Donald & Lily’s Authentic Nyonya Food, Melaka

donald lily nyonya food

Donald & Lily’s Authentic Nyonya Food is an unassuming establishment located inside a residential lot. I wanted to try the ayam ponteh (which is apparently quite good) and called the night we drove into Melaka to see if they have it. They did (at that time) but we only went the next day. Donald & Lily’s only cooks ayam ponteh during public holidays and on weekends so be sure to get there at the right time if you want to sample that.

donald lily melaka

The place is decorated pretty much like a living room – you feel like you’re eating at someone’s house…and that’s exactly what Donald & Lily’s offers – home cooked food. They’re famous for their Nyonya style cendol and laksa. They also have a sign that says “Beware of Dog” – it’s not there for show, Fido really does reside here…

donald lily jonker

…he’s in the kitchen, near the washrooms.

nyonya cendol

Nyonya Cendol
Ahh…now this is one of the best cendol I’ve ever had in Melaka. Yup, it’s better than the one in Jonker Street. They literally douse the entire shaved ice concoction with gula Melaka (palm sugar) and it’s extremely sweet and cold – perfect for the oppressive hot weather in Melaka. I had two bowls of this. Bliss!

mee siam

Mee Siam
This is fried rice vermicelli mixed with some sort of sweet sauce. I didn’t like it, and neither did Mel. Go for the laksa instead.

nyonya rojak

Nyonya Rojak
This is recommended by the proprietor, who I assume is Lily of the restaurant’s namesake. It consists mostly of fish slices and tofu with a heavy sprinkling of chili sauce and sesame seeds on top. It’s an interesting dish and quite different from the rojak we usually have.

nyonya laksa

Nyonya Laksa
This is Donald & Lily’s signature dish. The bowl of piping hot laksa is heavy on the palate, but in a good way. The gravy is so thick that you can float a soup spoon full of rice vermicelli on top and it won’t sink. The secret of a good laksa dish is always in the gravy. I’m not a fan of creamy gravies in laksa – I’m more of an asam laksa person. However, I have to say Donald & Lily’s Nyonya Laksa is really delicious!


Donald & Lily’s serves up a hearty bowl of authentic Nyonya laksa. This old lady came in with her son to order a bowl but she was told they’ve sold out. The disappointment on her face was palpable – she mentioned that she has walked a very long way just to try their acclaimed laksa…and the kitchen relented and cooked up a batch just for her. That’s how good their laksa is. It comes highly recommended from me too. 🙂

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38 thoughts on “Donald & Lily’s Authentic Nyonya Food, Melaka”

    • Heh! Indeed!

      I was quite impressed by that actually. They actually took the trouble to make a batch just for the old lady. 🙂

      The place is quite packed too – both with locals having lunch but more of tourists coming in for the laksa. Donald & Lily’s is apparently very famous for laksa. 😀

  1. tell us something we don’t already know…whatever you posted here we have tried it so many times. do we need YOU to intro us these basic melaka food? is like introducing us KFC or MCD. there are so many other delicious melaka food like duck noodle, assam pedas, ikan bakar, fat char siew, fei lee crab, coconut shake, pork rib noodle, cockles lala, kokiya, bei zhan, amigo etc etc etc. Always intro satay celup la, nadeje la, donald & lily la, diu you not sien i also sien la. why not next time blog about old town? paparich? chicken rice shop???

    • Well, see you’ve got it ass backwards.

      Speak for yourself. YOU’VE tried it many times. *I* haven’t.

      That’s why I’m writing about it – coz it’s new to me. It’s my first time eating here. Like they say, if you don’t like it, don’t read it. 🙂

      …and if you have something to say, it’ll be much more credible if you don’t hide behind an anonymous nick.

      *gestures in a vaguely magnanimous manner 😉

      • HB, it is not a issue of what you write. If you write this, he will say i tried so many times already, is just like KFC and MCD. If you write that, he will say the same thing. I recommend why don’t you write about him? No wonder he call WTF. Really WTF.

        Hey WTF, why don’t you write yourself, ah ah ah ah?????

        • Heh! Well, I’m not interested in writing about him. I only write about stuff I’m interested in. The person is of no significance to me. 🙂

          Thanks for the support though bro! 😀

          No worries, get types like “wtf” all the time.

    • wtf: well I haven’t had any of the food mentioned in this post and I found it informative enough to mark it down as a must-try place next time i’m in the area. do bear in mind that YOU’re not the only person reading this blog – and what YOU think is common knowledge is new to the rest of us. what a self-absorbed twat.

      • Heh! Thanks for the support Irene. 😀

        Well, no worries, get types like “wtf” all the time. The person is of no significance to me.

        Yeah, Donald & Lily’s laksa does warrent a quick trip down if you’re near Jonker Street – it’s delicious stuff. 🙂

    • Haha! Well, I think it’s just the same person.

      I’ve been plagued by this person from, sometimes it’s on a different IP but the language semantics is similar.

      I don’t waste my time with anonymous cowards. No worries! 🙂

    • Hmm…that’s a very good question.

      I would say yes, since Peranakan cuisine would by it’s defination (Chinese-Malay) have to be halal.

      I asked a Malay friend of mine and she said it doesn’t contain pork but she has no idea either.

