majestic hotel

I had a rather enjoyable Nyonya dinner at The Mansion at the Majestic Hotel in Malacca – a historical period building that has been turned into a rather nice inn. It’s not one of them budget lodging houses despite how the exterior looks.

mansion malacca

It’s right in the middle of town and the river that courses through Malacca (or Melaka as it’s spelled here) is just opposite the street, if you fancy a stroll by the waterfront.

pianist

The hotel even had a pianist playing soothing Bach (or was it Chopin?) scores while you’re eating your food. I’m being irreverent, I wouldn’t know one from the other although I had piano lessons till Grade 4.

peranakan food

Dinner was buffet style, with most of the dishes located in a central area – there are classic Peranakan food like udang masak nanas (prawns cooked in pineapple curry).

mansion toilet

The toilets are superbly maintained and clean – I was immediately soothed by the scent of vanilla instead of the usual odor of ammonia assaulting the nostrils. Oops…I probably shouldn’t have had this aside, kinda puts people off after talking about shrimp. smirk

bubur cha cha

Back to the food, I was quite full from lunch so I had several bowls of bubur cha cha – a sweet hot soup-like dessert made with gula Melaka (palm sugar) and yam, tapioca, sweet potatoes, all diced up into miniature cubes instead of the clumsy chunks that’s usually served up. It’s much more refined fare over here.

nyonya cuisine

There’s also classic Nyonya mainstays like pai tee (crispy pastry cups filled with an assortment of ingredients) and of course:

popiah
Popiah
Fresh spring roll made of sauteed sweet turnips wrapped in a wheat flour crepe

nyonya otak otak
Otak Otak with Kerabu Nanas
Spicy mackerel paste wrapped in a banana leaf and grilled, served with a tangy pineapple salad

lemongrass satay
Satay Lilit
Grilled chicken skewered on a lemongrass stalk

nyonya food

I didn’t know that otak otak is *only* made from mackerel! It’s information plagiarized gleaned from the leaflet that was on the table, which describes the unique Nyonya cuisine which is a product of inter-marriage between Chinese immigrants and the local Malays.

wine nyonya food

Fun (unresearched and vaguely remembered) fact: There’s a difference in salutation when a Chinese male marries a Malay female and the other way round. I believe the latter is called Nyonya and the former is Baba but I could be very mistaken since that was textbook stuff I recall from half a lifetime ago when I was studying Form 3 History.

kueh

I also found out Shiraz also goes well with Nyonya food but I’m blasé about Chardonnay. However, the best and arguably most well known product of this cuisine is the kueh (or pastries, but dismiss that mental image of pastries coz these are different) with the complex play of textures and flavors!

philea spa resort

This is where we went for my 32nd birthday! :D

philea melaka

Philea Resort & Spa in Melaka is actually 20 minutes out, near the butterfly farm.

philea resort checkin

It’s a pristine and quiet enclave with chalets made of pine!

philea honeymoon

It’s beautifully rustic with all the modern amenities you can think of. The entire resort is made of wood – warm lamps and high ceilings gives it the feel of a cozy log cabin.

philea resort spa

I’ve never actually stayed here before and Ling had arranged a birthday surprise trip for the weekend – a romantic getaway to celebrate my 32nd birthday!

philea welcome drink

There’s a bathtub filled with rose petals…

philea honeymoon package

Flowers scattered throughout the room with rose petals spelling “LOVE”…

rose petals bed

…and breakfast in bed!

breakfast in bed

(more about that later)

cake

It’s their honeymoon package, I believe, and I thought that was pretty smart of them (they even had a cake in the package, which doesn’t actually cost much for them since they need to bake it for their bakery anyway).

philea dinner

My birthday dinner! It’s instant noodles that we cooked in the room, one after another. There’s also Godiva chocolates and Royce chocolate covered chips, Ramune and other miscellaneous stuff we brought so we didn’t have to go out. <3

philea resort cart

The next day, at 10 am, a cart arrived with our orders the previous day for breakfast in bed!

philea breakfast

We had it in the balcony though. Haha!

breakfast bed

Check out the spread. I had poached eggs and she had an omelet. It was quite a large potion.

breakfast balcony

I enjoyed the muesli the most.

philea pool waterfall

They had a nice swimming pool with a waterfall at the end too.

rock shower

The showers are built right into the rock outcropping, which was a nice touch.

