best nyonya food in Melaka

Best Nyonya Food in Melaka

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Best Nyonya Food in Melaka

best nyonya food in Melaka
Picture taken by @eddiepan from Unsplash

Are you looking for the best nyonya food in Melaka? 

Home of the historical heritages of Malaysia, Melaka is a well-known destination for tourists and locals to explore. The main attractions are the historical ruins and well-preserved architecture,but it is also the birthplace of the best nyonya food in Melaka!

The enticing local cuisine will have you feeling like you’re in the comfort of your homes yet exploring something new. Melaka is the host of some of the best baba nyonya food as the peranakans have made their mark back in the 15th century. Read a glimpse of baba nyonya history here.

If you’re inclined to explore this exquisite food and culture, there’s no better place to start than Melaka.

WWB Writer, Regiena, is going to take you on a culinary delight through Melaka!

Best Nyonya Food In Melaka

DISCLOSURE

Some of the links on here are affiliate links and I may earn if you click on them, AT NO EXTRA cost to you. Hope you find the information here useful! Thanks.

Related Posts on Travel in Malaysia:

Where Is Melaka?

Malacca (or Melaka in Malay) is a state down south in Peninsular Malaysia. 

It is a historical nest, nestled between Johor and Negeri Sembilan. After Kuala Lumpur and Penang, this state is still the sought-after destination for travellers all across the globe.

Dating back to the late 14th century, the Straits of Melaka was home to traders and merchants from China and India. Melaka is not a stranger to culture as it was conquered by several colonial powers like the Portuguese in 1511, the Dutch in 1642, and the British empire in 1826.

But how do the peranakans or baba nyonyas play a role in this cultural formation? Let’s dive into some history, shall we?

Who are the Peranakans?

Peranakans or baba nyonyas have been around for hundreds of years yet little is known about them. Melaka is the humble host of the Peranakan heritage, a result of intermarriage between local Malays and Chinese traders back in the 15th century.

The term Baba refers to the male and Nyonya refers to the females.

The baba nyonya heritage is unique as it encompasses a diverse blend from not only the local Malay culture but Indian, Jawa, Thai, Burmese, and even European culture.

Due to the colonization, the Peranakans have their beliefs and traditions, each individual to their respective cultural blend. Intermarriages with the Europeans formed Peranakan Dutch and Peranakan Serani (Portuguese). Indonesian cultures lead to Peranakan Jawi and Indian cultures lead to Peranakan Chitty.

So, What Is Nyonya Food?

Can you imagine the culinary fusion that came to light? 

It is all thanks to these diverse cultures harmonizing seamlessly that baba nyonya cuisine has a medley of spices from the Malay, Indian, Chinese and western culture.

Baba nyonya food comprises recipes that are inherited and passed down from generations. This is what makes them unique as no two dishes would be the same. It is tweaked and perfected by families with traces of their individual backgrounds.

Leaves and flowers such as Daun pandan (pandan leaves), Daun kesum (Vietnamese coriander) and Bunga kantan (ginger flower) are all integral in the baba nyonya cuisine.

Is Peranakan Food Spicy?

Peranakan food may not be as spicy as you think. 

Although a variety of fragrant herbs, chillies, and spices are used in their recipes, peranakan food has a hint of spiciness in most of their dishes. 

However, dishes that involve sambal (fragrant chili paste) can get spicy, so keep an eye out on that if you’ve got a low spice tolerance level. 

Nyonya Kuih in Malacca.

One other element of baba nyonya cuisine is the nyonya kuih and there’s no better place to find the best nyonya kuih than in Melaka.

Kuih or ‘kueh’ is a type of sweet and savoury cake traditionally prepared with coconut milk and rice flours. They come in an assortment of shapes, sizes, and flavors that every bite is a delightful adventure.

One look at kuih nyonya and you’ll be amazed by the vibrant colours and sizes they come in. 

