Melaka is not only famous because of its Unesco World Heritage status, but also for its Jonker Street Melaka, so-called Jonker walk. Don’t be deceived by the name, as it isn’t a pedestrian-only street. Despite the “walk” in the street name, there is heavy traffic at almost every hour, except on weekends after 6 pm, when they finally close the street to cars. We hope that officials will someday make this street more people friendly, as a permanent pedestrian zone would allow people to walk safely. Being a popular tourist destination, the tiny sidewalks of this street can’t handle crowds of pedestrians and in no time you end up walking on the busy street. However, Jonker Street opening hours are on weekends after 6 pm and this is all it counts! This place is great when it’s free of cars and motorbikes, when the locals bring out their stalls on the street and you can buy almost anything you want. We found shower heads with massage functions, antiques, toys and, of course, our favorite thing: Jonker street food!
You could call us “gourmand”, but yet there was something being sold on this street that we just couldn’t try: the stinky tofu. Because of this so-called delicacy, the whole street smelled; our noses picked up on the stench far before we even approached this stall where it was being sold. The best description we could come up with for this smell is a mix of baby poop and sewage. Sorry, stinky tofu lovers, but those are the smells it reminded us of. If you go there, you will know what we’re talking about. Apparently, stinky tastes great, but we couldn’t even handle the smell, which didn’t entice us to put it in our mouths. Vivi is a cheese lover, she’s eaten some seriously questionable stuff, even Mohant cheese, but this one was out of her league.
We were more occupied with dim sums, satays, ice creams and best of all fried crab rolls. These rolls are fried in a special molded pan and are made of flour dough and crab meat. Basically, it looks like Takoyaki and besides crab, there are also octopus and frankfurter fillings to choose from. Fried food is always delicious, the fat takes care of that, but, in these rolls, the crab meat kept it light and it was a nice balance to the crunchy outside.
This street by itself has a lot of potential, with plenty of old beautiful buildings begging for serious renovations. If the money every tourist pays in the tourist tax and an additional tax for Melaka would go for maintenance, the city would be in much better condition. Where the money goes is debatable, but after the last news about Malay Prime Minister’s fortune, you can get an idea. It’s a shame that they don’t have a vision for this historic street. We can easily imagine it without cars, with new facades and a prohibition on ugly signs. We just hate when an outstanding building with artwork around the windows gets spoiled because of some Carlsberg street sign on the front of it. Wouldn’t it be better if every shop has some standard style, maybe a wooden sign, nothing too over the top? As we are now, more focused on our phone screen than on the surroundings since everything we search for is on the GPS apps and no one relies solely on kitschy signs.
If you are in Melaka, you have to visit this street at least once. There is almost no chance you will miss it as all the main attractions are within walking distance from it. We recommend one visit at daytime when you have a lot of great bistros and shops to choose from. During daylight, you will also get a completely different impression of this street than at nighttime. The second time we recommend you to visit Jonker street is on weekends after 6 pm. Besides the reasons listed above, it is nice to walk in cooler evening At the end of the street is also a stage, where there is always something going on. One thing for sure is that Jonker walk is never boring. But should you stay in a hotel here in a Jonker walk area? I think no! The town is small and in a walking distance from here you can find some great hotels with lower prices and more peaceful envieromont.
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