Malacca, Malaysia - Dapur Cho Cho, traditional Nyonya Kueh makers
Dapur Cho Cho (literally "Great-grandmother's Kitchen") in Malacca's Batu Berendam suburb is one of those 3-generational "kueh" (Malay cakes) makers which sticks steadfastly to tradition, turning out limited amounts of "kuehs" cooked to exacting standards using the freshest locally-sourced ingredients. Dapur Cho Cho does not have its own retail shop or eatery, but supplies its "kuehs' each day to well-known Malacca dining establishments like Nancy's Kitchen, Amy Heritage Nyonya Cuisine, and the grand, old Majestic Hotel.
We made a visit to Dapur Cho Cho's domestic-sized kitchen, in the family's home in Batu Berendam. What struck me on my way in was that the rather wild-looking garden around their house consisted *entirely* of edible plants, herbs and fruit trees.
We were shown how "lepat kachang" (Malacca-speak for Malay "ketupat") was made - first the fan-like palm frond which provided the leaves used to wrap the glutinous rice-peanut "kueh", flavoured with coconut-milk and sugar. The "lepat kachang" are triangular-shaped, and boiled in water. The version at Dapur Cho Cho was delicious - sweet-salty-flavoured, with a lovely texture (most other versions tended to be too hard/chewy).
Dapur Cho Cho
84-3, Jalan Mohd Zin Dsh,
Taman Padang Balang,
Batu Berendam, Melaka.
Tel: +6012-276 8606 (call ahead to reserve & collect the "Kuehs", or to visit their home kitchen)
Dapur Cho Cho's "onde-onde": small pandanus-scented, par-boiled dumplings filled with molten "Gula Melaka" (palm sugar) and covered with freshly-grated coconut, were absolutely delicious - definitely the *best* in Malacca, and one of the best I'd ever tried in Malaysia, Singapore, or Indonesia (where it's called "klepon"). The "onde-onde" were served in trios, nestled in dainty, little baskets woven from pandanus leaves.
Another Dapur Cho Cho specialty is their "apom balek" - dense, eggy, half-moon-shaped baked cakes flavoured with mashed bananas. The "apom balek" were baked in an old brassware mould which belonged to the family's "Cho Cho" or great-grandmother. The aroma from the "apom balek" slowly cooking in the heavy mould was intoxicating.
The same "apom balek' mould is used to make "apom berkuah" - small white-and-blue flat pancakes, to be eaten with stewed bananas in pandanus-scented, coconut milk-palm sugar gravy.
The blue colour is from the "bunga telang", a purple-coloured flower used extensively in Nyonya cooking for tinting the food blue (photos of the plants and the dried flowers enclosed)
these are really cool, ive never heard of or seen the last two
so many different types of nyonya kueh...those onde onde look like they are to die for!!