On Exploring Jonker Walk and Eating Satay Celup
5 November 2009
It was almost seven when we got back to the main part of town. We headed once more to Jonker Walk to witness the night market.
Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening between 6PM until midnight, the street is closed and is transformed into this lively bazaar. Traders would line up along the street and set-up stalls to sell and display products of all sorts, ranging from antique copper coins to wooden clogs. Oh yeah, there are all sorts of food being peddled there as well. We did manage to taste some of the food being sold in the sidewalk.
Apart from the business activities, there are some of Chinese clans that organize activities in their respective buildings for visitors. As in the time we were there, there was a dance class being conducted in one of the clan houses. There was also a stage set-up for local talents to showcase their respective ability in front of tourist and locals alike.
The human traffic was getting more and more congested in Jonker Walk so we decided to make our exit. There were some firecrackers being lighted up on the streets courtesy of the Indians who were celebrating Deepavali, a rare sight, as small firecrackers are illegal in Singapore.
On our way to our hostel, we managed to pass by again this establishment called Capitol Satay. Earlier in the afternoon, this establishment had caught my eye, as there was a really long queue just outside the open-air restaurant. Living for the past one year in Singapore made me remember the saying that “if the queue is long, then it must be really good”. I later learned that this establishment is a very famous in the region for the satay celup (the Melaka adaptation of satay steamboat) they serve. As we were still a bit hungry during that time, we didn’t hesitate to try out the place.
The wait was long, definitely much longer than what I endured when I tried eating Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice and IKEA Meatballs. I was getting a bit impatient but I could not bear leaving the line when we were already waiting for a good 20 minutes.
Finally, after around half an hour of waiting, we were finally ushered into a table. I was at first disappointed with what I saw because it was very dirty inside the restaurant. The floor was somehow wet and dirty with lots of used tissue papers scattered around. People who were done eating were smoking, added to the fact that it was hot and noisy inside. Needless to say, I try not to let it bother me.
In all fairness to Capitol Satay though, I have really noticed in my travels that in Malaysia (as well as Indonesia and Vietnam), food hygiene is not so much a big deal as compared to Singapore or probably even the Philippines.
Inside, there were several steel circular tables packed in the open fronted restaurant. Each of these tables has a hole in the middle where a pot of gravy base is heated above a flaming gas ring. A waiter came along and started mixing some spices to add flavor to the gravy.
There was an open-fronted chill cabinet in one side of the restaurant. This was packed with practically everything that can be placed in a skewer – prawns, squid, fish balls, and some other edible stuff. Apart from these, there are vegetables as well for the vegetarians.
After picking out the items that fancied our stomach, we went back to our table to start cooking the skewers in the bucket – it was usually a minute for the pre-cooked stuff (sausages and fish balls) while it was at least 3 minutes for the larger uncooked stuff. Every 10 minutes or so, the waitress would pop in our table to stir the gravy. This was probably done in order to prevent the gravy from burning.
At the end of our meal, we asked the waitress for our bill. Another girl came into our table with a worn out calculator to see how much we owe for the food. What she did was basically multiplying the number of empty skewer by the price per piece (which was around 70 cents).
Upon paying, we slowly heading back to our hotel very full and satisfied. Despite the long wait and the not so clean condition of the place, we were happy with our decision to try this one out. Apart from the historical sights in Malacca and Jonker Walk, I would say that experiencing Capital Satay should be included in any itinerary if ever you would suddenly find yourself in Malacca.
Capitol Satay Celup Restaurant
41 Lorong Bukit Cina,
Tel: +60-6-2835508, +60-12-2295505
Operating hours: Daily from 5:00 pm (Closed on Monday)