After all this time…

It was so many years ago when my nephew took us to this restaurant in Malacca…

Malacca nyonya restaurant

It did not look like this then. I remember a dimly-lit unimpressive looking place and we were the only customers all the time while we were there. The food was great and the cendol was so good that even though I was so very full after the dinner, I simply had to have another one.

A few years later, I went with my missus and daughter to spend a few days at a resort nearby and a friend drove all the way to pick us up to take us out for lunch. He took us here but unfortunately, it was not open for business that day so he took us to another nyonya restaurant some distance away across the road which was not too bad but not as great.

Thus, when I was in the historical city again the other day, I made it a point to go to this particular restaurant, no second thoughts about it. The moment we arrived, I knew it would not be like the first time I was there – there were people waiting outside…

Wait for your turn

…but even that did not deter me from my determination to eat here. They have this very peculiar system whereby you would have to go inside to the counter to write your name on the waiting list and then you will have to go and wait outside for them to call you back inside…

It's my turn

Even when there are some vacant tables around, they would not let you sit down and wait – like it or not, you will just have to toe the line.

Business was very good and it certainly was very packed inside…

Crowded

The moment you’re seated, you would be served this plate of tapioca chips…

tapioca chips

…but no, they’re not on the house. You will find it charged to your bill when you go and settle it later – it’s only RM1.00 though so it isn’t too bad but if you ask me, I would rather have keropok, be it fish, prawn or sotong.

The last time around, we had the chicken pongteh which is basically chicken with taucheo (fermented beans) so this time, I decided to order another very popular nyonya dish – the chicken with buah keluak  or in English, the Indonesian black nut (RM15.00)…

Ayam buah keluak

…as I have heard so much about it but I cannot recall ever eating it before. My mother, on the other hand, is very familiar with this buah kelauk – I remember her telling me about how it is not so easy to prepare as a certain part of the seed is poisonous and would have to be removed prior to cooking…or something to that effect.

I did not quite like it initially – I think it has some kind of acquired taste that I simply could not put my finger on. But as we went on eating, it did not seem too bad after all. Still, I do not think I would order it again as there would be many other peranakan dishes that I would enjoy a lot more should I happen to drop by any restaurant of this kind again.

I also ordered the cincaluk egg (RM7.00)…

Telur cincaluk

– another popular nyonya dish that I have heard so much about. I’ve tried cooking it myself and although what I managed to dish out was pretty good, I did not think it was all that sensational as to go raving about it. As a matter of fact, I can think of many other nicer ways to use cincaluk in one’s cooking. Thus, I simply had to order it that day to see how they did it and figure out whether there was anything I had missed. Well, as it turned out, I thought my version was a lot nicer, probably because I used our local Bintulu homemade cincaluk which would be of a better quality and would taste a lot nicer…and it did not appear as if I had missed out anything in cooking that.

The sambal prawns with petai or stinky beans (RM17.00)…

Sambal udang petai

was good but I prefer what I had here or maybe, even here. The sambal prawns were very nice but I thought the petai were a bit undercooked or raw and were very hard.

The fried long beans with belacan/dried prawn paste (RM7.00)…

Long bean belacan

were pretty good but like the first time around, it was the cendol (RM3.50)…

Cendol

…that took my breath away and it certainly saved the day. It simply is the best that I’ve had and I really enjoyed that so much.

I don’t know if it was because in my mind, I had a wonderful dinner at this place and over the years, it had grown out of proportion or it really was a lot nicer the first time I went there. Maybe the business is much better now and in trying to cope with the crowd, they have to sacrifice a bit on the quality? It was still very nice, don’t get me wrong on this…but it just wasn’t as nice as I remember it to be. Perhaps, should I happen to drop by the town again, I might as well give the others a try to see if they’re any better – I did notice when I was there that there are so many now, popping out of every nook and cranny like mushrooms after the rain.

