Sunday, August 28, 2011

Malacca Trip 2011

We went for a short break to Malacca for three days. The trip was booked from and final reservation was arranged at Five Star Travel. The deal was a two days Malacca tour package with one night stay at Equatorial Hotel (5*)  and transport (via Coach) @$78 per person. The best part is a FOC giveaway to upgrade your delux room to suite. We extended another night with Five Star Travel @ $135.00 for additional nights at Hotel Equatorial (for two adult and one child with bed for a delux room).

This was our first encounter to Malacca. Needless to say, my kids were very excited and happy from the moment we left home and at Golden Mile Complex waiting to board  the coach.  The journey took about 4 hours. We had a smooth journey through out the way with no traffic jam and long queue at Causeway check point. 

Our Day 1:

When arrived, we check in Hotel Equatorial (Delux Room at 1st night and transfer to Suite on 2nd night). This hotel is situated in the heart of the Malacca city that is within walking distance to shopping centres, entertainment and historical site. My kids love the great view from our hotel room overlooking the Malacca city and its seaview.

Our first destination was Dataran Pahlawan Melaka Megamall as it is closest to our hotel. Our first lunch was A&W fast food restaurant located at the Basement of Dataran Pahlawan Melaka Megamall. This fast food restaurant was quite popular in Singapore during the 1980. It can no  longer be found in our hometown. Anyway, we were delighted to taste it  in Malacca again.
After our lunch, we strolled along street of Jalan Merdeka and were attracted by some interesting displays of old jet plane, old train, canon and bull lock carts located in Coronation Park. Opposite the park, you see a few historical buildings mostly in red that housed along Jalan Kota street. These buildings mainly are museums that tells you the significant history of Malacca.   

We then, took a ride at Menara Taming Sari (Taming Sari Tower) . It is a 360° revolving tower of 110m height that will rise from ground to the top of tower in about 7 minutes. You will get to enjoy excellent view of the Strait of Malacca and Malacca city. The operating hours was from 10am to 10pm daily and ticket price is RM$20 for adult and RM$10 for children under 12.

About 5 minutes walk from the revolving tower, we visited the Maritime museum (the Flora de la Mar - a portugese galleon) with a minimal fee of RM$2.00 for adult. They will provide you with a plastic bags to store your dirty shoe as visitors are not allowed to wear shoes inside the ship museum. You are to keep them in the plastic bag and placed it on the shoe rack located at the entrance.  The museum basically presented some Malacca's history with display of old maps, scale-model ships, weaponary and olden day's accessories and relics. 

The weather was pretty warm and humid and we were really tired after a long day walk. We took a rest at a drinking store near Malacca river enjoying the windy breeze and cooling coke to rejuvenate our energy. 

With recommendation from the hotel personnel, we decided to perform a brief survey along this street, Jalan Melaka Raya knowing that a few nice Nonya Restaurant were housed along this street. Our conclusion is to try Makko Nonya Restaurant (123, Jalan Melaya Raya) as we were attracted by their traditional interior and the crowd they draw.

We ordered beef rendang, sambal sotong, Ikan Chuan Chuan (Steam fish with bean sauce), Itik Tim (duck and salted Vegetable Soup) and last but not least, our dessert of the day - Chendol.  I would give MAKKO three 'Thumb Up'. The tender beef rendang infuse in your mouth and the spices aroma melt your soul as you taste it. The duck and salted vegetable soup is very appetizing and refreshing. It is capable to help you to reduce the spicy sensation in your mouth.  I would say, this two dishes that we tried is really awesome. We are not fancy over the Steam fish and Chendol which is considering average. The overall is still pleasant with reasonable price, nice ambience and good service.  Also, you can get some nice prawn crackers before you left the restaurant.  

Our Day 2:

Firstly, buffet breakfast at Hotel Equatorial. We then visited one of a well known historical site - A'Famosa Fort, a portugese fortress that was badly destructed during Dutch invasion with only a small part of the main entrance remains.

