Top 17 Foods to Try in Melaka

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.

1. Chicken Rice Ball

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!

2. Char Siew Rice

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.

3. Nasi Lemak

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:?

4. Nyonya Laksa

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.

5. Duck Noodles

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.

6. Asam Pedas Fish

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.

7. Sambal Delicacies

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!!

8. Satay Celup

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.

9. Tandoori chicken

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.

10. Satays

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.

11. Fried Oysters

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.

12. Pai Tee/Pie Tee

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.

13. Nyonya Kuih

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.

14. Cendol

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!

15. Creme Crepe

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!

16. Popiah

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.

17. Klebang Coconut Milkshake

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.

Do you have any recommended places to try out these Melaka cuisines? Tell us by leaving your comment below and we’ll send our foodies to try them out and get the possibility to be featured on this page.

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.

Restaurants to Try the Top Melaka Foods

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19 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

  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. 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

  12. Wan says:

    Hi, these all looks yummy and I’ve taken notes on those suggestions in review too.
    Could you please tell me are all these foods Halal?
    Thanks for the info. Much appreciated.

    • Go Admin says:

      Most of the food listed here has halal version depending on which restaurants you dine in. Even though many of the restaurants listed on this page do not have halal certificate, some of them do offer dishes with no pork and no lard.

  13. Devion says:

    This is the best curated list I’ve ever seen, thanks for posting!

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