Saturday, January 31, 2009

Local Malacca Food

Short note: Pardon me for the lack of updates. My finals is next week and I'm sort of struggling to cover all eleven papers in time. That explains why I will not be able to put together a proper entry within this couple of weeks. Here is a way back-dated post about my winter holiday back in Malaysia. And I guess I should resume with my studies now. Wish me luck, and to the rest who are sitting for their finals as well, all the best =)
Ask any Malaccans about what food is famous in Malacca and give them these options:
  1. Satay celup
  2. Chicken rice ball
  3. Durian cendol
  4. Pineapple tarts
Which one do you think most Malaccans will choose as their answer? The truth is, all four types of food above are synonym with this historical town, that I had all four of them again when I was in her hometown. Well, I already tried all of them during my previous visit to Malacca two years ago, but I just couldn't resist the temptations of good food, hence I forced her to take me to try on those food once again.
Zao Jiuu has a bigger sign board, but look at the number of customers at the restaurant on the left.
First up will be the famous Ban Lee Siang satay celup restaurant along Ong Khim Wee Road. I wonder why his parents named him like that, here is my guess: Mrs Ong gave birth to a baby, and their relatives gave them a lot of kim (gold necklace and bracelet, etc), so Mr Ong went "Wheeeee!!!!". That is how the name "Ong Khim Wee" was created.
I guess I shall stop from further making fun of people's name before someone started to poke fun on mine. Back to Ban Lee Siang's satay celup, they have two shops located next to each other, but on that night we went there, only one was opened because the customers were not that many as during peak seasons like school holidays. This restaurant is so famous that people from as far as Penang and Singapore come all the way just to try their satay celup. At times when there are too many people, customers even have to stand and wait before they get a seat. There is another satay celup restaurant just right beside them; although it looked like it offers better ambiance and comfort, it will never match the number of customers who frequent Ban Lee Siang's restaurant.
Nowadays, they serve the satay in trays instead to every table and customers no longer have to walk into the shop and choose their satay from the fridge, which I find more convenient.
Personally, I sometimes feel that this restaurant is over-rated. That is obvious when you get cold treatment from the people serving you. We ordered for two plates of buns and when we asked one girl aunty (Michelle suggested for us to call her aunty afterwards) about our orders, she just showing her hands to gesture us to wait without even looking at us. Then, when the bun was served, she didn't even say anything and just put that plate on our table in a rude manner. Got PMS also don't have to show to customers one, right?
But after a while, she came to asked us if we still want to add any extra sticks of satay. I guess her PMS was over by then.
Just in case you are still in the dark what satay celup is all about, it is something like lok lok, where small pieces of seafood and fried stuff is deep into boiling spicy groundnut sauce and after a while, you take out and eat. One stick is usually 50 cents, but for some with red mark on the stick, they cost 60 cents. Compared to KL standard, that is freaking cheap.
To fulfill the high demand, they use machine to make these rice balls.
Juicy steamed chicken.
Next will be Hainanese chicken rice ball. Looking by its name, you can roughly guess what is it all about. Chicken rice, which is made into rice balls and eaten together with the steamed white chicken. Again, there are so many chicken rice ball restaurant in the town that if you are a foreign tourist, you would have a big problem deciding which one is the best. Michelle prefer the one near to the Clock Tower - Hoe Kee Chicken Rice Ball Restaurant, because she said the chicken there is more tender and juicy.
The interior of the restaurant - always full with customers.

We executed our timing to perfection because roughly about ten minutes we entered this restaurant, we saw people began to queue-up outside due to the lack of seats. Just like the Ban Lee Siang satay celup restaurant, the customers going to this restaurant would just never stop.
She had two balls at once lol.
My way of eating is to cut the rice ball into half and eat them one by one.