Behind this site, there is this St. Paul's Hill where St. Paul church is housed on top of the hill. The walking journal toward the hill top was  really tough for us. We have to carry our pram up to the hill top and occassionally carried my kids up the stairs if they wouldn't want to walk due to tireness. Our final achievement was still a good one. We enjoyed a breathtaking view of Melaka city and its coastline and a closer view of the historical church building.

Then, we booked a Ducktour thinking that our kids would enjoy a land and sea sightseeing tour. You will be entertained by the tour guide sharing some details about Malacca's attraction and history. Well, my two boys dozed off during the one hour journey probably due to tireness and nice sea breeze. Anyway, you can purchase the ticket at ticket booth at Merana Taming Sari (Adult - $38.00 and children 3 to 12 years at $22.00).

Our next interesting destination was Jonker Street - the Chinatown of Malacca that is rich in Nonya culture. You can see the street occupied with rows of terrace shop houses selling antiques, souveniers, fashions and eatery; giving visitors a sense of blending of history and modern cultures.  

A nice place to ease your thirst is Jonker 88, a popular dessert shop that serves nice chendol and ice kachang and others local delights like Baba laska, rojak etc. It is located at 88, Jalan Hang Jebat (along jonker street) and is mostly occupied with crowd.

Then, we visited another interesting historical building, the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple constructed in 1645. It is located at No. 25 Jalan Tokong and is one of the oldest functioning temple in Malacca.

Another popular attraction is the Dutch Square comprised of a few significant structures such as the Christ Church (built in 1753 by Dutch), the Stadthuys (built in 1650), the Queen Victoria Fountain (built in 1901 by British) and Tan Beng Swee Clock Tower (built in 1886). They are located along Jalan Gereja (also known as Church Street) and these building are mainly painted in brick-red colour that made them look very special.

After a hectic day, we headed back to our hotel for a rest. My kids were dying to return to the hotel because they wanted to play in the spacious suite room and to sit on the daybed playing with their toys. They love to are more happy to stay in the Hotel room than roaming around Malacca Town.  

Then, dinner time, we wanted to try the famous chicken rice ball in Malacca. We went to Ee Ji Ban Restaurant (275, Jalan Melaka Raya 3) that is just 10 minutes walk from Hotel Equatorial. We ordered two different style of chicken, roasted and steamed with chicken rice balls. Another dish was Asam Fish Head. Well, the chicken meat is indeed tender, juicy and infuse with sesame oil and soy sauce fragrance. The chilli sauce is indeed good. But we are quite disappoint with the sticky, lumpy texture of the rice ball and ordered more chicken rice to go with the chicken instead of the balls. 

Our Day 3:

Our Five Star coach will arrive Hotel Equatorial at around 2.00pm. We are supposed to check out by 12.00 nn. We requested for an hour extension (check out by 1.00pm) because we wanted more time for our final shopping. 

Our last tourist attraction was Melaka Sultanate Palace which is located at the foot of St. Paul's Hill. The replica palace is built in 1984 to replicate the Sultan Mansur Shah's palace who ruled Melaka from 1456 to 1477. The building is constructed of hardwood and the roof is made of 'belian' wood where the structure are secured only by wooden pegs.

The Cultural Museum is a three storey building that display the Malaca's history with photographs, paintings, weaponry, musical instruments, gifts from foreign emissaries etc. Admission charge is RM2.00 for Adult and RM0.50 for Children. It will be closed on Mondays and opening hours is from 9am to 6pm.

Well, our lunch time before heading back home is at this authentic Japanese restaurant, Kampachi located in Hotel Equatorial. The food is delicious with expensive price.

Sayonara Malacca! It a pleasant trip and we will be back again!

I feel that Malacca is a small, friendly city to visit. It is easy to access around the city via foot. You can also hire those decorative trishaw along the street to explore this attractive city, a mixture of old and new establishments. Bear in mind to ask for the price first before boarding and to bargain if necessary. In fact, I have enjoyed a good Nonya meal and enjoyed some of their tasty local delights. Cya!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My Cooking Journal 20 - Mum's Black Bean Soup

If you were thinking of improving your body overall health and maintaining youthfulness, you can try drinking black bean soup frequently.

