Melaka History

Overview
a-famosa

It was in the fourteenth century that the fishing village of Melaka gained the attention a Hindu prince named Parameswara from Sumatra. He was the last ruler of ancient Singapore who was of Malay origin. The ruler decided to make this place a permanent settlement and named it ‘Melaka’ after a tree. A special position is occupied by Melaka Sultanate when it comes to history of Malaysia. The discovery of this new place led to the emergence of new Malayan Empire. Melaka served as the perfect platform on which the Dutch, Portuguese and English played their roles towards shaping the history of this beautiful place. The industrious nature of Parameswara along with chiefs made this place a powerful maritime trading destination attracting traders from different parts. Muslim traders from India and West Asia shifted their attention towards Melaka from other trading places. The strategic location of Melaka made it a popular trading centre with merchants and ships arriving from India, Japan, China, South Africa and Arab.

In the year 1511, Melaka was captured by the Portuguese which soon shifted to the hands on the Dutch in the year 1641. It was in the year, 1795 the British took control of Melaka to prevent French occupancy. However, after treaty of Vienna came into effect, Melaka was again handed over to the Dutch. Following the year 1826, British East India Company together with Penang and Singapore started to govern the place. The place was ruled by the Dutch for more than a century which is prominent from the fine buildings that exist still today. The red Christ Church which is a prominent feature of Melaka city was built with pink bricks that were imported from Holland. Local red lacerite was then used to give the structure that red appearance. The European presence is constantly reminded by some of the famous structures like the St. Paul’s Church and A Famosa.


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Melaka Culture

Overview
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In the month of July of 2008, Melaka got included in World Heritage List along with Penang’s capital, George Town. Even though the multi-racial population of the place consists mainly of Chinese, Indians and Malays, the Portuguese and Peranakan culture which is still practiced by a few descendant communities gains the major attention from tourists. Peranakans or Baba Nyonya are believed to be descendants as a result of intermarriage between Chinese and Malay. The male Peranakans are referred to as ‘Babas’ whereas the females are referred to as ‘Nyonya’.

The language spoken by the Peranakans is known as ‘Baba Malay’ which consists of a few elements of Hokkien language. There are quite a few museums present in the city of Melaka but the most important are Malacca Sultanate Palace Museum and Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum. Melaka is also the place where the Sikh community is available in large numbers. The gurdwara located in Jalan Temenggong is the place where the Sikh community offers their prayers.

Descendants of Portuguese colonists from sixteenth and seventeenth century are present till this day in Melaka. Portuguese Creole is generally the language spoken by them and most of the traditions which originated from Portuguese occupation are being practised still today. Portuguese dishes like Ikan Bakar, Alai, Serkam and Umbai are quite popular in some of the restaurants of Melaka.


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Getting to Melaka

Overview
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Malacca is a strong touristic state. Most people who visited this city felt in love with its history, attractions and local cuisine. If you decide to visit Malacca, there are several modes of transport to get to the place.

Most Malaysians and Singaporeans prefer travelling to Melaka on their own car. By travelling this way, you are in control of your own schedule. If you do not own a car, you can rent it from operators and pay a deposit besides the daily rates.

Cost from KL: The distance between Kuala Lumpur and Melaka is about 136km. The toll price is within RM35 while the fuel cost for a sedan car is about RM25 for a one way trip.

For car rental, the prices range from RM150-RM400 depending on the vehicle type and duration.

In Malaysia there are a lot of buses that have various destinations and that are frequent. It is cheap, fast and convenient for singles or non-kids couples. Most long-distant buses are cosy and all of them are air-conditioned. Melaka Sentral bus terminal is the hub for long-distant and local buses. It is about 4.5 km from Red Square.

Bus fare from KL: A one way trip ranges from RM12 to RM17.

A taxi ride from other cities to Melaka is not recommended as it is expensive due to the long distance. If you have enough money to pamper without the hassle of driving yourself, feel free to go for this option. Taxis are easily available within the city area.

Taxi fare from KL: A one way trip costs about RM200. Some taxi drivers offer chartered service where you can book them for 1 day. You’ll have to negotiate with the taxi driver about the chartered rate.

Melaka ferry jetty, named Harbour Master is situated at Taman Melaka Raya near the Maritime Museum. For visitors from Sumatra, Indonesia, getting to Melaka by ferry is the most viable option. Daily ferries are available between Melaka and 3 locations in Sumatra; namely, Bengkalis, Dumai and Pekanbaru.

