Malacca’s Chinatown has a famous chicken rice stall called the Famosa Chicken Rice Stall (古城鸡饭粒). The rice does not taste as good as we thought. But the kampong chicken which we ordered was delicious. There is another chicken rice ball stall in Chinatown, called HeJi Chicken Rice (和记), which some locals told us the rice balls are nicer than the Famosa ones. It was too bad we did not heed their advice and tried Famosa balls instead, which to our surprise, was not really very nice. Sadly we did not have the time to try Heji’s balls. To quote Sun Shuo after the meal, ” **** the chicken balls”. Lol!
Some of our great finds at Chinatown include Angry Bird slippers which cost RM10, equivalent to Singapore’s $4. Seriously I dont know if there is some angry bird craze going on in Malaysia or Malacca right now, but almost every street and every pasat ( markets) you go, you see Angry birds cushions, bags, slippers, soft toys and even cups! Are Malaysians being slow about the Angry Bird craze, which happened in Singapore a long time ago and did not go as crazy as what we saw in Malacca, or the craze is still happening, after so many months! Anyway, the three of us bought these cute slippers.
On the last day we visited Porta De Santiago. The Portuguese admiral, Alfonso built this for in 1511. However, this fortress was badly damaged during the Dutch invasion in 1641. Fortunately, Sir Stanford Raffles intervened in 1808 and saved what remains of Porta De Santiago today.
There is an old building at the foot of the hill, and a staircase that brings visitors up to the top, where St Paul’s Church stands. This church was an old chapel built by a Portuguese captain in 1521 called Nosa Senhora. When the Dutch took over Malacca they changed the name to St Paul’s Church and used it for 112 years. When British took over Malacca they used it to store gunpowder instead of a place of worship. From the hill, we had a good view of Malacca city and the Malacca Straits. We recommend visitors to climb the hill in the early evening before the sun sets because it may be tough for some who cannot stand the strong sun rays in the afternoon. The 3 of us managed to climb up the hill though, it was nothing for us who experienced the worst in army. (exaggerated).
We also explored the Melaka Sultanate Palace, which is a replica of a 15th century palace in Malacca. This museum displays mainly exhibits that are related to the culture of Malacca. Visitors are not advised by me to go though, because again, this is just a replica, and it looks fake. Lucky the entrance fee is only RM 3, so if you want to go there to take pictures and look at some of the malay cultures, this is a good price. Otherwise, it is more advisable to spend time on other authentic stuff in Malacca.
Our last place to visit on our itinerary was Baba and Nyonya Heritage Museum. This was the exact loaction where Mediacorp’s Little Nyonya film was made. This building is typical of a 19th century Baroque style home of wealthy chinese families. Furnished with Chinese rosewood furniture with a mix of chinese, victorian and dutch designs, this residence has an interior which opens into a courtyard that admits sun and rain. This museum was the ancestral home of 3 generations of a Peranakan family. To learn more about Peranakan culture, google it. LOL. Anyway, since I come from a family with Peranakan background, I am naturally more interested in this culture which is more foreign to me than my cultural roots as a chinese. In the 18th century, chinese immigrants left China to seek for better lives in the southern parts of Asia, which is today’s South East Asia. Many chinese settled in what they call as “Nanyang” or 南洋, or South Ocean when directly translated to English. These Chinese marry the local malays and create a new and unique culture, called Peranakan culture, with a blend of both the indigenous malay culture as well as the chinese culture, while embracing the western cultures. So I guess I do have some malay blood in me. The Peranakans were rich, and they were English educated and set up businesses with the Westerners. These people can be found in Malacca, Penang, Singapore and some parts of Indonesia, which were the Chinese enclaves in the 18th-19th centuries. This museum does not allow photos, so it was kind of sad as the building was so beautifully furnished and restored to its original glory. Everything inside was authentic, and had this old-world charm that I have never seen before.
This concludes the Malacca trip with my friends. While it was really tiring and shag, I really learnt a lot from this trip, and got to know cultures which are similar to Singapore’s, but different in certain aspects. This old city is filled with historical values and cultures, it makes me want to go back there and immerse myself in the retro environment. So there is going to be more visits in the future. Yeap.