The strategic location of Melaka in the southern region of the Malay peninsula and within the geographical safety of the Straits of Malacca, was what drew explorers from lands far and near and this land became the gateway for traders and merchants who discovered its potential. They brought with them their culture, cuisine and flavors which mingled with the local to form new and lasting versions of their blends.
This story is a brief glimpse of some of Melaka's signature cuisines and popular dishes.
Melaka culture and cuisine is strongly built up by the Pernanakan community. Pernanakan literally meaning descendants, refers to the the people who were born of marriages between the traders who visited Melaka and the local women. The mixed race that was the outcome of such unions between the foreigners and locals, gave rise to new sections of society and they now form the ethnic communities of certain regions like Melaka, Penang etc.
Initially taking birth (or giving birth) with the Chinese settlers but in due course with the arrival of merchants from other lands, there were eventually also Peranakans who descended from marriages between the local women with Indians, Arabs and Europeans.
The Chinese peranakans are also referred to as Baba Nyona where Baba stands for the male and Nyona for the lady. Their cuisine is famed for its use of coconut, tamarind, glutinous rice, pandan leaf etc.
Baba Charlie Nyona Cake -
Our sweet beginning will be at Baba Charlie Nyona cake.
This is Melaka’s most famous of ‘cakeries’ specializing since 1988 in the traditional Nyonya Kuih as they call it. From initially selling their products at pop up stalls in night markets they now have progressed to their own production unit where they make the kuihs, as well as a cafe where customers can have a sit down meal.