Ferry Fare
Between Melaka and Dumai: RM110 (1-way) and RM170 (2-way).
Departing time from Melaka: Daily at 9am and 3pm.

Between Melaka and Bengkalis: RM50 (1-way) and RM80 (2-way).
Departing time from Melaka: Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 1pm
Departing time from Bengkalis: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 9:30am

Between Melaka and Pekanbaru: RM120 (1-way) and RM210 (2-way)
Departing time from Melaka: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 9:30am. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 9am.

Plane is an option for distant visitors or for business travelers. Malacca International Airport is located about 10 km from the city. Only limited flights are available. If you are in Subang and Pekanbaru, travelling by flights to Melaka is another option.

There are currently 3 air operators in Melaka airport. Sky Aviation and Wings Air have flights to Pekanbaru while Firefly flys to Medan in Sumatra and Subang.

If you are still thinking to travel to Melaka via train, you will be disappointed as the nearest train station, Tampin (about 38 kilometers from the Melaka city) is closed to make way for the electrified double-tracking project. Many other sources are still telling you that train is one of the transport options to Melaka, which is not true.

Malacca is a very special place that offers delicious food and original tourist attractions. It has hotels, guest houses and inns for each pocket. There are also museums, churches, temples and other attractions. Choose any kind of transport and get to Melaka!


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Getting around Melaka

Overview
getting-around-melaka2

As any other historical city, Malacca is very interesting, original and special. It offers delicious local cuisine, amazing attraction places and many astonishing photo shoot points. No matter how curious or eager you can be, this state will fulfill your whims. If you choose Malacca as your tourist destination you won’t be disappointed. As soon as you reached this city, don’t waste your time, just find a conveyance and explore, learn, eat, drink, have fun and feel Melaka.

Whether you are travelling alone, as a couple or in a group, the best way to get around the prime of Malacca is on foot. First of all visit Baba-Nyonya Heritage Museum and Malacca Sultanate Palace Museum. These 2 places will tell you everything about Malaccan history. It is very important to know its past. The good part about Melaka is almost 70% of the major attractions are within 1km radius. There is no better way to have a good feel about Melaka by walking. It’s also a good free way to burn calorie without too exhausted.

If you are running out of time, rent a bicycle or join a cycling tour group. Some hotels offer bicycle rental for their guests. Each corner in Malacca denotes history, but at the same time, it is a modern city. The drawback of cycling within the city area is there is limited tracks for bicycle so sharing roads with cars and buses may become a bit dangerous. Also, do take note that some attractions in the hill side like St. Paul’s Hill are not reachable in bike.

When you reached Malacca River, try to look for Muara Jetty, which is next to Quayside Heritage Centre. This is the where the river cruise journey starts. In the 45-min sightseeing tour, you’ll cruise past historic buildings, old warehouses(godowns) and graffiti art on the buildings. Melaka River Cruise is one of the best ways to see the city’s beauty. If you haven’t got enough of the river view, pick a restaurant by the river and see how the environment changes color when the sky turns dark.

An unusual transport within Melaka is a trishaw. It is a small vehicle with a pedal and three wheels. You can find them at the Dutch Square. This non-pollute vehicle driver and at the same time guide, will acquaint you with every touristic point in the city.

No doubt a car is the faster way to explore a city. For most visitors who wants to explore Melaka outside the prime city area, hail for a taxi and the driver will take you anywhere you want. If you prefer chartered taxi services, they are available at the end of Jalan Kee Ann. A taxi can carry up to 4 passengers. As most taxi drivers don’t use meter, it is best to negotiate the price before hopping in the taxi. You are being ripped off if a ride less than 5 mins is charged RM15. A personal car is the most convenient vehicle. You have everything you may need at hand, especially when you travel with kids.

Any transport vehicle you choose will help you to explore the beautiful and unique Malacca.


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2 Responses to Getting around Melaka

  1. Anne Liltved says:

    I have tried to find a bus from Malacca to Mersing on July 8, but it seems as if they are all fully booked. Could it still be a chance to find bus transport or do we need to take a taxi (family of five)?

    • Go Admin says:

      You may want to search for the bus availability at Easybook and see if you can secure the seats. If bus transport is not possible, taking a taxi is an option.


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Top 17 Foods to Try in Melaka

Diary
melaka-food-overview

Malacca city is the capital of the state of Malacca, on the west coast of peninsular Malaysia. With a rich historical and cultural background from previous Portuguese, Dutch and British rule, visiting this place gives you a unique experience. The city centre was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in July 2008, along with Georgetown in Penang.

