Your visit to the historical city of Melaka would be amiss without a taste of the delicious hybrid cuisine of Baba Nyonya. The intermarriage between Chinese settlers and native Malays during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries left a legacy whose cuisine we continue to savor this very day.
Like the community from which the cuisine takes its name, the cooking style marries Chinese cooking techniques with Malay flavors and spices. Experience the finest Peranakan cuisines at these 5 must-visit restaurants in Melaka.
1. Kocik Kitchen
Tucked in the midst of Jonker Street, Kocik Kitchen is rather tiny and quaint. Here, the Peranakan cuisine brings a delightful surprise to your taste buds. We are still reeling from its Nyonya Assam Fish and omelette cincaluk – highly recommended!
With its batik tablecloth, intricate paintings and porcelain kitchenware, the humble decor gives off a very traditional, family-like feel. If you are looking for simple and good local food, you’ve come to the right place. It’s also Halal-certified!
Tip: With similar-looking shops around Jonker Street, you’re most likely to miss the restaurant. Look out for the large “Kocik Kitchen Nyonya Restaurant” signboard.
2. Jonker 88
Brave the scorching sun on Jonker Street for Jonker 88’s sweet Baba Nyonya cendol – shaved ice, gula melaka, green jelly, coconut milk and red beans or the delectable musang king cendol (when in season). A great thirst quencher in the sweltering temperature.
Melaka’s asam laksa comes in three versions: the sour-spicy Nyonya Asam Laksa, the creamy-spicy Baba Laksa and the unique fusion of both, Baba Laksa Kahwin Nyonya Asam Laksa. Before you continue to explore the streets of Melaka, walk around the museum cafe and see numerous classic and vintage stuff.
Fun fact: Jonker 88 makes their own gula melaka, so it’s thick, flavorful and fragrant! The restaurant is free from pork or lard and serves halal meat.
3. Seri Nyonya Peranakan Restaurant
Though Hotel Equatorial’s Seri Nyonya Peranakan Restaurant has a luxurious vibe with its traditional yet elegant decor, roomy space and good hospitality, the cuisines are surprisingly well-priced!
Highlights are ayam pongteh, braised chicken in sweet bean paste with Chinese mushroom and potato ikan gerang asam, and fish fillet in aromatic spicy tamarind gravy. Of course, no better dessert to end your meal other than their signature durian cendol. All Halal-certified!
Everything on the menu comes in sizes – small, medium and large – which makes every dish suitable for gatherings or a stylish dinner for two.
Fun fact: The restaurant is built to imitate a traditional Baba Nyonya house, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the culture as you dine.
4. Nancy’s Kitchen
Escape the midday heat of Melaka and into Nancy’s Kitchen. Good news – because all of the dishes served here come in small portions, you can order an amazing spread of authentic Peranakan food. We highly recommend its spicy sambal prawn with bitter bean, its chicken candlenut and the crispy pai tee. Their deep-fried soft shell crab is also the talk of the town!
A note, though – Nancy’s Kitchen is not a Halal eatery, so Muslims may visit the other Nyonya restaurants on our list.
Tip: Nancy’s Kitchen is terribly crowded for peak hours. Make a reservation if you’d like to have lunch or dinner here during weekends to avoid disappointment.
5. Cottage Spices Nyonya Restaurant
Cottage Spices’ meals may be small in portion, but they are definitely bursting with big flavors. The restaurant serves authentic Peranakan cuisine – chicken buah keluak, kangkung belacan, prawn omelette, amazing otak-otak (fish cakes) and more. The menu passes even our picky palate!
Reservation has to be made in advance because the restaurant has limited space and can only accommodate 10 tables at a time. The restaurant does not serve pork or lard.
Fun fact: The signature Cottage Famous Asam Pedas Fish and Cottage Famous Curry Fish are cooked with at least 10 different types of spices!
Our hearts are left in Melaka with their scrumptious traditional Peranakan cuisine – nothing but spectacular. Book your gastronomical adventure in Melaka on Traveloka now.