If you had read my post yesterday (ibis Melaka, Hotel in the Heart of the Action), you would know that I went to Melaka armed with a list of eateries that I compiled after speaking to some locals.
It was essential that I dine at places that only the community know best, rather than mainstream touristy spots. Even though ultimately, most of my meals were taken care of at ibis kitchen, I was able to make time for one place and it happened to be Ta Chi Nyonya House.
Ta Chi, or literally Big Sister, has been in business for the past 12 years. Located at the corner shophouse opposite St. Peter’s Church, Melaka, it’s very easy to overlook it as vehicles normally overshoot the corner, but of course, the locals are familiar with that area.
Ta Chi Nyonya House is led by Nyonya Florence Tong in the kitchen, with front of the house managed by her husband, Peter Yong. Therefore, when dining at Ta Chi Nyonya House, consider yourself returning to your grandparents’ home for a meal: home-cooked, warm and cosy.
So, what was lunch at Ta Chi Nyonya House? Only signature dishes as you can see from these photos: Nyonya Lemak Laksa, Nyonya Nasi Lemak, Nyonya Otak-Otak, Tauhu Bakar, Nyonya Mee Siam, and desserts of traditional Nyonya dumpling (chang) complemented by Durian Cendol and fusion Peranakan Coffee. The Peranakan Coffee is one of its kind that’s only available at Ta Chi as it’s a creation of the barista son of Florence and Peter.
The Nyonya Lemak Laksa was surprisingly rather spicy for me as I have avoided spicy food for quite a while. This Nyonya-style laksa was prepared in rich, spiced coconut soup. It was served with a full egg, cut into halves, and a large prawn.
The Nyonya Nasi Lemak with rendang ayam is another crowd favourite. The rice is cooked and coloured with the blue of bunga telang (Clitoria ternatea). What makes or breaks nasi lemak is not so much its attractive colour or decoration but its sambal. It was on point here, especially when savoured together with the rendang paste of the chicken.
The fish-based Otak-Otak is, of course, prepared in Nyonya style. I like it because I could taste the fish, plus it is cooked without artificial colouring. While most of us are more accustomed with otak-otak in strips, this serving comes in a large slab. It’s good enough for four pax, in my opinion.
Tauhu Bakar at Ta Chi Nyonya House is unique as the fried tauhu is refried inside out, after being cut in half rectangularly, then stuffed with shredded cucumber and topped with grounded peanuts. If you like crispy food, this is one dish to go for.
The spicy-cum-sourish Nyonya Mee Siam is memorable. It’s actually Thai-style fried beehoon, garnished with strips of fried egg and cucumber. Squeeze the lime over the noodles and pour the chilli sauce over it. For an extra oomph, there’s a dollop of sambal as well.
When in Melaka, one certainly must try the cendol. There are two choices of cendol at Ta Chi Nyonya House – one with durian, one original. The greedy me just needed to try both servings to find out the differences.
Both are prepared with a generous dose of gula Melaka, which is exactly my preference. If you like durian, your first choice should be cendol durian!
The traditional Nyonya dumpling (chang) features blue corners, also from the colour of bunga telang (Clitoria ternatea). Wrapped in dried bamboo leaves, the dumpling is filled with minced chicken meat and chopped mushroom. This Nyonya dumpling isn’t only aesthetically pleasing, it also delights one’s sense of taste.
Ta Chi Nyonya House is a Halal-certified eatery. It has a branch outlet called Ta Chi House in Batu Berendam, Melaka. If you have dined at either outlet, do share your experience.
Ta Chi Nyonya House
Add: No 1, Jalan Tun Sri Lanang, 75100 Melaka.
Phone: +606-281 3777
Business hours: 9.30am – 9pm daily, except Wednesdays
Facebook: Ta Chi Nyonya House Café
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