We went from Johor Bahru for a day trip to Melaka.
It was a town laced with tremendous history and its historical center had recently received recognition by UNESCO.
Many people came through its port and settled dating back to 1400s with Chinese, 1500s with Portuguese and eventually 1800s under British rule.
The descendents of the early Chinese settlers and Malay in this area were called the Peranakan, and their background were also expressed in their food.
Lunch was at Nancy’s Kitchen in Melaka.
We got popiah as appetizer.
Popiah was a Hokkien traditional food involving a thin flour crepe with protein and vegetables (ingredients varied dependent from family to family).
A variation that I had never was this fried version in Melaka.
The cooked soft popiah stuffing was placed inside inverted hat shape crisp cups.
The contrast of texture was most excellent.
The most unusual of all, the chicken curry with black nuts.
My local friend said only people in Melaka cooked with the black nut which had a very hard exterior shell.
The nut meat was pasty, and a little mealy — as one would expect from nut meat.
Its flavor was similar to Chinese black bean sauce.
We had a stir-fry of shrimp and a bean they called the “stinky beans”.
It got its name because the beans gave similar effects to human as asparagus did.
We had several desserts to finish off the meal: onde-onde and kuih talam.
Loved the chewy texture of the kuih talam with the fantastic coconut creamy flavor and light flavor of the pandang leaves (green layer).
The onde-onde was a surprise as I did not expect to bite into the little ball of chewy dessert with palm sugar syrup bursting out from the chewy dough.
The shredded coconut added another layer of texture which made this little dessert an incredible experience.
Afternoon tea was at this big place at the outskirt of town; coconut shake was their specialty.
The drink was absolutely delicious and refreshing.
I believed the drink was made with blended young coconuts’ juice and its meat, perhaps with a dash of milk or cream.
I gulped down 2 big cups in a roll!
The place had self-served snacks to go with the coconut drinks.
These snacks included fried fish cake, curry puffs (with potatoes or sardines) and otak.
Dinner was at the Portuguese settlement by the sea.
It was where the Portuguese had settled; and the descendants of the Portuguese and local Malay who were practising Catholics in this predominantly Muslim country lived.
We had excellent seafood — fresh and exceptionally sweet grilled crabs, garlic steamed scallops and black pepper grilled eggplants.
We bought drinks from Joe’s Only One Mango Juice.
It was different and tasty as unripe green mango were used for this beverage.
The mango flesh was blended with ice and a salty sour plum was added for extra twist of flavor in each cup.
The drink was very refreshing — sweet with light tart and saltiness accompanying the distinctive green mango flavor, it paired with the seafood really well.
Many notable foods at this remarkable place, another future visit is required!