Do not be alarmed at the blue, orange, green, or purple colors of this nyonya kuih as these colours are extracted from natural ingredients such as butterfly-pea flowers, tapioca, and pandan leaves.

There are no shortcuts in achieving the perfect baba nyonya cuisine. These artisanal methods have been practiced for years to ensure the immaculate taste and quality of food remains.

Best Baba Nyonya Food In Melaka In No Particular Order

1. Donald And Lily

best nyonya food in melaka
Picture credits: @mydonaldandlily

This establishment is run by a lovely couple, Mr. Donald Tan and Madam Lily Lee who started this business back in 1981. One of the best baba nyonya food in Melaka is curated thanks to recipes curated by this couple.

best nyonya food in Melaka
Picture Credits: @donaldandlily

Both tourists and locals flock to this restaurant to have a go at their famous Huat laksa. The Chinese word Huat is linked to prosperity, the nyonya Huat laksa is an over-the-top laksa with generous condiments.

Top picks from the restaurant;

·         Nyonya laksa (MYR 7.50/USD 1.80)

Steamy fragrant hot noodle soup made with coconut milk and fresh spices, topped with condiments such as fish cakes, boiled eggs, and prawns.

·         Nyonya huat laksa (MYR 25/USD 6.20)

Noodles in coconut milk flavored broth topped with jumbo prawns, fish balls, fish cakes, and fresh cockles. The cousin to the simple laksa mentioned above. Best shared between 2 to 3 people.

·         Nasi ketuk ayam rendang (MYR 10.50/USD 2.60)

Bright blue-hued rice from butterfly pea flower served with chicken cooked in coconut milk and fragrant spices. Condiments such as fried egg, cucumbers, and sambal (chili paste) are served alongside the rice and chicken.

Besides the fresh meals prepared at the restaurant, there are also frozen nyonya laksa paste sold at the establishment and if you’re a Malaysian, you can get them online, for you to create their signature dish at the comfort of your homes!

 (No. 16 Jalan KSB 1, Taman Kota Shah, 75200, Bandar Malacca)

best nyonya food in melaka
Photo credits: @donaldandlily
best baba nyonya food in Melaka
Photo credits: @donaldandlily
best baba nyonya food in Melaka
Photo credits: @donaldandlily
Nyonya Kuih in Malacca
Photo credits: @donaldandlily

Operating hours | Wednesday – Sunday (9 am – 3.30 pm)

Closed:  Monday and Tuesday

Contact no: +6012-292 3157  

Suitable for – Breakfast and lunch

Price range: $$

FB: @donaldandlily | IG: @mydonaldandlily

2. Peranakan Place

Nyonya Kuih in Malacca
Photo credits: @Peranakan Jonker

You will not miss this vibrant yellow structure amongst the bustling Jonker Street in Melaka. Peranakan Place is said to be the host of the best nyonya food in Melaka and has outlets in various locations in Kuala Lumpur.

The well-preserved baba nyonya heritage can be found in the cuisine and the interior of this beautiful restaurant. Each corner and decor speak of the culture that is still treasured among many.

Top picks from the restaurant;

·         Pai tee (MYR 7.90/ USD 2.00)

Thin and crispy pastry shell filled with chicken and vegetables with a sweet and savory sauce. The perfect appetizer.

·         Ayam pongteh (MYR19.90/USD5)

Chicken and potatoes stew made with fermented taucu (soybean paste) and gula Melaka (palm sugar). A staple dish in the peranakan household. Best eaten with jasmine rice.

·         Mee siam (MYR 12.90/ USD 3.50)

Stir-fried vermicelli noodles with chicken or seafood, herbs. and spices.

·         Cendol (MYR 5.90/ USD 1.50)

A sweet dessert of crushed ice, topped with coconut milk, gula Melaka (palm sugar), rice flour jelly. and kidney beans.

