Historical ais kacang restaurant in the heart of the city.
Enjoying a cool bowl of ais kacang used to be an experience – from the spinning of the ice shaver by hand to the pouring of colourful syrups on the mountain of ice collected. Although the experience is no longer the same now thanks to technological advancement (the ice shaver is now electric-operated), the sweet taste of a full bowl of ais kacang is still a favourite of locals and tourists alike.
Different versions of the ais kacang are available from state to state but the Malacca variety boasts a secret weapon – the gula melaka. Derived from coconut palm, it is more smoky than saccharine, with a caramel and toffee edge. Now imagine that on a colourful pile of ice!
In Malacca, a place to visit for a decadent bowl of ais kacang or ice pak poh is the peculiarly named Ming Chong Hygienic Ice Café, along Jalan Bunga Raya, a street that was once infamously known as gangster’s paradise. At first glance the café may come across as any other hole-in-the-wall, but within its walls it holds history of more than 70 years.
Here, rough blocks of ice are shaven into wafer-thin flakes for the ais kacang and cendol using a cast-iron contraption that has been passed on from the shop’s founder, the father of the current shop owner.
The façade is humble, even retaining the yesteryear signage style. The walls are lined with framed photos of visiting politicians and other local leaders, alongside newspaper cuttings that speak of Min Chong’s icy goodness.
Plastered in the pictures are faces of the proprietors standing along these dignitaries, the same elderly couple that will be making the local dessert and serving it to you.
Come for the ais kacang, stay for the history.
p/s: It’s merely a stone’s throw away from this amazing mee rebus stall!
Min Chong Hygienic Ice Cafe
43, Jalan Bunga Raya,
Kampung Jawa, 75100 Melaka
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