I am an avid traveler and Melaka is one of my favorite places on earth. Besides its popular historical attractions, friendly and hospitable people and cheap and cozy hotels I just adore the local food. I am a picky eater. Food is something saint for me. I can skip my night sleep or an important appointment, but I will never, never skip my meal!

First of all my food must have an accurate and attractive plating; then the taste should be delicious and memorable; so memorable that I would want to return to that place over and over again for another food hunt. So here’s my summarized list of the top 17 food to eat in Melaka. I feel these dishes represent Melaka as a whole as there are a wide variety of Chinese, Malay and Nyonya (a combination of Chinese and Malay culture) styles of cooking. This gives you an overall taste of the best Melaka has to offer.

This is a dish of Chinese origin, and is most commonly associated with Hainanese, Malaysian and Singaporean cuisines. As I wrote earlier I like to eat. And chicken is one of my favorite ingredients. Here in 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 the unique look and texture. You must try the Chung Wah’s one. Little chicken rice balls are very yummy, and the chicken is very tender!

Some prefer flavorful, well roasted but soft lean pork meat. Others are mad about fatty meat with crispy, sweet flavors. But most people like the delicious sweet and savory gravy that is poured over the char siew slices and hot rice. You can find any type of Char Siew Rice you desire. Melaka is full of various cooking styles. I enjoyed the Char Siew Rice served at Boon Leong Food Court(popularly known as Bunga Raya Food Court). Their Char Siew sauce is thicker and tastes nicer.


This is a fragrant rice dish cooked in coconut milk and “pandan” leaf commonly found in Malaysia. Nasi lemak is not only popular in Melaka, it is also considered as one of the national dishes. This street food is best served with the banana leaf as the aroma enhances the taste.

You can easily find good-tasting nasi lemak in Melaka. The one that I tried at New Wang Food Court had fluffy and fragrant rice and the side dishes were very good. The owner named the stall as “Nasi Lemak” so what do you think the signature dish is:?


The laksa is pungent, rich and well flavored from the spices and chilies. The aroma is super tempting. Once you put it into your mouth, I don’t know how to describe the taste; the food melts and takes you into heaven. For the uninitiated, there is a difference between Nyonya laksa and curry laksa. Nyonya laksa broth is prepared using chicken and prawns, while curry laksa uses chicken stock. The red-orange dotted oil on top of the Nyonya laksa comes from the prawns, which gives the curry a richer and sweeter taste.

Nancy’s Kitchen, Riverine Coffeehouse and Calanthe Art Café serves some of the best nyonya laksa in town.

Tengkera Duck Noodle Restaurant is known for the Malacca-style Duck Noodles and I had a choice of soup or dry noodles. The latter is tossed in thick gravy and topped with shredded duck meat. This comes with small bowl of soup. The soup version is also decent – it really depends on whether you’re a soup or dry noodles person.

Soon Yen, some locals call it ‘under the big tree’ food court, along Jalan Tengkera offers delicious duck noodles too.


The main ingredients of this dish is fish/seafood, ladyfinger, eggplant, long green bean and tomato. This dish is cooked in asam (tamarind) juice with chili and different spices. The cooking process involves soaking the pulp of the tamarind fruit until it is soft and then squeezing out the juice for cooking the fish/seafood. This is the signature dish of the state. A very hot and mild sour fish curry making it very appetizing and is best to go with white rice. I normally eat it during lunch and dinner.

One of my favorite places to try asam pedas is Amy Heritage Nyonya Cuisine. You can also try it in other restaurants such as Asam Pedas Claypot and Cottage Spices Nyonya Restaurant.


Sambal is a condiment that has a chili-based sauce. Typically made from a variety of chili peppers, it is sometimes a substitute for fresh chilies and can be extremely spicy for the uninitiated. Secondary ingredients of sambals often include shrimp paste and/or fish sauce, garlic, ginger, or shallots/green onions, sugar, lime juice, and rice vinegar or other vinegars. Some ready-made sambals are available at exotic food markets or gourmet departments in supermarkets.

Some of the sambal foods that are so irresistible include sambal sotong, sambal ikan bilis, sambal kangkong and sambal chicken. The above-mentioned Nyonya restaurants are 4 of my favorite places whenever I want to get the authentic sambal taste. Yummy!!

This is a dish where an assortment of raw and semi-cooked seafood, meat (including raw meat) and vegetables on skewers are dunked into a hot boiling pot of satay gravy. The best Satay Celup is at Capitol Satay. The long queue may turn you off and some may not like the taste but for me, it is nice and worth to wait. Don’t let the outlook of the restaurant disgust you as it is an old restaurant. Let’s just say they don’t have the need to renovate it as it is already insanely popular.

