Cuisine in Melaka


14 December 2012 | last updated at 08:07AM
Malacca traffic jam soon to be history

By Jason Gerald |

TRAM OPERATING ON NGV: RM272 million project will begin in February next year
WITH the sounds of Christmas Jingles echoing in malls and popular tourist destinations, such as the Jonker Walk, and the curtains closing slowly but definitely for this year, the traffic in the city is starting to become a nightmare.

Unlike the previous months where traffic and people only flock the Historical City over the weekends, the current school holidays and the rush by almost everyone to strike out their remaining annual leave, the number of people and vehicles coming into Malacca and leaving has almost doubled in December.

Not only are the exits to Malacca via the Simpang Ampat, Ayer Keroh and Jasin exits along the North-South Expressway experiencing a crawl but almost all roads leading to the city centre is seeing a bumper to bumper traffic.

However, this is the small sacrifice that people in Malacca have to pay to ensure the Historical City remains a vibrant tourist destination, as tourism is one of the main income generators for the state coffers and many businesses involved in the hospitality industry.

And the traffic congestion would become part of history when the much awaited Malacca Tram, a RM272 million project undertaken by Mrails International Sdn Bhd in collaboration with Chief Minister Incorporated (CMI), begins in February next year.
The tram, operating on liquefied natural gas (NGV), would be capable of ferrying 120 passengers at any one time at a speed of 40kph and would begin from its depot next to the Ayer Keroh toll plaza and head to the heritage zone of Malacca — covering a distance of 40km and serving 11 of 14 major tourist spots.

Among the popular spots the tram will pass on its route are Hotel Seri Malaysia, Botanical Gardens, Melaka Zoo, Melaka International Trade Centre, Taman Muzaffar Shah, Pantai Hospital, Masjid Al-Azim, Hospital Melaka, Renaissance Hotel, Dataran Pahlawan, Hotel Mahkota, Harbour Club, Equatorial Hotel and Bukit Baru.

With the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) giving the “green light” for implementation of the tram project, although the law on the transport system is yet to be completed, the tram could very soon be seen plying the “tourism” routes in the state.

SPAD chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar said technical work such as the building of tracks and depots could still proceed and “there is still time to formulate the law” for the tram.

Syed Hamid also recently said SPAD had held discussions with the Attorney-General’s Chambers in drafting the law for tabling in Parliament before gazetting.
SPAD would ask for a detailed report on security and maintenance aspects of the tram system from the project developer to ensure its smooth operation.

When the Malacca Tram starts its operations, in about a year after the project starts in February, it is expected that some 110,000 passengers will use the service on weekdays and 210,000 on weekends.

Mrails is working with CNR Tangshan Railway Vehicles Co Ltd, a Chinese-based locomotive manufacturer, for the building of the coaches.

The tram is a rail borne vehicle, lighter than a train and differs from other forms of locomotion, as the tracks are embedded in the street.

It is able to accommodate 120 passengers at one time, caters to the disabled because of its ground-level design and will operate at speeds of 40kph.

Ticket for the tram ride is priced at RM2 for a single journey but students and senior citizens ride for free. A day pass, priced at RM5 is also available.

When launching the Tram project in February, last year, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak stressed that despite the nation’s quest for greater modernisation, emphasis must be placed on environmentally-friendly technology to ensure sustainability and low carbon emissions.

He said long-term environmental conservation efforts were important and should not be compromised at the cost of development and that the Malacca Tram project was iconic, not only for the state, but for the nation as well.

This “next generation tram” is the world’s first environmentally-friendly tram that runs on NGV engine. Najib said the project was suitable to be introduced here as it was in line with the state’s slogan “Where It All Began”.

Tourism Malaysia

A Malaysian Cooking Up a Storm in a Japanese Kitchen

October 20, 2011 at 12:00 pm

What makes a good chef? Is it merely just his cooking? Or are there other contributing factors that gives a chef the honour of being known as a great chef? The team recently met up with Sous Chef Mohd. Zamri at Sagano in Renaissance Hotel for a brief chat about his food and him being nominated as one of the chefs participating in the Malaysia International Gourmet Festival 2011.

