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Jalan Tukang Besi

Jonker Street’s coffee underground: The ultimate Malaccan café hop!

By Kenny Mah

Patrons at The Daily Fix are a mix of locals and tourists. — Pictures by CK LimPatrons at The Daily Fix are a mix of locals and tourists. — Pictures by CK LimMALACCA, June 7 — Possibly the most popular destination in my hometown, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Malacca, has to be Jonker Street. Pre-war Peranakan residences are transformed into tourist magnets filled with antiques, souvenirs, museums, homestays and eateries offering Nyonya laksa, dodol (durian candy) and the infamous chicken rice balls.

Lesser known are the growing number of artisanal cafés that serve coffee and fusion fare in nostalgic environments harking back to the good old days. (Except “the good old days” these days come with a decent flat white made by local hippie baristas.)

What better way to explore these coffee havens than to embark on a full day of café hopping? You have to start at Jonker Street (officially known as Jalan Hang Jebat) naturally. Hidden in the back of a souvenir store is The Daily Fix, a surprisingly sunny café (thanks to the natural light from the air-well in the interior courtyard).

A wall of colourful enamel dishes at The Daily Fix.A wall of colourful enamel dishes at The Daily Fix.The brainchild of owner Julian Yeo, The Daily Fix has an easy-going Antipodean meets historical Malacca ambience. Vibrant mismatched furniture share the space with a wall of colourful enamel dishes. A profusion of green plants brings a tranquil side of nature indoors.

The café gets its beans from a variety of coffee roasters; recent offerings include Toraja from Sprezzatura Coffee and Nuts+Bolts from Pulp by Papa Palheta. For sweet treats, try the Pandan Gula Melaka Pancakes, fluffy and redolent of the aromatic screwpine leaves and local palm sugar. The mint cake is another fresh bite, when they have it.

The Daily Fix’s Pandan Gula Melaka Pancakes are fluffy and redolent of aromatic screwpine leaves and local palm sugar.The Daily Fix’s Pandan Gula Melaka Pancakes are fluffy and redolent of aromatic screwpine leaves and local palm sugar.To reach the second café, turn left from Jonker Street into Jalan Hang Kasturi and then right into Jalan Tukang Besi. This street is thus named thanks to the former metal workers who used to ply their trade here. That slice of history comes alive at Kaya Kaya Café, where even the reclaimed wood tables are adorned with antiquated metalwork.

Rattan chairs abound in the interior courtyard. A two-storey wall mural here declares the origin of the café’s name: in Zulu, “kaya” means “home”, while in Turkish, it means “stone”, which is quite appropriate for a “stone home” with lots of exposed red brick walls.

Malacca Elvis — a pancake version of Elvis Presley’s favourite peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwich — is Kaya Kaya Café’s signature dish.Malacca Elvis — a pancake version of Elvis Presley’s favourite peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwich — is Kaya Kaya Café’s signature dish.Besides coffee, Kaya Kaya Café also offers homemade pandan and lemongrass brews as well as Fuller’s Organic Honey Dew beer for those who enjoy a zesty tipple. Manager Pak Siew Yong, a former Malaccan tea house owner, recommends their signature Malacca Elvis, a pancake take on the King of Rock and Roll’s beloved peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwich.

A two-storey wall mural at Kaya Kaya Café tells the story of the café’s name.A two-storey wall mural at Kaya Kaya Café tells the story of the café’s name.Next, enjoy a leisurely stroll towards the Malacca River, before turning left into Lorong Hang Jebat and crossing the bridge over the river. Hidden in Lorong Jambatan, a quiet back alley, is a tiny café named after its address: Alley No. 5. Its secluded location means you can sip your cuppa while enjoying some peace away from the tourist hordes of Jonker Street.

Owner Yalu also runs The Bridge Loft, a popular homestay for backpackers above the café. The retro décor draws from a 1960s palette of Shanghainese sirens crooning on old radios. During its golden past, the alley and nearby Kampung Java used to bustle with opium dens, brothels and Chinese theatres.

A refreshing affogato at Alley No. 5, for those sweltering Malaccan afternoons (left). The secluded Alley No. 5 is located downstairs, below The Bridge Loft, a popular homestay for backpackers (right).A refreshing affogato at Alley No. 5, for those sweltering Malaccan afternoons (left). The secluded Alley No. 5 is located downstairs, below The Bridge Loft, a popular homestay for backpackers (right).Today, only a few traditional businesses such as goldsmiths, barber shops, and a rubber stamp manufacturer have survived but Alley No. 5 continues to draw a lively and dedicated evening clientele with their regularly held musical performances by local indie bands.

To continue, walk along Jalan Kampung Pantai away from the river. As you turn left into Jalan Hang Lekiu, you will stumble upon Eat @ 18, our fourth stop. The café takes up the ground floor of a two-storey shophouse; the upstairs is occupied by a boutique hotel called Opposite Place.

