Sunday, January 30, 2011

Jonker Walk In Malacca

Having visited Malacca twice in the last three years and spent more than a week there in total, I guess I can safely declare myself a half-Malaccan (I know this may sound a little bit too extreme, but well...) as I have already known roughly the roads in the town, where to get good food and most importantly, how to get to Michelle's house from the Ayer Keroh tol exit haha!

After being kept busy with non-stop activities (i.e. eating lol!) while in Taiping, we finally got some breathing space when we reached Malacca. So, we decided to sleep until quite late (although I said "quite late", we slept until around nine in the morning only @.@), had our lunch and went out to the new mall in town - Hatten Square, located just beside Mahkota Parade to have a look. To our disappointment, it was just a slightly better version of Sungai Wang Plaza in KL.

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Had lunch at home first. Michelle's Mom cooked Nyonya's signature dish - ayam ponteh (left).

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Stopped a while at the mall to have a cup of bubble tea. Both the yam and the hazelnut milk tea with pearl was good!

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I only wanted to have some mashed potato but see what we ended up ordering at KFC lol!

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Since we already there, I ordered a huge mashed potato as well! Yes, I am a huge fan of potatoes!

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Dinner, also at home again. Menu was basically the same, except for the vegetables.

Ask any local resident or tour guide to suggest a must-visit destination in Malacca, and chances are extremely high that he will answer with a firm tone, speaking out one of these names - Jonker Walk, Jonker Street or Jalan Hang Jebat. 

While having variations, these names are actually referring to the same narrow street that goes through Malacca's Chinatown. Jonker Street houses some of Malacca's oldest dwellings or houses dating back to the 17th century from different periods of colonial rule, i.e. the Portuguese, Dutch, and British. It is located within the core zone of the Malacca UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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The whole street along Jonker Walk is closed for traffic and turns into a lively night market on weekends.

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Various kinds of stalls set up at both sides of the street. 

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Pigeon holes on one of the red buildings near Jonker Walk.

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Trishaws, which are brightly illuminated with colourful lights to attract tourists.

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According to the girlfriend who is a local Malaccan, this is the "fake" chicken rice ball restaurant haha!

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The original one is at Hoe Kee restaurant, located just opposite the fake one.

The Malacca state government launched the concept of Jonker Walk on 19th June 2000, which utilises the richness of the historical and heritage values in this narrow antique street to turn it into a live touristy cultural street. Through this plan, the street is known as the Jonker Walk, which can be found on every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings from six in the evening to twelve midnight.

During these specially located hours, traders line along the pedestrian street and set up stalls to sell and display products that are associated and reflect the cultural colours, such as antique copper coins, local and ethnic traditional food, unique arts and crafts, souvenirs, ornamental jewelery, and wooden clogs.

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We volunteered to take a photo for a Thai couple and in return, they helped us in this shot.

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The interior of one of the bistro along Jonker Street.

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This has just been set up recently - Jonker Walk World Heritage Park.

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I somehow smell some Bolloywood influence in this park haha!

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I tried looking for rabbit's statue there but couldn't see any; so I ended up having a photo with this jumbo.

There are several Chinese clan and dialect associations along this street. One of them is the Hokkien Association. During the weekends, the members organise activities in their respective buildings for visitors, especially tourists. Among the activities are dancing classes, Chinese classical instrumental shows, and karaoke sessions. 

In order to encourage more touristy activities being held at Jonker Street, a permanent stage is also built at the end of the street for performances. 

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The entrance to the Hokkien Association, which is always very lau juak with their karaoke session singing old Hokkien songs lol!

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A common sight during weekends nights - the golden generations performing karaoke on the stage.

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It is one of the aktiviti malam (night activity) among the old folks. I am pretty sure they love it a lot because it was full house and I couldn't spot an empty chair there haha!

Besides being a popular spot for its cultural attractions and unique building architectures,  Jonker Street also offers delicious food and local delicacies as well. Being day or night, Jonker Walk is full of a number of shops and cafés selling a wide range of foods and beverages.

One of the well-known café would be the Geographer Cafe, located at the middle of the street. This café is especially known among the foreign visitors, for its happening live bands on Friday and weekend nights that provides a marvelous experience for its customers. This café has been used as a shooting location for several film, commercial and documentary since it was opened for business in 2000.

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The Geographer Café, which can be easily identified by its yellow paint on the building.

Our main intention going to Jonker Street that night was to get our bowl of cendol. Here in Malacca, the cendol is served in a slightly different style from other places; they call it durian cendol.

So, what makes the Malaccan cendol special? They are the extra ingredients used in the cendol, namely the fresh durian flesh and instead of brown sugar, gula Melaka is used in replacement. It might not sound tempting for people who doesn't like durian. However, I am sure most of us are durian lovers and if you happen to visit Malacca, make sure you don't miss out on this delicacy.

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Michelle prefers to get the durian cendol from this shop - Bibik House which is just opposite the permanent stage.

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The smell of durian and the savoury gula Melaka makes this bowl of durian cendol looks really tempting.

During the Chinese New Year season, Jonker Street will be beautifully decorated with cultural colors, and if you are in the right time, there is an amazing scene of lion dance performance by tens to hundred of troops might also be caught in sight.

For all the unique features it has to offer, sad to say that Jonker Walk is still very much dominated by Chinese traders to date. Excluding the foreigners, most of the local visitors are Chinese. The objective of reflecting a multi-racial cultural attributes is yet to be significantly realised and I guess it would be much better if there are more efforts to promote the culture of other ethnics as well in Jonker Walk.

