Malacca Food: My Favourite Eats

Malacca food can be a real treat, with many cuisines available and reasonable prices. We ate some delicious food during our trip. Some of it was street food, for example at Jonker Street Night Market, and we had some tasty pork satay at a roadside stall. Here are a few places worth remembering.

Satay celup, or "dipping satay" is a Malacca speciality

Satay celup, or “dipping satay” is a Malacca speciality

1. Riverine Coffeehouse

This always seemed to be open while we were in Malacca (other places were randomly closed on some evenings). They serve up scrumptious Nyonya Cuisine, the traditional food of the Peranakan Baba Nyonya culture. We had a large pot of Ayam Masak O’, a chicken stew, with rice. One large portion was plenty for the two of us to share.

Price: We spent total MYR 28.50 including soft drinks.

Address: No 108, Lorong Hang Jebat,75200 Malacca

Nyonya Cuisine at Riverine

2. Big Bowl The City of Ice

We stumbled across this place by accident while walking back to our hotel, and it provided welcome relief from the hot weather. More than a hundred flavours of shaved ice and snow ice dishes are served at this café. The menu (shown below) offers a plethora of choices and left us wanting to come back to sample more of these sweet delights.

Address: No 23 Lorong Bukit China, Kawasan Bandar 24, 75100 Melaka

Menu at Bowl of Ice3. Famosa Chicken Rice Ball

This is the most well known of the chicken rice ball restaurants. I hadn’t been particularly excited about trying Malacca’s signature dish as friends had told me it was just like chicken rice but in balls. So I was pleasantly surprised. The rice balls tasted different to rice cooked normally, slightly saltier, with more flavour, and the chicken was delicious.

Price: Half a roasted chicken and twenty rice balls, with two orange juices, set us back MYR 29.60.

Chicken Rice Balls4. Calanthe Art Café

We came upon this colourful restaurant while looking for somewhere to have lunch. As well as serving up tasty main courses, they specialise in Malaysia 13 States’ Coffees. We ate yummy chicken curries and tried some coffee. Each state is represented by a different type of coffee and there are many choices of how to drink it.

Address: No 11 Jalan Hang Kasturi, 75200 Melaka

Calanthe Art Cafe interior


5 Rules for Riding a Motorbike in Asia

I had never learnt to drive a car in the UK, let alone ridden a motorcycle. Moving to Indonesia, however, to a place with limited public transport, this was clearly going to be the best way to get around. I learnt in one session with a friend, and four years on I’m still alive. This are my personal rules for survival when riding a motorbike in Asia.

The motorbike is a popular form of transport in many parts of Asia

The motorbike is a popular form of transport in many parts of Asia.

1) Learn Quickly
Riding a motorbike is not difficult. Most of the challenge comes from other road users or the road itself. Find somewhere flat and uncrowded and spend an hour or so getting used to controlling the bike.

2) Wear a Helmet
It’s easy for us to forget about safety when we’re travelling or on holiday, particularly somewhere without enforced laws on helmet use. This may seem like a boring rule, but despite being fun, riding a motorcycle is not the safest way to get around. Do you really want a head injury, especially if you are somewhere without ambulances, let alone high quality medical care?

Helmets can be fun too

Helmets can be fun too.

3) Know your Bike’s Limits
My experience of riding a motorbike in Asia has been one of weaving in and out of traffic, avoiding pedestrians and rickshaws piled high with goods, as other people weave around me. When you’re entering the opposite lane to overtake a big, slow truck you need to know how fast your bike will accelerate so you can clear the truck before the traffic in the opposite lane reaches you.

Love your bike - give it a good clean

Love your bike – give it a good clean.

4) Go with the Flow
Before I learnt to ride a motorbike, a friend gave me a very useful piece of advice. She said that whereas elsewhere we might drive in a relatively straight line, just turning at corners, in Indonesia you should smoothly follow the flow of the traffic. Actually she demonstrated what she meant by swaying her body from side to side; it’s hard to convey in writing.  Basically, relax and go with the flow.

5) You’re Never the Craziest Driver
No matter how fast or how crazily you’re driving, remember there is always someone driving faster and more crazily than you. When I’ve been in a hurry to get somewhere I have driven very fast, in areas where the speed limit is generally ignored. Every time, there is someone weaving in and out of traffic, over- and undertaking, much faster and more crazily than me.

Or you might just get stuck in the traffic, as Asia’s cities become more congested.

And a couple things I learnt the hard way:

1) Automatic scooter-style motorbikes do not go up steep hills with two heavy people on them. Don’t try it or you’ll end up walking like I did.

2) You will at some point become one of those people carrying ridiculous amounts of people, objects or even furniture on your bike. Moving house by motorbike is not as unusual as it sounds.

5 Reasons to Visit South East Asia

There are millions of reasons to visit South East Asia, but to celebrate the launch of the fab new AnySomewhere Facebook page as well as the new page on Google+, here are five main reasons to be going on with. It’s Cheap

Despite this being the twenty-first century, it is still possible to travel very cheaply in South East Asia. The US$10 per day that sufficed ten years ago may no longer be possible, but US$15-20 a day is certainly doable if you’re not expecting fancy accommodation or luxury transport. Working in a wealthier region of the world, you can save up and travel for a long time here. I have met people who have travelled for years at a time by sticking to cheap areas and people who do seasonal work for several months each year (Wimbledon tennis and the UK Christmas markets are two examples I’ve come across), saving enough money to travel for the rest of the time.

2) People are Friendly

Perhaps it’s a cliché, and there are certainly unfriendly people around, but for the most part, South East Asians welcome guests. You may be treated with curiosity or yelled at in the street, but you’re unlikely to be looked upon with suspicion or mistrust in this region.

Batak couple, North Sumatra, Indonesia3) A Warm Tropical Climate

The warm humid climate of tropical South East Asia may be just what your body needs to ease your joints and loosen your muscles. There are only two seasons in South East Asia—rainy and dry—and unless you’re up a mountain, it stays warm throughout the year.

4) Something for Everyone

Perhaps you want to rough it, travel off the beaten track to remote areas, meeting the natives and avoiding the tourist trail. Or would you prefer to stay at the cheapest scruffiest backpacker haunts, meeting travellers from around the world before you party the night away on the beach? Or maybe you’re on a quest for total relaxation at a five-star beach resort with a 24-hour bar in the swimming pool and a restaurant serving up raw food dinners. You can find all those options and anything in between here in South East Asia.

Beach5) Good Infrastructure

Ok, so it’s cheap and friendly, but poor right? Developing countries must surely mean bad infrastructure, which means no internet access, no public transport and just dirt tracks, right? Wrong. Although many people of South East Asia are undeniably poor, the infrastructure is on the whole perfectly adequate for the average visitor. There is internet access, public transport and the roads aren’t so bad. In fact, you can expect most if not all of your home conveniences to be available in South East Asia, though possibly not throughout the entire region.

So, there you are. Five great reasons to buy that plane ticket and come to this wonderful part of the world! I’ll be waiting…

And in the meantime, “like” me on Facebook at and add me to your circles here on Google+.