Melaka is famous for its belacan. Many tourists who visit our historic state will buy belacan for themselves and as gifts for family and friends back home. For the uninitiated, belacan is simply dried shrimp paste. Not just any shrimp, mind you. Only shrimp locally known as “geragau” is used. The fresh geragau caught with special nets usually during low tide by the Portuguese fishermen will be mixed with salt and shaped into round patties and left to dry under the hot sun. Once ready, it will be individually packed in plastic and sold at wet markets and sundry shops. Local snack shops in town do stock belacan (the handicraft mall opposite the Samudera Museum and the Heritage Zone in Dataran Pahlawan) but purists will agree that the best and freshest is only available at wet markets and at the pasar malam (night market). For the record, there are some locals who shun commercially sold belacan and will only cook using homemade belacan made by themselves or by relatives. However, since the majority of us are not as lucky or privileged as these folks, belacan sold in the shops will have to do.
Well, to those unfamiliar with Malaysian food, belacan in its raw form often provokes interesting reactions mainly because of its strong and distinctive smell. Once toasted over the stove, it releases a different smell which some would describe as an appetizing aroma while others would claim it is a foul odour. Aroma or odour, belacan is often the essential ingredient in many signature dishes like Assam Pedas Melaka, sambal belacan, masak lemak, laksa Nyonya, sambal tumis and many more. There is no substitute for this ingredient and any cook who attempts to leave it out while cooking those dishes will find out that their food will be tasteless and flat.
So if you plan to visit Melaka, don’t forget to buy belacan. It is not easy to find Made in Melaka belacan in other states and that is the reason why so many local tourists often buy it here or ask friends and relatives who visit Melaka to get them a few pieces. Homestay Warisan Melaka sells special hampers which contain the best belacan, dodol, cincalok and gula Melaka all sourced from reputable manufacturers. Our hampers are packed attractively and make good presents for your family and friends. Retailing at only RM50-00 a hamper, we have done all the hard work for you by procuring from only the best. And if you are stumped or clueless on what to do with the belacan, cincalok and gula Melaka in our hamper, just refer to the recipe booklet enclosed within. To order or enquire about our hampers, please call Miss Siti Aishah at 06-2323 653 or email [email protected] Delivery to your accommodation operator can be arranged.
HAPPY EATING AND HAPPY COOKING!
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