Disclaimer: We’re almost finished with this I promise! In order to give you guys a detailed description but still keep my post to a reasonable length, I had to break the article down to 3 parts! Read Part 1 and Part 2 first.
Back to Melaka, after the Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum and Kamal ‘s tempting invite to dinner (did I mention Malaysians are the friendliest?), I wanted to try out original Nyonya food, and what better way to do that than the café attached to the museum itself? There is also another popular Nyonya restaurant with the tourists and locals alike (but like Chung Wah for the chicken rice balls, this one has a queue too). I choose Cafe 1511 beside the museum in the end because they had set meals, perfect for solo travelers.
A little more on Nancy’s Kitchen: many books, blogs and reviewers have claimed it to be the best Nyonya restaurant in Melaka, but according to a dependable source of mine, the food there’s merely okay, nothing you have to travel very far for. Their chicken curry is good, I’ve heard.
I did enter to check out their menu, and the atmosphere was tense! No welcoming words from the staffs, find your own seats and it was a little crowded/tight. Food is served in the ‘group’ style, no sets. But they have a pastry shop on the ground floor, and I bought a jar of kaya, which is a spread for bread and it was good. A little overpriced at RM4.80 though.
After lunch, I heaved myself back on the street and started for the bus station near the Stadthuys, waited 10 minutes for Bus No. 17 and hopped on (RM1.50). Just let the driver know that you are getting to the Portuguese Settlement. The stop is somewhere between Bandar Hilir and Ujong Pasir, get off right after the bus makes a U-turn (at a T-junction).
When he dropped me down at a bus stop close to the junction and in front of a restaurant, I had no idea where I was going. The bus driver told me to walk straight to the left, but when I walked, I couldn’t see any area that was ‘Portuguesey?’. That’s because there is no such thing.
The Portuguese Settlement in Malacca is merely an area where the Portuguese decedents live now. There are houses with slight Portuguese influence and only one authentic house with people still living in it.
I’ll show you some other photos too.
I really wished someone told me that the Portuguese Settlement should be done in the evenings. When I arrived at 1p.m., there was absolutely nothing to do! Restaurants are still open though and there is a small museum which had a sign that it will be open at 2 p.m. The heat is really something!
Desperate for something to do and not wanting to waste the trouble it took to get me here, I waited for the museum. At 2.05 p.m., I gave the number on the board a call and was informed that they were open half day, and the owner was (quote) “halfway cutting a tree in front of his house“. Resigning to leave this horrendous place, I walked the long stretch back to the bus stop and waited for 30 minutes for the bus.
My advise to you is, come to this place at about 6.30 p.m. to 7.00 p.m., take a stroll along the boardwalk and enjoy a good meal in one of the restaurants serving authentic Portuguese dishes like the Portuguese Grilled Fish and the famous Mango Juice, my personal favorite. Perfect evening.
As if my second day could not go any worse, the bus going back to Jonker Street (No. 17 too) does not pass through the Stadhuys building, and to stop at Jonker Street you need to get off at a shopping mall called Dataran Pahlawan and walk a little further up. I didn’t know and found myself in Melaka Sentral after a massive jam. This would’ve been perfect because I needed to get back to KL, but I didn’t have my backpack with me!
So again I took Bus No.17 (RM1.50) to Stadhuys (by now I just found the whole thing hilarious), and did some shopping around Jonker Street.
Remember the durian puff I had earlier? I decided to bring come back home, but remember to pack it in a box and not paper bag, because as sturdy as it looks, the puff pops easily! Mine was all broken, squashed and gooey by 6.00 p.m.
I’d also bought 3 bags of noodle (brown rice, spinach and mee sua). Buy these with the vendors (an old man in my case) selling with their baskets right beside the street, because it’s only RM10.00 for 3 packets where else shops usually sell them for RM6 each!
All that shopping got me tired, so I stopped for a cendol in Jonker 88, which was much nicer than the durial cendol I ate yesterday.
On my way back, I noticed that there wasn’t a queue for the ‘legendary’ Chung Wah Chicken Rice Balls, so I went in and ordered a pack with extra rice balls to bring back home! One meal is priced at RM9.50 (inclusive of 5 rice balls) and additional rice balls costs RM 0.30 each. I have to say, this one does taste a little better than the one I had in the previous shop, but not to the extent of waiting for 2 hours in a queue under the sun.
After getting all my stuff, I headed back to the hostel for a shower and took Bus No. 17 to Melaka Sentral. The station is in front of Dataran Pahlawan, wait right in front of the main entrance. The fare is RM 2.00.
If you’re planning to come back from Melaka to KL on a Sunday, I advise you to get your bus tickets earlier as tickets finish fast. There was only one bus company left having tickets to KL (RM12.00).
It’s usually a 2 hours drive with no stop, but since the Muslims were fasting for Ramadan, we stopped for them to break fast. Surprising how I’ve never thought of that!
With that, I conclude a lovely journey to Malacca, with great food and amazing people along the way.
Till next time,
(PS: Feel free to drop me a comment below – loved this post, not so? Help me improve! Cheers )