swimming pool

I swam in it while Ling hung on to me coz she can’t swim. I realize I can tow someone like that for quite a while, although I swallowed a lot of their heavily chlorinated water. -_-

philea birthday

I had a wonderful time at Philea Resort, just chilling in the room with my love. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate my birthday – it’s perfect dear! <3

philea resort lobby

The only downside was the sound of cars drifting. We’re puzzled as to why this foreign sound would mar the silence of this beautiful place but could never pinpoint the source.

philea resort rooms

There’s no soundproofing and it’s a lucky thing that the occupancy rate was low so we had the place to ourselves.

philea chalet

I really enjoyed just chilling in the room, being with Ling. I was surprised there’s such a quiet place so close to KL but I don’t think it’s cheap either.

balcony breakfast

The service was excellent and although we didn’t use much of the facilities there – we just wanted to enjoy each other’s company – I like the concept of a quiet pine resort. Philea Resort & Spa in Malacca was perfect for that.

honeymoon package

Thanks for making my 2013 birthday a memorable one. I love you. *hugs*

peranakan restaurant melaka

Restaurant Peranakan is the aptly named place known for it’s Peranakan cuisine. It’s often been cited as the #1 place to go for Nyonya food in Melaka. Peranakan (or Straits Chinese) is a distinctive racial group in Melaka – it comes from Chinese settlers marrying locals and is an entire culture unto itself, the hotbed of which lies in Melaka.

peranakan restaurant

Nyonya food is conglomeration of Chinese and Malay food, but there are some really unique dishes they call their own. I had lunch here while on a road trip to Melaka.

restaurant peranakan

Peranakan Restaurant has a really nice décor which reflects the heydays of the Baba Nyonya clan.

Ayam Buah Keluak

ayam buah keluak

This is perhaps the most well known Nyonya dish. It’s chicken cooked with kepayang tree nuts. Buah keluak is actually poisonous before being prepared for cooking. It prompted a lot of Googling when I mentioned that coz someone ate the inside of the nut.

buah-keluak

I like this dish – it’s a very rich and flavorful one due to the buah keluak. I ate some of the insides of the nuts too – it’s sourish and contributes to the flavor of the chicken. Peranakan Restaurant makes the best ayam buah keluak I’ve had.

Ayam Pongteh

ayam pongteh

I’ve had this at Donald & Lily’s Authentic Nyonya Food too but that pales in comparison with Peranakan Restaurant’s version.

Ikan Tenggiri Asam Pedas

ikan tenggiri asam pedas

This is a really good and spicy fish dish that I found worthy of mention – it’s cooked with brinjals, tomatos, and ladyfingers and has a sweet, spicy and sour (more towards the latter) gravy that goes very well with rice.

Udang Lemak Nanas

vivid prawns

This is a very rich dish of shrimp cooked with pineapples and lots of oil. I set the camera to Vivid and it almost hurts my eye to look at it.

udang lemak nanas

Here’s one that’s easier on the ocular devices. ;) It’s also one of the dishes I’ll recommend at Peranakan Restaurant.

Nyonya Chap Choy

nyonya chap choy

It’s mixed vegetables, nothing special here.

Kangkung Belacan

kangkung belacan

This dish has strayed into mainstream Chinese cooking that a lot of people forget it’s Nyonya origins. If you want the most authentic version, I guess here’s where you go.

Taufo Peranakan

taufo peranakan

I’m not a huge fan of tofu but it disappeared pretty quickly so I’ll hazard a guess and say it’s pretty good if you like the stuff. ;)

Fo Yong Tan

fo yong tan

I think this is the egg omelet unless I’ve completely messed up my bearings. Forgettable.

Sambal Bendih

sambal bendih

Okra with a splash of sambal on top. Simple, but good.

peranakan restaurant food

I spent the whole time piling my plate with all the different stuff so I could take a photo. Their flagship dishes are really good, while some are mediocre, but IMHO, Peranakan Restaurant is the place to go for authentic Nyonya food if you’re in Melaka.

nissan almera

I was there on a the Eat, Play, Drive road trip with a bunch of other bloggers. We drove down on several Nissan Alameras. I had the opportunity to drive the IMPUL tuned one (which is my main ride, with a very auspicious plate too – WXN 6330). Simon, Joshua and Kelly (another group) was kind enough to let me drive the stock Nissan Alamara for a stretch.

nissan almera eat play drive

I prefered the Nissan Alamera tuned by IMPUL that was issued to my group – there’s keyless ignition and the specs are pretty decent. I found the acceleration to be a bit lacking, but as they say, it’s not a sports car, but a sedan that’s surprisingly affordable for its class. I was quite impressed by the price of the car for it’s specs.

