Sometimes in life, you get lucky... and it’s safe to say that I struck gold when I married my wife, ten years ago. As I have mentioned in my Facebook posting, hindsight is a wonderful thing - if I had known then what I know now, I would have married her sooner!
And so for our 10th year anniversary celebrations, we decided to head up to Melaka... just us and no kids. Amazingly, this has got to be the first time ever that we have left Singapore without the monkies and we were undeniably jittery about leaving them behind.
But we knew they would be in good hands as my parents and sister had offered to look after them for one night. In fact, I think we would miss the kids more than they would miss us!
No time for mulling though as we have a town to explore, and this time we can explore Melaka to our hearts' content without having to worry about the fatigue of the monkies. As usual, we stayed at the remarkable Courtyard @Heeren - which you can read my previous review HERE - but that's besides the point. The point was we were on a mission: to suss out new famed makan places to satisfy our bellies!
And one such eatery was Teo Soon Loong Chan Teochew Seafood Restaurant, a hidden gem just behind the bustling Jonker Street.
From the outside, Teo Soon Loong Chan looks like a rather dingy and nondescript hole-in-the-wall eating place. The entrance is almost entirely blocked by the outdoor kitchen, and one would have to squeeze through the kitchen to enter the restaurant. Definitely a first for us!
Once inside, I was struck by how tiny the entire place is. It can only fit between at most 8-9 tables which makes reservations a must. Luckily for us, we were there on a Friday evening and since there were only 2 of us, we managed to a snare a small table at the corner. I loved how the eatery exudes a unique cosiness feel. Granted the whole place looks dated and very retro but this is precisely the charm of the place.
The other unique point about this place is there isn't any written menu. Everyday there will be an array of fresh produce on display and you just pick what you want to eat and leave it to the cooks to whip up something tantalising.
Being our first time there, we left it to the boss, Towkay Tan who looks years younger than his 86-year-old age, to recommend some of his must-eat dishes. And every single one of them didn't disappoint.
A must-try is the signature Oyster Noodles, which was full of flavour. We were told to add vinegar to the noodles for that extra zing and it tasted even better! The Steamed Pomfret was super fresh and perfectly steamed in an appetizing gingerly broth. We had the Sweet Potato Leaves in Sambal too which was unlike anything we had tasted in Singapore, and also the Braised Pork with Bittergourd. The latter was heavenly, to put it mildly. The bittergourd was very soft and not bitter at all while the braised pork was so tender and succulent.
What's a hearty Teochew meal without washing down all those good food with a generous dose of orh-nee (a soft yam pudding) right? And my word, it was one of the best orh-nee I have ever tried! The yam paste was cooked perfectly, very creamy and smooth and not too sweet. And the cooked-and-pummeled -to-perfection concoction was enhanced with the sweet soft pumpkin and gingko. Definitely a must-try and they even sell frozen pre-packs for people to cart home.
One last quirky thing about the boss - he walks around the eatery to make sure that NOTHING is left on the plates! He demands that there is no food wastage... which explained why I had to finish the orh-nee despite a bulging belly.
Bulging belly or not, there was no stopping us in our next quest to find yet another famed eatery for nyonya food. Which brought us to Restoran Aunty Lee, a small and humble Peranakan eatery located some 20-30 minutes drive away from Melaka's historic centre at Ujong Pasir.
Like Teo Soon Loong Chan Teochew Seafood Restaurant, the interior brings about a homely kind of feel and reservations are also a must. Thanks goodness we were kiasu enough to head down at 11.30am and eventually managed to get ourselves a table as well.
We ordered the Ayam Buah Keluak which ranked as one of the best I had ever tried and the Ikan Bilis Sambal Petai which had the wifey purring. Two other note-worthy dishes we had were the Sambal Lady's Fingers and Mutton Curry, with the latter being a hit with the wifey despite her not being a huge fan of mutton!
Since there were only two of us ,we didn't get to try as many dishes as we would have liked - I heard the Cincalok Omelette is heavenly! - so I guess we would be making a trip down again soon... this time with a larger group of friends. Heh.
We shopped, we dined, we basked in the enjoyment of each other's exclusive company. And we thoroughly had a blast. A huge THANKS to my wonderful family for taking care of the monkies!
After 10 years of matrimony, I still want nothing more than to make the wifey happy and I was glad that she too enjoyed herself during our 1-night jaunt to Melaka. Thanks, my dear wifey, for everything all these years and here's to more wonderful times... AND more trips as a couple! :)
Teo Soon Loong Chan Teochew Seafood Restaurant
55 Jalan Hang Kasturi, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia
Tel: +606 282 2353
Opening Hours: 12pm-2.30pm; 6pm-9.30pm (closed on Mondays)
Restoran Aunty Lee
385 Jalan Ujong Pasir, 75050 Melaka, Malaysia
Tel: +606 283 1009
Opening Hours: 11.30am-2.30pm; 6pm-10pm