The French toast at Eat @ 18 is made from bread made freshly daily by baker Eli Lum, who also runs the café (left). The pebbled walkway of Eat @ 18’s front patio (right).The French toast at Eat @ 18 is made from bread made freshly daily by baker Eli Lum, who also runs the café (left). The pebbled walkway of Eat @ 18’s front patio (right).Eat @ 18 is run by baker Eli Lum, whose artisanal breads are swiftly earning a following here. The preservative-free, organic breads are featured in dishes such as Lum’s signature French toast with fresh fruit, homemade strawberry jam and cream. Some of the loaves can be found hanging from the exposed brick wall as menu adornments.

The sunlit communal table at Eat @ 18 is surrounded by hanging plants.The sunlit communal table at Eat @ 18 is surrounded by hanging plants.From the pebbled walkway of the front patio to the communal table surrounded by hanging plants, Eat @ 18 is perfect hideaway for lovers of brunch fare and coffee to linger over. Lum also sells a wide variety of cookies under her Knead & Simple brand.

Baristas Chong Joe Yee and Jacqueline Wen serve up espresso beverages and single-origin brews at Mods Café.Baristas Chong Joe Yee and Jacqueline Wen serve up espresso beverages and single-origin brews at Mods Café.Head along Jalan Tukang Emas next till it turns into Jalan Tokong, so named thanks to Cheng Hoon Teng, Malaysia’s oldest traditional Chinese temple. Just before you reach the temple, you will pass a row of the shops selling joss sticks and hardware. Nestled in its midst is Mods Café, possibly the most retro café in the country.

Customers at Mods Café sit opposite an orange Volkswagen Classic Bus that doubles as a coffee bar.Customers at Mods Café sit opposite an orange Volkswagen Classic Bus that doubles as a coffee bar.Its claim to this reputation is a bright orange Volkswagen Classic Bus inside that doubles as a coffee bar. Baristas Chong Joe Yee and Jacqueline Wen serve up espresso beverages and single-origin brews in this space inspired by the mod culture of Britain during the early to mid-1960s.

Pony-tailed owner Abert Khow is also the resident coffee roaster, the only one in Malacca. The roasting takes place in the rear, where the roasting machine shares a room with Khow’s drum set. With beer cans from around the world adorning the walls and the Union Jack flying proud, experience the invasion of the Beatles era once more.

Get dainty desserts and espresso-based drinks from Backlane Coffee’s long, white-bricked bar.Get dainty desserts and espresso-based drinks from Backlane Coffee’s long, white-bricked bar.Complete your café crawl by returning to Jonker Street from its intersection with Jalan Tokong. Look out for the Koong Woh Tong herbal jelly outlet; hidden inside past a row of souvenir shops is Backlane Coffee, so named because its other entrance opens out to a side alley at the intersection of Heeren Street (Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock) and Jalan Kubu.

The large windows facing this back lane allows plenty of natural sunlight in, making this the brightest café by far. The décor is vintage yet clean, with a turquoise vinyl record player playing sentimental tunes from the 1970s and yellowing maps on the wall. A long, white-bricked bar showcases the freshly made desserts Backlane Coffee is known for.

Backlane Coffee’s salted caramel tart with Ruby Salt and a gula Melaka-infused meringue topping.Backlane Coffee’s salted caramel tart with Ruby Salt and a gula Melaka-infused meringue topping.Try their signature salted caramel tart with Ruby Salt and gula Melaka meringue topping or one of their macarons — the teh tarik and Earl Grey flavours are popular. Sip on freshly brewed coffee made from a house blend of Columbia, Java and Sumatra beans. Every cuppa is accompanied by a buttery cookie stamped with the café’s name.

Who knew historical Malacca had so many hidden cafés to uncover? Have fun tracking each one down!

The Daily Fix
55 Jalan Hang Jebat, Malacca
Open daily 10am-5:30pm except Tue closed
Tel: 06-283 4858
www.facebook.com/thedailyfixcafe

Kaya Kaya Café
32 Jalan Tukang Besi, Malacca
Open daily 8.00am to 6.00pm
Tel: 018-984 5351
www.facebook.com/kayakayacafelol

Alley No. 5
16 Lorong Jambatan, Kampong Pantai, Malacca
Open Mon-Sat 10am-5pm; Sun 10am-3pm
Tel: 016-415 5097
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alley-No5-五号/1411295249150289

Eat @ 18
18 Jalan Hang Lekiu, Malacca
Open daily 8:30am-6pm except Tue closed
Tel: 06-281 4679
www.facebook.com/eatat18

Mods Café
14 Jalan Tokong, Malacca
Open daily 10am-6pm except Wed closed
Tel: 012-756 4441
www.facebook.com/modscafe

Backlane Coffee
129 Jalan Hang Jebat, Malacca
Tel: 06-282 0542
Open Sun-Thu 11am-11pm; Fri-Sat 11am-12am
www.facebook.com/pages/Backlane-Coffee/574343952693116

- See more at: http://m.themalaymailonline.com/eat-drink/article/jonker-streets-coffee-underground-the-ultimate-malaccan-cafe-hop#sthash.nww1RMTX.dpuf

Sibu Street Art 2016

The Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) has begun the Sibu Street Art 2016, a campaign which comprises of 10 murals in different locations throughout Sibu to commemorate the story of the Sibu’s culture, heritage and lifestyle.

