Big Bowl Ice: We had a small...
Big Bowl Ice is a Taiwanese franchise dessert shop selling many varieties of shaved ice dessert. The gimmick is that you can get lots of different portion sizes, up to one which is 30 times a standard portion (and this would seem to be good value at just over RM100 compared with standard at RM6-10 - if you can eat the 18kg of fruit, beans, corn, syrup and ice this provides). The range is better than at most of these places, and more suited to western tastes, with fruit available instead of beans, peas and sweetcorn, and durian being very much in the background: available but not a main feature.
There are a couple of this franchise in Melaka and at least one in Johor Bahru, but I'm not sure if there are any more. We visited the one near Jonker Walk in Melaka. It's medium sized, and reasonably comfortable, but the decor is very loud and colourful. There are TVs showing people buying and trying to eat the 30x portion. Staff were very nice and happy to have a laugh with us. The dessert we had was good and refreshing, and I'd recommend this as a place to cool off from the Melaka sun.
Favorite Dish: We had milk snow ice (shaved ice with milk) with passion fruit, fruit and ice cream. It came with chocolate ice cream on the top, banana, melon (2 types) and pineapple tucked into it. It was good quality fruit which surprised me a little. Good dessert.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Jing Xin: OK veggie in cluster
I'd tried to visit Jing Xin at least 5 times but it was always closed for breaks or rest days. Finally I managed to be there at the right time of the right day...was it worth it?
It serves Chinese and other Asian veggie food, and it's another family run place with small children serving you while they're on the holidays. It's a bit like a lot of these places, with plastic tables and chairs, and Buddhist sayings on the walls. It also sells a small range of vegetarian products, including the gravy I needed for Christmas dinner! The staff are friendly enough, but it's useful to have a Chinese speaker in your party. The food was ok, but I think the weakest of the veggie places in this cluster at Bukit Beruang.
Favorite Dish: We had Japanese mock chicken peri-peri rice set and bitter gourd and bean curd rice set, with a fried egg. The main dish was ok, but there wasn't enough of it to use with all the rice (at least for my western tastes). I had an ABCDE drink with apple, beetroot, carrot, and ... whatever D and E were, which will go down on my list of bad drinks I had to try because I'm too curious for my own good.
Man Yuan Fang: Chinese veggie close to town
Man Yuan Fang is a large restaurant with two big rooms, selling a huge range of mainly Chinese vegetarian food, but with some western dishes too. The staff are friendly and quick, and it's quite professional in style. The decor is standard Chinese restaurant with some Buddhist styling thrown in. The food was better than OK (we stuck to Chinese/Malay) with big portions, but not amazing. I definitely want to return here, as it's the closest vegetarian restaurant to town that I've found so far, and I think there are some high potential items on the menu.
Favorite Dish: We had mock duck, curry laksa noodles and fried rice. The laksa was quite nice but could have been richer, the duck was good, and the rice was fine but more notable for quantity than quality (weirdly the pic has lost the perspective of how high it was piled!).
U Desserts: Hong Kong Desserts
U Desserts is a franchise selling Hong Kong style desserts using local ingredients, and it also does some fried food. We visited the stall in Mahkota Parade mall, Melaka. The single member of staff was impressive, serving customers quickly while also cleaning up. Given it's effectively a mall concession stand, it's an ok place to sit and it had fun Christmas decorations. We only had one dessert from the large range of variations of shaved ice combinations, which would have been nicer if it had had more of all the announced toppings. Worth a visit if it's not busy, you're passing, and you like Asian desserts.
Favorite Dish: We had the mango sago pomelo ice cream shaved ice, which was pleasant, but only had a little bit of ice cream, mango, sago and especially pomelo. With more pomelo, I could have forgiven the rest lacking, but as was it was only OK.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Wasabi: Good Japanese place outside centre
Unrelated to the British chain of the same name, Wasabi is a family run restaurant which sells Japanese food. It's very popular, which is telling given there are 2 other Japanese places on the same road which don't seem as busy. Inside is typically Japanese restaurant in style, with lanterns and artwork, but it's nice enough. The staff all seem to be part of the same family, and we were served by lots of friendly people including a ten year old girl! The food was good and varied, with a surprisingly large range for vegetarians - I reckon I could visit here at least 3 more times without having to repeat choices, though of course they are variations on a theme.
The logo is worth mentioning, as it's a person in traditional Japanese attire, with a piece of sushi for a head. Fun.
