Feeling like a local in Melaka
Trip Start Aug 09, 2010
124Trip End Feb 01, 2012
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Greetings from the Unesco world Heritage town of Melacca.
Most times, the joy of travelling comes not just from the places you visit but from the people you meet. Melacca was one of those places.
We'd found our guesthouse - The Rooftop Guesthouse on Tripadvisor and knew we were onto a good one when we read in the reviews that Mani, the owner, baked cakes for her guests. Even though we got to our guesthouse with high expectations, Mani and Ray still managed to surpass all of them with their amazing hospitality. As soon as we set our bags down Mani gave us a map of the place and spent half an hour telling us about what to see and most importantly where to eat
Paul and I were in need of a long rest and this, coupled with the fact that Paul got ill meant that we hardly did anything in our first week there. It was actually great to spend time chilling out in front of the TV, eating home-made hummus and chatting to Mani and Ray. Our room was bright and clean, with an outdoor shower and proper thick bed sheets that just felt lovely to sleep on. Just what we needed!
Once we eventually ventured out we found Melacca to be a great little town. It's history of Dutch and Portugese settlers, combined with Peranakan and Malaysians have created a melting pot of cultures, with fantastic architecture and inviting cuisine. It's famous Jonker street which is packed with tourists at the weekend is full of cute shops selling arty souvenirs and clothes, and of course food stalls galore. Another famous street - Temple Street - completely lives up to its name with the oldest Mosque in Malaysia, a Hindu Temple, and an old Chinese temple.
At night we went out with some lovely people we met at the guesthouse. Sylvia and Florian, Lucy and Sandro, both couples were also on long trips around the world. I don't know what it is about travelling, but it makes everyone so much more open and sincere. We felt like we'd known each other for years and had some great conversations over beers and great food
Talking about the food......Melacca has some of the best food in Malaysia. Our trips to restaurants and foodstalls were a real highlight of our stay here. We had amazing Nyonya Laksa at Jonker 88, the best chicken tandoori EVER at Pak Putra, a feast of veggie delights at Selvam (go on Friday before 1!), an amazing array of kebabs cooked in our own pot of satay sauce at Kapitol Satay. We often went to Riverine which is a restaurant that serves great Nyonya cuisine in a great setting by the river. We tried a special Nyonya dish made with keluak nuts that actually contain cyanide if they're not fermented. They come cooked in a rich gravy and to eat them you scoop out the meat that looks very much like tapenade and actually has an aftertaste of olives and mix it with the gravy and rice. The taste was so unique and like nothing we tried before. Some of our favourite nights were when we ate with Mani and Ray who quickly turned from hosts to friends during our stay at their guesthouse. We got to eat unforgettable crab at a local chinese restaurant without a name, the best Nasi Lemak ever at another local restaurant without a name and even taste Mani's amazing home cooked Char Sui or marinated pork on our last night there. Not to mention the little parcels of heaven Mani and Ray brought us to taste. Ah I think I might have to move there!
Whilst we were there there was a two week long Portugese festival which starts with the feast of Saint John and ends with the feast of Saint Peter, the patron saint of fishermen. We were lucky to get chatting to Janet, the housekeeper at the Rooftop guesthouse. She's a warm and generous woman who also happens to be of Portugese descent. She invited us to her family gathering on the last day of the festival which turned out to be a real highlight of our stay in Melacca
Hello everybody! I am just going to write a little bit today as I am being lazy! Karen has covered everything anyhow and she is so right about the Rooftop Guesthouse. It's the world's best guesthouse. No if's or but's, it's a fact. One thing she did forget though is how beautiful the river / canal walk is. They have really used their imaginations in terms of lighting, sights and bridges. It is a must if you are in this part of the world.
As you can probably tell I am rushing through this. The reasons are that I am sweating like a pig in a sauna, my Parents & Karen are badgering me to hurry up as they want to go out. Our next blog entry will be from the wonderful city of Singapore where we are right now!
Until then, take care and love to you all,
Paul & Karen xxx