Melaka, food capital of Malaysia, stuffed.com!
So after our 7 hour oh no sorry 10 hour bus, we arrived in Melaka and we were greeted by a little Chinese man selling a hotel, he was very polite and not pushy so I was happy to listen to him whilst Damo got our bags. It turned out to be the best thing yet, he was the most amazingingly awesome man, his name was Lee, couldnt be a more typical chinese name. He gave us a ride to the hotel in his car and the whole way there he was telling us all about Melaka, where to go, what to eat, when we got into town he did a little drive around to show us all the best places to eat and where to find some of Melakas famous dishes. When we got to the hotel he showed us our room he was so attentive, anything we asked for he would run off and do his best to find it, he was a lovely welcome to a really special place.
Melaka is made up of different areas, china town, the dutch district and little india. Melaka, like Penang has a huge mix of cultures, it has been under the chinese, dutch and british rule and then gained independance so there is a real mix of influences on the architecture, food and people. The main tourist area of the city is the old town which is quite small and largely taken up with China town, its described in the books as sometimes being a little too 'Disney' but we loved it, the bright red lanterns, typical chinese architecture and then the crazily bright and floural rikshaws that are peddled around the city with their own music systems blasting the latest tunes.
Melaka is a very popular weekend break destination for rich locals who stay in big hotels just outside the city, and so they are the target market for all the shop owners, not the smelly travellers so it was quite nice not to be hassled or followed around whilst we were looking in all the little shops. Looking around shops....safe to say not one of Damos favourite past times, so where there was shop after shop of lovely chineese antiques, souvineers and other lovely hand made bits n bobs I either had to do a quick whip around whilst Damo is waiting outside or I just had to walk veeeerrry slowly past looking in longingly :( his view is that unless you are actually in need of something or have the intention to buy something then there is no point in going into all these cute little trinket shops with all thier colour and sparkle (Yes Paul I know you would agree but shusshh!) I on the other hand, as many I know will agree with me, take great pleasure in mooching about and admiring everything, even if every shop does a variation on the same handmade lantern, wind chime or wood carving....
Well its definatly safe to say that the main drag to Melaka is the food, its famous around Malaysia for its speciality dishes and they even have a famous chicken and rice shop that had a huge line outside all day long. One of the dishes is a shaved ice dessert, Its a bowl full of saved ice, with cocnut milk, kidney beans and a green, worm like jellie made from green pea and then its all covered in a sweet brown sugar syrup, some even have sweetcorn, it sounds vile and the pictures dont make it look any better but the locals love it so we had to give it a go, it was actually suprisingly nice, really sweet and refreshing, a tad wierd having kidney beans in a sweet dessert and not in a chilly but it worked.
Every friday, sat and sunday they have a huge market that fills the famous 'Jonker street' so lucky for us we were there over the weekend, we started at one end and by the time we reached the end we were pretty stuffed, from steamed prawn balls, spring rolls, raddish cake curry, spicy saussage, seafood noodles and then the ice desserts, everthing we sampled was so good! We even spent one morning having an Indian breakfast, going on a reccomendation from the old Malay man that cleaned our hotel, we went for egg roti which is like a pancake with egg and onion and it comes with two spicy dips....curry for breakfast, definatly different!
On our last night we wanted to do a river cruise which is supposed to be really beautiful, taking you through some really picturesque villages and countryside, we wanted to go for about half 6 whislt it was still light but cooler, that day there had been a big storm and after 3 lots of skype sessions in our windowless room we stepped outside only to find it was still pouring down :( no cruise for us, off we went with our brollies, the brollies that Damo has been carrying around on his bag ever since it poured down in Thialnad back in December, he refused to throw them away insisting that they would be useful one day, well they came in use last night!
We have loved Melaka and are really pleased we decided to make the trip down, it has been well worth it. We are currently on a bus up to the Cameron Highlands, it has its own climate and never goes above 20' so it will be a nice refreshing break to go in a cooler climate for a couple of days, and hopefully walk off some of this food!
16 days, sad face :( happy face :)