Peranakan Food at Restoran Ole Sayang, Malacca

While Malacca is a multi-racial community comprising Malays, Chinese and Indians, most tourists are still attracted by the rich Peranakan and Portuguese cultures unique to Malacca.

Apart from Penang, Malacca is the other city with the largest community of Peranakans in Malaysia. No visit to Malacca is complete without eating Peranakan food. Peranakan food is a marriage of Chinese and Malay cuisine, due to the large number of Chinese traders who settled in Malacca and married the Malays. So you get food that utilises Malay spices and Chinese styles of cooking and ingredients. The food is spicier than Chinese food, but milder than Malay food. Also, you get pork dishes in Peranakan cuisine.

Restoran Ole Sayang is one name that most hotel concierges (The Professor and Mr J too) would recommend to try. It's halal so they don't serve pork here. However, we didn't think it was that great. In fact, we thought it was pretty ordinary fare. I've personally tried better Peranakan food both in Malacca and Singapore.

We first got the Otak-Otak (RM10 per piece), which was chunky and fresh, with a hint of spice. We thought it heralded a memorable meal. Unfortunately, that was the only dish that made us go "wow".

The Telor Dadar (RM5), onion omelette, was fluffy and good, but also something we could have gotten in most cze char joints in Singapore.

The Ayam Pongteh (RM10), braised chicken with salted bean paste was a huge disappointment. It was so one-dimensional, and we felt they used way too much tau cheo (bean paste). It was very "jelat".

The Ayam Specialty of The Day was the Ayam Curry (RM10) was coconutty-rich and spicy, and the chicken was tender and juicy, but this was similarly easily obtainable at most Padang restaurants along Kandahar Street in Singapore.

The Sambal Sotong (RM9) was fresh, tender and spicy, even if the squid used was a little small. Still, I've had better elsewhere.

The Chap Chai (RM9) was another major disappointment. There was no depth in the dish, and it was bland. Usually, in really great Peranakan restaurants, the chap chye is braised in a chicken and vegetable-based broth for depth of flavour.

We also ordered a soup, the Sop Sayur (RM7), which was light and clear, but I could taste the MSG. The upside was that they were generous with the ingredients and the seafood was fresh.

Please note that the Sambal Balachan (RM1.50) is chargeable at 75 (Singapore) cents each. Despite its fiery hue, it really wasn't spicy. It was more salty than spicy, with the addition of cincalok (fermented baby shrimp) pounded into the thick paste. I liked it, the BF didn't. He felt there wasn't any "kick".

This was accompanied with Keropok (RM1), prawn crackers. We saw bunches of diners all taking away stacks of these.

The Chendol (RM1.60) was quite a letdown too. This was so ordinary. There wasn't enough gula melaka (palm sugar), and too much coconut milk. The green jelly was very ordinary too.

Ole Sayang's exterior as seen from the one-way Taman Melaka Raya.

The entrance to Ole Sayang.

Restoran Ole Sayang
198 & 199 Taman Malaka Raya
Tel: 06-283 1966 / 06-284 8234
Open daily from 11.30am to 2.30pm for lunches and from 6pm to 9.30pm for dinners. Closed on Wednesdays

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