Don't Mess with Melaka

We managed to find Texas in the most unexpected place. Melaka, Malaysia has a riverwalk to rival San Antonio, the sweltering Texas-like heat, and “Don’t Mess with Melaka” signs dotting the roads.


The foods, however, were very different from Lone Star land. A mixture of Malaysian, Chinese, European, & Indian flavors unfurled before us in this delectable city.

Cool & savory fruit rojak proved a perfect afternoon snack.

At our hotel restaurant, henna-stained hands delivered some kind of magical pasta dish (which we tucked into faster than you can say KLIA2).

Papadums were served with Kilkenny beers overlooking the river full of cruise boats and terrifying, crocodile-like monitor lizards.

Elegant french toast stacks were washed down with smooth, chocolaty Thai iced coffees.

Nasi lemak, Malaysia’s national dish, proved uniquely delightful. The rice was tossed with delicious little fried anchovies — tiny exploding salt bombs that set off the flavor of the chili paste and were balanced by the cool, cool cucumbers. One waiter did try to convince me to eat the whole chili served on top. Luckily, I had already been humbled by the spice levels in Thailand and declined that particular dare.

Waiting for Nasi Lemak

Melaka Riverfront

We did dare to try durian (that divisive, smelly fruit) in the form of one of Malaysia’s most popular desserts, cendol. As promised, the durian sauce on top of our shaved ice was a stomach-turning level of smelly. I did manage to get one bite of the rapidly melting cendol without breathing through my nose at all. In that little bite I think I caught a glimmer of what people love about durian. It has more personality than any fruit I’d tried before. Strong, sweet & so unique.

Durian Cendol — an acquired taste.

Durian Cendol — an acquired taste.

Oh, and did I mention that it was served with little worm-like green gummies?