The first thing I noticed when planning my ride to Malacca/Melaka/Malaka was that there doesn't seem to be any consistent spelling of the name.
That being said, there are consistencies between the city named M and many other of its South East Asian counterparts. Congested , dirty, sprawling, poluted, disorganised, and without a single pair of synchronised trafffic lights.
The food, however, is well worth the trip (except for the Portuguese Settlement, but more on that in a bit). The cuisine is Nyonya/Baba, which I believe is a culture that arose out of the intermarriage between Malay aboriginals and Chinese settlers back in the day. The food is a bit like the matrix - you have to experience it to understand, but I can say that it's a little bit tart, a little bit sweet, a little bit chilli-ish, a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll.
Anyway, lunch was indubitably the highlight of the trip. And so, having partaken of the provender for which the region is famous, I decided in my wisdom to check out the other cooking style for which I assumed it would be equally renowned; Portuguese.
Ha. One taxi ride through seventeen smelly neighbourhoods later we were duly deposited at the so-called Portuguese Settlement. In a word, it's dying. The food was decidedly unportuguese. Where were the hearty stews, firey chicken, chouricos, peri-peri squid, fried eggs and chips I find myself craving. Nowhere to be seen is the answer. What we did find, though, was the dodgiest bar in all of Negiri Sembilan, a couple of piss-cats playing pool. I seem to gravitate to these places.
On a creative note, the area in which we boarded - ChinaTown - is one big photo-op. I've included one image here, but if you're curious, please check out my Flickr space, where I will try to post a few of the more intresting pics in due course. Link in the side bar.