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Stopped at this otak-otak stall to ta pao some home.

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Kinda awkward to get Muar otak-otak from Malacca but anyway, I don't really mind because I just wanna have some otak-otak, no matter where it originated.

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This is how the otak-otak looks like. It is a kind of cake made of fish meat.

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The girlfriend is done shopping for food. That is why she looks happy here haha!

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One of the back lanes of Jonker Street which is beautifully decorated with red lights.

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What a nice lighting for this shot.

Guess what, it was natural lighting that came from the cars that passed by lol!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Last Round Of Food Hunt Around Taiping

It was the final day of 2010 and also the last day we will be in Taiping because we would be going down to Malacca on the next morning. However, our main daily activity still remained the same, i.e. going round the town to hunt for food. Seriously, for all the time I was back home, I guess about eighty percent of the total time was spent to eat, eat and eat.

The consequence - I gained more than five kilos in less than ten days! Even taking Weight Gain is not this effective, I think lol!

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An antique Volkswagen which was creatively painted to mark the National Day two years ago.

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This car owner must be a big fan of Formula One racing too. His number plate is damn funny - "Ahhh" haha!

We were actually out to look for ingredients to make fruit rojak, using the rojak paste we bought from Penang. However, before anything, we decided to refill our empty stomach with some good food first. First stop was the food court under Larut Matang supermarket, although that supermarket has closed long time ago. The last time I heard was that it has been replaced with a game arcade but that arcade has bankrupt as well. I am not so sure what's there now because it has been years since I went to check it out.

I was kinda desperate to get my favourite wantan mee at the food court but too bad it was sold out already.

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Chicken rice with roasted chicken and char siew. I feel that the Hainanese chicken rice I cook in Japan tastes better haha!

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Tua pan koey teow, literally translates as "wide type" koey teow, usually taken with pickled green chillies. One of my favourite as well!

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Jiu hu eng chai, or scalded cuttlefish and water spinach (kangkung) served with chilli and hoi sin sauce, sprinkled with ground peanuts and roasted sesame seeds.

I think my tolerance level for spicy food was gone down the drain because I found the food quite spicy. That must be due to the fact that I have not been back home for more than a year.

Anyway, we left the food court and went to the old market in town to shop for the rojak ingredients. This market, built in 1884 has a long history and has serve the people in Taiping for more than a century. There are actually two markets - the old and the new one, which are separated by the Kota Road. Both of them stood 220 feet in length and 60 feet in width, and still standing strong until today. The buildings were built with timber pillars, concreted slab and iron roof.

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The wet market in Taiping, with the clock tower which is no longer in operation. I used to believe that Ultraman lives inside that clock tower when I was a little kid lol!

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Picking the guavas under Mom's supervision.

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I think I can now declare myself an all-time failure in choosing the right guava haha!

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Michelle was afraid of the sharp pineapple skin, so she chose to cut the cucumbers. Damn smart, pick the easy job and leave the hard one for me =.=

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Mom handled the groundnuts and sesame seeds department.

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During the half-time break, Mom had shower and changed into new clothes, and continued with her peanuts grinding.

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It took us more than hour to finish cutting all these fruits!

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Adding the rojak paste into the fruit mix.

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Our fruit rojak is finally ready to be served.

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Anyone fancy a bowl of this home-made fruit rojak? I think I had three bowls of this haha!

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No, it wasn't anybody's birthday lol! Mom used a candle to chase the house-flies away because the belacan smell attracts the flies.

It was the New Year's eve that night. However, Taiping isn't the best place for any sorts of countdown kinda thing. Anyway, I am not a fan of joining the crazy crowd in the town for these kind of celebration because nowadays, you will only end up having troubles with some uncivilised people. You can look at an example of what I am saying at the starting part of this video.

We decided to have dinner at Tops Bakery before going to the temple for the New Year's Eve Bodhi Puja there.

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Michelle and I were late because we went to pour the petrol first. So, our orders came later than the rest and here I am, admiring my sister's order lol!
Seems that she wasn't impressed at my stupid act at all haha!

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Youngest sister's sweet and sour chicken.

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Michelle's pot-rice chicken with vegetables.

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Seafood rice with cheese.

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A photo taken by one of the waiters there.

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A family photo at the main hall of the temple, after the end of the Bodhi Puja.

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I was the only one with camera that time and after taking this group photo, everyone came to me to get my e-mail and Facebook account
as if I am a superstar like that haha!

The next morning, we woke up earlier than usual to do some last-minute packing before going to the bus station to take the bus down to Malacca. It was a long six-hour journey from Taiping to Malacca. Add another hour and I will be able to fly back to Japan already.

During the stop halfway through the journey, we were so shocked to find that one side of the bus had deep scratches which was about three-meters long. One of the side mirror also had cracks. We remembered that the bus was in perfect condition when we boarded it that morning. So, obviously it made a contact with another vehicle during the journey, which we didn't realise at all. The weird thing is, it was always one of us who wasn't asleep during the journey but neither of us felt anything.

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Breakfast we had before heading to the bus station.

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Grandma was there to send me off too. She packed one green apple each for Michelle and I. So sweet of her :)

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Bought this packet of muruku ikan to accompany us during the journey.

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We had dinner at a Hakka restaurant nearby Michelle's house with her Mom and aunt that night.

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Red chillies in soy sauce.

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Sambal for dipping.

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Chopsticks and spoon for eating lol!

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Spicy stir-fried sambal eggplant.

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Hakka style dry yong tao fu.

That's the end of this entry. More updates from Malacca to come soon. So stay tuned!