If you are tired of standing and waiting for 1-2 hours just to find a seat, you can get an alternative at McQuek’s Satay Celup.

Tandoori chicken is a popular Indian dish consisting of roasted chicken prepared with yogurt and spices. The name comes from the type of cylindrical clay oven, tandoor, in which the dish is traditionally prepared. Two of the good places to eat the best tandoori is Pak Putra Tandoori Naan and Restaurant D’ Tandoori House. Their tandoori is so tender and I highly recommend it! The naan, a leavened, oven-baked flatbread, boasts a smoky flavor from the tandoori with slightly charred edges. Very tasty, especially when eaten with the tender, flavorful chicken.


Satay or sate is a dish of seasoned, skewered and grilled meat, served with a sauce. Satay may consist of diced or sliced chicken, goat, mutton, beef, pork, fish, other meats, or tofu; the more authentic version uses skewers from the midrib of the coconut palm frond, although bamboo skewers are often used. These are grilled or barbecued over a wood or charcoal fire, then served with various spicy seasonings. Good consistency on the peanut sauce and the taste is just right without being overly sweet.

I like the satay taste at Sun May Hiong Satay House as the sour-sweet-spicy sauce is just the right accompaniment to the meat.

Oh yeah, it’s called “fried oyster omelet” too – due to the big amount of eggs. Oysters are fresh and although not big in size, the generous amount makes up for it. As for myself, I got to say that I enjoyed eating it. The eggs are simply delicious, and I actually care about the oysters – I just loved them. Fried oysters can be found in some Melaka food courts and the one that I like most is at the stall in Bunga Raya Food Court.

Also known as top hats, Pai Tee is a crunchy flour cup filled with julienned vegetables, omelet and fried shallots. These tiny treats went very well with the chili sauce provided. Simply pop it into your mouth and enjoy its crunchiness. The ‘hats’ were quite small – I could have polished all 5 pieces easily. Nancy’s Kitchen is the place that amazed me with these little yummy things.


Nyonya Kuih (kuih is a term for Malay cakes) are bite-sized dessert that are colorful and popularly taken as a snack. Some are steamed, some grilled but most are sweet. My favorite Nyonya Kuih is Ondeh-ondeh (or onde-onde). It is either made from sweet potato or glutinous rice flour. The cute little ondeh-ondeh are infused with pandan (screwpine leaf) juice and filled with Gula Melaka (local sugar) or palm sugar and then rolled in with some fresh grated coconut. The palm sugar that’s in it literally bursts in your mouth when you take a bite. This warm dessert oozes into your mouth. Just ignore the diet and start a day with these sweet and delicious little yummy things.

I just love the authentic taste of Nyonya Kuih at Nancy’s Kitchen. For takeaway, drive over to Baba Charlie Nyonya Cakes located in a residential area which is frequented by locals and widely reported on media.

This is a traditional dessert made from shaved ice, coconut milk, green starched noodles with pandan flavoring and palm sugar. Other ingredients such as red beans, glutinous rice, grass jelly, creamed corn, might also be included. Each spoonful leaves behind a lingering sweetness and a creamy aftertaste from the fresh coconut milk. You should try it at Jonker 88!

Mille crêpe is a French cake made of many crêpe layers. The word mille means “a thousand”, implying the many layers of crêpe. Go into Nadeje, but don’t expect to see a 1000-layer cake. You won’t find any. Here’s what to expect — about twenty lacy crêpes layered with fresh cream and custard.

The top crepe is usually sprinkled with sugar and flambéed until the surface caramelises. The cream was delicate yet firm enough, and the cake didn’t collapse at the plunge of a fork. The crepes were thin and crisp at the sides, and digging into the cake was like shovelling through snow. Light and luscious, each bite yielded a smoky sugar coat with refined layers of crepe and cream. Sounds yummy to you – go and try it!

This is a Fujian/Chaozhou-style fresh spring roll. The popiah is one of the better ones in Melaka, where the egg wrap is generously filled with ingredients, sweet sauce and piquant chili sauce. Good stuff! The egg-skin wrap was of just the right thickness and held the popiah together nicely. Moist, generously filled and full of oomph from the chili sauce – what’s not to like? Baba Low and Nancy’s Kitchen is the right place for this authentic delicates.

One of my readers suggest to review and include the coconut milkshake at Klebang in the list of best Melaka food. I personally went to the place and ordered one with ice cream. The recipe looks simple. It is a concoction of coconut water, flesh, ice cube and vanilla ice cream blended together in a mixer.

