Where to go for popular eats in Malacca without the queues

Where to go for popular eats in Malacca without the queues
PHOTO: Siew Tin's Nyonya Kitchen

Malacca in Malaysia is a haven for foodies – be it street food or food with cultural significance, we're definitely spoiled for choice.

Instead of camping out in the long, snaking queues of famous restaurants, here are some places with equally good food that you don't have to wait too long for. 

Dim Sum Garden

Can't decide what to eat?

Then have a little of everything at Dim Sum Garden, where variety is the name of the game. With baskets of dim sum steaming at the entrance, the dim sum here is served almost immediately via the traditional dim sum trolleys.

Take your pick and nibble on popular dim sums like Char Siew buns (RM3.50 (S$1) per basket of two), Siew Mai (RM3.80 per basket of three), and Chee Cheong Fun, with both prawn and char siew fillings (RM5 per plate).

Crowd favourites include the flavourful Fried Carrot Cake (RM6 per plate) and house-special Yong Tau Foo (RM 9 for small, RM18 for large).

Dim Sum Garden is located at 3-1 & 5-1, Jalan Tamby Abdullah, Bandar Hilir, 75000 Melaka, Malaysia, p.+60 12 261 5700. Open Mon - Wed, Fri -Sun 7am -2pm, closed on Thu.

Siew Tin's Nyonya Kitchen

A trip to Malacca is never complete without an authentic Peranakan meal.

For that, Siew Tin's Nyonya Kitchen along Jonker Street is your best bet. While it's easier to score a seat at this unpretentious restaurant, its food is just as authentic as the famed ones.

Plus, with its tok panjang (long tables) for communal feasting, it feels like dining in a Peranakan home.

Must-try dishes include Ayam Buah Keluak (RM45 for large), cooked with their blend of special spices, and the fresh and tangy Tamarind Fish Head (RM80 for large). As a bonus, their sambal belacan (chilli paste) is so good!

Siew Tin's Nyonya Kitchen is located at No. 7, Jalan Hang Lekir, Jonker Street, Melaka 75200, Malaysia, p.+60 6 286 2233. Open daily 11am -10pm

Olive Baker

"High fibre healthy warehouse" Olive Baker sees a serene pond scape and serves up breakfast items with a creative twist.

The all-time favourite kaya butter Toast Set (RM11.10) with eggs and drink comes with a choice of jujube, black sesame, or coffee walnut bread.

For heartier options, look to the Multi-grain Bread with Cheese Otak Otak Set (RM17.10) or enjoy your breakfast eggs atop a bagel, with ham and cheese, in the Onsen Egg Set (RM12).

Done with breakfast? Say hi to the resident geese at the back.

Olive Baker is located at 4383c, Jalan Limbongan, Kampung Kolam Limbongan, 75250 Melaka, Malaysia, p.+ 60 6 289 9116. Open Thu-Mon 7.30am-12.30pm, Closed from Tue-Wed.

Wild Coriander 

For Peranakan food with a modern touch, head over to Wild Coriander to enjoy a meal by the Malacca River. With the tropical heat, it's best to keep outdoor dining after sundown, when the river lights up too.

The pork-free restaurant serves dishes like Laksa (RM16.90) and Nasi Lemak with Beef Rendang (RM21.90) in individual portions, as well as starters like Pie Tee (RM8.90 for five pieces) and Fruit Rojak (RM8.90) for sharing.

Try the Wild Coriander Special (RM20.90), where Chicken Rendang is accompanied with four types of rice.

Wild Coriander is located at No. 40 Jalan Kampung Pantai, Melaka 75200, Malaysia, p.+60 12 380 7211. Open Mon-Tue, Thu-Sun 3pm-10pm. Closed Wed.

Hainan Kitchen  

Another popular fare in Malacca is chicken rice balls. Historically, the rice was compacted into a ball for a quick chow down by the labourers, while keeping the rice warm for long periods.

Today, Malacca is synonymous with chicken rice balls and easily available, but only some serve silky steamed chicken like Hainan Kitchen.

Order the soft and tender chicken, available in quarter (Rm13.50), half (RM26), or whole (RM50), along with Rice Balls (RM0.50 each).

If balls are hard to handle, they also serve rice in its fluffy form. They typically sell out before noon, so head down as early as possible. 

Hainan Kitchen is located at 203-D, Jalan Kenanga 3/29A, Jalan Gajah Berang,Melaka 75200. Malaysia, p.+60 16 329 9763. Open Wed-Sun 8am-2pm, closed Mon-Tue.

Zhong Tai Seafood Restaurant

Zi char restaurants in Malacca usually offer an assortment of seafood cooked in various ways.

One dish that has gained popularity, even with the locals, is the cheese prawn bee hoon. One place to eat this without excessive long waits is Zhong Tai Seafood Restaurant.

Using large prawns in their creamy Cheese Prawn Beehoon (RM95 for large), you get a kick of umami in every mouthful. The texture of its cheesy gravy carries a balanced viscosity, though if cheese is not your thing, try the Pan Fried Prawn Bee Hoon (RM38).

Zhong Tai Seafood Restaurant is located at No. 267 & 267A, Jalan Melaka Raya 3, Taman Melaka Raya, Melaka 75000, Malaysia, p. +60 6 283 3822. Open Mon-Fri 10.30am-12am, Sat 8am-12am, Sun 10.30am-12am.

The Woods Book Cafe

Camouflaged by its overgrown garden, this unassuming little gem is hidden along the street of rundown workshops. As you enter through the outdoor garden, you immediately feel the change in vibes to a zen-like ambience.

The Woods Book Cafe is a second-hand book cafe that welcomes anyone for a read and a light meal.

While your time away with a book and light bites like Pizza (RM13.90) that comes in a vegetarian and non-vegetarian version, along with a cup of flavoursome Siphon Coffee (RM10). 

The Woods Book Cafe is located at 35, Jalan Gajah Berang, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia, p. +60 12-616 7128. Open Mon-Tue, Thu-Sun 11am-6pm. Closed Wed.

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This article was first published in City Nomads.

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