Feast like a Malaccan
Fortunately for Singaporeans, Malacca is just a three-hour bus ride away.
Here are four of my favourite haunts.
DONALD & LILY
No 16, Jalan KSB 1, Taman Kota Shahbandar
9am to 4pm, closed on Monday
Donald and Lily are regarded as the first Nonya street food peddlers in Malacca, running from spot to spot, the authorities and the rain.
Now in their sunset years, they operate a kopitiam - helmed by their daughter Jennifer Tan - and serve one of the best Nonya mee siam.
That dish was a hit at the recent World Street Food Congress in Manila.
Unlike local versions, theirs is drier, with two types of tamarind-laced sambal - one for the sauce and the other, to fry the beehoon with.
It does not have any sweet overtones and is all spicy, sour and savoury, bumped up by the taucheo in the spices.
Try their Nonya laksa. It is close to, yet different from, our Katong-style version.
Their nasi ketuk has a bunga telang (blue pea flower) coloured rice served with a rich chicken curry (available on Fridays to Sundays only).
MOBILE SATAY STALL
Corner of Jalan Kampung Kuli and Lorong Hang Jebat
It took us a few days before we could track this elusive stall down.
They do not have a signboard and they have ridiculously unpredictable operation hours.
They drive up, unload the chilled raw pork satay skewers, let it thaw and then magic happens.
Look at the nondescript self-made barbecue box and you will realise it is a homemade combi oven of sorts.
There is a small built-in water pan above the charcoal, which serves to steam the satay as it cooks over the fire.
The meat is soft and moist and the peanut dip comes with a splash of chilli oil and pineapple puree. When available, they use belimbing instead.
POPIAH BUNGA RAYA
Food cart along Jalan Bunga Raya (outside Madam King's Department Stall),
1.30pm to 8pm, Monday to Saturday, closed at 5.30pm on Sunday
This stall is a makan icon of Malacca (among Singaporeans, at least).
The owner operates from a pushcart that is hooded in cardboard and tarpaulin sheet to keep nosy parkers from seeing his many secrets.
The skin is freshly made, moist and very resilient. The stewed turnips are chunky. They have a solid texture and flavour with a pleasant sweetness to it.
But the real magic is the little stick of crispy lard placed amid the filling just before he wraps the popiah.
BAN LEE SIANG SATAY CELUP
Jalan Ong Kim Wee
4pm to midnight, daily
This is the place informed Malaccans descend upon.
The star is not just the range of ingredients offered - from meat, seafood, vegetables, tubers and fried wontons (there is a huge chiller housing about 50 skewered items).
It's the peanut satay sauce that will light your fire. They make it fresh, grinding peanuts in the kitchen and blending it with their own sambal before they cook and rest them.
It is thick and rich, so the servers will go to your table every so often to stir your pot to prevent the base ingredients from burning.
- KF Seetoh, the founder of Makansutra, dabbles in street food businesses like Food Markets, his own TV shows on cable, publishing food guides, consultancy and online content. He is also the creator of the World Street Food Congress. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.