20-27 November 2016
(Some artworks are painted the week before.)
Before I visited Malacca, I researched places I should visit, things I could do and most importantly, food that I could eat. Malaysia has Malay, Indian, and Chinese influences that has been well translated in their multitude of food offerings.
Some of the tourist favorites are easy to find on our own. One of them is the shop which sells freshly made onde-onde. I have read about it after seeing the beautiful kuih in the Facebook food group I was added in by a friend.
Eating that sweet was such a delight. After one bite of the chewy ball coated with coconut, the gula melaka inside exploded in my mouth. In that moment, I was hooked. Now, I regret not buying some gula melaka so I can try making it at home.
While I continue to yearn for onde-onde, my sister pines for cendol. She strolled the streets of Malacca alone and found herself buying a Baba Cendol from Jonker 88. When we returned here in Manila, she would crave for bingsu hoping that she could replicate what she experienced in her first spoonful.
While we sought help online from food and travel blogs, nothing beats exploring culinary environment with the locals. Of course, travelling back to Malacca means meeting up with Daniel and his siblings, Isaac and Serena, again. Luckily, they are foodies and they know the good places to eat.
Sunday morning, we went for dim sum. Though we have tasted the likes of hakao (or har gow/Xiā jiǎo) and siomai (or shaomai/siu mai), I know there are numerous varieties that I have yet to taste.
In addition to the two mentioned above, we had one with what seems to be like a tomato-based sauce and another was topped with sambal. Paired with porridge and tea, we had a warm hearty breakfast.
For dinner, we drove to a restaurant that serves bak kut teh. Bak Kut Teh, which literally translates to “pork bone tea,” is usually made by simmering pork ribs with various herbs and spices. Tea is usually taken with the dish, which puts the “teh” in the name.
We had two types of the dish from the restaurant – the traditional stew and the dry version.
The stew, indeed, has a complex flavor to it. I tried to decipher which spices comprised the broth. But, all I was certain of is the anise.
The dry bak kut teh is a delightfully spicy pork dish. Its intense dark color that made it look burned but what we had was a flavorful dish with tender chunks of pork and abundant bits of chopped chili.
Aside from the bak kut teh, we also feasted on seafood dishes like clams cooked with chili, garlic and curry leaves and the salted egg yolk squid which is to die for.
To cap the evening, we dropped by a food court where we had some oyster omelette. I was already too full that time so I only had a tiny bite to compare with what we had from a restaurant in Binondo. I don’t know if my description will make sense but it tasted lighter. My sister definitely enjoyed that dish.
Alas, three days there is not enough to explore more food. For one, I have yet to try Indian dishes as well as the other seafood dishes there.
I wonder what will I try the next time I visit. 😉