I have been to Melaka a couple of years ago and first tried Nyonya food at Nancys. This is in the Lonely Planet and was also featured on Rick Steins TV show so is perhaps quite well known. To he honest I wasn’t all that impressed. Much less known is Aunty Lees. It’s a short cab ride outside the main tourist area but so worth it.
I have also had Nyonya cooking at Mama’s in Penang. There I had otak otak which was like a fish mousse rich with coconut and lemongrass. Here it was more like a fish terrine. Not bad but I much preferred the version in Penang. It was though atypical for Melaka as most otak otak is I believe more like a fish cake.
The dish I really wanted to try was Ayam buah keluak and it didn’t disappoint. Pieces of chicken on the bone in a rich gravy. Lots of lovely lemongrass and lime leaf flavours and if course the rich earthiness of the candlenuts.
We could only order the ayam buah keluak once we absolutely promised to eat the nuts that came with the dish. Apparently there’s quite a lot of prep involved- (The nuts used have been covered in ash for a few months and then soaked for a couple of days before the fermented flesh is extracted, minced with prawns and stuffed back into the shell.) Yep I’d say that’s a fair bit of prep.
We also ordered Nyonya chap chai. This was a good counterpoint to the ayam buah keluk. I liked the funkiness from the fermented beans and slight sourness from the cabbage.
To drink we had their excellent fresh juices. I can’t recall what the missus had but my soursop juice was lovely.
Aunty Lee Restaurant
385 Jalan Ujong Pasir
Taman Sinn, 75050 Melaka
Tel: + 6 06 283 1009