Back when Kuala Lumpur was a malaria-ridden swamp and Penang was yet to become the ‘Pearl of the Orient’; Melaka was one of the greatest trading ports in Southeast Asia. Over time it lost a lot of trade to Singapore and became a sleepy backwater compared to its high-rolling cousins, but today it’s this lost-in-time feel that makes the place so charming. Jonker Street – the central boulevard of Chinatown – once the preferred location to the city’s rich and wealthy, now plays host to an amalgamation of good dining venues and boutiques. On Friday and Saturday nights, the street is transformed into the Jonker Walk Night Market – a lively bazaar with hawker food stalls and tourist-friendly stands.
Unlike the more renowned Petaling Street – located in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown – the stall operators are unquestionably friendlier and more polite. Plus the items here are a good bargain and the food is distinctly tastier.