(Jonker Street, 54, Jalan Hang Jebat, 75200 Malacca)

Nyonya Kuih in Malacca
Photo credits: @peranakan.com.my
Nyonya Kuih in Malacca
Photo credits: @peranakan.com.my
best baba nyonya food in Melaka
Photo credits: @peranakan.com.my
best baba nyonya food in Melaka
Photo credits: @peranakan.com.my

Operating hours | Monday – Sunday (10 am – 10 pm)

Contact no: +6019-319 8199

Suitable for – Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Price range: $$

FB: @peranakan.com.my | IG: @peranakanplace |

Website: https://www.peranakan.com.my/

3. Bulldog Café

best baba nyonya food in Melaka
Photo credits: @BulldogMalacca

This restaurant cum bar takes on a modern twist with the preservation of authentic baba nyonya flavours.

If you’re looking for a minimalistic space away from all the colors and heritage looking buildings in Melaka, look no further. With their white interior and a stage with drum sets, you wouldn’t realize that you’re still in the historical city of Melaka.

That is until you’ve taken a bite of their food of course.

Top picks from the restaurant;

·         Nyonya pai tee (RM 15 / USD 3.80)

Thin pastry cups stuffed to the brim with shrimp, onions, turnips, and omelette. Served with homemade chili sauce on the side.

·         Beef lada garam (RM 38 / USD 9.50)

Rib eye slices stir fried with aromatic Asian black pepper sauce. Best eaten with jasmine rice.

·         Nyonya ayam limau perut (Small – MYR 10 / USD 2.50, Big – MYR 20 / USD 5.00)

Chicken cooked in coconut cream, spices, and kaffir lime leaves. Best served with jasmine rice.

(145, Jalan Bendahara, 75100 Melaka)

best baba nyonya food in Melaka
Photo credits: @BulldogMalacca
best nyonya food in Melaka
Photo credits: @BulldogMalacca
best nyonya food in Melaka
Photo credits: @BulldogMalacca

Operating hours | Tuesday – Sunday (12 pm – 2 pm, 5.30 pm – 7.30 pm)

Closed: Monday

Contact no: +6019-6552373

Suitable for – Lunch and dinner.

Price range: $$

FB: @BulldogMallaca

4. Dapur Cho Cho

A small team of enthusiastic Peranakans who are passionate about making the best nyonya kuih in Melaka. This is a fourth-generation business, run by Ms. Juliet and her brother. Dapur Cho Cho is a humble home so don’t be expecting a shop-lot with a signboard to enjoy these delicacies.

Look out for lot 84-3 painted in black on a white house when you’re paying a visit.

Each kuih is made to perfection, as Ms. Juliet and her family pay close attention to all ingredients and method of creation used to make these kuihs. These kuihs are made to order, so be sure to call them to place your order and collect them the next day.

Top recommendations from the shop;

·         Apam Balik

Pancake filled with crushed ground nuts and sweetened cream corn.

·         Kuih Gulung

Thin coconut pancake rolled with palm sugar-sweetened desiccated coconut.

·         Kuih buah Melaka (Onde-onde)

Glutinous rice balls filled with gula Melaka (palm sugar) and coated with shredded coconut. Kuih buah Melaka is green in color as pandan leaves are used for natural coloring.

·         Kuih ang ku

Known as the tortoise cake, this traditional cake is made of glutinous rice flour filled with sweet green bean paste. Comes in a variety of colors, red, and orange being the common colors.

(84-3, Jalan Mohd Zin Dsh, Taman Padang Balang, 75350 Batu Berendam, Melaka)

Kuih buah Melaka
Picture credits: @DapurChoCho
Kuih buah Melaka
Picture credits: @DapurChoCho
Kuih buah Melaka
Picture credits: @DapurChoCho

Operating hours | Monday – Sunday (7 am – 3 pm)

Contact no: +6012-2768606

Suitable for – Breakfast and lunch

Price range: $$

5. Cottage Spices Nyonya Restaurant

Kuih buah Melaka
Photo credits: @cottagespices.com.my

With simple yet vintage décor with functional furniture, Cottage Spices Nyonya Restaurant will take you back to the 80s. Their chef takes pride in serving authentic nyonya food with the freshest ingredients.

