Warning: This is going to be a loooong post. Read only if it interests you 🙂
For we Malaysians, Melaka is usually a food-led trip. Just like my last trip, there were 9 food stops packed into 2D1N here. NOT this trip, which makes it refreshing.
Throwback to my short getaway in Malaysia: I tagged along my 2nd sis’ family to a weekend getaway to Melaka. Different group, different interest, different (travel) agenda.
“I am going to show you around Melaka,” my 9-year old niece told me. Spoken like a true young adventurer.
Day 1: – Massage at Baba Chong- Serani ‘Teng Teng’ at The Baba & Nyonya Heritage Museum- Peranakan lunch at Nancy’s Kitchen- Nyonya kuih at Baba Charlie (Closed)- Bookaholic session at Seck Kim Seng Memorial Library- Clay workshop at The Clay House- Coffee and dessert at The Baboon House- Check in Cafe 1511- Putu Piring Tengkera dinner
Day 2: – Dim sum breakfast at Low Yong Moh Restaurant- Sunday Antique flea market at Jonker Walk- Hindu temple procession- BEST Cendol at Aunty Koh- Checking out Bustel at Klebang- Lunch at The Baboon House- Getting to know the Chettis at The Chetti Village and The Chetti Museum
Our journey from KL began around 7.30am to beat traffic, but it was smooth all the way. We assumed it was because of less people traveling after Chinese New Year.
Massage at Baba Chong
First stop: Baba Chong. I’ve been there once previously, and this marks my second visit.
They were closed for Chinese New Year, for 2 weeks, from 5 Feb to 19 Feb 2016. They just reopened on that day. Expecting full house, it went better than we thought.
I was told that there are 4 massauers altogether, 3 men (including Baba Chong) and 1 woman. Baba Chong, of course, is the most experience among the 4 of them, and expect a long queue if you want him specifically. If you are a female, go straight to the woman massauer. Each massage costs you RM 20, supposedly it’ll last for 10 mins. It usually lasts shorter than that, especially if Baba Chong is the massauer.
As BIL will be able to have 2 massages for this trip, he went to his son for treatment. He explained that if he can only afford the time for 1 treatment, then he’ll still wait for Baba Chong. That speaks for itself.
For his next day massage, BIL asked whether he can write down his name for tomorrow’s queue, but was told there is no need. He is a regular, so they already recognize, and tell him to just turn up. Since there isn’t a system proper, new customers sometimes will complain about people ‘jumping queue‘, so hopefully this explains a bit about the (lack of) system.
If you arrive late, someone will probably approach you and sell you their queue number. These numbers are sold at RM 10, and will save you queuing time. This issue was brought up to Baba Chong, but he seemed to tolerate and accept that .. “bagi orang kasi chance cari makan,“he said. In English, it means give people a chance to make money.
They also sell some botanic herbal drinks. BIL bought Air Daun Angin @ RM 10 per bottle.
If you need directions to Baba Chong, you can rely on Waze. Search for “Baba Chong massage therapist“, and the location is accurate.
Taman Tanjung Minyak Utama Melaka
Tel: +6-016-656 2092
Operating hours: 6am-5pm (closed on Friday)
Serani “Teng Teng” Performance At Baba and Nyonya Heritage Museum
After Baba Chong, we drove to Baba and Nyonya Heritage Museum for their inaugural “Celebrating the Chinese New Year with the Serani “Teng Teng” performance, and it was free admission! Note that entrance fee to the museum itself is RM 16 for adults, and RM 11 for children.
First in Melaka, we were repeatedly told. Kudos to Malaysian Heritage and History Club and Martin Theseira from the Portugese Community, for bringing back the beautiful tradition and heritage to Malaysians and also foreigners. It highlights the harmony that different communities in Melaka used to have. The kids from the Portugese Community used to just come around and knock on the Baba & Nyonya’s door to perform during Chinese New Year. Harmony and unity, isn’t that what Ola Bola was preaching about as well?
Martin first introduced to the audience who are the Seranis in Melaka. Portugese or Serani (in Malay language): they are Portugese Eurasians, a mixed marriage of Portuguese and local native women. They are descendants of marriages between local women and Portuguese colonists centuries ago. Portugal conquered Melaka in 1511. For 130 years, from 1511-1641, Melaka was a Portuguese colony.
