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World Heritage List

Melaka Culture

Overview
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In the month of July of 2008, Melaka got included in World Heritage List along with Penang’s capital, George Town. Even though the multi-racial population of the place consists mainly of Chinese, Indians and Malays, the Portuguese and Peranakan culture which is still practiced by a few descendant communities gains the major attention from tourists. Peranakans or Baba Nyonya are believed to be descendants as a result of intermarriage between Chinese and Malay. The male Peranakans are referred to as ‘Babas’ whereas the females are referred to as ‘Nyonya’.

The language spoken by the Peranakans is known as ‘Baba Malay’ which consists of a few elements of Hokkien language. There are quite a few museums present in the city of Melaka but the most important are Malacca Sultanate Palace Museum and Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum. Melaka is also the place where the Sikh community is available in large numbers. The gurdwara located in Jalan Temenggong is the place where the Sikh community offers their prayers.

Descendants of Portuguese colonists from sixteenth and seventeenth century are present till this day in Melaka. Portuguese Creole is generally the language spoken by them and most of the traditions which originated from Portuguese occupation are being practised still today. Portuguese dishes like Ikan Bakar, Alai, Serkam and Umbai are quite popular in some of the restaurants of Melaka.


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Culture

Culture

The historic centre of Malacca was inscribed on the World Heritage List on 7 July 2008 together with George Town, the capital of Penang.

The Malays who are the original settlers of Malacca since 1400, form the largest community. The Malaccan Malays are rich in culture from their daily life to the building arts. The famous Malacca Steps or Tangga Melaka are common in front of many Malay houses in Malacca.

Two of the most important museums in Malacca are the Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum and the Melaka Sultanate Palace Museum.

Malacca is well-known for its food. Most notable of all is the traditional Malay dishes like ikan asam pedas, sambal belacan and cencaluk.

Belacan, a Malay variety of shrimp paste, is prepared from fresh tiny shrimp of a species known as geragau in Malay. These are mashed into a paste and Dried in little mashed lumps, then pounded again and formed into large balls, dried again for a week or so, wrapped in plastic and stored for future use. It is in this form that most of these blachan balls are sold .Belacan is used as an ingredient in many dishes, or eaten on its own with rice. A common preparation is sambal belacan, made by mixing belacan with chilli peppers, minced garlic, shallot paste and sugar and then fried. The aroma from the frying mixture can be unpalatable to Westerners who have not become accustomed to it, but is an absolute delight to the Asian connoisseur. Melaka is also famous for satay celup. Raw fish and meat are skewered onto sticks which is then cooked in a peanut sauce. The satay celup is often self service where you pay for individual sticks.

There is also Nyonya-Baba cuisine which is a mixture of Chinese (mostly southern Hokkien or Fujian influence), Portuguese, Dutch, Indian, British and Malay cooking with most dishes being spicy in nature. Interesting dishes of the Peranakan include Itek Tim (a soup containing duck and salted vegetables), Ayam Pong Teh (chicken casserole with salted brown-bean sauce which is usually served with potatoes) as well as the famous Nyonya Laksa. Chicken Rice Ball is another dish popular with domestic Chinese tourists.

Malacca’s ethnic Portuguese population are the descendants of Portuguese colonists from the 16th and 17th centuries. Even to this day, many of the ancient traditions passed down since the Portuguese occupation are still practised, i.e. “Intrudu” from Portuguese word “Entrudo” (a water festival that marks the beginning of Lent, the Catholic fasting period), “branyu” (traditional dance), “Santa Cruz” (a yearly Festival of street celebrations).

The Portuguese colonists contributed dishes like Devil’s Curry and Portuguese egg tarts to the town’s already rich cuisine. Ikan Bakar (roasted fish) restaurants in Umbai, Serkam and Alai are also popular. http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php