Eight of the murals have already been completed, while two are still underway, all of which are being painted by local artists.

With the differing styles of the artists, as well as the diverse and personal themes adopted by them in designing and painting the murals, the Street Art has turned out to be a colorful and diverse project, perfectly illustrating the communities that call Sibu home.

Sibu Street Art 2016-1

Sibu Street Art 2016-2The murals can be found in the areas indicated within the map above, with the following indications:

  1. Wharf Laborer (Coolie)
  2. Sibu Local Delicacies
  3. Wrapped Chicken and Duck
  4. Childhood Memories
  5. Butterfly
  6. Old Bus
  7. Scenery of Dian Mian Hu Stall
  8. Batik

Wharf Laborer (Coolie)

The first mural is that of a Wharf Laborer or ‘coolie’ and reflects the early days of Sibu of the 1950s and 1960s periods whereby coolies were a common sight at the wharf, carrying and loading goods to and from express boats. The mural is located at Khoo Peng Loong road, which used to be a bustling wharf.

Sibu Street Art 2016-3

The Wharf Laborer (Coolie) Mural at Khoo Peng Loong Road, by Mr. Lau Sei Kwong and Mdm. Lilian Tang Siu Hui.

Sibu Local Delicacies

The second mural shows well known Sibu delicacies such as Kampua Mee and Kompia, all of which signify the multi-racial street foods of Sibu’s society. This mural can be located at Market Road, along with the delicacies themselves.

Sibu Street Art 2016-4
Sibu Street Art 2016-5
 Sibu Street Art 2016-6
 Sibu Street Art 2016-7
 Sibu Street Art 2016-8
 Sibu Street Art 2016-9

Sibu Local Delicacies Mural at Market Road, by Mr. Lau Sei Kwong and Mdm. Lilian Tang Siu Hui.

Wrapped Chicken and Duck

Located at the Sibu Central Market, facing Jalan Bengkel’s direction, you can find the Wrapped Chicken and Duck mural. This mural features a unique selling technique by Sibu hawkers, which is wrapping live chickens or ducks in tubes of newspapers, then tying them with nylon strings to form sort of “handle” by leaving the birds’ heads protruding at one end before putting them on shelves for selling. In a humorous twist, the mural also has empty speech bubbles, as though the chickens and ducks are conversing with each other as they wait on the shelves.

Sibu Street Art 2016-10

Wrapped Chicken and Duck Mural at Sibu Central Market, by Mr. Lau Sei Kwong and Mdm. Lilian Tang Siu Hui.

Childhood Memories

This heartwarming mural can be found in the middle of Sibu Central Market, on the second floor. Just as the name indicates, the Childhood Memories mural illustrates a typical Sibu childhood life during the 1980s, featuring games, toys and ice treats reminiscent of those pre-internet days.

Sibu Street Art 2016-11

Childhood Memories Mural at Sibu Central Market (2nd floor), by Mr. Lau Sei Kwong and Mdm. Lilian Tang Siu Hui.

Butterfly

Painted at Side wall of River Park Hotel at Jalan Maju, just behind Li Hua Hotel, is the Butterfly Mural. This beautiful mural, in true Sibu fashion, shows a mix of different ethnic elements and concepts to portray the unity yet diversity of the Sibu communities.

Sibu Street Art 2016-12Butterfly
Sibu Street Art 2016-13Butterfly

Butterfly Mural at River Park Hotel at Jalan Maju, by Mr. Lau Sei Kwong and Mdm. Lilian Tang Siu Hui.

Old Bus

Located at Jalan Tukang Besi (painted at the wall next to Western Union walkway lane), is the Old Bus mural which symbolizes a huge part of the lifestyle of the Sibu community in the 60s and 70s, when the buses served as the town’s main public transport.

Sibu Street Art 2016-14Bus

Old Bus Mural at Jalan Tukang Besi, by Edmund Wong Yik Tze

Scenery of Dian Mian Hu Stall

Also located at Jalan Tukang Besi, just around the corner to the Old Bus mural, is the Scenery of Dian Mian Hu Stall mural. This mural features a significant stall operator who has spent 56 years operating a Dian Mian Hu stall, with the intention of relieving feelings of homesickness for those studying and working abroad.

Sibu Street Art 2016-15

Scenery of Dian Mian Hu Stall mural at Jalan Tukang Besi, by Braden Tiong

Batik

The 8th and final (for now) mural is located in front of the UTC building and Sibu Central Market. Entitled Batik, the mural celebrates one of the elements that has contributed to cultural harmony in Malaysia and is widely accepted by all races and communities throughout the city, state and the country as a whole.

Sibu Street Art 2016-16

Batik mural in front of UTC Building and Sibu Central market, by Mr. Lau Sei Kwong Mdm. Lilian Tang Siu Hui

Editor: Daniella

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