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

41 thoughts on “After all this time…”

  1. wah…..telur goreng cincaluk! i hv not had that for a long time. the sambal petai looks good. u really had a great time jalan-jalan cari makan recently STP. will bring u makan soon. cheers!

    Oh? You won again? Otherwise…better use the money to fly over and see your wife and sons in Kuching…or get them to come over eat authentic kampua and kompia. Must Sibu-ised them too. LOL!!!

    1. my wife likes our mee goreng basah very much. my eldest son loves kampua…..they are Sibu-ised liao LOL!
      im going to kch on friday. will be there for the raya holidays.

      Have fun. Kirim salam kat semua there!

  2. btw…the cendol looks very delicious…..i dont think we can get one as good as that here in sibu or in sarawak for that matter……hmmmmmm thinking of visiting Melaka soon hehehehe

    The best I have had in the whole country, I must say. Not really a fan of cendol but this one would get me wanting more…. Ya, good to drop by – lots of nice things to eat. Cuti-cuti Malaysia…

  3. I love your photos!! They are so vivid and alive to look at 1.30am! Your chendol is so beautiful with shreds of shaven ice! Hmmm! I must eat them when I sleep shortly. I will dream of going to Melaka first..I may have to queue outside that restaurant and again, I might bump into you beside the BMW with your Havana stick! LOL..

    All the dishes are my favorite too, please take note…Kekekekeke
    Do they have many nyonya restaurants in Sibu?

    Two and by name only – don’t see anything nyonya about them. If you want nyonya, you’d be more likely to get it at…my house! I know there are authentic nyonya restaurants in Kuching though – at least one, if not more.

  4. Cincaluk egg is one of my faves. Easy to make and I think I am generous enough with the cincaluk so I don’t bother ordering it when we eat at Nyonya restaurants. The same with pongteh Its super simple to make 😀

    Yes, and mine’s nicer. My missus can cook great chicken pongteh too so, will not bother ordering it at nyonya places – first time, was because we did not know what it was – supposedly a popular nyonya dish.

  5. oh, i have not heard about this restaurant before.. hahahaha, as if i know Malacca so well.. hmmm, but i don’t quite remember i had nyonya food as often as the chicken rice ball if ever i visited malacca..

    Hmmmm….so near, yet so far! They say those balls are overrated – had very nice ones in Kuching though…in the 70’s.

  6. Authentic nonya dishes are very hard to come by unless to you go to a nonya home and taste the home cooked fare. I have been to a few restaurants which serve nonya dishes but sadly they were nothing to shout about. Like you, I think some of the dishes I cooked taste better. Not that I angkat bakul sendiri but that is the truth! And oh, my grandma used to cook egg with cincaluk too. Her’s is the steamed version and it was fantastic.

    Same here. Went to one in Penang – was so disappointed. My cousins and I were criticising away all through dinner…and it was so expensive some more. Everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon to cash in on tourists and those uninitiated diners who will think everything tastes absolutely great. At least, this one in Malacca is quite o.k.

  7. Two person eat four dishes ah? Can still walk after that or not?

    I like the cincaluk eggs

    The first round I went the cendol was fine. The second time I went there it was a bit too sweet but my friend liked it.

    Guess pasal food and drinks there is no right and wrong. It all depends on individual preference.

    Servings not very big…but that was after the “breakfast” at Seremban. Hehehehehehe!!!! Yup, like I always say, to each his own – some may feel something’s not good but others may love it a lot! Really can’t say – so my opinions are entirely my own, others may choose to differ.

  8. Told you don’t bother to go to any Peranakan Restaurant, period!! How to earn money if it’s not watered down, use lesser quality produce and for what you know, the cook might not even be a Peranakan!! Us locals used to boycott that place as the owner was/is sombong. You are not allowed to order the cendol if you are not having a full meal. What’s worst was that even the workers a bit big headed and talked to you as if you can’t afford the meal. By the way, I super love Buah keluak!!!