Ordering is based of the number of people, and if you feel that you balls are not enough (pun unintended), additional balls can be ordered (again, pun unintended).
Bibik House, which also sells other kinds of Nyonya food like local biscuits and spices.
Durian cendol is another food that Malaccans are proud of. The difference of this kind of cendol is that they add a few scoops of durian flesh as the topping and also, gula Melaka is used to replace the usual brown sugar. We had our durian cendol at Bibik House, and I find that the coconut milk that they use was thicker and tasted much better.
My bowl of durian cendol.
Besides, they allow us to add extra gula Melaka according to our own taste bud. They cost RM3.50 per bowl, and although it is quite pricey, I guess it is due to the fact that they add durian into the cendol.
Bibik House sells pineapple tarts as well, but I was brought to another place which has better pineapple tarts. Better still, it is homemade and fresh-from-oven ones. This lady who makes the tarts do not sell them to any shops as she only takes orders from people. Just in case you are a Malaccan and wish to get some pineapple tart from this place, it is located along Jalan Parameswara.
It's Bee Bee, not Bibik.
You can count yourself lucky if you get to but directly from her when you are there, because sometimes, she doesn't sell in small quantities, especially when there is a high demand for her tarts. There was another lady there who was making orders for Chinese New Year when I was there to get my tarts, when Chinese New Year was still more than one month to go then.
One worker busy putting on the jam onto the pastry.
While another worker was doing the same thing at another corner.
There are two types of pineapple tarts, one is the flat one, and another one would be the rolled one. I prefer the flat one as I get to taste more pineapple jam on the pastry. Michelle prefers the tart made by this aunty because the pastry is more crunchy and it breaks into small pieces when you take a bite on them, unlike the usual ones where they are sticky and soft.
Hot-from-oven pineapple tarts.
The pineapple tarts were just taken out from the oven when I bought them and we couldn't resist ourself to eat them straight away, that we almost finish the whole box when we reached home. One container has 18 pieces inside and it cost RM 12 per container.
One last delicacy before I end this entry is the homemade traditional Nyonya zhang, which was made by Michelle's mum. Nyonya zhang is rather different from the normal zhang because partial section of the glutinous rice is blue, and it taste sweeter than normal ones. I told Michelle jokingly and asked her to tie herself specially for me, and she did that. I wasn't back until a week after she made the zhang, so they were kept in the fridge until I was back last December. That was among few of the stuff she made, that I managed to get to taste.
She did a double knot on hers, to distinguish those tied by her from her mum's one.
How the zhang looks like inside.
When it is made by somebody special, its taste is usually so much better.


=chuan guan= said...

lol..u been to all those commercialize restaurant..

cendol rm 3.50..slaughtering man..samo durian cendol..wat a malaccan proud is norm cendol only..jonker there lot but those taste smoothly 1 v less..

da ban lee siang famous for tarik harga..u should try capitol although it was a little pricey..da service is much better which quality food..

da chicken rice u call that cheap..had u tried nice one with 10 cent or 20 cents per ball?hahaha...

da pineapple comment..there are plenty in jonker and malacca..

mg said...

> chuan guan: fyi, i think that altho the cendol was abit pricey BUT at least the bowl serving was much bigger in size and we could taste the coconut milk, durian and we can add infinity amount of gula melaka, so i think it's worth it as compared to some cheap rm1 but tasteless cendol and durian cendol is as good as normal cendol if not better. well i guess it's up to a person's taste buds. we love durian so durian cendol win hands down.

there's always this debate between ban lee siang or capitol, but since i personally prefer ban lee siang (sauce is more spicy), so i brought him there. capitol is more famous amongst singaporean and ang moh tourist cos their sauce is not spicy altho it contains more nuts. plus their shop is TOO tiny hence the longer waiting period.

sorry i just felt the urge to rebut ur comment. no offence. n non taken.

Innocent^^Guy said...

i wonder which is the commercialized one...

capitol was definitely the more famous one and also one of the earliest that started the satay celup services. They benchmark the price and also brought it up. Despite having so many customers, they never did bothered to expand the place and the crowd is crazy. To me, there's nothing special about capitol's satay celup but non locals only knows capitol...

i will usually go to ban lee siang also...i think it is just as good, if not, better...but the only thing i dun like is that they dun organize their customers like capitol during peak u get lots of ruthless customers that cut queue's and stuff to get a seat...

nvr tried the cendol there...

didn't know you are also aware of Bee those who haven't try, I reckon you go get one. It is really one of the best pineapple tarts in town. I have not tried the whole of Jonker, but I have tried a few and I don't think it is as nice as this one. The pastry here is superb and believe you me, I had to buy like boxes of these every weekend when I come back for my colleagues...old people might not like it because it can be too sweet for them...

mg said...

bee bee rocks!!! HAHA

Anonymous said...

aiks!make me so hungrY!

