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Besides the usual Malaysian fare, you'll be able to sample some rather peculiar Malaccan food. On top of the list is Peranakan or Baba-Nyonya food. The Nyonya style of cooking is a fusion between Chinese and Malay ingredients and recipes — the result of Chinese traders in the past settling in Malacca and adopting the Malay way of living. Popular dishes include "ayam pongteh" (chicken in bean sauce, originally cooked with pork), "ayam buah keluak" (chicken cooked with a bitter fruit) and a whole array of desserts.
There are many places to try this food. Seri Nyonya Peranakan Restaurant on Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock (Heeren Street) serves food in the airy courtyard of a huge Peranakan house. Cafe 1511 serves local specialties at attractive prices in the same beautifully restored building as the Baba Nonya heritage museum. Ole Sayang Restaurant on Jalan Melaka Raya is one of the original Peranakan restaurants in town.
For something more casual, try the Jalan Kee Ann Night Open Air Eating Stalls, which are open from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. every day. This is a good place to watch the world go by while eating in the open air. Local cuisines include won ton mee, popiah, yew keow, sugar cane water, sup kambing, satay, etc. A local Chinese specialty is served at Hoe Kee Chicken Rice at Jalan Hang Jebat (Jonker Walk). You should get here early, or you'll end up in a queue to get a table.
Western food is available at most of the hotels and several restaurants. The Discovery Café's brightly painted facade is hard to miss. It offers free Internet access, cable TV, a pool table, dart games and many travel guides on its bookshelves. There is an open-air courtyard decked with barbecue benches and palm trees and a lovely balcony garden on the rooftop. Coconut House Studio, on Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock (Heeren Street), is popular for its wood-fired, thin-crust pizzas, which you can eat in a renovated Peranakan house complete with a courtyard.
Wok and Pan: East Meets West Cuisine, in Plaza Makhota, is popular for its pork ribs and pork chops. At the Portuguese Settlement, you can find excellent fried squid and Portuguese baked fish. Sibaraku, level two, Mahkota Parade, has two branches side by side; one branch serves only Japanese cuisine a la carte, the other serves all-you-can-eat Chinese and Japanese cuisine.
If you're looking for fresh seafood, try Medan Ikan Bakar Muara Sungai Duyung. Located along Jalan Padang Temu, the otak-otak, grilled fish and succulent prawns are especially popular.
When in Malacca, don't miss tasting "cendol," a sweet dessert of coconut milk, lurid green noodles and Malacca sugar made from palm sap. Clocktower Cendol, located by the Malacca River opposite the Red Square clock tower, is a good choice where you can have it plain or with red beans.