    No leh? They were all right, very nice…including one old guy collecting the money – he actually smiled at me…but then again, of course, I’m so amicable-looking, so lovable, so endearing…etc…etc…etc… Everybody can’t help being nice to me. Muahahahahahaha!!!!!

    Well, for one thing, there will be differences even between families…or perhaps, even within the same family – like your curry will not be the same as mine, I’m sure and my mum’s curry was not exactly the same as her sisters’…and those in my family would insist that our curry is simply the best, none can compare…and I’m sure you will not agree to that. It’s the same lah…when we go and eat out – best to go and eat things that we do not cook ourselves as others’ will never be better. Ummmm…I go Auckland, you cook one authentic nyonya meal for me, at least one…ok? Then I can criticise. Muahahahahahaha!!!!!

  9. Penang Nyonya and Melaka nyonya food are very different and very good in their own ways. But I’ve got to admit, the true nyonyas in Penang are slowly dying out and the authenticity of the dishes just isn’t there anymore. So sad. Can’t speak for Melaka tho. Don’t know the place too well.
    Now you’ve got me wanting to make a trip down there even if just for the chendol. That’s the perfect texture of shaved ice. Haven’t seen those for awhile. I’ve only ever had cincalok egg once (can’t remember if I liked it), we use it with pork and I use it often making homemade kimchi! Love petai! Hubby won’t let me eat it since I don’t allow durians in the house 🙂 I curi makan when he’s not around.

    Ya, I’ve heard that northern nyonyas not quite like Malacca’s or Singapore’s. Ours this side, more like Singapore’s but also different because of some local ethnic influences. You must try my steamed cincaluk pork (or chicken) – everyone who has tried loves it a lot! Very nice – will surely eat two plates of rice. LOL!!! 😀

    1. Oh, I’d just read Shereen’s comment. Looks like I can’t just go and have chendol. Ayaaa …

      I don’t know. Didn’t ask…and we ate first so we did not have any problem with it. For one thing, I found out that in Malacca, you must pay parking fee even on Sundays so you must have the coupons – they sell those at the coffee shop across the side lane from Makko’s. In Sibu, Saturdays and Sundays – parking is free.

  10. I like the cincaluk egg and sambal petai. Sambal petai is my all time favorite. I like it despite the aftermath of this dish – stinky toilet in my house. Excuse me 😛
    Aww, cendol is my favorite too. I have to have this in the coming holidays 🙂

    I love sambal petai too… So you’re going to Malacca this comin gRaya holidays? Hmmm…I would expect the traffic to be pretty heavy on the highways and the town may be very congested as well.

    1. Have been thinking to go there for a short trip, but plan got rejected by my wifey due to the traffic. Might be going back to my hometown at kampar (famous for curry chicken bread) instead.

      Hope they do not use plastic to wrap the curry in the bun prior to cooking – here, I think they use cling wrap. I wouldn’t want to eat that.

  11. wow..so laku! The food must be very nice and authentic.. never been there, next time i must ask my “classmate” to take me there… not familiar with Malacca actually.. you are so blessed… yes, I think I would love the chendol too!

    See! Your home ground and yet I am more familiar with the well-known eating places around. Have to go out more…cuti2 Malaysia – cheaper and nicer too.

  12. I came here once (many years ago). The food was good!
    Ehh…(photo no. 3), that gal ‘jeling’ at u leh…. =p

    Dunno. Maybe she thinks she’s so beautiful, thinking that I was snapping her photograph. Should just stop playing with her handphone and get into the restaurant and out of my photograph! Tsk! Tsk! So skinny…. LOL!!! 😀 Ya…I’m sure the crowd there agree with you but then again, I would expect most of them to be Singaporeans – so very cheap for them!!! RM100…they pay SIN$40 only.

  13. i have not try the chicken with buah keluak..
    I am sure it is nice….