Sous Chef Mohd Zamri – a simple and elegant man

The cosy atmosphere of Sagano Restaurant in Renaissance Hotel makes dining an unforgettable experience

One of the first things that one may notice when conversing with Sous Chef Mohd Zamri is the fact that he is a very humble person. When asked about his scrumptious creations for the gourmet festival, he explains that this year’s menu was inspired by the previous menus created for this event. Sous Chef Mohd. Zamri is a person who prefers to let his food do all the talking, as everyone knows that good food always speak volumes. His creations are elegant and simple and is a reflection of the person itself.

The ingredients used for Wagyu Striploin and trio of mushroom with wasabi-teriyaki sauce

It was by coincidence that Sous Chef Mohd. Zamri ended up where he is now. He started out working in one of the top five Japanese restaurants in 1988, where jobs were hard to come by as a result of the economy downturn. What started out as ‘fun’ job turned into a lifelong passion after he fell in love with it. Sous Chef Mohd. Zamri then went on to work in one of the Japanese restaurants at SOGO shopping mall before moving on to Nikko Hotel, where he stayed on for twelve years. When asked about his memorable times during his career, he smiled and remarked that it was during his tenure as a chef in Nikko Hotel where he had the opportunity to serve three different Japanese Prime Ministers during their visits to Malaysia. He even had the chance to serve the Japanese Emperor when he was visited Malaysia!

Sous Chef Mohd. Zamri putting on a demonstration on the preparation of one of the MIGF dishes

The menu that is available for this year’s gourmet festival is a testimony of his cooking talents drawn from 23 years of preparing Japanese cuisine. Sous Chef Mohd. Zamri has prepared a stupendous feast for all, featuring some of the favourite ingredients frequently used in Japanese cuisine like soft-shell crab, unagi, salmon, cod fish and wagyu beef. The price of the menu is set at RM 138.00++ per person (without wine) and RM 188.00 ++ per person (with wine). There is also the light Festival Menu, priced at RM 108.00 ++ per person (without wine) which comes with appetizers, soup, choice of one (1) main and dessert, suitable for those who would like a quick bite. The entire menu is definitely value for money.

Medium Rare Atlantic Salmon and Grated Yam, Hot Spicy Sauce and Ikura

From Top to Bottom: Deep Fried Soft Shell Crab with Sticky Ginger Soy Sauce, Egg Tofu and Boiled Live Prawn with Bainiku Sauce, Unagi Sushi with Seaweed Sauce

Sagano Wagyu striploin and trio of mushroom, wasabi-teriyaki sauce

Sagano is not the only restaurant of the Renaissance Hotel that is participating in the Malaysia International Gourmet Festival 2011. The hotel is offering a double delight promotion, featuring Sagano and Dynasty Restaurant, a Cantonese cuisine restaurant. The package is also priced at RM 138.00++ per person (without wine) and RM 188.00 ++ per person (with wine). For those who are on a diet, there is also the light Festival Menu, priced at RM 108.00 ++ per person (without wine) which comes with appetizers, soup, choice of one (1) main and dessert.

For more information and reservations, please call 03 – 2162 2233 or email

All prices are subject to 10% service charge and 6% service tax. Dynasty Restaurant is a non-halal restaurant.

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Tourism Malaysia

Malaysia International Gourmet Festival 2011

October 14, 2011 at 12:00 pm

It is undeniable that one of the country’s best attraction is its food, and for the whole month of October tourists and locals alike can check out the fine dining scene at some of the best restaurants in Malaysia during the Malaysia International Gourmet Festival 2011. Food lovers can choose from a myriad of cuisine from 28 restaurants nationwide, ranging from East and West to fusion cuisine, from authentic to modern and spicy to sublime.

