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10 Malaccan Food You Must Try on Your Visit to Malaysia's Historic Center

Renowned as a melting pot of Malay, Chinese, Indian, Peranakan, and Portuguese influences, Malacca (Melaka) offers a tantalizing array of flavors and dishes that reflect its diverse heritage. From savory street snacks to intricate Peranakan delicacies, the food scene in Malacca is as colorful and eclectic as its UNESCO-listed historic city center.

As Malaysians, it’s not uncommon for us to travel interstate just to satisfy a craving or to find special delicacies in their places of origin. And Malacca is one of the most popular gastronomic destinations for local foodies.

Join me as I take you to explore the top culinary delights that define the essence of Malacca.

Also read: Malacca Travel Guide: 21 Fun Things to Do in Malaysia’s Historic Gem

1. Chicken Rice Balls

Chicken rice balls. Credit: Lai Seet Ying / Wikimedia Commons

You may have tried the famous Hainanese chicken rice, but have you tried chicken rice that is rolled into balls? This creative twist on the classic dish is a beloved specialty of Malacca.

The rice is cooked with chicken broth and aromatics, then molded into small bite-sized spheres, served with succulent pieces of steamed or roasted chicken, and accompanied by chili sauce, ginger paste, and soy sauce.

The story goes that it was invented by a street peddler who wanted to provide a more convenient and portable way to enjoy the dish because most of her customers were sailors and laborers. It also supposedly keeps the rice warm longer.


  • Chung Wah Restaurant (18, Jalan Hang Jebat). Opening hours: 7:30 am – 3:00 pm
  • Hoe Kee Chicken Rice (4, 6 & 8, Jalan Hang Jebat). Opening hours: 9:30 – 4:00 pm

2. Nyonya Laksa

Nyonya laksa. Credit: Giddy98 / Wikimedia Commons

Nyonya laksa is a flavorful and aromatic noodle soup that is a quintessential part of Peranakan cuisine, blending Chinese and Malay influences into a harmonious culinary delight. It features a rich and creamy coconut milk-based broth infused with a medley of herbs and spices, including lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, and chili.

The soup is typically served with rice vermicelli noodles (although you can choose a different type if you prefer), along with a variety of toppings such as prawns, shredded chicken, tofu puffs, and hard-boiled eggs.

Nyonya laksa is renowned for its complex flavors, with the creaminess of the broth beautifully complementing the spiciness of the chili paste (optional). While you’re at it, try the baba laksa as well or a combination of the two (laksa kahwin).


  • Nancy’s Kitchen (13, Jalan KL 3/8, Taman Kota Laksamana). Opening hours: Sunday – Thursday 11:00 am – 5:00 pm, Friday & Saturday 11:00 am – 9:00 pm
  • Jonker 88 (88, Jalan Hang Jebat). Opening hours: 9:30 am – 6:00 pm

3. Satay Celup

Satay celup. Copyright: Ummi Nadrah

Satay celup is another creative invention in Malacca. A unique take on the traditional satay, it features skewered meats, seafood, vegetables, and other bite-sized goodies cooked in a communal pot of boiling, fragrant peanut sauce. Diners are given a selection of raw ingredients on skewers, which they dip into the simmering sauce until cooked to perfection.

The result is a flavorful and interactive dining experience that allows for endless customization and experimentation with different combinations of ingredients. Satay celup is often enjoyed in a lively and convivial atmosphere, where friends and family gather around the table to share in the joy of dipping, cooking, and savoring each delectable morsel.


  • Ban Lee Siang Satay Celup (53-C, Jalan Ong Kim Wee). Opening hours: 4:00 pm – 12:30 am
  • Capitol Satay Celup (41, Lorong Bukit Cina). Opening hours: Wednesday – Monday 4:00 pm – 1:00 am

4. Asam Pedas

Asam pedas. Credit: Elly Suhailee / Wikimedia Commons

Asam pedas is a tangy and spicy fish stew made with a blend of tamarind and a rich array of herbs and spices, including lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, and chili. The result is a mouthwatering broth that teases the taste buds with its complex interplay of sour, spicy, and savory notes.

Typically, fish such as mackerel or stingray is simmered in the flavorful broth until tender and infused with the aromatic spices. Asam pedas is often served piping hot alongside steamed rice.


  • Asam Pedas Pak Man (51, Jalan Knmp 2a, Kompleks Niaga Melaka Perdana). Opening hours: 7:00 am – 9:00 pm, closed on Wednesdays
  • Cottage Spices Restaurant (171, Taman Melaka Raya). Opening hours: 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm, 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm

5. Grilled Stingray

Grilled stingray. Credit: Mynn97 / Wikimedia Commons

Grilled stingray, locally known as “ikan pari bakar,” is a popular Portuguese-influenced dinner dish in Malaysia, celebrated for its tender flesh and smoky flavor. The stingray is typically marinated in a spicy sambal sauce made from chili, shallots, garlic, belacan (shrimp paste), tamarind juice, and other aromatic spices, which infuses the fish with a rich and fiery taste.

The marinated stingray is then wrapped in banana leaf or tin foil grilled over charcoal until it’s cooked to perfection, with the edges slightly charred and caramelized. It is served with a squeeze of lime and a side of sambal belacan for an extra kick.


