The place to go for seafood (that I know of) in Malacca is the Portuguese Settlement. located by the sea, it’s a row of seafood restaurants much like the famed East Coast seafood stretch in Singapore. This is our 2nd visit there, the 1st being the day we got together. So yes, we were re-living the moment somewhat.
The place is relatively well-known so any cabbie can take you there for RM15, which is the standard unmetered rate. However, getting back is difficult as it’s out of the way and number of cabs to private cars is akin to 1 is to 100 or something. So remember to grab your hotel number to call back, or get the cabbie’s number who drove you there so you can call back for a pick-up.
The easiest way to spot the best restaurant is the one with the most clients. food reviews recommended the first stall “No.1” so we naturally gravitated towards it. despite being really busy even on a Monday evening, they managed to sit us and take our order. The guy did warn us that the wait would take an hour. having been trained by my dad to wait for good food, I calmly waited while enjoying the sea breeze.
the thing about the seafood here is, all the sauces are the same. you have the usual seafood: fish, crab, prawn and squid. and you can have them prepared in a set list of ways: baked, steamed, black pepper, sweet & sour, black sauce or sambal. so to get a variety of flavours in one meal, you just pair whatever you like best. or you can have sambal everything. we decided to have steam fish (prepared with plum sauce), something which Bryan was new to but it’s something I used to have at home quite regularly.
sambal belachan kangkong. frankly i think belachan kangkong is a little overrated. I prefer my vegetables lightly stir-fried with soy sauce and garlic. But this one was pretty good coz you can actually taste the shrimp paste. yum yum.
black sauce squid. nothing fantastic. it was either this or fried squid and i generally don’t like fried food. i prefer grill, steam or baked.
This is the reason why we come to Portuguese Settlement. the baked crabs. actually when you order this, you ask for the salt & pepper crabs. almost every table has a set of these on their tables. the crabs are lightly covered as such and throw onto the charcoals to cook. this seals in the flavour and makes it really tasty. parts of the shell gets burnt crisp black and the charcoal flavour adds to the taste. YUM YUM.
The last time we were here, we ordered 5 dishes and ate till I had a visible belly under my dress, which I had to hide coz it was unflattering. this time round I didn’t bother since we’ve obviously gone past that stage of the relationship. HEHE
there’s a stall adjacent to No.1 that sells shell fish to compliment whatever No.1 is selling. from cockles to oysters, they sold every sort of creepy crawly fresh off the shore. such as these
rock lobsters horseshoe crab (thanks Vix) above. these things look more the Predator had his way with a female crayfish and the eggs hatched into this monstrosity, now sitting on the charcoal grill in Malacca. These things lying overturn on the table were still alive, their legs wriggling crazily if you were to poke them. GROSS.