Besides the usual lion dance, Melaka celebrated a unique ritual during Chinese New Year, known as “Serani Teng Teng.” Serani Teng Teng was Serani way of celebrating Chinese New Year.
This group consisted of 3 Portugese boys aged between 10 to 17 years old who played the triangle chime, a harmonica, a tambourine and a tambour. Although this group that performed was a mix of 2 Portugese boys and 1 Portugese man *chuckle*. “Teng Teng” was in reference to the sound of the triangle chime. The boys who hailed from Tranquerah and the Portugese settlement made their appearance during Chinese New Year, going from door to door to perform.
In return, they would be given a token of angpow. We were told that these were their ways of making some extra pocket money during Chinese New Year … entrepreneurship starts early, isn’t it?
This interesting tradition needs to be kept alive. Please support them. For bookings, please call Martin Theseira +6-017-212 6783 (stated that SMS is preferred).
Baba & Nyonya Heritage Museum
No. 48 & 50 Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock
75200 Melaka, Malaysia
Tel: +606-283 1273
Daily Tour Times:
10am-1pm (last morning tour 12noon)
2pm-5pm (last evening tour 4pm)
Extended Hour on Weekends: Fri, Sat, Sun (last evening tour 5pm)
Their website is here
Peranakan Lunch at Nancy’s Kitchen
We had early lunch at Nancy’s Kitchen, one of bf and my favorite peranakan cuisine restaurant in Melaka. They are no longer at Jonker Street, but have moved to Taman Kota Laksamana. It is possible to walk from Jonker Street, 1km or around 12 mins walk. Plenty of parking space if you drive too.
Since the kids are vegetarian, we only ordered one non-vegetarian dish: ikan cencaru sumbat sambal, at RM 7 each, plus a variety of vegetables. I still think that my eldest BIL makes the best ikan sumbat sambal ever.
Nancy’s Kitchen Nyonya Food
13, 13-1, 13-2, Jalan KL 3/8,
Taman Kota Laksamana, Seksyen 3, 75200 Melaka
Tel: +606-283 6099/ +6013-618 3608
Sun, Mon, Wed & Thurs: 11am-5pm
Fri, Sat & Public Holidays: 11am-9pm
(Closed on Tuesday)
Nyonya Kuih at Baba Charlie
Kids would like some nyonya kuihs at Baba Charlie, so we drove over after lunch. But Baba Charlie is still closed for Chinese New Year, and will only reopen on 23 Feb, 2016.
We always pass by this house with lots of blue pea flowers (bunga telang in Malay) plant, and every time, someone will point out that the blue pigments from these flowers are used for the nyonya kuihs.
Baba Charlie Nyonya Cake
72 Jalan Tengkera Pantai 2,
Tel: +6-06-284 7209, +6019-666 9207
Business hours: 10.30am-3pm (Closed on Thursday)
Read A Book At Seck Kim Seng Memorial Library
A (free) library in the middle of Jonker Street provides a much-needed sanctuary from the heat and crowd!
It is housed in a beautiful old building, and I really admire how beautiful the library is.
I heard that it is ‘opened’ by Cheng Hoon Teng temple; there are lots of dharma-related books. But, there are also plenty of fiction and non-fiction books. I read here that it had been Reverend Seck Kim Seng’s wish for a library to be built. The library was opened, next door to the main temple. It is named after the Reverend: The Seck Kim Seng Memorial Library.
Seck Kim Seng Memorial Library
No 104 Jalan Hang Jebat
Tel: +6-06-286 4149
Tue, Wed, Thurs & Sun: 10am-5pm
Fri & Sat: 10am-7pm
(Closed on Monday)
Cheng Hoon Teng’s temple website is here.
Clay workshop at The Clay House
This has gotta be one of the highlights of this short trip.
I was brought to a pottery studio at The Clay House, where time stands still. It’s like the clock is ticking away, but in this studio, nothing else matters but the pottery.
Such a serene afternoon watching BIL and kids molding clay into shapes, with supervision and guidance from Mr. Leong Chee Hsiung, a potter with 19 years of experience! He is super patient, radiating zen -ness, and I think this is a prerequisite for a potter. He makes a good teacher for kids, and adults!
