Nyonya and the Peranakan fare is well-known in Southeast Asia. This is especially so in Malaysia, where you can find famous Peranakan Nyonya restaurants in Malacca. The Peranakan is a unique mix of Malay, Chinese and other Southeast Asian customs and traditions. It all started when Chinese immigrants came to Southeast Asia in the 15th century and began to modify their recipes using local ingredients.
The Peranakan dishes consist of Malaysian or Indonesian spices and herbs, mixed with Chinese ingredients and cooking style. The three elements of Nyonya cuisine are lemongrass, coconut milk and laksa leaves. If you’re a fan of Nyonya and Peranakan cuisine, it’s hard to miss these three ingredients unless you’re only eating dessert, although that also might include coconut milk.
There is a myriad of flavourful and scrumptious Nyonya cuisine that everyone should try. Every dish boasts a rich and unique flavour, and each represents the culture and tradition of the Peranakan and Nyonya.
In this article, we’ll share the 5 top Peranakan Nyonya restaurants in Malacca that you should not miss when you’re visiting Malacca.
Not to be confused with an antique Nyonya museum, Jonker 88 is one of the famous Nyonya restaurants in Malacca. The restaurant is full of classic and vintage items that you can admire while enjoying your meal.
Situated smack in the middle of Jonker Street, this restaurant is always packed with local and tourists alike. To avoid the crowd, it’s best if you can come before or after the lunch hour.
Some of the must-try items in the menu are the Nyonya Laksa and Baba Laksa. Both have a similar taste of Singapore Laksa, but Baba Laksa’s broth has a creamier, spicier and a tad sour flavour. The creamier taste is from the coconut milk, and the sour taste is from the tamarind juice. It’s incredible how the light, spicy and sour combination can create such a divine and piquant dish. Other ingredients added to the Laksa are a boiled egg, sprouts, fu chuk and onions.
After a bowl of Laksa happiness, you don’t want to skip on the dessert. Try the infamous Baba Cendol or the Sago Cendol. The Baba Cendol is a mountain of shaved ice served with thick palm sugar (Gula Melaka) and topped with fresh durian, cendol and coconut milk.
Address: 88, Jalan Hang Jebat, 75200 Melaka
Operation Hours: Sunday to Thursday: 9:30am to 5:30pm/ Friday to Saturday: 9:30am to 8:30pm
Kedai Kopi Juat Lye
Kedai Kopi Juat Lye is located near the neighbourhood of Taman Peringgit Jaya in Malacca. True to its name, Kedai Kopi Juat Lye sells the best coffee and Nyonya style prawn noodles in town. This coffee shop is also a local favourite for yee kiao mee. The Nyonya style prawn mee has a light broth with a hint of lemongrass and galangal. The coconut milk and prawn broth balance out the soup’s spiciness. So even people who can’t tolerate spicy food would find this prawn mee the perfect noodle.
Don’t think of leaving the shop without trying the kopi o kaw. The coffee is made of strong brew with sweetened condensed milk and tastes flavourful and aromatic. A few sips of the rich kopi o kaw will invigorate and motivate you to start the day!
Address: 371G, Jalan Melor 2, Taman Peringgit Jaya, Melaka
Opening Hours: Daily: 7:30am – 2:30pm / Closed on: Monday
Aunty Lee Nyonya Restaurant
Sadly, the founder of Aunty Lee Nyonya Restaurant passed away a few years ago. But before she passed away, she sold her business together with her treasured recipes to her group of friends, who are passionate about Nyonya and the Peranakan cuisine and culture. Today, her friend’s loyalty and enthusiasm keep the restaurant alive. They continue her culinary legacy by sharing her wonderful food and using her exact recipes.
The Pie Tee is the best choice for the entrée as it’s served with the best homemade chilli sauce. For the main course, try Aunty Lee’s signature deep-fried fish topped with secret herbs and special cili garam. The fish is crispy on the outside, and juicy and fresh on the inside. It’s usually accompanied with jasmine rice. You can also try other dishes like the Lemak Nenas and Nyonya Asam Pedas. The Lemak Nenas is a sweet and savoury curry in thick and creamy coconut milk that also goes well with fish and prawns.
Address: No 385, Jalan Ujong Pasir, Taman Sinn, 75050 Melaka
Hours: Open 11:30 am and Closes 3 PM Reopens 6 PM- 10pm / Closed every Tuesday
Restoran Peranakan / Peranakan Place
Housed in a real Baba Nyonya residence, Restoran Peranakan offers you Nyonya and Peranakan cuisine in a cultural and unique setting. The restaurant is adorned with antique accessories. A Peranakan-themed wooden bed and exquisite porcelain table are among the impressive displays, hence being one of the famous Peranakan Nyonya restaurants in Malacca.
The Peranakan House’s highlight menu is the braised chicken (Ayam pongteh) cooked in sweet bean paste covered with Chinese Mushrooms. This menu is often paired with Ikan Goreng Asam, a deep-fried fish fillet in spicy and sour gravy and warm white rice. If you love something sweet and spicy, you can try the sambal prawn. You can choose your meal sizes from small to large depending on how many people are in your party.
Address: 107, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, Melaka.
Operation hours : 12pm-4.30pm / 6.30pm- 10pm
Nancy’s Kitchen is not an unknown name to Nyonya food enthusiasts in Malacca. Previously, Nancy’s Kitchen operated in Jonker Walk, but then it moved to Kota Laksamana’s neighbourhood. Even at a new location, Nancy’s Kitchen still provides delicious home-cooked style Nyonya cuisine for her customers.
The must-order menus from Nancy’s Kitchen are the sek bak ( braised pork), Chicken candlenut and pork in Chencaluk dip. The pork in Chencaluk dip is pork braised in shrimp paste, and it’s one of their signature dishes.
The food comes in generous portions at an affordable price. You can taste the passion and the ingenuity in every bite at Nancy’s Kitchen. Moreover, Nancy’s Kitchen claims that they do not use any MSG or preservatives in their dishes.
Address: No 13, 13-1, 13-2, Jalan KL 3/8, Taman Kota Laksamana, Seksyen 3, 75200 Melaka Raya.
Operation Hours: Monday – Sunday / 11:00 am– 5:30 pm