Malacca is locally known as "The Historic State," befitting for Malaysia's only UNESCO Cultural World Heritage Site. Historically a trading port and the seat of the old Sultanate since the 1400s, Malacca is well known locally for the Peranakan/Nyonya-Baba culture and cuisine, which is a distinct term used to identify straits-born children of Chinese and Malay descendants from the 1500s.
Apart from the nondescript commercial areas, Malacca's city centre is also peppered with architectural influences from Portuguese, Dutch, and English colonialism. Jonker Steet is usually the centre of cultural activity, and regular "street karaoke" nights are held almost every Sunday by the older Chinese community. It is also a great place to visit for knickknack shopping and food. Local Malaysians travel from all over the country to savour the famous Chicken Rice Ball (chicken, served with balls of oiled rice) and pineapple tart (in many shapes and forms, but generally constructed from a crumbly pastry with pineapple jam) vendors located in this area.
No mention of Malacca food is complete without a recommendation to Nyonya food; adventurous gastronomers, make sure you try the local delicacies -- Otak-Otak (fish cake grilled in banana leaf), Ayam Pongteh (a sweet and savoury chicken dish), and Lor Bak (fried sausage wrapped beancurd).
Many small, local Malacca hostels and guesthouses are also based on Jonker Street, usually housed in old-styled Peranakan houses, which are long and narrow, with a central courtyard, and many rooms to accommodate the usually large families of the Peranakans. Home stays are also becoming popular, with more and more of them being converted from traditional stilt houses (built in the past to avoid floods that strike during the monsoon period).
Malacca also has a variety of beaches -- the two most famous ones are Tanjung Bidara and Pantai Klebang. Although not the best of Malaysia's beaches, there are a variety of resorts from traditional small chalets to big luxurious spa hotels offering a chance to build sandcastles and take part in water sports.
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