I urge each and everyone of you to give it a go, for a unique experience in Melaka. But do avoid school holidays period, as there will be loads of school kids.
Depending on no of pax, fee ranging from RM 40 – RM 60 for a 2-hour workshop. You can also bring back your handiwork.
His shop is usually unmanned in the front, as Mr. Leong and his wife usually work at the pottery studio at the back. There were reported thefts of their handiwork. Shame on you, whoever you are. It takes lots of efforts, and if you can’t afford it, don’t steal their works. And if you steal it for fun, wait for karma.
The Clay House
(same row as Low Yong Moh restaurant)
18, Jalan Tukang Emas,
Tel: +6-06-292 6916
Coffee and Dessert at The Baboon House
Sis took me to The Baboon House, lauded as a must visit. We even wanted to book a table for dinner, but they close at 5pm.
Pardon my ignorance, it is ranked no 1 out of 461 restaurants in Melaka on Trip Advisor! I beg to differ, perhaps because they are elusive, and uniquely different (in a good way). But food-wise, I think many others deserve this coveted spot more.
Many blogs talked about The Baboon House’s food, perhaps this is the easiest subject, no? What’s wrong with these people? Food shouldn’t be the highlight, but the whole preservation work. Read the article here, about the artist’s vision of The Baboon House.
Ambience-wise, I agreed that it is insane! I will even give them a perfect ten for the place itself, the artworks, the enchanted garden, the whole look and feel. This has gotta be one of the best arty cafe that I’ve ever been to … and I am talking about Malaysia and beyond. Sis says that she wanted to bring my bf, and also Sher, our nephew here. I am sure that Sher will be over the moon.
Photography is strictly not allowed. And for many, NO carries no meaning for them. If you search for The Baboon House, you’ll see many. The couple seated behind me did exactly the same. They stole a selfie, and the girl also took a photo of one of the paintings. I was rolling my eyes, as you can imagine (for those that know me well).
I’ll touch about The Baboon House’s infamous burger, later on, since we also made it for lunch on the next day.
The Baboon House
89, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock,
Tel: +6-016 283 1635
Opening Hours: Mon, Wed-Fri: 10am-5pm (Closed on Tuesday)
Check-in home-sweet-home at Cafe 1511
I love Cafe 1511. It was a love at first stay, and I remained true to them.
I heard that the place has lost its mojo, and the owner is no longer be seen around.
I remembered my first stay at Cafe 1511. Arriving late via coach, Colin, the owner, had to check us in late at night. On my second stay, Colin and / or PG was there to welcome us too. Now, their superb Myanmar staff handle the necessary. As the place has been around for a while, it is not as brand new as it used to be.
But the overall look and feel is still the same. Nothing beats staying at an old heritage house, at an affordable price too.
Hello Thai King and Queen! Highly respected, even in Malaysia!
Please, no flushing down sanitary products down the toilet. The sign is in Chinese, and I am sure you can guess why. Cafe 1511’s toilet was clogged many time, because guests from a certain nationality have been flushing sanitary items down their toilet. Sigh.
I stayed in Pai Tee room, a single bed @ RM 70 (CNY peak period) / RM 50 (non-peak period), whilst sis’ family stayed in Popiah room. I think she paid slightly more than RM 100 for her room. They allow 4 pax in the room, with a single mattress on the floor. This makes this place an affordable stay for family with young children, if you don’t mind roughing it out a little bit.
This stay reaffirms my love for this place, and yes, will stay here again 🙂
52, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock,
Tel: +6-06 286 0150
Putu Piring Tengkera for dinner
BIL and sis walked to Putu Piring Tengkera, 1.1km, approx 15 mins walk to get Putu Piring for dinner.
Still as good as I remember, and it makes a great light dinner.
Putu Piring Tengkera
252 Jalan Tengkera
Tel: +6-06-282 1505
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 6pm-10pm (Close on Sunday)
A super early morning start on Day 2. I was up around 7am, for early morning brekkie and antique market expedition with sis and family.
Dim Sum brekkie at Old School Low Yong Moh Restaurant
Freshly made, that’s why sis’ family wants to eat here. The kids saw them making their own dim sums when they dined there previously. Sis says some dim sum restaurants in KL serve frozen dim sum. So, fresh dim sum is prized by sis’ family.
