We attended a cooking class with Chef Melba Nunis on the second day of our stay at The Majestic Malacca. Chef Melba brought us to the local wet market to buy ingredients. Later in the morning, we learn to cook two Kristang dishes from her.
Before our trip to the wet market, we had breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant, Melba At The Mansion. Besides the semi buffet, we could order from the menu. We received a surprise anniversary cake midway through our breakfast. What a lovely gesture from the hotel!
Chef Melba waited for us at the lobby and cab driver Maanof brought us to the temporary Melaka Sentral Market. The old market is under construction. I had visited the old market in January and it was having structural defects. All the stalls were operating from the car park. Now they are housed in an airy, spacious building.
Visit To A Local Wet Market
Chef Melba gave us an introduction of the new market and brought us on a tour. She has a long list of ingredients to buy. I followed her walking through the dozens of stalls and met many of her regular vendors. We also met some of her friends at the market.
I observed how Chef Melba chooses her ingredients. She is very particular about the freshness and quality. At the coconut vendor’s stall, he demonstrated how Chef wanted her coconuts shelled. Chef even requested him to remove the thin brown skin.
Glad Chef Melba has set such stringent quality standards for her ingredients. After tasting her popular coconut cake, I could see how it boosts the flavour. Only those who know how to cook, would appreciate her meticulous attention to the ingredients used.
We purchased the ingredients that we would be using in our cooking class. I learnt how to select the ingredients and differentiate the various spices. At times, I have to smell to know the difference of some herbs and spices.
Learnt to pick my favourite vegetables. We spent a good one hour at the market and brought bags of fresh vegetables and meat back to the hotel.
Back at the hotel, Chef Melba served us her delicious desserts at The Lounge. We had Bolu Koku (traditional Kristang coconut cake), bubur pulut hitam and her Kek Sugee (sugee cake). Oh my, these are really delicious! I love her Bolu Koku. Now I understand why she wants the brown skin of the coconut removed.
Cooking With Chef Melba
After a delicious morning tea, we had our cooking lesson besides the swimming pool. It was a hands-on session. We had lots of fun and laughed so much. It attracted a couple of hotel guests who stopped to watch. haha…
We learnt to cook two Kristang dishes. The first dish was her famous Kari Debal (Devil Curry), a Malacca Portuguese curry chicken cooked with vinegar. Oh my. It was a fiery hot dish for me.
The other dish was Soy Limang Terung (Sweet and Sour Eggplant). Both dishes are simple to prepare. Under the expert guidance of Chef Melba, we cooked two excellent dishes.
And we got to enjoy our hard-work afterwards at Melba At The Mansion. We also received two yummy side dishes to go with our steamed rice. They were fish croquettes and cincalok fritters. The dishes tasted better because we cooked them ourselves. haha…..
Guests can sign up for a cooking class with Chef Melba at The Majestic Malacca. She also conducts visit to the local wet market and introduces the fresh ingredients she uses for her dishes.
We were presented with certificates for attending her cooking class. At the end of my stay, I bought Chef Melba’s cookbook so I could cook more of her Kristang dishes at home. What a fantastic way to celebrate our wedding anniversary at The Majestic Malacca!