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Taste the Culture: 8 Prized Malaccan Dishes & Where Locals Find Them

Ihsan
Published Feb 26, 2017

Deeply rooted in food as they are in their history, Malacca is a culinary haven that offers guests a myriad of unique flavours infused with centuries-old culture! Declared a UNESCO World Heritage City in 2008, endeavouring Malacca through its variety of gastronomic delights is as great a way to explore their rich heritage as visiting its many historical sites. A vibrant cultural melting pot, you’ll find the flavourful cuisines here are heavily influenced by their diverse ethnic layering of Chinese, Malay, Indian and also Baba Nyonya (a mix of Chinese & Malay heritage from the 15th century).

Get ready to salivate, because here are 8 fantastic Malaccan dishes and where locals find them!

Top 3 activities to book in Malacca (state)

1. Chicken Rice Balls

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Malacca’s most beloved and famed dish, Chicken Rice Balls is a re-interpretation of a Malaysian staple, Hainanese Chicken Rice. This dish comprises of aromatic hand-rolled fluffy rice balls, served with succulent strips of roasted or steamed chicken drenched in light salty soy sauce with a complement of spicy vinegar-garlic chili dipping sauce, fresh slices of tomatoes and cucumber on the side. Simple in its composition, tantalizing in their flavour, locals have this dish for breakfast or lunch, up to 3-4 times a week!

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Divided on the subject, locals swear by these two restaurants to serve them the best Chicken Rice Balls;

Chuang Wah Chicken Rice Ball, frequented by both locals and tourists, a fierce competitor on Jonker Street, they are said to have the perfect Rice Balls of them all. But they’re often jammed packed, with long queues. If you have limited time, best come before lunch hour!

Huang Chang Chicken Rice, more popular to just locals, away from tourist hot spots, this is the place where you can get authentic Malacca Chicken Rice Balls in a quiet environment.

HUANG CHANG CHICKEN RICE RESTAURANT

Address: BB, 376, Jalan BB 1, Taman Damai, 75350, Malacca, Malaysia

Price: From 7 USD for 2 - 3 pax

Opening Hours: 6.45 AM – 3.00 PM (Closed on Thursdays)

Contact: +60 6-317 0299

CHUANG WAH CHICKEN RICE

Address: 18, Jalan Hang Jebat, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia

Price: From 7 USD for 2 - 3 pax

Opening Hours: 8.30 AM – 3.00 PM

Contact: +60 6-286 0121

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2. Satay Celop

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Traditionally skewers of meat (Chicken, Beef, Rabbit, Deer) char grilled to perfection over hot coal, served with rich peanut sauce and rice cakes; Malacca’s version, Satay Celop (Dunking Skewers) offers more variety of ingredients (meats, starches, vegetables and seafood) cooked by dunking skewers into a hot pot of rich peanut sauce. It’s a fun dish to enjoy with a group of friends!

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Exclusively in Malacca, the most popular restaurant people frequent for this dish is Capitol Satay Celop, preferring their thicker, sweeter and more viscous peanut sauce over other eateries. As with all things delicious and popular in Malacca, expect long queues, even before opening time! A good alternative to taste this dish is at Ban Lee Siang Satay Celup. Being a bigger restaurant, you can enjoy more time eating and less time waiting!

What’s On Your Mind: Hygiene. Sorry to inform you, but some establishments change the pots of peanut sauce for every group of customers, while some others don’t. But note: the unspoken rule in these places is absolutely no double dipping!

CAPITOL SATAY CELOP

Address: 41, Lorong Bukit Cina, Bandar Hilir, 75100 Melaka, Malaysia

Price: From 0.20 USD per skewer

Opening Hours: 4.00 PM – 1.00 AM (Sundays 5.00PM – 12.00 AM) (Closed on Mondays)

MCQUEK’S SATAY CELUP

Address: Jalan Parameswara, 75000 Melaka, Malaysia

Price: From 0.20 USD per skewer

Opening Hours: 5.00PM – 12.30AM

Contact: +60 12-606 2993

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3. Klebang's Original Coconut Shake

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One of two things you’d definitely want to try to cool off from Malaysia’s humid & scorching weather, a cool glass of Coconut Shake will definitely save you a few trickles of sweat. Made by blending fresh coconut flesh, vanilla ice-cream and ice, you would find the best and original version of this creamy, fragrant and cooling drink in Klebang; the birthplace of Malaysia’s Coconut Shake craze. If you’re feeling special, order your shake with an extra scoop of Vanilla Ice-Cream, nobody has ever regretted their decision!

