think blue philea

I was down in Malacca over the weekend for the Think Blue. – National Challenge 2013. This is the culmination of the push for sustainability and eco-awareness that had 30 finalists nationwide competing against each other to win the title of Malaysia’s most fuel efficient driver.

philea

Philea Resort is an ideal setting for the Think Blue. – National Challenge 2013. It’s an eco-resort located close to Malaccca. I’ve stayed here before earlier this year as a surprise my better half gave me. Its wooden chalets and sustainable living concepts are perfectly in sync with Volkswagen’s Think Blue. philosophy.

indoor stations

There are five tests in total for the first ever Think Blue. – National Challenge – three of the stations are indoors and and the remaining two of them outdoor driving challenge.

Station 1 was a quiz which had participants answering questions based on a booklet given during the journey here.

test 2

There is also a physical puzzle where finalists arrange cubes to the 9 tips for better fuel consumption described in the Think Blue. booklet. This is a time based challenge totaling to 10 points.

ipad test

The iOS Think Blue. Challenge app which I’ve been playing quite a bit is also one of the tests! The iPad game at Station 3 is where the finalists had to play the Think Blue. driving challenge online. The objective is to chalk up the most distance using the least fuel! Extra fuel was given for those who answer the bonus round correctly. The better you do; the more points you have! 10 points.

driving orange

Station 4, an orange was placed in a bowl on the Polo Sedan which humorously alludes to the tofu scene in Initial-D for driving fans. This is a physical driving test which contributes 20 points of the total score. As this was also a time based challenge, a penalty of 2 seconds was imposed if the driver knocks over any orange cones. And if the orange (the fruit, not the traffic cone) falls out of the bowl, the driver will need to stop the car, pick up the orange and continue driving – while the time is still ticking!

stations

The final challenge, Station 5, is a 20 kilometre drive at the track with the seventh generation of the Golf 1.4 TSI. This is a fuel efficiency test where every one of the finalists will need to apply the fuel saving tips they learnt throughout the Challenge. This better you score on the fuel consumption, the more points you’ll get. 50 points.

backseat

I hopped into one of the cars for the last challenge – it’s obvious that the participant has already read all the fuel saving tips in the booklet. He didn’t use air-conditioning, the windows were up (to improve aerodynamics), he switched up to the highest gear and tried to keep it there, coasting on gradients and keeping the speedometer stable.

fuel consumption

The best performer got an amazing 3.7 litres per 100 kilometres of fuel in real time driving!

ivan

Ivan from the Events team and Dara from PR were there to guide us around.

food philea

I was watching some do better than the others while sipping artisan coffee brought in to the lobby. I must say that Volkswagen always have the best treatment during its events! I was lucky enough to go to Germany with them last year.

think blue bag

Coincidentally, this is also where the winner of the Think Blue. – National Challenge 2013 will be headed! It was a very close one as scores were tabulated and re-checked. The next morning, the winners were announced.

trophies

The prize-giving ceremony was held on three different level podiums – the 1st place is the lowest and the 3rd place highest, signifying the fuel consumption of the three winners. This is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the philosophy of Think Blue. – the holistic approach adopted by Volkswagen to foster environmentally compatible mobility and sustainable individual action.

winners

The “winner” is thus the person with the lowest fuel consumption. Ong Ling Kern narrowly defeated 29 other finalists (the runner up was 2 points behind – something he could have made up with one more correct question in the quiz) with Ong Wu Zhuan (no relation – who also got a Samsung S4 smartphone) and Chew Fun Sing (iPhone 5) bagging second and third place.

press con

Thus, as the first ever Malaysian Think Blue. – National Challenge 2013 champion, Ong Ling Kern is off to represent Malaysia on an international driving competition held at the Think Blue. World Championship 2013 in Germany from 6th-10th September.

malaysian think blue

Winners from all around the world will take part in the world championship by competing against each other in a drive from Wolfsburg to Frankfurt in Germany.

slalom

The world champion will be determined based on the lowest amount of fuel used to complete the distance.

orange

Imagine doing that on the Autobahn! I’d love to see them try every possible fuel saving technique. There are some which are proven “hypermiling” (a relatively new buzzword for energy efficient driving) techniques built-in to newer Volkswagen cars like the start/stop system which automatically stops the car engine at red lights.

test 4

The Think Blue. initiative by Volkswagen is constantly striving to combine environmental protection with cutting-edge automotive technologies to give drivers low-emission vehicles.

finalists

However, drivers also need to play a part in adopting eco-concious behavior both on and off the road and that’s what events like the weekend’s Think Blue. – National Challenge 2013 is set to promote!

blu monkey

Interesting fact: Blu, the Think Blue. mascot is a monkey designed in Malaysia and adopted byVolkswagen AG in Germany! :)