Favorite Dish: I enjoyed my omelette, corn and egg sushi. Pickle sushi was ok, while asparagus sushi only used the woody part - I think asparagus tip sushi could be delicious. Companions' Saba shioyaki fish (I think a type of mackerel with a soy sauce) was apparently very good and disappeared in seconds, while the seafood soup was also well enjoyed. I'm told the fish sushi with mango was better than the crab sushi with vegetables.
Veggie D: Homey veggie place
I made a mistake with this one. When I visited before, it didn't have a sign, and I was told it was called V Cafe. V Cafe is actually around the corner, and I have now visited it for real! This place is actually Veggie D, according to the shiny new sign.
Veggie D very much feels like a converted home when you're inside, which is odd because I'm sure it's on a shop lot. The staff were friendly, but I don't think they spoke any English so I was lucky I had my GF with me. They serve a range of Chinese, Malay and western food. It was good and not expensive. I'd like to try some more dishes there.
Favorite Dish: I had a veggie chicken cheese burger which I really enjoyed, though that could have been because it's the first western burger I haven't made myself for more than a year!
Now tried the Chinese food. I had spicy potato (sweet, spicy) and gf had deep fried mee hoon (thin rice noodles) with thick egg drop soup. Both good, plus check the updated photo for the picture of the noodles with Coke can for scale!Related to:
- Budget Travel
The Daily Fix: Pretty cafe, OK food
The Daily Fix is a cafe opened up in the back room of one of the souvenir shops on Jonker Walk. It's a very pretty place with lots of quirky elements, for example the table made from a sewing machine. There's an outdoor area with lots of antique porcelain glued to the wall, and indoors there is a traditional swing chair. The staff are quite friendly, though it took a while for our drinks to arrive. The food mainly consists of all day breakfast options; it and the drinks were so-so, with one exception.
It was very busy with tourists and locals even on a weekday, and only opens from 10-5.30, so if you want to visit you may have to pick your time carefully. It really is a very nice place to relax, though.
Favorite Dish: The best drink was a Christmas special, with berries and berry cordial and sparkling water. Very refreshing. Coffees were fine but not special; they do coffee with rose syrup which I didn't try but probably would have had I seen it (almost certainly terrible, but I like a crazy drink).
I had an egg and cheese sandwich, which was ok apart from the dusting of icing sugar (?!); gf had 'the lot' which was a cross between a full English and an American breakfast. The mushrooms, tomatoes, beef bacon and chicken sausage were very salty, the pancakes cold (refrigerator cold) but nice, the eggs and beans ok. No bread...
Taro Veggie: Industrial estate vegetarian
Once again, I visited a veggie restaurant at the end of lunch, and it was empty. This time, I'm not sure they do enough business. Situated on an industrial estate, Taro Veggie is a very professional looking place, with nice staff (who were surprised to see a white person, so we had a really nice chat), and the food was OK. Piano music was the soundtrack to a pleasant lunch. The menu is pretty small, and consists mainly of Malay, Chinese and spaghetti dishes, mostly daily specials (so when I went, I only had the choice of about 6 dishes). They also do a range of burgers for breakfast and at tea-time (oddly). Meal and a drink was RM14.
I liked Taro Veggie, but I'm not sure it's worth the journey from Melaka unless you have a car, and unless you've already tried a lot of the Bukit Beruang veggie places. However, it is really friendly. They also have another outlet in a hospital in Klebang, Melaka.
Open Monday until 15.00, Tues-Fri 8.30-18.30, Saturday, public holidays and lunar 1st and 15th (Buddhist vegetarian days) until 21.00.
Favorite Dish: I had nasi lemak with rendang. It was fine, though didn't have any coconut milk in the rice which is kind of the point. The rendang and the sambal were both really full of flavour, and I would have liked a bit more of them. I had the Taro veggie juice on a staff recommendation - pineapple juice and vegetables didn't work for me.
V Cafe: Small range, good taste
I visited V Cafe just before they closed after lunch, so it was empty. I don't think that's a reflection on the food, though. V Cafe serves a smaller range of Asian vegetarian food than most veggie places in Melaka, but they do have a bigger range of western food. It's an alright place to spend time, with slightly sparse decor and the usual plastic chairs, but nice Buddhist music and friendly and helpful staff. I enjoyed my food and I will return to try some of the other dishes in future, especially as the bill came to less than RM10.
