving pork satay, and one highly recommended by the locals.
Similar to Xiang Ji’s version, the pork satay here is served with thick and creamy peanut sauce topped with pineapple chunks. Each stick (RM0.70 per stick) features a piece of soft, succulent fat sandwiched between tasty, juicy chunks of meat. The stall also serves other varieties of satay including chicken, intestine and liver.
Lung Ann Refreshment
Address: 93/807, Lorong Hang Jebat, 75200 Melaka
Opening hours: Fri – Wed 1pm – 4pm (Closed on Thursdays)
GPS Coordinates: 2.195883, 102.249350