I mentioned in my trip awards that the food in Melaka was my favorite. In case you were wondering what it is I ate that was so good, here’s a rundown.
Yellow Mansion Restoran
We got into Melaka just in time for lunch. We were staying in a place quite close to all the touristy spots in Melaka (and just across the street from the famous Capitol Satay). Just down the street was the Yellow Mansion, a bright yellow building that was both hotel and restaurant. We went in and saw there was both a buffet and a menu, and were a little confused. So we asked a nearby diner, clearly a backpacker, and he told us just order something – and make sure to get the apple juice. We were a bit skeptical about the apple juice but we followed his advice – and were instantly very happy about it, because it was like drinking an apple (most apple juice does not taste like that). I got nasi goreng cina (that’s pronounced cheena) which is Chinese style fried rice. It was yummy and the meal was cheap. A good choice if you’re already in that part of town, but probably not worth going out of your way for. Despite what its website says, it did not seem to be open for dinner (or maybe just closes early).
Our first evening we considered going to Capitol Satay but the line was awfully long (and this was our downfall, as it was closed the following two nights so we could not go) so we went down the street a bit and found Madras Cafe which was crowded with locals – usually a good sign. I got iced lemon tea which was nice. We got roti canai (pronounced chanai) with telur (egg), vegetable murtabak (a stuffed Indian pancake), and chicken murtabak. It was our first roti canai and the beginning of a wonderful love affair. This place is a little gritty but it’s popular for a reason. There are hardboiled eggs and bananas on the tables that you can eat for just a few cents each. It’s cheap and delicious. Recommended! We even came back the second night for a late night snack.
Restoran Sri Kalaveri
The second day we wandered around until we stumbled upon a good-looking Indian restaurant. I ordered something simply called “vegetable mixed rice” thinking it would be some sort of fried rice thing (not something I wanted at the moment) but instead it was banana leaf rice! Step 1: put down a huge banana leaf as a plate. Step two: pile high with rice and curries. Step three: continue adding stuff, beyond all expectations and comprehension. Or that’s what it felt like, anyway. It was quite a feast and I enjoyed every bite (quite spicy too!). I washed it down with some rather excellent mango juice. Restoran Sri Kalaveri is in Chinatown, turn right at the big dragon before it becomes Jonker Walk, and it’s on your left somewhere.
Restoran How Kuai
As it became dinnertime on our second day we decided to try to find a Nyonya restaurant. The problem? All the restaurants along the Jonker Walk were closed. And it was maybe only 6:30 PM! So on the weekdays, note that Jonker Walk places close down early. Anyway nearly at the end of the street we found this one place open, Restoran How Kuai. There was a picture menu and I chose the butter chicken chop and apple juice. It was not butter chicken as in a butter chicken curry, but instead fried chicken in a buttery sauce. It was incredibly rich and tasty but felt so unhealthy. My advice is if all the Jonker Walk restaurants have closed, walk over to nearby Little India instead – those places are open late and delicious!
The second day also happened to be Valentine’s Day. We weren’t going to do anything special for it, since we were already doing everything we could want to. But we caught sight of this chocolate shop and walked in. There were interesting looking chocolates. We got a cheezemel (cheese and caramel) and a mint dark chocolate. The cheezemel was delicious! They let us sample a bunch of stuff too. The owners are very friendly and apparently we were their first American customers so they were very curious about us, but in a polite way. Definitely stop in for a visit and have a chocolate or two! If you are walking down Jonker Walk away from the Stadthuys, take a left and it’s on the next street over.
Poh Piah Lwee
On our third day we decided to follow a Lonely Planet food suggestion. It seems these can be rather hit or miss. While the food was decent, Jeff didn’t care for it (I think it was the dishes themselves and not their preparation) and the only other people in there were other tourists with LPs on their tables. I got a limau kasturi tradisional to drink – basically a salty limeade. I don’t mind salty drinks too much but I can’t handle a lot of them. Jeff hates them. We got poh piah/popiah which is veggies and pork wrapped in a thin crêpe. I liked it quite a bit. We also shared rojak which is a fruit salad covered over in hot peanut sauce. I didn’t care for it but Jeff particularly disliked it because he hates cooked or warm fruit. If you come, try the poh piah and probably the laksa which we didn’t get. Turn left at the end of Jonker Walk.
After our small lunch we began a day of eating almost constantly, starting out by stopping at a popular cendol (that’s pronounced chendol) stall along Jonker Walk called Jonker 88. Cendol is mostly shaved ice, green jelly made from flour, and coconut milk. We ordered baba cendol which has red beans and gula Melaka (thick palm sugar – it’s the brown stuff you see). I was not a huge fan of cendol, but this place is popular and a good place to try it out.
Nadeje is a place that was on our list of places we must go, suggested by Shermaine who is from Melaka. They are famous for their mille crêpe cakes, a French cake that is 20 or so crepes layered with cream filling. We got a slice of strawberry chocolate mille crêpe cake, which was a thing of beauty and deliciousness. We also shared a pineapple smoothie which was very yummy. Nadeje is in the group of shops near Mahkota Parade.
Famosa Chicken Rice Ball Restaurant
For dinner (after some snacks I decided not to list) we decided to try chicken rice balls. We got to Famosa Chicken Rice Ball restaurant (which is on Jonker Walk) and Jeff noticed you could get duck so he ordered a quarter of a duck. We also got some rice balls (they’re cooked with chicken broth) to go with it. It was not exactly what I wanted and Jeff ended up eating most of it (I like duck but not as much as him). The place was alright, but so full of mosquitoes I could barely stand it.
An Indian place in Little India
I was still hungry after the duck rice, so we wandered towards Little India and found a little place with roti. I got roti cheese, roti masala, and a mango lassi. The roti was tasty, but the mango lassi was absolutely fantastic. Literally the best one I’ve had. I only wish I had thought to document the name of the restaurant. It’s nestled among spice and jewelry shops and has a huge variety of roti. Maybe that will help. Probably anywhere in Melaka’s Little India will be satisfying.
So there you have it, the places we ate in Melaka. What’s your favorite place in Melaka?