Favorite Dish: I had the Indonesian 'Chicken' curry which was very lemongrass-y and spicy. My honey and sour plum drink was good too.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Persatuan Penganut Agama Buddha Bodhi Melaka: Another great veggie Chinese
PPABBM loosely translated means Buddhist Association of Melaka, and from 7am until around 2pm or so, they serve a nasi campur range, along with freshly cooked options depending on which members of 'staff' are in. We've had won ton mee (fried slightly spicy noodles with parcels of 'meat', pau char siew (bread buns, steamed, with a mock barbecue pork filling) and bean and chestnut dumplings on various days. The selection of food can have cooled down if you get there later in the day, but Malaysia's a hot country so that doesn't bother me!
The guys who run this do it as volunteers, and they're very friendly; while the eating area isn't the most attractive, it's fine; and the price is phenomenal - less than RM15 for three people including drinks.
Favorite Dish: Won Ton Mee - good sauce, freshly cooked and laced with vegetarian protein. When they have them, I recommend the bean and chestnut dumplings: banana leaf encases the dumplings for steaming, and inside this there is a sticky rice pyramid which contains white beans, chestnuts and mock meat in a rich sauce. Great for breakfast on the go.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Batu Berendam Coconut Shake: Great coconut drink
Batu Berendam Coconut Shake does coconut water milkshakes for RM3.20. They have a small shop and a large marquee. The place itself isn't inspiring, but the shakes are delicious and probably my favourite example of this (Melaka has a few places which specialise in coconut shakes). If you want to have some food, BBCS will let you order from one of the nearby restaurants, too. One last nice touch is that they provide free refills of coconut water.
Favorite Dish: Coconut shake, of course - rich, sweet and delicious.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Little Nyonya Tea Room: Vegetarian local food
Little Nyonya tea room has traditionally served tea in a spectacular setting, but since Christmas 2014 it has started selling vegetarian food as well. These are mainly vegetarian versions of local dishes, from the nyonya (peranakan) style which blends Indian and Chinese cooking. It's not the food which is the biggest draw, though it's good, it's the building itself. It's a fantastic place, and includes many interesting rooms around a central courtyard.
It also has a museum of Peranakan life, which was closed when I was there, though the owner did show me around a bit of it free of charge (a favour down to my skin colour, according to my Chinese-Malay companion).
When I get my camera working, rather than just my phone, I'll add the photos of the interior - now done.
Favorite Dish: I was recommended the Nyonya risotto with cili padi, which was an OK fried rice dish. Nicer was my companion's mock fish asam which was rich and sour, if not as spicy.
Pak Putra: Best cheese naan
Pak Putra is a tandoori chicken restaurant which also specialises in naan breads. I'm told the chicken is really good, and PP serves dozens of them each night, but it's the naans I go for. Their triple cheese naan is brilliantly cheesy, but light and fluffy too. It's served with dhal and chicken curry, but I'd recommend having another curry from the menu. Their palak paneer doesn't seem to have any cheese, but is a nice, spicy, buttery spinach dip which goes well with the naan, while the jeera potato is subtle if you have the dry version and a bit punchier if you have the wet. It's a very busy place, with about 50 tables in the street, and quite long waits, but it's definitely worth it for the naans. The staff can be hard to get the attention of as it is so busy, but they're OK. The prices are a little bit above normal mamak prices, but the quality is high
I'll try to get better photos on my next visit.
Favorite Dish: On my last visit I had the Jasin naan - crammed with cheese, potato, garlic, chilli and parsley, it's my new favourite naan worldwide! Order with a big mango lassi, which is a great example of how to do this drink, and you'll be pleased.
Neela's Chettinad: Ok Roti
Neela's Chettinad is a banana leaf, curry and roti place in Bukit Beruang. Neela is very friendly, some of her staff a bit less so! I've only had the roti, which is ok, with a choice of curries including a nice dhal, but remember if you want a savoury cheese roti you have to make sure they don't add condensed milk and sugar. Seriously, I've done that twice now.
Favorite Dish: Roti canai with dhal for me. I hear the chicken curry is pretty good too.Related to:
- Budget Travel
LC Vegetarian: Another good Chinese veggie
LC Vegetarian does good vegetarian Chinese food at a low price. There's a friendly, family atmosphere, though like in many of the Bukit Beruang restaurants it's helpful to have someone who speaks Chinese. There's a wide choice of dishes.
Favorite Dish: Vegetarian mixed rice and asam fish. Also the first place I had butter abalone mushroom; not the absolute best of its type but pretty good.
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