“Where is the best cendol in Malacca?”, I asked Terry, our Malaysian driver. “At Nonya Makko restaurant!”, he exclaimed. “You will have to have lunch there to order the cendol”, he added. And so we headed to Nonya Makko restaurant along Jalan Merdeka.
According to online reviews Nonya Makko is a hugely popular Peranakan restaurant. We arrived at around 1pm but there was already a huge crowd milling outside the restaurant waiting eagerly for their names to be called. I put my name on the list at the counter anyway but judging from the long list of names I reckoned chances were slim. We didn’t get a table near the 2pm closing so we decided to cross over to Cottage Spices where we had a satisfying lunch during our last food trail to Malacca.
At Cottage Spices we ordered Assam Pedas fish and steamed lady’s fingers which we enjoyed so much last time, and also sambal brinjal, ayam pongteh while reserving some space in our bellies for the cendol. Although I’m not a dessert person I must say the cendol here is really good with generous amounts of pandan-flavoured starch jelly (the green stuff), red beans and just the right mix of fresh coconut milk and gula melaka. My Peranakan in-laws were generally impressed with the taste, quality and freshness of the ingredients.
For this 2nd trip up north there were 6 of us so we engaged the services of Terry who drives a Toyota Estima MPV. (Update: Terry now drives a Toyota Alphard which costs a bit more). He picked us up from our homes in Singapore at 7am as requested on a Sunday morning. En-route we stopped for breakfast at Yong Peng for fish ball noodle. Terry chauffeured us around in Malacca to all the makan places (makan means eat in Malay) and some shopping cum sightseeing at Jonker Street. On the way back we stopped at AEON Mall @ Bukit Indah for groceries and some shopping. Terry offers a convenient and personal service for less than renting an MPV from Singapore. Most importantly he drives safely and kept to speed limits at all times.
The next day we headed for Kapitan Kongsi Hotel, a Peranakan themed boutique hotel at Taman Kota Laksamana, for another round of cendol. This place is recommended by a friend who knows the chef running the restaurant at the hotel and highly recommends his culinary skills. We didn’t have lunch there as we had a reservation at Nancy’s Kitchen but just ordered the cendol.
The cendol here comes with generous portions of green starch jelly and kidney beans. Most members of the group preferred the cendol at Cottage Spices as the mixture of coconut milk and gula melaka was not as balanced. We requested for additional gula melaka which made it better. A matter of personal preference I guess. I also preferred the regular red beans instead of the kidney beans although kidney beans are known to have more cholesterol-lowering fiber. That said I would still recommend trying this out as it is better than any cendol you can find in Singapore. Plus there are many interesting Peranakan artifacts here in this unique hotel housed in Porto Historia, a modern built architecture masterpiece inspired from the late “Straits” eclectic style of the 1920’s.
There wasn’t enough time to try out more cendols during this 2 day trip. The search for the best cendol in Malacca will be updated here as I’m sure future trips will reveal more gems.
Below is a list of cendols I have tried so far in order of preference. Do note that this is not conclusive nor definitive by any means and it is a personal preference. If any of you have any recommendations do drop me a note in the comment section below.
1) Cottage Spices
171, Taman Melaka Raya, 75000 Melaka. Tel: 06-283 5040
Lunch 12-4pm; Dinner 6pm-8.30pm. Closed on Tuesdays.
2) Bibik House Cendol
121, Jalan Hang Jebat, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia
Open 10:30am to 8pm Daily
3) Kapitan Kongsi Hotel
53, Jalan KLJ 10 Jaya, Taman Kota Laksamana, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia
Recommended Hotels in Malacca
We stayed at the Estadia Hotel again this time. Since there were 6 of us we booked a 2-bedroom suite (SGD158 from Agoda) and a twin room for SGD62. The suite is very comfortable for 4 people. It has a separate lounge area with sofa and TV. Comes with free breakfast and complimentary Wi-Fi.
For your convenience here is a booking link to Estadia Hotel on Agoda.
Also popular is Hatten Hotel which is a sister hotel next to Estadia. Price range is about the same. Both of these hotels are in a great location. There is a overhead linkway to Dataran Pahlawan Megamall and Mahkota Parade is just beside the hotel. Lifts can be slow during peak hours like breakfast times and check-out times but the hotel preps you for this with notices in their lifts that they are upgrading requesting to bear with them meanwhile. Overall a recommended hotel, reasonably priced and clean.
For your convenience here is a booking link to Hatten Hotel on Agoda.
My 1st food trail to Malacca