Malacca, Malaysia - Nyonya lunch at Kocik Kitchen, Heeren Street
Kocik Kitchen at Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock (Heeren Street) is one of the top dining destinations in Malacca's historic quarter. The restaurant is "halal" to cater to Muslim tourists and visitors, so you won't find dishes like "Babi Buah Keluak" or "Babi Pongteh" here ("babi" is the Malay word for pork).
Our lunch here consisted of:
- "Kueh pie tee": tasty version here, although the jicama filling could have been more substantial. The chilli also did not deliver as much heat as I expected, and the spike from the local kalamansi lime ("limau kasturi") was missing.
- "Nyonya otak-otak": we actually ordered the "soft" version, using fish fillets, but was served the "hard" version which uses fishcakes (favoured by Malaccan diners) in place of fish fillets (which we Singaporean diners are more used to). Nonetheless, the spicing was correct and the mousse was pretty tasty.
- "Ayam buah keluak": the chicken version of the famous spicy-sour stew, using the Indonesian "kluwek" nuts. The version here was average in taste, but sufficient to satisfy two of my dining companions who are Malaccan Nonyas.
- "Ikan masak assam pedas": very fresh local "belanak" fish cooked in a spicy soup. Not enough torch-ginger ("bunga kantan") used, and the chilli and tamarind content were not assertive enough.
- "Udang goreng gerang assam": this dish was a bit of a let-down - the prawns weren't as fresh as we'd like them to be, and the tamarind flavours here were again diluted. I'm beginning to suspect that Kocik sought to temper its spice content to cater to foreign visitors (from China, Japan and Western countries) who would not be able to take the spice levels which Malaysians/Singaporeans are used to.
- "Chenchalok" omelette - basically a 3-egg omelette flavoured with Malacca's famous native fermented shrimp paste. Not enough "chenchalok" used here.
- "Pucok paku masak sambal belachan": this fern dish was a let-down - the "belachan" (fermented shrimp paste) scent was too faint, the chilli content drastically toned down - with the dish ending up relatively bland.
- "Nyonya laksa": this noodle dish was pretty aromatic and has the correct balance of flavours we were looking for. If I'm to come back to this restaurant, I'll just do the Nyonya laksa here.
Dessert was a selection of traditional Nyonya "kuehs" - various custard-like steamed sweetmeats utilising rice flour, glutinous rice, sweet fragrant local palm sugar ("Gula Melaka"). It turned out to be the best part of our meal here.
100, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock (Heeren St)
Tel: +6016 929 6605
mrnyc - the better Nyonya restaurants in Malacca are:
1) Amy's Heritage Nyonya Cuisine (Tel: +606-286 8819)
2) Nancy's Kitchen (Tel: +606-283 6099)
3) Nyonya Makko (Tel: +60 6-284 0737)
Malacca's best Nyonya restaurant the past few years used to be Aunty Lee's at Ujong Pasir, but she hung up her wok a month back, due to ill-health.