Street scenes in Chinatown
In post modern South East Asia everybody wants to escape the Equatorial heat and humidity and more and more activities tend to be done in artificially cooled buildings and vehicles. In Chinatown, however, most daily activities seemed to be done on the street or with the house doors wide open. Children playing chess, adults singing karaoke, people selling and buying, eating... they were all common sights while we walked in Chinatown.
The earliest Chinese immigrants to the Straits Settlements, namely Melaka, Penang and Singapore, were primarily men who then married local Malay women. Thus, they created a unique mixed Chinese-Malay culture that came to be known as Peranakan, where the men are known as Babas and the women as Nyonyas. This community can trace its presence in Melaka to at least the 17th century.
Throughout the centuries, Peranakan culture has managed to maintain many ancient Chinese traditions while adopting many customs of the land they settled in and of their colonial rulers. You can find in Peranakan culture traces of Portuguese, Dutch, British, Malay and Indonesian influences. The Peranakans have also managed to maintain customs and traditions of their Hokkien Chinese ancestors, some of which no longer survive in China or in local Hokkien communities.
The Peranakan community in Melaka became quite wealthy through trade, and as such they spared no expense in acquiring fine furniture, porcelain, embroidery, and tilework for their lavish homes. Many fine examples of restored Peranakan homes can be seen in old city Melaka today.
As with their culture, Peranakan cuisine is an exotic mixture of Chinese and Malay influences. It is truly one of the most popular contributions of the community, and no trip to Melaka would be complete without sampling some traditional dishes.
If you like to have a potrait painted...bring along your photo and the artist can paint it within 1/2 day. It is reasonable priced..from RM200 onwards...depending on size.
He uses airbrush technique which allows him to work quickly. Some of his works are pretty good.
Aritst name is Maslan Said and he is at the lobby of Equatorial Hotel
This is an art studio by Charles Cham,, a true-blood Malaccan. I was attracted by the exterior of the building. Admiration for him continued when I looked through his works in the studio. They are unique and brought out life from another angle. I wanted to buy the "Chicken Rice" T-shirt but I didnt because I didnt try the chicken rice there :( His T-shirts with loud designs. RM15 onwards
The Best Kopi ( Coffee ) in Melaka
Other than being a self-professed foodie (Yao Kwee - it means glutton in a Chinese dialect), I'm also a Coffee Addict (Kopi Kwee - go figure ). So bad is my addiction that I need to have my cuppa in any part of the world! Café noir in France, Cafe Den in Vietnam, and of course, Kopi O in Malaysia. So Melacca makes little exception.. According to the locals and fellow Kopi Kwees, the best, freshest coffee in Melaka, can be found in a little shop in Jonker Street. It's over here that arabica beans are freshly roasted before they're packed in tiny fragrant bags for your cuppa. A packet of coffee bags cost around Rm8 or so