It's been a long while since the time we blogged about The Baba House Hotel (so long in fact I bet you all have forgotten about it!). That was the hotel we stayed in during our overnight excursion to Melaka for food. After checking in and dumping our bags, we were quickly out the door again to Jonker88 for the meanest bowl of laksa and cendol in town (or so everyone says).
From the hotel, Jonker Street is just a quick couple of minutes away on foot. If you come during brunch or lunch time, expect to see a nice long queue of people patiently waiting their turn outside the shop. How far does it go?
|This was when we went back to Jonker Street the next morning - in the rain!|
At worst, I think it can stretch for up to 3 shop-lots!
The queue is mainly for the laksa stall, though beware, you might be in for a bit of brusque service from the aunty manning it. There are also two other stalls - the popular cendol one and one that sells fried lobak items inside.
As with most shoplots along Jonker Street, the space is narrow yet long. Walk all the way in into Jonker88 and you'll come to a bright courtyard where you'll find people waiting around for tables.
After a long wait at the laksa noodles stall, the guys finally came back with the trays of our long awaited laksas. This is the famous Nyonya Assam Laksa (RM 5), thick rice noodles in tangy tamarind broth with chunks of fish, cucumber and onions. If it was your first time here, this might be delicious, but unfortunately the verdict at the table was that it's not as good as it used to be.
|Spot the difference!|
We also ordered several bowls of their Baba Laksa (RM 5 per bowl) which was rather disappointing due to the inconsistency of the servings. They were generous with the soup for some bowls, and made it seem like a rare commodity for others!
The Baba Laksa coconut curry soup is slightly sweet and not that thick; it also pays homage to the Assam Laksa by adopting its key ingredients - the chunks of fish flesh and sliced onions and cucumbers. A special concoction, but I couldn't help but wish that the soup had more coconut milk, compared to other Nyonya laksas I've tried.
Thankfully, Adam decided to be different and venture onto new territories by ordering something we all had never tried before. The Baba Rendang Chicken Noodle (RM 5) was a gamble that paid off! The curry rendang was thick and fragrant, and had an appetizing tangy flavour to it. Top that off with the fresh onions and cucumber, and the surprisingly tender chicken pieces, I couldn't help stealing a few more bites from him. I think we'll make it a must to order this the next time :p Hopefully they're consistent with this one!
We also ordered some dishes to share from the stall inside. This is the Baba Salad, akin to the fruit rojak we get back in KL, with crunchy cucumbers, turnips, deep fried "yau char kwai" Chinese crueller bits, only there's also kangkung (water spinach) mixed in. I think the sauce that the salad was tossed in is the key ingredient here, it was a sweet hae-ko (prawn paste in Hokkien) sauce mixed in with some chilli sauce that kept us going back for more.
The same stall also does an assortment of their Baba Goreng-Goreng, loosely translated to mean Baba fried items. You pick the goreng-goreng items which you want, and they serve them to you freshly fried. We had a mixture of foo chuk, tofu and fish paste rolls. They give a similar tasting hae-ko and chilli paste dipping sauce which was a great dipping partner to the goreng-goreng. Both the plate of Baba Goreng Goreng and the Baba Salad above cost RM 21.
One of my favourites at Jonker88 has always been the Baba Chendol (RM 3). It's not the cendol, or the beans used, but the glorious, heavenly gula melaka (palm sugar) drizzled all over the mound of shaved ice. The thick and sticky gula melaka adds a caramel texture and fragrance to the cendol, and you'll find yourself licking the sticky bits off your spoon once you're done. If you like durian, you'll probably love the Durian Chendol (RM 4), where they give you chunks of durian flesh in your bowl.
However, they weren't as generous as they used to be with the gula melaka, and hence, there wasn't as much flavour to the cendol as we were used to. :(
When we passed by the next day, we decided to give it one more go but politely asked if we could have extra gula melaka. They kindly obliged and
my world was shiny again the original taste was back! :p
Visiting Jonker88 this time round remains a time of hits and misses; portions were smaller, our favourite laksas were a disappointment, and even the usually consistent cendol wasn't as good as it used to be. I don't think it could be written off as a bad day because lots of recent reviews have also been highlighting the dip in quality. :(
I would still probably return for the cendol (with extra gula melaka please!) and maybe only share a bowl of laksa with friends to save stomach space for the rest of Melaka - I'm sure there's many other laksas and cendols waiting to be discovered! Anyone have any recommendations?
Jonker 88 | Site
No. 88, Jalan Hang Jebat (Jonker Street)
GPS Coordinate : N2 11.738 E102 14.864