nissan almera impul

Thanks for the invite Hui Ping! :)

auntie koh cendol

This was also where I had the famous Klebang Original Coconut Shake and while we were driving there, we also stopped by Aunty Koh’s Cendol. This place churns out really good cendol – perfect for a hot day!

auntie koh

It’s primarily manned by a single woman – the aforementioned Aunty Koh. Cendol is a shaved ice dessert with squiggly green jelly and kidney beans (we use red beans in Sarawak).

aunty koh cendol

Gula Melaka (caramelized palm sugar) gives it that distinctive sugary sweet taste, which is tempered by santan (coconut milk).

melaka cendol

You’ll be amazed by how many people come here for the RM 3.50 (large) cendol.

aunty koh

I was tempted to have two (and I think I did have two) but I also heard that this place is famous for it’s taibak (RM 1.50) – which is a very simple shaved ice dessert made with red and white flour squiggles. I found the taste very similar to something we have in Sibu called “wu wei tang” (5 taste soup) which is another shaved ice dessert that has dried apples and other misc ingredients among it.

taibak

It’s simple but refreshing.

cendol melaka

However, I still prefered the cendol at Aunty Koh Cendol. They claim to be Melaka’s best cendol and I’m inclined to agree. I’ve had cendol in lots of places from Penang to Kuantan (click on the tag cendol) and this is among the top ones I’ve had the pleasure of eating. :D

klebang coconut shakes

This is a truly remarkable drink – one where people are willing to line up under the hot sun or even in rain for. Klebang Original Coconut Shake is located in Melaka – it’s named after the street it’s on (Jalan Klebang).

malaysia famous coconut shake

There’s constantly a queue at the small takeaway kiosk whenever we passed it during a road trip yesterday. The kiosk is for takeaways only to free up the main arena for dine-in customers.

melaka original coconut shake

Klebang’s Original Coconut Shake truly deserves the “famous” moniker as the sit-down area is huge, as big as a sports stadium and packed full of people. The car park is equally impressive and despite the constant rain and drizzle, people still come in for a fix.

melaka famous coconut shake

The shake is ingenious – it’s basically an ice blended coconut drink but everything in there is made of coconut. They take coconut water, coconut flesh and ice cubes to blend it all together.

klebang original coconut shake

Thus, you’ll taste coconut water and bits of the shredded flesh as well as you go through it with the spoon and straw it’s served in.

famous melaka shake

Klebang’s Coconut Shake must go through tons of coconuts every day and I know from observation that they go through several large boxes of vanilla ice cream in a couple of minutes. The “special” version of the coconut shake comes with a full, generous scoop of vanilla ice cream and it adds a lot to the taste of the shake.

The place does such a brisk business that it’s almost like an assembly line:

coconut cutting

1. There’s a place were the coconuts are opened and prepared – juice/water drained and then the flesh extracted by cutting the coconuts into half

blending station

2. The coconut water and flesh goes to the blending station where it’s ice blended with ice and then loaded into a funnel-like device to churn the blend into a waiting chilled glass.

prep station

3. The glasses are then sent into the prep station where it’s either sent out as it is or supplemented with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream for the special version.

coconut shake special

The end result is a delicious coconut shake made almost entirely of coconut and it only costs RM 1.70. The special version with a scoop of vanilla ice cream costs RM 2.20 – 50 cents more and I feel that adds a lot to the taste – imparting a creaminess than one would usually associate with the word “shake”.

nasi lemak

The place is quite well known for it’s nasi lemak too but it didn’t work for me – it has wonderfully spicy sambal which makes my mouth water just thinking about it and it’s warm, but I’ve had better. It’s good for the main coconut shake business though, since you’ll need something to put out the fiery sambal. ;)

coconut shake stations

However, the Klebang Original Coconut Shake is a must visit when you’re in Melaka. It has grown a lot since the days and some might say it’s a tad commercialized with menus in three (3) different languages but that still doesn’t change the fact that it’s a great product to begin with.

klebang original coconut shake special

They haven’t slacked off since the last time I came several years ago either – each glass of coconut shake is done to perfection and I love how they use chilled mugs even with the rush of a sudden influx of people (which is why you have to queue in the takeaway section). It’s also affordable (most brewed drinks in KL costs way more than that even in regular diners) which is part of the appeal.

kelebang coconut shake

I was transfixed at a man in his twenties taking off his helmet and coming in out of the rain to savor Klebang’s Original Coconut Shake by slowly and tentatively sipping the iced concoction using the spoon. He caught me looking several times and gave me a puzzled look, for me, he symbolizes why this place is so popular. :)

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