Once again, I found myself in the sleepy town of Changi Village, this time to sample Makan Melaka, a supposedly revered spot for all your cendol needs. Personally, I’ve never been a fan of them since I’ve always viewed ice kacang as superior, but that’s for another story.
Makan Melaka has been heavily featured in local media such as Suria, The Straits Times and even CNA’s 938 radio station. Unsurprisingly, most coverage were mainly about its cendol and conveniently ignored the other dishes that it offers.
Whilst usually I’d head out to my review location as early as possible to avoid the crowd, I thought I visited Makan Melaka a little later to let the midday heat fester for the maximum cooling effect from the cendol.
What I tried at Makan Melaka
Despite being in my mid-20s, I still am a firm believer in always having your meal first before dessert, so I opted to try some of their dishes. They had Nasi Lemak (S$4), Mee Rebus Melaka (S$4), Soto Melaka (S$4.50) and Mee Soto Melaka (S$4.50), the latter of which was what I got.
I was also tempted by their fried goods and kueh. You can opt for their assortment of Traditional Kueh Melaka (S$2 for 3 pieces) and even Curry Puff at S$1 per piece. I ended up going for their Goreng Pisang Melaka (S$2.50) with the additional Cili Kicap sauce (S$0.30) on the side, which so far was the only thing remotely Malaysian here.
And of course the Cendol Melaka. There was a surprising amount of variety with variations such as Durian (S$3), Glutinous Rice (S$2.30) and Red Bean (S$2.30). The purist side of me went for the Traditional (S$2) option.
As I stirred my bowl of Mee Soto Melaka, pockets of drifting steam emerged from the broth and kissed my soon-to-be sweaty face. There was a faintness of regret in having something hot in an area in full exposure to the warm sea breeze.
However, those regrets vanished as quickly as the steam when I had my first sip of the broth, as the robust chicken flavours made the more than hour-long journey worth it. There was no room for subtlety here, it was unmistakably soto!
You could taste the sweetness of the chicken flesh before even getting a mouthful of the shredded chicken, which was really tender. I also liked how the begedil was part of the dish (as it should be) without any extra cost. The creaminess from the potatoes helped to cut through the richness of the broth.
Whilst I could appreciate the spiciness of the sambal, I did find it a touch too spicy, which mellowed some of the deepness of the broth with pure heat…or maybe it was just the weather.
My snack break consisted of Goreng Pisang Melaka served in a mini fry basket. On its own, it was a decent bite with slightly crispy batter. The batter was really basic, providing nothing significant apart from texture and addicting crumbs.
The actual banana tasted more on the tangy side rather than sweet, but at least it was ripe and had a decent chew.
The chilli kicap combination didn’t really work for me primarily because it had sour notes, so it was like an acidic battle in my mouth combined with an off-putting heat. I could sense the coordinated eye rolls from our neighbours across the causeway.
By the time I got to my Traditional Cendol, it was as if I could breathe fire out of my mouth. It didn’t help that the portions were disappointingly meagre, especially when it’s literally just ice.
Thankfully, it fared better in taste as there were surprisingly bitter undertones in every scoop thanks to their gula melaka. It was also really creamy with the ample use of coconut milk.
The green rice flour jellies were easy to eat and almost disintegrated at a bite but personally, I prefer mine with a little more bite. I can also see why they don’t serve drinks here, as my Traditional Cendol was turned into liquid mere minutes after being made.
Overall, it was a really satisfying bowl and not to mention a cooling one. Given the choice again, I would definitely go for the options with more toppings on them as this was a little too basic, even for me.
There’s no doubt why people recognise Makan Melaka only as that cendol spot, since it’s directly facing Changi Village Hawker Centre and every single dish that was served there can be found here.
But you’ll be hard-pressed to find any other cendol this good with food that isn’t any slouch either. It’s an easy recommendation for me especially since you can find both meals and dessert at the same place at a comparatively affordable price.
I am still scratching my head over what made my Mee Soto Melaka and Goreng Pisang Melaka so “Melaka”— maybe a homage to Peranakan Nasi Lemak, perhaps.
Expected damage: S$2 — S$4.50 per pax
Other articles you might like:
The post Makan Melaka: Satisfying bowls of cendol with must-try rich Mee Soto Melaka appeared first on SETHLUI.com.