In my travels for work, I met a lot of fantastic people in Malaysia. The city of Malacca (Melaka, in Malay) has a small but interesting historical downtown. Since I’ve eaten in a LOT of restaurants in Malacca, I’ll focus this post on food! Mmm. I’ve actually had a seven-course meal in Malacca including shark fin soup (thanks to a vendor), but these seven courses are from various experiences I had on a later trip there. Once on my own, I avoided the shark fin soup, as harvesting its main ingredient is devastating to shark populations.
Tiger is the national beer of Malaysia. It’s everywhere, and is pretty tasty. Not as watery as the mass-market American beers, but not heavy either. Trust me, it’s easy to drink a lot of it.
Nyonya Top Hats, in a restaurant right near the Rennaisance Melaka hotel. Nyonya is a local cuisine mixed between Chinese and Malay cooking, and is quite spicy. See the chilies on each top hat, and the bowl of chili sauce? Mu-hahaha.
My friend Chris ordered a soup. It came in a teapot and had no bowl or spoon. We were so busy laughing about this photo that I forget what, err, utensils/china eventually came to use for eating it.
I just had to throw this in here. Now, the people I worked with spoke very good English… but some of the other locals did not. Or, it was some kind of mixture that I just could not understand. If anyone can figure out what this shirt is trying to say, please make a guess in the comments section. Is she complaining that her unrequited lover has just been fired from his job!?
I highly recommend sushi in Malacca. It’s not that the quality is amazing; it’s just average. But the price is amazing. Compared to what you would pay for sushi in the US or in Europe, it’s very cheap. For 8 to 10 euro you get a tasty sushi meal which would cost you 30-40 euro in Munich.
I can highly recommend eating at the Portuguese Settlement. Very interesting history here: the Portuguese controlled Malaysia for some time in the 16th-17th centuries, and a small mixed-Portuguese culture still exists there today. At the restaurant: there’s a huge variety of dishes, the outdoor atmosphere is great, the Tiger beer is cold, and the seafood is excellent. (Yes, it’s a rare candid appearance of the author himself…)
If you are lucky, it won’t rain like this. Apparently such a hard rain is not uncommon in Malaysia. I guess the drainage can’t handle it, so the streets quickly fill up with road soup. Actually, this photo is on the way home from a very tasty Indian dinner.
The food all over Malaysia is excellent and very cheap. Indian, Chinese, Nyonya, Japanese… I recommend any of the Asian varieties. All the seafood, and especially Chili Crab, is very good. You can also find frogs in the Temple restaurant near the Renaissance Hotel. For dessert you can often find shaved ice with various sweet beans, jellies, and syrups. Beware of chicken, as it’s almost never boneless (just be prepared to eat around chunks of bone). Get used to spoon and fork as your utensils, or try chopsticks.
There’s so much more I could say about Malaysian cuisine… but I’ll just let you visit and find out for yourself! I’ll have a few more articles about Singapore and Malaysia coming up soon, so sign up by email or RSS (orange links on the left sidebar) to be notified about those.
- Okay, there’s not much here specific to any particular restaurant. But I do have the stats for the Portuguese Settlement. Wikipedia article is here and Google maps link is here (see “Portuguese Square” area with parking lot next to it). You can also see it in Wikimapia.
- Driving in Malaysia is normally not recommended for foreigners who are just visiting for a short stay, unless you’re an expert driving in some high-recklessness society already (China, anyone?). I’d take a taxi, as they are anyway quite cheap compared to the west. Most likely there’s also a bus line, though I’m not familiar with the buses.