16.06.2010 - 18.06.2010 34 °C
I am in food heaven. Just when I thought it couldn’t get much better after sampling Singapore’s finest, I find Malacca. Not only the food, this place made me feel incredibly happy, it is difficult to fully explain why. This Malaysian town, found in a strategic location somewhere in between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur has quite an interesting, colourful past. It has been previously colonised by the Dutch, the Portuguese, the French and the British. , Nowadays, it seems to be inhabited mostly by Chinese and Malay but there is also a sizeable Portuguese settlement. Colonial influences can be seen everywhere in the buildings, nestled amongst the Chinese temples, churches and mosques. The houses and restaurants tastefully lit up by night along the river give a romantic feel. Walking the streets I sometimes felt as if i was in a museum. My photos will hopefully talk for me. I fell in love with this quaint place quite quickly.
So the food then, well, well well. Malacca seems to have its own cuisine, or variants of popular Chinese, Malaysian or Portugese dishes, served on the street or in atmospheric colonial buildings. To name a few that I tried, ayam pongteh (pork in a special spicy bean sauce), babu lakhsa (gorgeous tofu spicy curry) followed by the odd durian puff (durian in a pastry, i told you i was actually getting a taste for this weird fruit!) Malacca is also where I discovered cendol. When i describe this weird dessert to you, i bet most of you will go ‘yuck’, but take my word for it, this unusual concoction really does work and is highly addictive. So first, we start with a bowl of little sweet fruity jelly things, sweetcorn and kidney beans. Yes that wasn’t a typo, there are kidney beans in this dessert! A large slab of ice is then stuck in a vice, which is rotated to give you ice shavings which are stuck on top of the jellies and beans. A large ladle of coconut milk is poured over, followed by the very special ingredient, Malacca sauce, basically dark caramel, but real smooth. Without knowing what it was, I did try Cendol in Borneo but it wasn’t the same without the Malacca sauce. Really, please trust me on this, cendol completely rocks, and I had to keep going back! Certainly cooled me down after the babu lakhsa!
The food was so interesting here that it was a hot topic of conversation in the street and in restaurants. I bonded with quite a few locals and other travellers over a cendol Oh and other than arriving in heaven through food, and admiring the scenery, I took my first fish spa! Up until now I have resisted this SE Asian tourist-tacky delight, where you sit with your feet in an aquarium with fish nibbling away or ‘exfoliating’ your feet. It was cheap here so I gave it a go. Well, it tickled, felt weird, occasionally even a little painful when those big fat catfish had a go..and my feet felt as smooth as a babies bum so there you go maybe not so tacky afterall, it did work...
I could have spent much longer here, this place had a soul. I thought I would grab some beach action in the Perhention Islands before Burma instead but wish now that I hadn’t bothered.