      My guess is that it’s halal. 🙂

      • AFAIK, no.

        Half baba and as far as I can remember, nana’s bak chang has always been pork only. Occasionally during CNY we’d get pork pongteh but I don’t think so.

        Found it slightly odd that there wasn’t buah keluak chicken.

        • You’re right Andrew.

          Some of the more popular Baba and Nyonya food are things like Pong Teh (traditionally pork), Babi kluak and Se bak (say bak?).

          Also, just to clarify, Peranakan actually means children of The Straits, very little connection to “Malay/Chinese”. People often mistake Peranakan for Baba and Nyonya. Baba and Nyonya are more cultural (if you look at the academic definitions, these usually include the need to speak the language, dress in a particular way or live the lifestyle). But common mistake. I only knew this when dad researched the family tree history back to when our first ancestors from China came by to Malacca.

          • Thanks for the correction Niki! 🙂

            Yeah, Nyonya food isn’t halal by default.

            Cheers for the clarifiation too – great stuff there, I must have failed my History lessons. 😀

        • Hey, come to think of it, I have seen pork in Nyonya food before too.

          Thanks for the correction Andrew! 🙂

          Yeah, this place doesn’t serve buah keluak, I’ve been meaning to eat that too – it’s like a staple of Nyonya food.

  2. HB, that business reminded me of one eatery in San Jose call Chinahouse which indeed a house and inside like dining in someone home. There lot people that go there but to me food is so so. There many busineses ran from homes in San Jose still like in some part of Beijing and Taiwan.

    • That sounds interesting! 🙂

      Yeah, it’s actually not a bad idea to run a restaurant from your home – I’ve seen humble ones with just a place to cook tossed noodles with a couple of foldable tables and chairs thrown together in the car park back in my hometown to estates with gardens that grows their own organic plants with the mansion being a high end dining place in Australia.

      Pretty good idea actually, it can scale very well. 😀

    • I wish we had gone in that night (it was a public holiday in Melaka) so we coule have tried their ayam pongteh (is this how it’s spelled?). Oh well, there’s always next time. 🙂

  3. Not really a fan of ayam ponteh – chicken with taucheo (fermented beans)plus ginger and serai and stuff. But I love nyona food…and this place does look authentic. Ya…the laksa is like something like curry, not the same as our Sarawak laksa…or the Penang assam laksa.

    • I love the stuff! 😀

      It’s quite flavorful, have been meaning to try Donald & Lily’s since they are very well known for it too.

      Yup, Nyonya laksa is something different, I usually prefer the non-santan laksas but this one is pretty good. 🙂

  4. Is that the one at the corner road entering Taman Kota Laksamana when you walk or ride from the OCBC Bank by the Jonker Street? I remember having ice cendol everyday after school and laksa here, similar house. They used to sell cendol downstairs, and foods upstairs.

    • Hmm…that’s a good question. We used GPS to get there. 🙂

      I know it’s behind Jonker Street though so you might be right.

      Yeah, their cendol is delicious! I love the stuff. 😀

      It’s super sweet with just the right amount of ingredients and gula melaka.

  5. Donald and Lily’s have the best Cendol IN THE WORLD! 🙂

    The regular Nyonya food isn’t too bad either, but maybe I’m more fussy because I have aunties who can really cook up a storm in the kitchen.

    And it is often said that they best place to get Nyonya food is at home. 🙂

    • I totally agree on the cendol – I found it better than the one in Jonker Street.

      Donald & Lily’s doesn’t skimp on the gula melaka too, loved it so much I had two bowls. I could have another one too if this wasn’t a food trip where we headed elsewhere to eat again in an hour. 🙂

      Indeed! I would love to have home cooked Nyonya food – you’re lucky to have aunties who can serve up great cuisine. 😀

  6. HB, interesting that there still business run from homes. In my neigborhood in Sunset of San Francisco there a Cajun cafe from a garage also a Japanese one too from garage. Price is good due low overhead. The Cajun one offer poorboys sandwiches in oysters, shrimp and mix seafood. Lot of people head there for it. They open only a few days a week due to they have other jobs. It their side business.

    • Well, you can run restaurants at home in Australia too, as long as you don’t violate zoning laws – a lot of rural areas do that. Fully organic restaurants with a passion for low food miles – the culture is particularly significant around Byron Bay.

      That sounds delicious! A poorboy with seafood! I’ve never had one in the US, gotta plan a trip there. 🙂

    • Yeah, I thought that was very nice of them too! 🙂

      The old lady said she’s walked a long way just to eat that so they made one for her. 😀

  7. The Nyonya food here is nice. i always visit again and again when I was there. Just ignore the stupid fella that dunno how to appreciate sharing. Hehe~

  8. The new location of Donald & Lily (beginning June 16 2012) is opposite Bei Zhan restaurant and on the same row as a hotel named ‘Place 2 Stay’. If you are coming from the direction of Mahkota Parade, it’s on the left side of the bridge.

    GPS – 2.193854N 102.2372836E
    GPS – 2°11’37.8744”N 102°14’14.221”E

    Address – No 16 (Ground Floor), Jalan KSB 1, Taman Kota Shahbandar, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia
    Map –


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