Malacca, makan and unwind

Oh joy! I really don’t remember when was the last time I actually had a weekend absolutely free – and by that, I mean no appointments, no Rangers, no house chores… essentially just a blot-free calendar.

Taking advantage of the free weekend which incidentally coincides with Terence’s birthday, we found ourselves in Malacca. Checking into Cyclamen Cottage, an old-fashioned town house refurbished and restored to accommodate 11 guest rooms was idyllic. Located just 5 mins from Jonker Street where the buzz is, this is an ideal find as we were hoping for some peace and quiet.

Armed with trip advisor best finds on where to eat and what to see, we roamed the streets like how we would in another country or city. We visited most of the art galleries along Jalan Tun Cheng Lock, surveyed antiques stores inspecting every tiny relic, chatted up with some locals and found some interesting stories of life, history and the phases of development Malacca has gone through.

We walked Jonker Street after dinner and were mesmerized at how different the night market is from the ones in Petaling Jaya. Different delicacies and sweets laid out for the those with an eager taste bud, fridge magnets shouting Malacca’s quintessential notables like plastic durian cendol  and red wooden strappy clogs and pretty lanterns as deco.

Being in a town where food literally dominates the scene, we dived into a controlled gastronomic fare. Our mantra: Eat only to satisfy the palate and never enough to satisfy the tummy. And that was how we kept to moderation!

Fortuitously stumbling into Hajjah Mona Assam Pedas, we were spelled into having our first dinner of fish bathing in red hot assam pedas gravy. Sweat broke out freely but who’s to bother when the whole restaurant sweats with you?!

The next day we uncovered this hidden gem called Baba Charlie a haven for homemade Nyonya kuih. We paid at visit to No.72, Lorong Pantai Tengkera 2C (about 2 mins drive from Jonker along Jalan Tun Cheng Lock).  The house exterior actually looks like a mega-sized kitchen with trays, pots, kuali’s and kitchen utensils spread out. I started to doubt if I got the right place, but as soon as I stepped into the house, my doubts melted away. A colourful patchwork of delectable kuih’s filled the table and I was transported back to my childhood days when my grandmother tagged me along on her market sprees.

We also found another obscure stall that sells Putu Piring (a light fluffy dough cake filled with palm sugar nodules that burst in your mouth as soon as you bit into it). Incidentally this home/stall is also located along Jalan Tenkera at No.252 (next to the Sports Toto shop). It opens only in the evening from about 7pm till late. The putu pirings cost 80c each. A bit pricey just for dough and sugar but definitely worth the try!

And for tea, we had Nyonya Laksa and Popiah at Poh Piah Lwee located at the intersection between Jonker Street and Tun Cheng Lock. The small shop often goes unnoticed as tourists bypass it to get to the buzz at Jonker. The laksa soup is velvety with a mild piquant taste stirring our appetite for more – but we resisted. The popiah although tasty, didn’t really stir me for more as I found out that the secret ingredient for its fantastic flavor are small pieces of fried lard hidden between the veggie fold.

Soon after we returned from Malacca, our bodies cried out for justice and we hit Gasing Hill for a power pack exercise regime to avoid the pending food guilt.

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