Friday, September 18, 2009

The Merdeka Malacca Food Trip, Part 2

..continuation from our Chicken Rice Ball experience in Part 1 ...

4. Amoy Fish-shaped Kaya Thingies, outside San Shu Gong

As you walk along the five-foot way outside San Shu Gong souvenir shop in the direction of Jonker St, you will be greeted with a small-scale version of a Charlie-and-the-Chocolate-Factory-esque mechanical contraption that produces copies and copies of this...

We don't know what it's called, but it looks the Japanese snack with red-bean filling called Taiyaki. In this true-blue Malaysian version however, it is filled with pandan kaya instead of red bean. Still tastes good tho.

5. Capitol Satay Celup, Lorong Bukit Cina

After some more strolling along Jonker Street, Guilingao in a place I can't remember and a short break in a friend's hotel room, we set out for our next destination, satay celup.
The place opens at 5.00 pm, and so we thought that leaving the hotel at 6.00 pm would give us ample time to avoid the dinner crowds.

But traffic was slowing to a crawl, and we were only nearing the place at around 6.20. My local friend/food guide started expressing her concerns already ("Sei lor, the road already so jammed up, surely no more place to sit already"). I scoffed at her concerns ("Cannot be lah. All the cars here going for Satay Celup meh?"). But always trust the locals, because right in front of the shop, we were greeted with this:

In KL, the age old traffic jam wisdom tells you that you have to leave your house early to reach your destination early. Leave the house 20 minutes later, get stuck in the jam and arrive in your destination 60 minutes later.

Same theory applies for the Malacca Satay Celup queue. Be there at 5.00pm and beat the crowd. 15 minutes late? Welcome to the queue. With such ungodly queues, they would certainly benefit from signboards like this one:

OUR wait time was 70 minutes, which was good because we worked up an appetite with all the waiting.

In a nutshell, eating satay celup is always an enjoyable experience in itself (What interactive food experience isn't?). That said, the enjoyment factor was slightly hampered by all the waiting. Like I said before, I am not a firm believer in irrational queuing for food.

The gravy that night tasted a bit burnt compared to my first experience in Capitol last year. Possibly the gerisik (coconut shreds) that was added to the gravy was overfried. Highlights were of course the century quail eggs (tasted 10x better than regular ones, probably 10x more in cholesterol as well) and the 'bonus' given intermittently. This time around, we had giant prawns (one each), some 'premium' squid, and one piece of abalone (that was pathetically split 9 ways).

At the end of our satay celup experience we were so stuffed that there was no way we could possibly have another bite. So at our next destination, the Portuguese Settlement we ended up just giving the place a look-see and walk off our heavy dinner.

6. Kerang Bakar @ Melaka Raya

Our friend then brought us along some dark back lanes to an enclave famous for its kerang bakar or grilled cockles. In typical fashion, this establishment offers a whole variety of grilled and fried seafood ( 'Lala', cuttlefish, 'balitong') and other stuff like sotong kangkung and tauhu bakar.

It would be most authentic to eat all this crouched on long benches underneath the kerosene lamps, throwing your kerang shells into the holes (with litter bags underneath) conveniently located in the middle of the table. Alas, given the popularity the place and the size of our party, we were not afforded the fortune of doing so and were instead ushered towards the regular chairs and tables at the corner of the lane (ugh).

I wasn't a fan of 'kerang' to begin with, the sight of the raw and bloody kerang only made me think of hepatitis. My friends, possibly vaccinated or immune or oblivious to this threat, devoured the kerang, plate after plate. I joined them for a few pieces of kerang, carefully selected to have no visible traces of blood, and it was admittedly very good. The blended chili/onion/lemon concoction used as dippiing sauce was specially mentioned by my food guide friend.

7. O Jian at Medan Makan Boon Leung, Melaka Raya

Not too far away is the very popular fried oyster omelette stall, recognizable by the crowd of people waiting for it. So popular is the place that to optimize their business, they went from sit-in to take away only, and there is only one standard item that can be ordered - any special requests would not be entertained. And as the popular Melaka saying goes, "Be prepared to wait". In our case, it was 30 minutes.
I can't vouch for its taste because we only got to eat it an hour after getting it. But it uses the authentic small oysters instead of the big ones favoured by the newer stalls in KL.

And that concludes the Malacca Food Trip report. There were so many other things we couldn't fit in this time round. So for the next Malacca Food Trip, we will be going for, among others- Nyonya food, Portuguese seafood, Masjid Tanah Mee Goreng. Until then...

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