The resulting taste turned out to be exceptionally good! The natural sweet and creamy aftertaste with smoothie-like texture are soooo refreshing that one serving is not enough for me. I heard people love to drink this even on the rainy days. So imagine what would happen during the sweltering days…a very long queue!

These are my top 17 foods in Melaka. Some will make you laugh, some will make you cry, but all will make you hungry for more innovative meal hunts.

Read the dish name and try to remember if you ate it, with whom, where and when. I am sure you will have plenty of memories. Some may be sad, other happy, but all as a part of your life. In case you didn’t had a chance to try some of my favorite Melaka cuisines, just go for it.

On the other hand, your tastes differ from mine. If you think I miss out some of the food that deserves to be included in this list, please leave a comment below and tell me which food and why that you will definitely try whenever you visit Melaka.

Your Melaka trip is not complete without exploring the best attractions.

Find out how I plan my Melaka travel in one day walking!


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16 Responses to Top 17 Foods to Try in Melaka

  1. Amizan says:

    Cencaluk is a Malay food that I’ll try every time I visit Melaka. I always buy at a stall along the roads near Klebang Beach. It is made of fermented small shrimps and is usually served as a condiment together with chillis, shallots and lime juice. I simply love the sour and salty taste!

  2. Wei Ru says:

    I think you miss the insanely famous coconut shake at Klebang. Blend together with coconut flesh, coconut water and ice, it is a perfect refreshing juice in the hot sunny day. What’s more. I love it that it comes with the ice cream on top!

  3. munchong says:

    For me, I think there are two more
    1) teo soon long chan teochew restaurant
    2) restaurante san pedro portuguese restaurant

    • Go Admin says:

      Can you recommend the signature dishes for the two restaurants? I’ll do the research and ask the locals if they are worth to include them in the list. Thanks.

  4. sebastian says:

    Try the Kangkung fried with belacan and Asam Curry Fish @ San Pedro
    Delicious.

  5. yumi says:

    is there a different between melaka laksa and nyonya laksa?

    • Go Admin says:

      There are not much difference between the two in terms of the ingredients used. But Melaka Laksa tends to be less spicier and less milky.

  6. Sing says:

    May I know how far is the coocnut milk shake at Klebang from Jonker Street. Any public transport to reach there?

    Thank you..

    • Go Admin says:

      Klebang Coconut Milk Shake is about 6km from Jonker Street. You can get there by taxi of which the fare is less than RM20.

  7. bajarom Ahmad says:

    Dear admin,

    May i know what is the procedure for my restaurant to be listed in your website. I own the 1st halal satay celup restaurant in Melaka.It is located opposite of Aen Bandaraya Melaka. You may find us at fb CelopCelop. This is an opportunity for muslin to try the best Chinese Satay Celup Recipe…

    • Go Admin says:

      Hi, we will include your restaurant in our website base on the info found on your Facebook page soon. If you would like to be featured as one of top Melaka restaurants, we will need to send someone and review your food and service. Thanks.

  8. richard says:

    must try nyonya koh cendol at bukit rambai. the problem 1 week 1 time sunday only. i hear only limit 200 bowl only but not sure. Very fast finnish few hour only. i think this is the best cendol at melaka no another at melaka can beat this cendol. because this cendol no popular because 1 week 1 time only but the ppl wait before open and can try the taibak water same like cendol use sugar not use santan . i thing we cant find taibak water at melaka only this antie do.

  9. Kei says:

    You have missed some of important dishes of Melaka, like Ayam capitan from the nonya people also there is Ayam capitan from the Melaka Portuguese people.

    You have missed the Melaka Portuguese cuisine dishes like curry debal, sotong permenta, caldu pescador, portugis Ikan bakar, you need to try go to Portuguese settlement and look for restorant Lisbon and ask for Julie and Noel Felix they can prepare a off the menu meal that will blow your mind

    • Go Admin says:

      Thanks for sharing other Melaka cuisine. The reason that we don’t include De Lisbon restaurant is because of the inconsistency of the food taste and the opening hours.

  10. Steven Pang says:

    Do consider Putu Piring Melaka @ Tengkera.

  11. Zuliyana Zakaria says:

    Every time I visit Melaka I never miss food at Majeedia Haj Briyani Ujong Pasir (facing Angsana Hotel). this one up to my standard cause I cannot stand one norm mamaks place. They have murtabak too but the signature is the Nasi Briyani

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