Sunday, April 24, 2011

People: Melaka Malays Community

The Malays are the first settlers of Melaka since 1400, form the largest community. The Melaka Malays are rich culture of their daily life to the building arts. The famous Melaka steps or 'Tangga Batu' Melaka are common to the front of many houses in Malay of Melaka.

Melaka Malay Traditional House with great and unique architectural style

The Malay social organization in Melaka is divided between the practice of the Adat Temenggong, which is patrilineal and more pervasive in several districts, and the Adat Perpatih, which is matrilineal.

Traditional Costumes

Malay women wear loose, long-sleeved tunics called baju kurung worn over a sarong or a tight fitting kebaya. Malay men wear collarless shirts called baju Melayu worn over loose trousers with colourful cloth known as kain samping tied around their waist.

Baju Melayu

Baju Kurung

For weddings and religious feasts or special occassions, the kain songket replaces the kain samping. Other indigenous traditions and characteristics are portrayed in the songs such as Dondang Sayang Melayu and the arts of self-defense such as silat (Malay).

Melaka Malays Traditional Costumes

The Melaka Malays are the majority community in Melaka. Basically, the Malays who live in Melaka came from the Malay Archipelago such as Sumatra, Java Island, Riau, Bengkalis, Brunei, Singapore (Temasik), Pattani and so on. They were formed before the first king of Melaka or Parameswara came to Melaka.


Melaka is well known for its Malay food. The most remarkable of all is the traditional Malay dishes like Ikan ASAM pedas, sambal belacan and cencaluk. Belacan, a variety of Malaysian shrimp paste, is prepared from fresh tiny shrimp of a species known as geragau in Malay. They are mashed into a paste and buried for several months. 

The fermented shrimp are then dug up, fried and hard pressed in cakes.Belacan is used as an ingredient in many dishes, or eaten on its own with rice. A preparation is sambal belacan, made by mixing with belacan pepper, minced garlic, shallots and sugar paste and then fried. 

Belacan (shrimp paste)


The aroma of frying mixture may be unpleasant for Westerners who are not accustomed to this, but is a delight for connoisseurs of Asia.