Chinese believe black bean is a good nutrition food that is suitable for all age especially for woman before or after their pregnancy. This bean is rich in cholesterol-lowering fiber, antioxidants, protein, Vitamin B1 and contains good source of magnesium, iron and  folate. 

Black bean can helps to nourish our  blood, reduce blood viscosity, regulate menstral cycle for women, lower blood cholesterol level, strengthen kidney and prevent constipation. Others than this, it can eliminate free radicals, delay ageing and eliminate wind in stomach. It contains lot of nutrients that is essential for normal growth and maintenance of our body cells.  The beans if consume regularly can help to fight against cancer and heart disease. 

My mum told me to use pork trotters instead of pork ribs for the bean soup. The pork trotter (with bones and skins) not only provides calcium, but also contains collagen that will reduce dryness of our skin and  strengthen our ligaments and joints. Its make a fantastic thick broth base with nice sweet flavour. It is really delicious and easy to make.  

Buy and Prepare:
You can purchase black bean from local supermarkets or provision shops. It is usually sold in packet form.

My mum also taught me some basic tips to take note before cooking them. Before cooking these beans, spread them on a plate and remove any debris, spoil beans or stones. Then place the beans in a pot, wash and rinse the beans with hot boiling water. Drain the hot boiling water and then rinse the beans with cool runnng water. Discard the water and prepare to presoak for at least 2 hours. This is to shorten the cooking time.  After 2- 4 hours of soaking, discard the presoaked water and prepare for cooking.


  1. 200g Black Bean - prepare as mentioned above
  2. 1 Pork Trotters - cut into small pieces and rinse
  3. 1 Dried Cuttlefish - cut into small pieces and rinse
  4. 6 Red Dates - rinse
  5. 1.6 Litres Water

  1. Prepare a pot of boiling water and blanch the pork trotter in the pot to remove the smell of blood and scum. Remove and set aside.
  2. Boil a pot of water. Pour the hot water in the slow cooker pot. Add in pork trotter pieces, cuttlefish slices, red dates and presoaked black beans into the pot.
  3. Turn on to high heat and let it cook for at least 2 hours. Then reduce to low heat and simmer for another 2 hours. Add salt to taste.

Method 1

Method 2 & 3

Ps. Whenever I drink this soup, it reminds me of my beloved mum. Her black bean soup is real delicious and fantastic. She is using the traditional charcoal stove to boil this bean soup. As a result, the taste is immensely different and able to bring out the full flavours. Thanks Mum!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My Cooking Journal 19 - Chinese Fried Rice

Sometimes, if I have run out of idea on what to cook or my laziness has simply shut my brain to generate any cooking ideas, I would then choose to cook fried rice (Chinese Style) for my family. It is a very simple dish to cook and the ingredients involved are usually very easy to source in your fridge.

The main ingredients are white rice (preferably overnight/left over rice), egg, garlic, fish sauce whereas the rest of the ingredients really depends on individual's preference. 

However, to get a nice and tasty fried rice, it is best to use chilled overnight rice as the freshly cooked rice contains more moisture in it tends to give you a sticky lumpy texture after cooked.

My Ingredients:

  1. 1.5 cup cooked rice, preferably refrigerated overnight or for at least 4 hours
  2. 5 cloves garlic, minced
  3. 1 carrot (small size), cut into small cubes
  4. 1 piece fish cake, cut into small cubes
  5. 1 small stalk cauliflower, wash and cut into small florets
  6. 1 piece chinese sausage, cut into thin slice
  7. 4-5 pieces sliced ginger
  8. 2 eggs
  9. 2 tablespoon olive oil
  10. 2 tablespoon fish sauce
  11. Sugar, Sea Salt and Pepper, as desired
  12. Fried Shallots and sliced red chilli, for garnish