Malacca was a Portuguese colony up to the 17th century and that unique history has resulted in a marriage of the Malay and Portuguese cultures and cuisines.
The Portuguese Settlement is a Kristang (creole Eurasian ethnic descendants of the Portuguese and local Malaccans, usually Malays, Indians or Chinese) community in Malacca. This is where you find the highest concentration of the Portuguese descendants, together with most of the Portuguese restaurants and pubs in Malacca.
We visited the Portuguese Settlement on Good Friday, but we should have known better. The Portuguese are known to be devout Catholics. So there were only 2 restaurants open for business that night. Still, we managed to have dinner along the stretch of 10 restaurants facing the sea. Although the seafood was fresh, the dinner wasn't anything we couldn't get back in Singapore.
We first got the Sambal Baked Fish (RM4 per 100g), a signature Portuguese dish that could be seen on almost every table that night. The fish was flaky, sweet and fresh, with a texture like that of a stingray. The sambal on the fish is slightly more piquant and less spicy than Singapore's version of sambal stingray.
We also ordered the Sambal Sotong (RM3 per 100g), which was fresh, tender and very chewable. The sambal was slightly more spicy than the baked fish one. This was also similar to what you get at Newton or Chomp Chomp.
The Butter Garlic Prawns (RM7 per 100g) was very yummy. The prawns were huge and fresh, and garlic was fried to a golden crisp and the buttery sauce was luscious.
The Mixed Vegetables (RM6) was simple homestyled fare, similar to what you get at normal cze char restaurants in Singapore.
The shop front.
Restoran De Costa's
No. 8 Medan Selera
Portuguese Settlement, Melaka
Tel: 017-329 8313
Open daily from 12pm to 1am