As for me, I adore their old school look, more than the food itself.
No menu, wait for trays and trays of steaming hot dim sums to go round and pick what you like. You’ll however, need to order porridge, buns, lo mai gai (steamed glutinous rice) and lotus leaf wrapped rice from staff.
I appreciate their lotus leaf rice and salted egg custard bun the most. The rest of the dim sums are just okay.
By 8am, there were people lining up for table. Be there before 8am!
Low Yong Moh Restaurant
32, Jalan Tukang Emas,
Opening Hours: 5.30am-1pm (Close on Tuesday)
Sunday Antique flea market at Jonker Walk
Oldies are goodies. It’s too late to realize that now. Bargaining is essential.
I shall let the pictures do the talking.
Location: Jalan Hang Lekir (start from Geographer Cafe)
When: Every Sunday, 8am-12pm.
Hindu temple Procession
We chanced upon this procession, near to our accommodation. We were told that it is an annual ritual, something about sending the god to another temple, and then back.
Best-est Nyonya Cendol at Aunty Koh
The one and only cendol that I miss. If there is only one food stop that you can afford, you MUST come here. It is really the best-est nyonya cendol in the whole wide world (at least it is, in my book)!
There is something familiar about Aunty Koh, that I can’t put my finger on it .. Eating cendol at Aunty Koh, is like visiting a favorite aunt, whereby one tend to be in her or his best behavior.
I was toying with 2 bowls of cendol, but that would cost me RM 10. So, I had one. Big or small? Get the big bowl, of course. And don’t even think about sharing.
For newbies, a lot of things are DIY, except for queuing up. Everything else is DIY. Put the correct amount in drawer (big bowl RM 5, small bowl RM 4), carry your bowls to your table, and wash the bowls and spoons afterwards.
Long live Aunty Koh, for the best cendol to live on.
Aunty Koh Best Cendol
No. 5113, Jalan Batang Tiga,
Kampung Bukit Rambai,
Opening hours: Sat – Sun 12pm – 1pm (until sold out)
Bus-hotel at Bustel Klebang
We passed by Bustel en route to Aunty Koh, so we stopped by to check out the bus-hotel. Why would someone want to sleep inside a refurbished bus? As a local growing up in KL, bus was our last transportation resort. And it brings back horrible memories of “masuk dalam, masuk dalam” (step inside to make more space for passengers), long wait for buses, and hot and sweaty ride (no aircond bus long time ago).
It was fully booked when we were there. So perhaps, there is a market for this type of accommodation.
The photos also do not look appealing enough. Not for me. I will stick to Cafe 1511, thank you.
Bustel Klebang Melaka
Tel: +6-019-741 4413
Kampung Bukit Rambai,
Reception office: 9am-12mn (Closed from 12.30pm-2pm)
Sunday-Thursday’s rates RM 90, Fri-Sat & Public Holidays RM 130.
Lunch at Baboon House
I am back, for lunch this time. Their menu is limited, and since burger is what was highly recommended .. I ordered exactly one to try, their pork belly burger (RM 18.80).
It’s easy to see why people rave about their burgers. I guess there ain’t much good artisanal burger joint in Melaka. But we do have pretty awesome burger joints in KL. Also, I find the sesame sauce doesn’t go well with the burger.
Since there are many fans out there, perhaps I am the odd ball. Try it yourself, and make your own judgement.
It is definitely going to be peranakan food for me in Melaka.
Checking out the Chettis
Chetti is Hindu Peranakan community in Melaka. Chetti Museum was in sis’ checklist, our last stop before heading back to KL. We arrived at the museum around 1ish, and the museum was closed for lunch break.
This led us to The Chetti Village, and checking out the village on foot. Such a quaint little village.
There are 24/7 kolam on the street, and also in front of houses. How beautiful.
The Museum opened around 10 minutes after 2pm. No pictures allowed, so didn’t take photos inside the museum.
Muzium Chetti (Chitty Museum)
Kampung Chetti, Jalan Gajah Berang, Melaka
Visiting Hours: Tuesday to Sunday (Closed on Monday), 9am to 5pm (Break from 1pm-2pm)
Admission: RM 2 – Adults and RM 1.00 for Children/Students
Bye bye Melaka, till next time ….