Last weekend, we drove up with some friends to Melaka. We had a really good time *over*indulging in gastronomic delights and catching up with our friends over big, calorie-laden meals. We drove up to Melaka with the same bunch of friends in late 2009, and had such a good time together that we promised to do this again another time. Which turned out to be more than 2 years later.
This time, I went to Melaka with a list of recommendations from various friends on where to go to find the best nonya food, wanton mee, chendol, crabs, zichar, etc. I will need at least 5 stomachs to eat everything that is on that list.
I wanted so much to try this Teochew eatery called Teo Soon Long Chan, a hole-in-the-wall place off Jonkers street, but it was fully booked all weekend! *Sniff* So I turned my attention to nonya food.
We decided to check out Restoran Aunty Lee, a small, humble eatery located some distance away from the city center at Ujong Pasir. The GPS brought us to this place, with a very colourful exterior wall and lots of little red lanterns hanging from the ceiling.
Unlike the bright, purplish and slightly garish exterior, the interior of the eatery is quite old-fashioned, and looks like the living room of someone’s home. It is a small place with just enough space for 6 tables. It was a good thing that we got the hotel to make a lunch reservation for us a day before, because it wasn’t possible to get a table had we walked into the restaurant without one.
To ensure that food is freshly prepared and that there is no wastage, the eatery required its customers to place orders at the time of making a reservation. As it was the first time that I was eating at this restaurant and without a menu in front of me, I didn’t know what dishes to order!
So I named some of my favourite nonya dishes off the top of my head: ayam buah keluak, chap chye, itek tim, otah and grilled eggplant. The lady who took my order also recommended ikan cili garam, their signature dish, which I said okay to. She also recommended cincalok omelette which I declined, thinking that it was an odd-sounding dish. In my haste, I forgot to order beef rendang and assam pedas!
My friends and I loved Aunty Lee’s food. It is good, simple and hearty, home-cooked food.
We regretted not ordering more food because we wolved down everything so quickly, and still felt hungry. We couldn’t have another order of ayam buah keluak and chap chye, or beef rendang (darn…!) because it was too late for the kitchen to start cooking another batch for us. But we were told that we could place orders for cincalok omelette, which turned out to be the fluffy-est and the most delicious omelette that I have eaten, and stir-fried beef with spring onion. The beef was superb, tender and flavourful.
It wasn’t possible to wait for all the food to arrive before taking a photo. All I managed was this.
We managed to squeeze in some chendol at the end of the meal, by which time, our tummies were on the verge of exploding from too much food. I would highly recommend the cincalok omelette, ikan cili garam, otah, stir-fried beef with spring onions, nonya chap chye and itek tim. Disappointingly, Aunty Lee’s ayam buah keluak – my favourite nonya dish – didn’t quite hit the right spot.
9 scrumptious dishes for 8 persons cost us only $16 per head.
Restoran Aunty Lee
385 Jalan Ujong Pasir,
75050 Malacca, Malaysia