There’s a line expected at the restaurant, so get there early to save yourself a table!

Top picks from the restaurant;

·         Ayam buah keluak (Small – MYR 22/ USD 5.50, Big – MYR 39/USD 10)

Buah keluak (Keluak nuts or black nuts) is a seed from the kepayang tree. It is typically fermented for cooking and this dish is a staple in any peranakan household. This dish is tangy, creamy with a hint of spiciness, and goes well with jasmine rice.

·         Udang lemak nenas (MYR 30.00 – MYR 65.00 / USD 7.50 – USD 16.00)

Stewed prawns in coconut milk, pineapples, and spices. Tangy, sweet, and creamy. Best eaten with jasmine rice.

(171 Jalan Merdeka, Taman Melaka Raya, 75000 Melaka)

Kuih buah Melaka
Photo credits: @cottagespices.com.my
Kuih buah Melaka
Photo credits: @cottagespices.com.my

Operating hours | Monday (12.00pm – 4.00pm), (6.00pm – 8.30pm)

Wednesday – Sunday (12.00pm – 4.00pm), (6.00pm – 8.30pm)

Closed: Tuesdays

Suitable for – Lunch and dinner

Price range: $$

Website: https://cottagespices.com.my/

6. Unicorn Café

Kuih buah Melaka
Picture credits: @cottagespices.com.my

Unicorn café is considered as one of the hidden gems for the best baba nyonya food in Melaka. This café is a family run business, producing original peranakan cuisine with recipes that have been perfected over the years.

The portions are small allowing you to have a go at the variety of dishes served and it is reasonably priced. Eating in this café will have you experiencing the home-cooked goodness yet tasting a culinary delight.

Top picks from the restaurant;

·         Nyonya popiah (MYR 5 / USD 1.50)

Jicama, carrots, cucumbers, and bean sprouts wrapped up in a spring roll wrapper with a special sauce.

·         Cili garam ikan cencaru (MYR 12 / USD 3.00)

Fried cencaru fish coated in chili salt paste. Despite popular opinion, this dish is not at all salty but is crisp and fresh. Best served with jasmine rice.

·         Pongteh babi (MYR 12 / USD 3.00)

Pork stew in fermented soybeans. Best served with jasmine rice.

(43, Jalan Melaka Raya 11, Taman Melaka Raya, 75000 Melaka)

best baba nyonya food in Melaka
Photo credits: @unicorncafemelaka
best baba nyonya food in Melaka
Photo credits: @ unicorncafemelaka
best baba nyonya food in Melaka
Photo credits: @unicorncafemelaka

Operating hours | Monday – Wednesday (9.30 am – 4.30 pm) 

 Friday – Sunday (9.30 am – 4.30 pm)

Closed:Thursday.

Suitable for – Breakfast and lunch

Price range: $$

FB: @unicorncafemelaka | IG: @unicorn.cafe.mlk

7. Ole Sayang Restaurant

best baba nyonya food in Melaka
Picture credits: @olesayang.com

Ole sayang translates to “a gift of love”, a term of endearment among the Peranakans. The owner started up this restaurant in 1983 intending to cook authentic baba nyonya cuisine by strictly adhering to recipes passed down from generations of families.

The meals are prepared by 5 chefs with a combined cooking experience of over 15 years, striving daily to serve a variety of local nyonya cuisine that will enlighten the taste buds of both locals and tourists resulting in Ole sayang being one of the best nyonya restaurant in Melaka.

Top picks from the restaurants;

·         Otak-otak (Small – MYR 11.50/ USD 2.90, Big – MYR 23/USD 5.70)

Fragrant spices and herb-infused fish custard, wrapped in banana leaf. Served warm.