  • Seri Muara Alai Nasir Ikan Bakar (Jalan KM 8). Opening hours: 5:30 pm – 12:00 am
  • 339 Seafood (Jalan Ujong Pasir, Portuguese Settlement). Opening hours: Saturday – Wednesday 4:30 pm – 11:00 pm

6. Peranakan (Nyonya) Cuisine

Ayam pongteh. Credit: Shaun@KL / Wikimedia Commons

Peranakan cuisine, also known as Nyonya cuisine, is a culinary tradition that emerged from the intermarriage between Chinese immigrants and local Malays in the Malay Archipelago, particularly in areas like Malacca, Penang, and Singapore. This fusion of Chinese, Malay, and other regional influences has resulted in a unique culinary heritage characterized by their intricate blend of aromatic herbs and spices, bold flavors, and colorful presentations.

Signature dishes include Nyonya laksa, a spicy coconut milk-based noodle soup; Ayam buah keluak, chicken cooked with Indonesian black nuts in a thick, spicy sauce; and Nyonya kuih, a variety of sweet and savory snacks such as kuih lapis (layered cake) and kuih dadar (pandan crepes filled with coconut and palm sugar).


  • Kocik Heritage Nyonya Restaurant (Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock). Opening hours: 11:00 am – 4:30 pm, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm.
  • Nancy’s Kitchen (Jalan KL 3/8, Taman Kota Laksamana). Opening hours: 11:00 am – 7:00 pm, closed on Tuesdays.
  • Atlantic Nyonya (Jalan Merdeka, Taman Merdeka Jaya). Opening hours: 11:30 am – 9:30 pm.

7. Duck Noodles

Duck noodles. Copyright: Ummi Nadrah

Another popular dish in Melaka, duck noodles typically feature tender duck meat, either roasted or braised to perfection, served atop a bed of springy noodles (or any noodles of your choice) bathed in a flavorful broth.

The rich and aromatic broth is simmered with a medley of herbs and spices, and further enhanced with an assortment of condiments and garnishes, such as fresh herbs, crunchy bean sprouts, and tangy pickled vegetables, adding layers of texture and flavor to the dish. It can be enjoyed as a hearty breakfast or a comforting meal any time of the day.


  • Tengkera Duck Noodles (Jalan Kota Laksamana). Opening hours: 7:00 am – 1:30 pm, closed on Tuesdays.
  • Malim Duck Noodles (Jalan Rahmat 1, Taman Malim Jaya). Opening hours: 6:30 am – 2:00 pm, closed on Wednesdays.

8. Kuih Keria (Sweet Potato Donuts)

Kuih keria. Credit: Senior Staff01 / Wikimedia Commons

Kuih keria, a sugar-glazed sweet potato donut, is said to have originated in Melaka during sultanate era in the 15th century. Originally created by palace chefs for royal consumption, the recipe was closely guarded for centuries until only about a hundred years ago when commoners gained access to it through the chefs’ descendants.

It is available in two main variations: one coated with white sugar and another with gula Melaka, Melaka’s palm sugar. The latter is particularly popular for its intense smoky aroma and distinct caramel flavor, tinged with a subtle bitterness, perfectly complementing the soft and chewy interior.


  • Keria Antarabangsa Limbongan Hjh Rahmah (Jalan Limbongan, Kampung Limbongan). Opening hours: 10:30 am – 7:00 pm, closed on Fridays.
  • Keria Antarabangsa Haji Jalil Limbongan (Jalan Kristal Merah, 2, Jalan Limbongan). Opening hours: 11:00 am – 7:00 pm, closed on Tuesdays.

9. Cendol

Cendol. Credit: Orderinchaos / Wikimedia Commons

Cendol, one of Malaysians’ favorite desserts, is made with shaved ice, coconut milk, palm sugar syrup (gula Melaka), and green jelly noodles (cendol). This delightful concoction offers a cool respite from the tropical heat.

What sets Melaka’s cendol apart is the use of gula Melaka, a unique and aromatic palm sugar produced locally in the region, which infuses the dessert with a rich caramel flavor. 


  • Cendol Kampung Hulu @ Makan Avenue (Jalan Kampung Hulu, Kampung Hulu). Opening hours: 11:00 am – 10:30 pm.
  • Cendol Jam Besar Bandar Hilir Melaka (in front of the clock tower, Bandar Hilir). Opening hours: Friday – Sunday 6:00 pm – 10:00pm
  • Jonker 88 (Jalan Hang Jebat). Opening hours: Sunday – Thursday 9:30 am – 6:00 pm, Friday & Saturday 9:30 am – 7:30 pm.

10. Klebang Coconut Shake

The pristine stretch of sandy shores on Klebang Beach may be popular due to its fine white sand, swaying coconut palms, and breathtaking views of the Malacca Strait. However, it’s the indulgent coconut milkshakes that truly steals the show.

Served in restaurants and makeshift stalls along the beachfront, this delectable concoction blends freshly extracted coconut water, creamy coconut milk, shaved ice, and topped with a scoop of coconut ice cream, resulting in a creamy and refreshing beverage that provides instant relief from the tropical heat.

Klebang Original Coconut Shake (Lot 130, Solok Kampung Bahagia). Opening hours: 10:00 am – 6:30 pm.

Have you tried any of these delicacies in Melaka? Which one is your favorite? Share your opinion in the comment section below.

Posted in Malacca

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