Check out the video below for the touching story behind this famous thirst quencher!

KLEBANG COCONUT SHAKE

Address: Klebang, 5, Melaka, Malaysia (Right before Caltex Station)

Price: From 0.50 USD per cup

Opening Hours: 11.00 AM – 6.30 PM (Fridays 2.30PM – 6.30 PM)

Contact: +60 13-399 4061

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Malacca (state) and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Malacca (state)

4. Asam Pedas

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A classic Malaysian dish, various versions of Asam Pedas can be found across Malaysia. Malaccans however, strongly believe their version of this spicy tangy dish is the best and most authentic. They use recipes passed down for generations, source only top quality local produce and use fresh stingray to yield the most flavoursome bright red broth Asam Pedas is known for. Whatever local opinions are, a steamy bowl of Asam Pedas, eaten with a plate of white rice, and simple sides of fresh ulam (raw vegetable) and salted egg would guarantee everyone a satisfied appetite!

There are many good restaurants to get this savoury dish in Malacca but popular spots would be Asam Pedas Claypot at Jalan Laksamana and Asam Pedas Selera Kampung at Mahkota Square.

ASAM PEDAS CLAYPOT

Address: 86, Jalan Laksamana 5, Taman Kota Laksamana, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia

Price: From 2 USD per meal per pax

Opening Hours: 6.00 PM – 4.00 AM (Sundays til 12.00 AM)

Contact: +60 12-680 0790

ASAM PEDAS SELERA KAMPUNG

Address: No. G2, Jalan PM3, Mahkota Square, Bandar Hilir, 75000 Malacca,

Price: From 2 USD per meal per pax

Opening Hours: 7.00 AM – 6.00 PM (Closed on Mondays)

Contact: +60 6-288 1799

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Malacca (state) and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Malacca (state)

5. Authentic Peranakan Dishes

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Rich in its flavour as it is in heritage, if there's one thing that you need to taste on this list its some Authentic Peranakan food. An innovation by one of Malaysia's significant historical cultures, Peranakan (Baba Nyonya) dishes originates centuries back when Chinese immigrants started marrying the Muslim women of Malaysia; combining two very different flavour profiles of these cultures.

There are loads of dishes to be eaten for peranakan cuisines; Ayam Pongteh, Nyonya Asam Laksa, Babi Asam just to name a few, the list is endless. To get a good selection of Nyonya Cuisine, head on to Nancy's Kitchen at Taman Kota Laksamana or Kocik Kitchen at Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lok and ask your waiter for some recommendations, they will happily give your their best recommendations!

NANCY’S KITCHEN

Address: 13, Jalan KL 3/8, Taman Kota Laksamana, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia

Price: From 5 - 10 USD for a small group

Opening Hours: Fridays to Sundays 11.00 AM – 9.00 PM | Mondays to Thursdays 11.00 AM – 9.00 PM (Closed on Tuesdays)

Contact: +60 6-283 6099

KOCIK KITCHEN

Address: Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia

Price: From 5 - 10 USD for a small group

Opening Hours: Monday, Tuesday & Thursday: 11AM–6:30PM. Saturday:11AM – 5PM, 6–9PM. Sunday: 10AM–7:30PM. Closed on Wednesday.

Contact: +60 12-377 4732

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Malacca (state) and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Malacca (state)

6. Nyonya Kuihs

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Hard to explain, harder to find; Nyonya Kuehs are a variety of vibrantly coloured delectable treats (no known English word for Kueh) that would surely excite your taste buds! Living in harder economic times, it’s rare to find great homemade Nyonya Kueh’s as prices of ingredients soar and the process of making these treats are tedious. Thanking our lucky stars, there are still a few spots in Malacca that offer you the sweet taste of centuries old heritage!