·         Udang goreng chili (Small – MYR 58/ USD 15.00, Big – MYR 78/USD 20.00)

Stir-fried prawns in chili paste.

·         Telur cencaluk (Small – MYR 10/ USD 2.50, Big – MYR 14/USD 3.50)

Fried egg stuffed with fermented dried shrimps.

(198 & 199, Taman Melaka Raya, 75000, Melaka)

Operating hours | Monday – Tuesday (11.30 am – 2.30 pm), (6.00 pm – 9.30 pm)

Thursday – Sunday (11.30 am – 2.30 pm), (6.00 pm – 9.30 pm)

Closed: Wednesday

Suitable for – Lunch and dinner.

Price range: $$

Website: olesayang.com

8. Baba Charlie

best nyonya restaurant in Melaka
Picture credits: @babacharlienyonyacake

Ah yes, home of the famous nyonya kuih in Melaka. Baba Charlie is no stranger when it comes to exquisite, delicious nyonya kuih. It is the first place that comes to mind when you’re looking to get your hands on a huge selection of kuihs with the classics like nyonya kuih talam, kuih buah Melaka and kuih bingka ubi. 

Baba Charlie has been up and running since 1988, each kuih is handmade to perfection by the ladies of the house. You can expect a crowd bustling in the vicinity as this place constantly has visitors around the clock. The price is affordable being in the range of RM-RM.

If luck is on your side, you’ll be able to see how the kuih’s are made by the ladies at the premise!

Top recommendations from the shop;

·         Kuih buah Melaka (Onde-onde) – (MYR 5.30 / USD 1.30, for 10 pieces)

Glutinous rice balls filled with gula Melaka (palm sugar) and coated with shredded coconut. Kuih buah Melaka is green in color as pandan leaves are used for natural coloring.

·         Kuih lapis (Layered kuih) – (MYR 1 / USD 0.25 per piece)

A traditional Indonesian dessert with a twist of baba nyonya. Vibrant colors of sweetened rice flour layers, stacked on another.

·         Kuih abu sago – (MYR 1 / USD 0.25 per piece)

Sago, a form of starch, mixed with coconut milk and layered with palm sugar-sweetened desiccated coconut.

·         Kuih koci – (MYR 1 / USD 0.25 per piece)

Triangular shaped steamed glutinous rice flour dumpling filled with palm sugar-sweetened desiccated coconut.

(631, Jalan Siantan 1/5 Sekyen, 1, Taman Siantan Seksyen 2, 75200, Malacca)

famous nyonya kuih in Melaka
Picture credits: @babacharlienyonyacake
Kuih buah Melaka
Picture credits: @babacharlienyonyacake
nyonya kuih talam, kuih buah Melaka
Picture credits: @babacharlienyonyacake
nyonya kuih talam, kuih buah Melaka
Picture credits: @babacharlienyonyacake

Operating hours | Monday – Wednesday (9 am – 7 pm) | Friday – Sunday (9 am – 7 pm)

Closed: Thursday

Suitable for – Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Price range: $$

Where Can I Get Breakfast In Melaka?

  • Donald & Lily 
  • Peranakan Place
  • Unicorn Cafe

Where Can I Get Baba Nyonya Lunch In Melaka?

  • Peranakan Place
  • Bulldog Cafe
  • Cottage Spice Nyonya Restaurant
  • Unicorn Cafe
  • Ole Sayang

What Is There To Eat In Melaka For Dinner?

  • Peranakan Place
  • Bulldog Cafe
  • Cottage Spice
  • Ole Sayang

Conclusion

That’s a wrap for the best nyonya food in Melaka! 

Don’t be surprised to have gained an inch in your waistline after indulging in these meals on your next visit to Melaka. With all the advancement happening around the world, these best nyonya food in Melaka are reminders that cultural preservation is indeed important. 

Related Posts on Travel In Malaysia:

Best Nyonya Food in Melaka

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