The furthest I have been to in Melaka is Umbai – a town famous for seafood, notably ikan bakar. As far as I know there are two places you could go to satisfy your seafood craving here. It could be either at the older Medan Ikan Bakar (in which the Parameswara stall is most popular) or at the spanking new floating complex blessed with a nice view of the sea known as “Perkampungan Ikan Bakar Terapung“, or PIBT in short.
We decided to check out the latter for no particular reason. And no, that’s not my Kancil.
It was only 5.30pm so there weren’t many people there yet. Only a handful of stalls were operating while the rest was just starting to open up for the night. Of course, as expected there will be a few stray cats lingering around, but generally the place seemed clean and well maintained.
After surveying the options available, we chose to order from stall no.5 Enak Rasa Ikan Bakar. Like any normal ikan bakar stall, you get to choose the type of seafood you want and the cooking style you fancy. If you are undecided, the cooks are friendly and happy to recommend according to your preferences.
Boat Noodles (Kuay Tiau Rua) is one of the most popular things to try in Bangkok, recommended by both locals and tourists alike. Boat Noodles is called as such because was originally sold to passing customers on wooden boats that ply the canals in Bangkok. Each vendor would have their own recipe that distinguishes their noodles from the others – may it be a different type of noodle or broth. After looking at various sources online, we made a special trip to the Victory Monument where many Boat Noodles restaurants are located at. We thought this unique local favorite was worth a detour.
This is the Victory Monument, easily reachable via BTS or bus provided you know which to take. If you rely on the Victory Monument and map alone to look for the boat noodles, you are going to have a bad time. Even with the amount of directions available online, you will be lost.
Based on my own experience the easiest way is to look for the canal while walking on the pedestrian bridge. As long as you keep the Victory Monument on your left while walking on the bridge, you should be on the right path. And assuming you are indeed on the right path, the canal will be on your right. Forget about looking at maps, just follow this simple instruction of mine and you will be fine. Or better still, just ask a local who speaks English (if you are lucky enough to encounter one) to point you to the right way.
Obviously there will be more than one boat noodle restaurants (signage apart, differentiated by the colors of their shirts) along the canal but only one was open when we were there, so our decision was already made for us.
Many locals like to have their lunch here so it will be extremely packed during lunch hours. But we did not have to wait long for seats because the turnover rate is fast owing much to the speed of the food arriving at the tables.
When sugarcane is mentioned we usually think of its juice and how great it would be to have an ice cold cuppa to quench that thirst during hot days. But have you heard, seen or even eaten sugarcane pudding in Malaysia? I guess not – which is why we hunted for this unique dessert in our last trip to Hong Kong. Our destination was Kung Lee, a half-decade old shop that has been churning out fresh sugarcane juice, pudding and herbal jelly at Hollywood Road, Central since 1948.
If you ask me, the sugarcane juice here tastes no different compared to those sold by Malaysian hawkers. It has the same grassy flavor, freshly squeezed and contains no additional sugar.
Among the many places that we visited in Bangkok, Chatuchak (or Jatujak) Weekend Market is one of the few we truly enjoyed, so much that we would not hesitate to return again. It has thousands of stalls selling a wide range of products including cheap and delicious local foods. The atmosphere and setup are very similar to our pasar malam but it is a whole lot bigger, easily ten to twenty times the size of a typical pasar malam. But first, you should know that Chatuchak Weekend Market is only open on Saturdays and Sundays 9am to 6pm just like the name says. So plan your trip accordingly if you wish to include Chatuchak Weekend Market into your list of places to visit.
Not only the vendors are not pushy, you will also be pleased to know that the whole market is a smoking free area! If you have a nice budget for shopping I am pretty sure you will have a good time here. Why? Because even a non-shopper like me who did not allocate any money for the visit bought quite a number of items – mainly artifacts, handicrafts and of course, lots of food and drinks.
There are a few ways to get to Chatuchak Weekend Market and I think the easiest way is by the BTS Sky Train. From any BTS station, board the northern bound train and alight at Mo Chit station. Then, just follow the signs for the market. Look at the crowd and the number of vans ferrying locals and tourists outside the market, it should give you a good idea on how popular it is.
If you don’t feel like walking there are free shuttle tuk tuk services in the market. From what I see, not many people are taking it, most still prefer to walk.
There is also a Chatuchak Plaza within the market where small food courts and shops selling more expensive goods could be found. It is somewhat like a maze and feels stuffy inside due to the roofing (lack of ventilation) Because of that I would suggest going in there only after you are done touring the exterior market.