Arrive early to try your luck getting some authentic Nyonya Kueh’s at Baba Charlie at Jalan Tengkera, or Bibik Ong at Jalan Low Kee Hong among the flocking crowds!

Here are my 5 personal favourites and how you can recognize them;

1. Seri Muka - A sweet two layer cake; with a glutinous rice at the bottom, and a pandan flavoured vibrant green coconut jelly on top.

2. Kueh Keria - A deep fried Ube doughnut encrusted with melted sugar (Keep a tissue at hand, things can get messy!).

3. Onde-Onde - Green gluttinous rice balls with melted Gula Malacca in its core.

4. Ketayap - Thin green crepe wraps filled with Gula Malacca flavour Coconut Shavings.

5. Apam Balik - A Malaysian version of fluffly pancakes stuffed with peanuts and creamed corn.

BABA CHARLIE NYONYA CAKE

Address: Jalan Tengkera, 75200, Melaka

Price: From 0.20 USD per piece

Opening Hours: 10.00 AM – 4.00 PM

Contact: +60 6-281 2168

BIBIK ONG

Address: 360a, Jalan Low Hee Kong, 75050, Ujong Pasir, Melaka

Price: From 0.20 USD per piece

Opening Hours: Afternoon – After Tricycle Arrives

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Malacca (state) and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Malacca (state)

7. Malacca's Famous Chendol

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Available in many variations, Chendol is the most beloved dessert in Malacca. At its most basic, it’s a bowl of finely shaved ice drizzled with fresh coconut milk & a deep rich brown palm sugar with green chendol jelly. Depending on your preference, you can get this mouthwatering dessert served with red rose syrup, creamed corn, red beans, while locals would prefer to have theirs with a dollop of fresh durian flesh on top.

Like the Nyonya Kueh, the most popular shops that sell these chendols sell out fast, so do come early! Two of them being Aunty Koh’s Chendol & Bibik House Chendol.

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AUNTY KOH’S CHENDOL

Address: 5113, Jalan Batang Tiga, 75250 Melaka, Malaysia

Price: From 1 USD per bowl

Opening Hours: Only opens on weekends, usualy around 12, sells out fast.

BIBIK HOUSE CENDOL

Address: 121, Jalan Hang Jebat, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia

Price: From 1 USD per bowl

Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday 10.30 AM – 8.00PM | Friday to Sunday 10.30 – 12.00 AM (Closed on Tuesdays)

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Malacca (state) and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Malacca (state)

8. Undisputed Best Naan & Tandoori Chicken

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A short walk from Jonker Street to Pak Putra Restaurant would bring you to Malaysia’s Best Naan & Tandoori Chicken. Naan bread is a crispy flat bread baked in a traditional tandoor oven and is usually savoured with spicy charred Tandoori Chicken, chicken/fish curry and sweet tangy spicy mint sauce.

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For added flavour, enjoy this dish with a side of chunky vegetable curry or spinach chutney! Naan & Tandoori Chicken is a popular supper food around Malaysia, you could find it in most Mamak stores, but locals would say Pak Putra in Malacca serves the best undisputed version of it. You could have your naan plain, or you could have it with a slice of cheese or a sprinkle of garlic, or both! Which happens to be my personal favourite.

PAK PUTRA RESTAURANT

Address: Jalan Laksamana 4, 75200, Melaka

Price: from 2 USD per pax

Opening Hours: 6.00 PM – 2.00 AM

Contact: 012-6015876

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Malacca (state) and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Malacca (state)

A Badge of Honour

You’ll find it hard to find locals that talks about Malacca’s deep rooted heritage without delving into their rich food culture. To say they are synonymous is not an understatement! A reason why Malacca is so beloved by the country is their cultural heritage not only influences their cuisines, they also inspire many things here from their lively street arts to the interiors of booming Cafe culture. The locals here are proud to have their heritage on display, assimilating the old with the new in a melodic symphony; something visitors would rarely find elsewhere in their travels, and appreciate this quaint little Malaysian state for!

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Ihsan Ihsani is a Malaysian writer who loves to write about anything that sparks his curiosity. He travels to broaden his horizon on the many cultures and beauties of the world. When limited funds...Read more

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