Malacca

Melaka, Malacca, Malaysia, Southeast Asia

by Samantha Bacchus McLeod

Originally Malacca, now officially Melaka, whatever name you choose to call it, you will never forget your Malaysian experience.

Malacca history and legends go as far back as the late 14th century, starting from its humble beginnings as a coastal village and its rise to prominence under the Malaccan Sultanate, to cautionary tales of fairies, and loyalty to a king. Locals believe the impetus to what is now Malaysia, started in Malacca.

Offering ample sightseeing opportunities, Malacca is great for revisiting remnants of Portuguese, Dutch and British colonial architecture, as well as rainforest reserves and wildlife sanctuaries. So, go for the local culture and the history, go for the people, and the food most of all.

The area is predominantly Baba Nyonya culture with its opulent Baba merchants houses and elegant tiny Nyonya restaurants that line the narrow roads.

Christ Church is small, there are about ten rows of pews before the main altar and the whole place has old light fixtures and plenty of worn-but-well-kept tiles.

Peranakans are an ethnic group descended from Chinese settlers from the southern provinces who came to the Malay Archipelago – including British Malaya and Dutch East Indies and southern Thailand – primarily in Phuket and Ranong, between the 15th and 17th centuries.

The term Peranakan is an Indonesian/Malay word that means “local born” and has largely been used to refer to the Peranakan Chinese. In the Straits Settlements, there is also, a small but significant community of Peranakan Indians known as Chitty Melaka.

Malacca’s rich Peranakan culture created a melting pot – yet strangely enough retained a lovely mosaic – of a variety of scrumptious dishes referred to as ‘Nyonya’ food.

The Nyonya style of cooking is the result of a fusion between ancient Chinese traders settling in Malacca and adopting the Malay way of life, which includes the brilliant ingredients harvested from the land and the sea

Malaccan Nyonya food is distinct with spices and coconut milk, which results in a sweeter blend of cooking with a fiery tinge.

There is a lot of thought and pride that goes into Malaccan dishes. Everyone is very proud of their history and their recipes handed down for generations. Along with Nyonya dishes, there are also lots of Malay, Chinese, and Indian dishes to savour while you are there. These dishes, can all be influenced by a touch of Portuguese and British influences too.

Not surprisingly, many tourists flock around the streets of Malacca to feast on the culinary delights that it has to offer. Eating is never a problem as there are loads of restaurants and stalls to choose from.

Malacca offers all you may need for a proper holiday; history, adventures, rest and relaxation, and loads of exquisite foods to sample. And as I have said before, it is so very affordable with the exchange rate at 3 Malaysian ringgit to 1 Canadian dollar.

Check out TravelBuddee for more information on the Malacca River Tours. Go to the official Malacca site.

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