MIGF 2011

Malaysia International Gourmet Festival 2011

Some of the restaurants that are participating in this event are Sagano and Dynasty from Renaissance Hotel which serve Japanese and Chinese cuisine, Al-Amar Restaurant at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur which serves Lebanese cuisine, Lafite from Shangri-La Hotel offering European cuisine and The Pomelo from The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat in Perak, which prides itself with its Spa cuisine.

Another special privilege during the Malaysia International Gourmet Festival is that diners can also choose to book MIGF Gourmet Tours, which package the purchaser’s fine-dining experience with deals on accommodation, golf, spas and city tours. The MIGF Gourmet Tours package includes four nights hotel accommodation inclusive of daily breakfast, return airport transfers to and from the hotel of your choice, four gourmet meals of your own choosing, transfers to and from the hotel to those selected restaurants, one festival cooking class with return transfer, one half day city tour of Kuala Lumpur and one return transfers to and from optional activities. For full listing of other participating restaurants and eateries or more information, please log on to MIGF’s website here.

Photo (c) Malaysia International Gourmet Festival 2011

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Cuisine in Melaka


State’s first fleet of metered cabs

KUALA LUMPUR: Historical city, Malacca, has added another feather to its cap by having its first metered taxi service called 1Malaysia Cab.

Operated by Warisan Astana Sdn Bhd, the 1Malaysia Cab services started in Malacca in October last year.

It offers Malacca folk and tourists metered taxi services that can be hired via its hunting line.

Warisan Astana executive director Ismail Mahmood said there are 20 executive cabs in Malacca and their fleet are easily recognisable through the trademark blue colour codes. The cars used are Kia Optima and Toyota Innova.

Six months into its operations, Ismail said the service is well-received by both locals and tourists with a cab making an average of seven to eight trips daily.

By end of the year, Ismail said the company is targeting to increase the number of cabs to 50.

“We decided to start this taxi service as there are a lot of city taxis here that don’t use meters. They are said to be charging passengers exorbitantly, between RM15 to RM20, for a short ride from Bandar Hilir to Jonker Street. We’ve tested the system and our meter showed that the trip costs only about RM9.

“Our presence in Malacca does not threaten the livelihood of other cabbies as we focus largely on tourists. We can also ferry passengers all over the country through a packaged deal.

“We complement the city taxis as Malacca does not have executive taxi services. Besides, the public now has an option in terms of transport,” said Ismail.

1Malaysia Cab services operate on a tariff approved by the government. Ismail said the meter starts at RM6 and for every 100m it travels, there will be a 20 sen increase.

If the taxi is stationary, the meter jumps 20 sen every 20 seconds. If a passenger calls for a taxi through its hunting line, an additional RM2 will be charged.

Asked if the starting price of RM6 was steep, Ismail said: “We want passengers to try out our executive taxis because our vehicles are comfortable and spacious. We prioritise the safety of our passengers and our taxis are equipped with Global Positioning System devices and their whereabouts can be tracked.

“The GPS system also allows us to inform our passengers the taxis estimated time of arrival at their doorstep should they call for one through the hunting line. Those are our added services.

“Also, the issue of our drivers not using meters will not arise as we have installed seat sensors that activate the meter automatically. Receipts will be issued upon request,” he said.

As part of its promotional campaign to increase awareness of its service, Ismail said they’re offering a 20 per cent discount to passengers.

Warisan Astana is also working with hotels such as A’Famosa Resort in Alor Gajah and Renaissance Hotel that allow its executive taxis to be based on their premises for the use of hotel guests.

Pahlawan Mall in Bandar Hilir, he added, has also allowed Warisan Astana to have its own taxi stand in front of the complex.

On May 1, they are expected to start their services at the Malacca International Airport.

The 1Malaysia Cab is based at the Malacca International Trade Centre in Ayer Keroh. It operates from 6am to midnight daily. For a cab, call 06-2331 666.