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. :)

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!

laksa

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. :)

nadeje

Nadeje Patisserie Cafe in Melaka serves a lot of food you’ll expect to find in a fusion restaurant but the menu has been eclipsed by their fabulous Mille crepes. Nadeje is famous for Mille crepes and a lot of people come in just to have that. Mille crepe is a popular French cake made of many layers of very thin pancakes sandwiching a sweet cream concoction.

nadeje melaka

The name “Mille” implies that there is a thousand such layers, but of course, that would be near impossible to pull off. However, it does have a lot of layers and the beauty of Nadeje’s Mille crepes is that each individual layer is razor thin, with a delightfully thick cream filling.

mille crepes melaka

I was in Melaka a couple of days back and headed Nadeje in Dataran Pahlawan to see what the fuss is all about. There is a wide range of Mille crepes at the counter, with favors ranging from Banana Chocolate to Tiramisu. The Mille crepes goes for RM 9 per slice – it’s very reasonable pricing considering this is likely to be one of the most orgasmic cakes you’ve ever had.

banana cafe latte

Banana Cafe Latte
This is a rather intriguing coffee drink that I ordered to go with the Mille crepes. It is basically a latte with banana pulp at the bottom, which acts as a natural sweetener. I wouldn’t have thought of it but banana goes very well with coffee.

roman holiday

Roman Holiday
Mel had this cocktail. Nadeje also serves a wide variety of fancy non-alcohol cocktails and this three layered soda-based drink is one of the famous ones. It comes complete with a heart shaped stirrer.

nadeje mille crepe

Original Mille Crepe
This is arguably the best – the original is Nadeje’s signature Mille crepe sans fancy toppings. It is still regarded by many as the definitive Nadeje Mille Crepe – if you haven’t had this in Melaka, you totally missed out.

original mille crepe

It’s incredibly light and fluffy due to the multitude of layers and the creamy aftertaste is simply divine. I could eat this all day long and not get tired of it. It’s rich and creamy without being cloyingly sweet.

nadeje melaka mille crepe

Mille Crepe Melacca
I had a slice of this coz I figured it would be apt. We were in Melaka for a road trip after all and I thought it would be interesting to try this East meets West fusion. It’s Mille crepe topped with Gula Melaka (palm sugar) and whipped cream.

melacca mille crepe

I like how the gula melaka works with the Mille crepe – it adds an extra boost of sugar to the confection and you get the unique signature aftertaste of palm sugar. Delicious!

mille crepes

The Mille Crepe in Nadeje was one of the things that we planned to eat in Melaka and it did not disappoint. I would even go so far to say that it’s worth driving down just to savor this fluffy delight. :)

However, if you don’t feel like hitting the road, there’s a rainbow buttercream cupcake promotion on MilkADeal that looks very promising.

rainbow buttercream cupcake
RM15 instead of RM27 for 6 Rainbow Buttercream Cupcakes OR 6 Glorious Chocolatey Muffins from Craves4Cakes, Subang Jaya [44% OFF]

If you have a sweet tooth, you can now get a variety of cupcakes, chocolate muffins and even an interesting swirly tricolor marble cake to satisfy your craving. The deal expires in a couple of days so grab it quick! They even do free delivery to some areas. :)

McQueks satay celup

You can probably guess from the boiling pot of satay celup sauce above that I’m in Melaka…and you’ll be right! I’m writing this from Dream Hotel (where all guests drift off happily into the warm embraces of sleep) – it’s a road trip planned earlier with Mel to go stuff ourselves silly in Melaka.

McQueks satay celup melaka

McQuek’s Sate Celup is not actually our first choice. We wanted to go to Capitol Satay Celup but for reasons unbeknownst to me, it’s closed. There’s a piece of paper on the metal shutters which presumably states the reason for that but not being able to read Chinese, I can’t tell you why it’s not open for business. :x

McQueks satay celup fridge

Thus, we checked the GPS and found a McQuek Satay Steamboat Recipe on it. It has parentheses that states it’s an outlet so we drove to the main McQuek Sate Celup. It’s quite a large establishment but also quite empty. I’m not sure if that’s coz today’s a weekday but it didn’t look very promising.

McQueks tvbs

They apparently have an appearance on TVBS but that doesn’t mean much – almost anyone and their grandma can be featured on TV or the papers these days, hell I’ve made my appearance more than once and I’m definitely not an authoritative voice on anything.