    Didn’t get me jumping up and down with delight…and I don;t think I would want to order that again but at least, I’ve tried and I know what it’s like.

  14. I like revisiting places that I remember from the past. It always interesting to see how/ if they’ve changed and if they are still as you remember.

    Yes, especially when you liked it so much the first time around. Otherwise, I would prefer going to new places, trying new things.

  15. Food look great. I went for the nyonya food at Bibik Neo when I went to Malacca last year. I like the ayam pongteh but never try the chicken with buah keluak. Drooling over the cendol.

    Bibik Neo is just up/down the road, some 100 metres or so away. Can’t miss the big cut-out cardboard figure of him at the entrance. Hope to check that place out someday if I hop over to Malacca again.

  16. Ahh I remember this restaurant. It was certainly crowded when we were there last year too! Honestly didn’t think it was great.. it was good but I don’t think i’d wanna go through the trouble waiting for table again. ALSO, maybe because I didn’t try cendol that time!! Arghh

    We did not have to wait long, maybe because we were a bit late – around 1, I think…and even at 2, there were still people coming for lunch. Oh dear!!! You missed the best that they have to offer – the cendol! I would have hated that as that was what I actually went there for.

  17. I never heard of this place.. I always wonder where to eat Nyonya food in Malacca… maybe I will give it a go… it looked decent but I can tell portion not big for the price. Still the buah keluak and the cendol looked really inviting … =D

    I guess it’s among the best in town…and even though so many have emerged all around it in the vicinity, it seems to enjoy the most business. That speaks volumes, I guess.

  18. Ahh it’s been ages since I’ve been to Malacca, would love to be there and enjoy the wonderful dishes.

    I can’t remember the last time I went too. Seems a bit nicer now…

  19. Hhmm, never heard of the chicken buah keluak…wonder how’s the taste…must try when have the opportunity. So this restaurant serves authentic nyonya food? How different is Malacca nyonya from Penang nyonya, huh? Btw, I love the look of the cendol! slurp.

    It’s nice…just not my favourite. I would rather have something else next time. This time, it was because I wanted to try, having heard so much about it. Dunno Penang – so far I’ve only tried at one place and I did not think it was great…and it was expensive. Maybe there are other places that are better, yet to try.

  20. hmmmm..i am not challenging at food, i still prefer the ayam ponteh and some normal dish, like assam fish? Don’t know much about nyonya food.

    That cendol look very good!!!

    That cendol, I have not had any that is better anywhere…not even those Penang ones that people praise to the skies. This one is simply the best! As for the food…I think my missus, or perhaps even I, can cook nicer stuff. They’re all ok, nice, not bad at all…but I would not say they’re the best I have ever eaten. Ok for people who do not usually eat or cannot cook nyonya food.

  21. I LOVE LOVE LOVE petai. Will eat heaps when my Quay Lo is not at home. Been to other Nyonya restaurants in Melaka not this one.

    This one has been around a long time – many new ones around. Dunno any that may be better.

  22. i’m containing my drool with my palm. alamak…that ayam buah keluak and ice kacang. to die for!

    LOL!!! That bad kah? Would love to hop over to Malacca again, stay for a few days there. Just a few hours would not be enough.

  23. this place used to be so lonely and quiet during my school days (my school is just behind this restaurant). My friend and I love to order their fried rice or curry noodle. Blogging certainly makes many places go crowded and crazy 😦

    Ya…I remember when I went there before – dark and quiet – we were the only table there that night…and I think the food was a lot nicer then.

  24. My mother used to make very good ayam buah keluak, but she is now 93 and in very poor health, can’t do it any more. I used to visit Melaka very often when living in Singapore.

    Yes, lots and lots of Singaporeans there these days with lots and lots of money. Maybe that is why now they do not treat the locals with very much respect, they can do jolly well without us. 😦

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own. For food and other reviews, you may email me at sibutuapui@yahoo.com

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