Melaka, a historical city with a rich cultural heritage, is not only known for its architectural marvels and captivating history but also for its delectable cuisine. The fusion of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and Portuguese influences has given rise to a vibrant food scene that offers a symphony of flavours, aromas, and textures. If you’re a food enthusiast looking to embark on a culinary adventure, Melaka promises a gastronomic journey like no other. In this article, we unveil some of the must-try dishes that will tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving more in this charming Malaysian city.
1. Nyonya Laksa
A trip to Melaka is incomplete without savouring Nyonya Laksa, a dish that beautifully encapsulates the flavours of the Peranakan culture. This rich and aromatic noodle soup features a tantalizing blend of spicy coconut broth, shrimp, fish, and a medley of herbs and spices. The unique combination of flavours creates a harmonious explosion in your mouth that is simply unforgettable.
2. Chicken Rice Balls
This is a dish of Chinese origin and is most commonly associated with Hainanese, Malaysian, and Singaporean cuisines. Here is Melaka, you’ll find something that is not commonly available in other parts of Malaysia, the chicken rice ball! The rice is first boiled in chicken soup with other seasonings. When cooked, it is rolled in a ball that gives it its unique look and texture. You must try the ones by Chung Wah. Little chicken rice balls are very yummy, snf the chicken is very tender!
3. Satay Celup
Satay Celup is one of Malacca’s favourite haunts for a savoury meal. For those who are unfamiliar of the term, satay celup or ‘steamboat satay’ is a unique dish where raw or semi-cooked mat and vegetables on skewers are dipped into a hot pot of thick, spicy peanut sauce. Enjoying satay celup is a no-brainer-diners can just leave the skewers inside the pot for as long as they like, depending on how well they want their skewered food to be cooked. Besides the abundance of food offered, the aromatic peanut sauce is one of the factors that make this place attractive to tourists and locals. Comprised of 22 ingredients, the sauce is a savoury combination of texture aromatic with a sweet flavour.
When one thinks of cendol is Malaysia, they think of Melaka (and vice versa). In this historical place, cendol is just as old as the heritage site itself. Cendol is a yummy bowl that incorporates a mountain of finely shaved ice, essential pandan-flavoured starch jelly swimming in fresh coconut milk, sago, and fresh red beans drenched in sweet-smelling gula melaka.
5. Asam Pedas
Visually inviting, brimming with bold flavours, and easily accessible, there’s no surprise why asam pedas have been a sleeper hit among the locals. The scarlet range of spices and the chunks of fish and assorted vegetables are thrown in. Each mouthful offers a melee of sour and spicy notes on your taste buds, and a simple team-up with steamed white rice is enough to steal the show. Due to its popularity, it’s never trouble to trace an asam pedas shop in Melaka!
6. Coconut Shake
Are you nuts about coconuts? Because we sure are! Clouded by humidity and scorched by the heat, Malaysia weather has got our physical bodies sweating in the hot weather. Perhaps that was why coconut shakes elevated to stardom in our nation. Freshly made from coconut and topped with vanilla ice-cream, coconut shakes are the perfect thirst quenchers and body coolers on a hot sunny day.
7. Kuih Keria
Best enjoyed while it is hot, kuih keria antarabangsa Haji Jalil is definitely a must-have dish in Melaka. Kuih Keria is a mixture of sweet potatoes, flour, sugar and salted dough that is polished and shaped like a gaint ring. The sugar crust of the kuih keria (coated with palm sugar) is pleasantly crispy and the inner is delightfully soft. This stall recently went viral on social media – there are people who willingly queue for hours just to buy this kuih – how crazy is that? To get to this stall, just waze Kuih Keria Antarabangsa Haji Jalil or drive to Limbongan.
8. Mango Float
The must-try float, other than the famous coconut shake in Melaka, is the Mango Float Royale Melaka. The mango float can be found at Sungai Putat, Batu Berendam. The float consists of mango juice which had been mixed with a small amount of mango cordial to set the sweetness, and no additional sugar is added. It is then added with a scoop a vanilla ice-cream on top, followed by real mango cubes.
9. Mee Bodoh
The stupid noodle (direct translation of mee bodoh) is a basic noodle that’s prepared with only a handful of ingredient-yellow noodles, bean sprout, and their homemade specialty: sambal. Even though the sambal looks red hot, it doesn’t taste as spicy as it seems. There are also bottles of vinegar and soy sauce on each table which you can mix into your noodles’ according to your own liking. Other than that, you can also opt for their special reddish look fried eggs – fried using chili oil; to make it taste better.
10. Putu Piring
We save the best for the last in our list of must-try dishes in Melaka; that would be the fluffy fragrant palm-sized putu piring that commonly found on Bukit Beruang. This popular stall stands near the Jalan Tok Ali-Jalan Bukit Beruang junction. Putu piring (steamed palm sugar rice) is best eaten with teh o tarik without sugar. One bite of the soft and moist putu piring sends your senses to heaven; no kidding! It delivers a powdery texture that also hints of desiccated coconut. What follows next is a burst of caramel-like flavour from the palm sugar.
Melaka’s culinary landscape is a testament to the rich history and cultural tapestry of the region. Exploring the city’s food scene is not just about indulging in delicious dishes; it’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in the traditions, flavours, and stories that have shaped this charming destination. From the aromatic Nyonya Laksa to the interactive Satay Celup, each bite is a journey into the heart of Melaka’s vibrant food culture. So, when you visit this historical city, make sure to embark on a foodie adventure that will awaken your senses and create unforgettable memories.