(well maybe on one topic, my pride will allow me that much, but it’s definitely not food ;))

satay celup selection

This is my selection from the fridge where the skewers of food is kept. The premise of satay celup is simple – you take what you want and when it’s time to pay the bill, the waiter comes over and counts the number of sticks you have on your table. I have to say though, I was not impressed by the meager selections they have – it’s less than half of what you’ll find at Ban Lee Siang.

satay celup ingredients

I also noticed the lack of perhaps the most important item – siham (clams). However, to be fair you can order it separately.

satay celup pricing

Behold my indulgence! It’s a full sized squid that has 11 (eleven – count ‘em) skewers in it, making it RM 6.60 for that alone. It is pretty good though. I also had my staples – quail century eggs, cuttlefish, mussels, Taiwanese sausage, quail eggs, and brinjal (eggplant) – a nod to my daily food pyramid adherence. *cough* ;)

satay celup peanuts

I like the fact that McQuek Satay Celup has excellent service – they promptly refill your communal pot of satay celup sauce – complete with a healthy sprinkling of ground peanuts. The people there are friendly too, asked where we were from and whether we enjoyed the food etc etc.

satay celup squid

However, the lack of selection coupled with the non-compliant price of RM 0.60 per stick makes me wonder if there’s a reason why this place is so devoid of customers.

McQueks squid eat

The problem with this is that the portions are small too – one (1) century quail egg with a miniscule bit of carrot on top is one satay. The “good” establishments like Ban Lee Siang and probably Capitol Satay Celup price theirs at RM 0.50. It’s the golden standard.

free cucumbers

Oh well, at least they have free cucumbers.

McQueks us

I can’t say that it’s the best satay celup I’ve ever had, it was very average, but no worries, tomorrow is another day and we plan to eat a lot of meals in Melaka. I can foresee at least 3-4 meals before we head back, there’s a reason we stayed at a crappy hotel – so we can eat more. ;)

Hoe Kee Chicken Rice Balls

I just came back from a Melaka trip with 11 other people. It was great fun and just before we came back, a detour to eat chicken rice balls in Jonker Street was made. The most established chicken rice ball shop in Melaka is Chung Wah. I was there last year and it was good.

Hoe Kee Chicken Rice Ball

This time we headed to a different outlet – Hoe Kee Chicken Rice. We were there for lunch just now and the unique selling point of this chicken rice ball establishment is their Asam Fish Head.

Hoe Kee Chicken Rice Ball stall

The aroma of the Asam Fish Head wafted out to Jonker Street and it was pleasing to my olfactory senses.

Hoe Kee Chicken Rice Ball Asam Fish Head scoop

Wah, got accolades from Astro AEC some more:

Hoe Kee Chicken Rice Ball Astro

Anyway, like most other chicken rice ball establishments in Melaka, they have a disclaimer saying that loose chicken rice will be served together with rice balls on weekends and public holidays due to demand exceeding supply.

Hoe Kee Chicken Rice Ball interior

However, one amazing thing about this outlet is the sheer speed at which they process your order. We had a room to ourselves due to our large party of 12. We initially ordered 1 whole chicken and 1 Asam Fish Head with two big plates of loose chicken rice and two of chicken rice balls (we added on another plate of chicken rice and 1/2 a chicken after that).

Hoe Kee Chicken Rice Ball chicken

As soon as we ordered, I was about to walk out of the room when the dishes started coming in – all at once! It’s as if they’ve already read your mind and prepared the food before you step into the restaurant. Jesus, if McDonald’s/KFC/Burger King is considered fast service restaurants, I don’t know what to call this.

Hoe Kee Chicken Rice Ball Asam Fish Head

The chicken wasn’t anything to write home about. I’ve noticed something about Melaka chicken rice ball outlets – it’s not their chicken that’s good but the glutinous chicken rice balls that makes everything taste awesome. However, it is pretty decent, it’s just that the chicken is a bit anorexic (with a thin layer of skin) compared to the hormone boosted chicken-on-steroids I’m used to having here.

Hoe Kee Chicken Rice Ball hit

However, the Asam Fish Head really takes the cake. Everyone loved it and we even considered ordering a second helping. The gravy is thick and flavorful, without being overtly spicy, and the hints of spices tempered with the okra is a lesson in perfection. The fish does not have any pesky bones and is tender and juicy. The sauce was a big hit!

Hoe Kee Chicken Rice Ball eat

I would recommend Chung Wah if you want an authentic taste of one of the oldest chicken rice ball shops in Melaka but if you’re looking for something beyond the ordinary, check out Hoe Kee Chicken Rice – it has that zing/oomph/whatever-you-call-it factor due to their house specialty – the Asam Fish Head.

Hoe Kee Chicken Rice Ball Asam Fish Head dish

Hoe Kee Hainam Chicken Rice is located at Jonker Street in Melaka. Lunch for 12 of us, inclusive of drinks, came up to RM 151.50, which is pretty reasonable.

