By Kenny Mah
MALACCA, 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).
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.
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.