Sheryl0202 said...

YUMMMMM!I miss the pineapple tarts from Malacca!

Kae Vin said...

lol all the malaccans fighting here! XD

Penang rules!! *hiding aside*


ah guan i wanna eat satay celup at ban lee siang too! XD

Endoru said...

Gosh. Tummy growling.
The steamed chicken definitely looks great and not forgetting the bak zhangs. *hmmm*
Satay celup ... not called "lok-lok" ar ? *hehe*

syaza said...

rabu rabu da ne~
xd shiken ka weyh!

Anonymous said...

食べて!especially now in CNY^_^

The Malaysian Explorer said...

Hi Calvin, it was a real pleasure to read your food blog. I am planning to start a page on Melaka food on my website at

and would love to adapt your food blog on a new Tier 2 page. I will definitely credit you for the content and put a link to your blog if it is ok with you.

Visit Malaysia Facts
for quick facts and interesting information about Malaysia.

Visit About ME Page for quick facts and interesting information about The Malaysian Explorer.

calvin said...

@ =chuanguan=:
well, let me give you a situation. say you are going for a vacation in japan and you are looking for food. you have a choice, whether to go for authentic japanese ramen with char siew, or an instant cup of ramen. of course the former will cost more than the latter, but considering you have come all the way to japan, do you think it's worth it to save a few extra yen and choose the cheaper option? i wouldn't do that. after all, it's not every day you visit the place. so, i guess you should get what i'm trying to say here.

the cendol at bibik house was way better than the one i tasted last year. if it's normal cendol you are looking for, i would say penang road's famous cendol is the best. but it's the durian and gula melaka on the cendol that makes the cendol in malacca unique from the rest.

it's hard for me to compare the satay celup from ban lee siang and capitol, because i haven't tried the one at capitol. so, i can't comment much here. but looking at the comments from other malaccans, i guess ban lee siang has a slight edge, eh?

as for the chicken rice balls, are you sure they are rice balls and not fish balls? xD

you ought to try the pineapple tarts from bee bee and you will know the difference =)

calvin said...

@ michelleg:
haha, funny to see malaccans having different opinions. but i guess it's all down to the individual's taste bud.


calvin said...

@ innocent^^guy:
and all this while i thought ban lee siang is more well-known compared to capitol among non-locals >.<

calvin said...

@ michelleg:
that is why we almost finished the whole container even before we reached home xD

calvin said...

@ bik ee:
opsss =P

calvin said...

@ sheryl0202:
yeah, me too T_T

calvin said...

@ specialhuman:
yeah, it's fascinating to see the different opinions although they come from the same place xD

anyway, why can't you show some diplomacy by saying "malaysia rules" instead? doesn't that sound much better?

calvin said...

@ endoru:
the chicken actually looks much better than what's seen from the picture.

i guess satay celup and "lok lok" is the same thing. i suppose it's more common to be called "lok lok" among northern people like you and me. the only difference is you dip your "lok lok" in boling water, and then you dip them into various sauce of your choice. as for satay celup, the spicy kuah kacang is boiling all the time and you dip the seafood in the sauce until they are cooked =)

calvin said...

@ syaza:
didn't you read my short note at the top? my finals starting this wednesday, and this is a pre-written post, just to make sure this blog is not abandoned xD

all the best in your exams too :)

calvin said...

@ lyk:
too bad we are so far away =\

calvin said...

@ the malaysian explorer:
i'm more than happy to hear that =)

Endoru said...

Oh I see.
Thanks for the detailed explanation. ;)

calvin said...

@ endoru:
no problem =)

Anonymous said...

It is a shame!

Anonymous said...

I went to Bibik House with my wife 2 weeks ago and the cendol there is pricey at RM3:50.Having said that,it's definitely the best cendol we had ever as the combination of the thickness of the coconut milk,gula melaka & the ice texture beats any cendol we have had so far!

calvin said...

@ anonymous:
hi there! i think the price you pay for the bowl of cendol is worth it, if you consider that they use the real gula melaka, unlike some places where they only use brown sugar : )