Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Malacca's Incredible Hainanese Chicken Rice Balls

"What is more agreeable than one's home?"

Marcus Tullius Cicero

A day ago, I filched my sister's Sony Cybershot digicam and went on a shooting spree all around quaint ol' Malacca. I don't think she cared though, since she spends all her waking hours planting her nose in her notes and textbooks. Smartest (and nerdiest) lil' branch on our family tree, she is. You should hear my Dad drone on and on about how I should be more like my sister. I'm pretty sure that it's the other way round in most other families.

But no matter - I got her camera. First order of business would be to take a gazillion pictures of myself from every imaginable angle;

With vanity out of the way, I'm now ready tackling my personal favourite of the seven sins; gluttony.

Let me take you to Kedai Kopi Chung Wah, the shrine of one of Malacca's most beloved cuisine; the Hainanese Chicken Rice Balls.

Bridge over the Malacca River into Jonker Town.

The coffee shop is located right at the entrance of Jonker Town (I am not privy to the official name of Malacca's Chinatown) opposite a branch of the OCBC Bank - as you can see in the picture. The big, fugly building on the left is the bank while the eatery is the little corner lot with the yellow signboards on the right.

Top hole location, yes? But parking can be a royal pain. I usually take a left turn and park by the river.

Stuff dreams are made of.

This shop had been around for as long as I can remember - one of those genuine old-fashioned affairs that franchises like Uncle Lim tries to emulate.

No offence, Uncle Lim - but you can't top the original.

The taukeh pretending to accidentally walk by as I take pictures.

So how do you know you're in a honest-to-goodness retro 'kopitiam'?

For starters, take a load at the marble-topped tables and the sturdy, dark wooden chairs. You can practically slap a 'Genuine Antique' post-it on them and auction them off at Christie's for a rather neat sum. Dining out doesn't get any more posh than this.

Thy beauty art beyond appearances and hath no need for adornments!

A single person's helping with double the amount of rice balls. With the glass of barley water, the price tag chalks up to a square RM 6. It's certainly not expensive but you can't exactly call it cheap either.

It's a simple dish sprinkled with some soy(?) sauce and sesame oil - but you can hardly call the flavour simple at all. Imagine popping a sleek, round rice ball into your mouth and then crushing it into bits with your teeth. Then slowly roll those broken bits about your mouth, making sure you get each drop of explodelicious goodness on your tongue. Right after you swallow, you'll want another one immediately. You just can't, can't get enough of it.

There are folks who prefer to hold the rice balls with a chopsticks and nibble slowly on it. A popular method is to split the balls in halves before chowing down. Me? I pop the whole thing into my mouth. Trust me - that's the way to go for max 'splosion. They are like little orgasms waiting to blow.

4 minutes later. Nope - I'm not joking.

The strange thing about this shop is that there is an obvious lack of choice (except for the drinks) - rice balls and steamed chicken only. Maybe they do serve some other stuff as well but I've never asked for them before. Anyone eating anything other than chicken rice balls in Kedai Kopi Chung Wah is very clearly insane. Of course, it might be nice if they serve roasted chicken as well, but I guess when you're the best, you get to ignore customer selection privileges.

Of course, like many good things in life such as Nike, VCD's and sex, there are imitators out to milk cash from the cow.

The natural habitat of stupid tourists.

The Famosa Chicken Rice Balls franchise has outlets throughout Malacca. Each outlet is designed to be flashy and loud for fishing dumb ang-mohs to shell out moolah kachings for their inferior balls. These pirates were even cocky enough to open not one - but two shops in Kedai Kopi Chung Wah's turf of Jonker Town.

Since stupid tourists are breeding like rabbits, they erected another one right beside the first.

The Famosa restaurants even offer a wider selection of dishes - from conventional chicken rice to roasted pork to fried bean-sprouts (taugeh-lah). Why? So their conned customers can eat something else after barfing up their rice balls which in my humblest of opinions, sucked donkey nuts.

Okay, fine - their stuff isn't that bad but the original one seriously tastes better. Do not give in to crass commercialism, people!

After I got around to losing a couple of kilograms, I'll do a review of my favourite cendol place. Till later, y'all.

Ps: You might have noticed that Chung Wah seemed awfully empty from the picture. That's because I only go there no later than 11 am to beat the lunch-break crowd (besides, it's Monday). That's just me - I have all the peak and off-peak hours for all of Malacca's best eateries stored in my brain. Try visiting the place at noon - a lunch mob would be standing outside waiting for tables to be free. You'll need a baseball bat to get in.

The decadent Malaccan,
k0k s3n w4i


michelleg said...

i've yet to try the chicken rice ball there. i know i know.. not really a fan of chicken rice ball(crb) but i'll try it one day.. haha.

true about the mushrooming shops selling crb. there's another shop featured on a tv show not too long ago. along jonker street as well but im not sure where is it.

k0k s3n w4i said...


Really must try the Chung Wah 1. I think that kennysia go one (Hezi or something) the rice not nice one.

When you come back next time we go, haha. Wana eat again, haha

meifong said...

oh my! ur chicken rice look yummylicious!~ n i am stuck in india. chicken rice also cannot get...

k0k s3n w4i said...


Haha. Don't worry. You'll be back soon enough. Then you can stuff yourself silly. ;p

Why la did you make ur blog private? I till now still cannot see. Have you added my gmail address?

meifong said...

private good wurt... got privacy!
i am stuffing myself enough here in india silly. got my invitation already or not?

k0k s3n w4i said...


I tot blogs are soapboxes. People blog to be heard, no?

Got your invite.. haha... thanks.

meifong said...

yup. but i only blog about myself ma. so only family & friends who know me enough dee lo. my blog doesn't give out good information la.