“Who goes to Melaka to eat chicken satay?”

christ church

I headed down to Melaka last weekend with Jennifer and Michael. Jennifer is from Melaka and kindly offered to bring me around the place so I picked her and Mike up from Ampang and drove down really early on Saturday.

farmosa

Melaka is not very far from KL actually, it takes about 2 hours if you maintain a decent cruising speed. You might be able to reach there in an hour if you have very little regard for life and limb though. ;)

coconut

We headed straight for the old market to grab a cold glass of coconut juice as soon as we got there (the heat is oppressive in Melaka)…

durian

…and indulge in some durians (from a roadside stall). It just tastes better that way. :)

lunch

It was around lunchtime by the time we were done so we headed to Jenn’s favorite place for Melaka style char siew rice. I like this place – the patrons come in and either sit on makeshift tables and chairs, or place their plates down on an empty stall nearby and start eating. It’s a very unpretentious and homely environment.

char siew rice

We checked into the hotel after that – we actually went to several hotels before finding one which is not fully booked. Our first choice was Baba House, an authentic Baba/Nyonya (Peranakan) hotel which is set in a converted shop house that harks back to the days where they roamed the streets.

eat us

Melaka is the Peranakan capital of Malaysia, due to some convoluted history of intermarriage between Chinese traders (from China) and local Malays. Unfortunately, Melaka seems to attract a lot of Singaporeans over the weekends so it was full.

cannon

Actually, on hindsight (only saw this later that evening), if you’re just heading there for an overnight stay and you want to try something different, check out the Maritime Museum. There’s an activity packed tour (river cruise, night hiking etc) and you get to spend a night on board the ship for just RM 95. I’m so going for this option on my next trip.

us

Anyway, after checking in and dumping our bags, we headed out to try the pork satay in Melaka.

pork satay

This place is called Ming Sate Hut and it serves satay and satay only. They have pork satay, intestine satay and liver satay (as well as the usual fare, but like Jenn said, who goes to Melaka to eat chicken satay?). The strange thing (strange to me ok :p) is that you order what you want and they serve it up. You eat the amount you want (you don’t have to finish everything) and they just count the sticks when you’re done.

view

The leftovers are probably reheated and served again. ;)

baba

I also went for a crash course in Peranakan culture at Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum. The tour was fascinating, mostly coz I’ve forgotten most things I learned about Malaysian history in high school. Heh! Apparently Straits Chinese eat with their hands, so they have small soup bowls with individual soup spoons for the obligatory soup dish at meals (coz you can’t very well drink soup with your hands).

cc me

We headed to Christ Church after that. It’s affectionately dubbed the Red Church due to its fire engine red façade and is probably the most photographed structure in Melaka after A Farmosa.

red square

Christ Church, Melaka is actually a still functional place of worship (of the Anglican denomination) and comes with a beautiful square (not the shape, the place people gather) complete with an antique clock circa 1886. The Red Square was teeming with tourists when I was there, which contributes to the gaiety-charged atmosphere. It looked like almost every other person was lugging a dSLR around!

journey

Next stop: St. Paul’s Church!

st paul

The pilgrimage to the top…

paul

St. Paul’s Church is not a cathedral per se, but rather grim looking ruins used as a burial ground for the Dutch. There are a lot of tombstones, so if you’re into stuff like that, you’ll feel right at home!

tomb

The path we went through is actually a walk that brings you to the Big 3 in Melaka – Christ Church, St. Paul and Fort A Farmosa. Our journey ends right at A Farmosa, which is not as impressive as I had imagined…

a farmosa

Fort A Farmosa looks exactly like what a fort built in 1511 should look like – crumbly and worn. It’s nice to stand beside this ½ millennia structure though…and you can’t say you’ve been to Melaka until you’ve been to A Farmosa.

squat

Come to think of it, you’ve probably seen A Farmosa in Melaka…but you’ve never experienced it until you’ve done the Ah Beng squat in front of A Farmosa! ;)

excavation

You can opt to take a scenic stroll to the many excavation sites after that…there’s a huge excavation going on around the city to unearth the old fortress walls around Melaka. Take a peek.

Other not-to-be-missed stuff:

jonker

Jonker Street. Jonker Walk is only open on the weekends and it’s like a huge pasar malam (bazaar) on the streets. It’s festive, it’s crowded, and it’s a lot of fun!
 

satay celup

Satay celup

rice balls

Chicken rice balls

portuguese

Portuguese settlement

menara

Menara Taming Sari

gyro

This gyro tower ride is much better than the overrated Eye On Malaysia. Enjoy the 360 degree view of Melaka from 80 meters up for just RM 10.

dodol

The Tan Kim Hock dodol shop – just so you can get some souvenirs home. ;)

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