Melaka is famous for belacan products. Tourists who visit the state will tend to buy belacan for themselves and as gifts. Belacan is simply dried shrimp paste. Only shrimp locally known as geragau is used.
The fresh geragau caught with special nets usually during low tide by the Portuguese fishermen will be mixed with salt and shaped into round patties and left to dry under the hot sun. Once ready, it will be individually packed in plastic and sold at wet markets and sundry shops.
When you come to Melaka, you might see many belacan and cottage industries' products stalls or kiosks along the road of Pantai Klebang, Merlimau, Alor Gajah, Telok Mas and many more.
Like cheese, belacan also have different types and taste. There are several types of belacan in Melaka that can be found easily as Melaka is the centre of belacan production especially in Tanjung Bidara and Tanjung Keling area. Let's take a look on the types of belacan from Melaka.
1) The biggest belacan in Melaka, Belacan Kepal (clodded shrimp paste)
This clodded shrimp paste can be kept for several months and used to cook sambal and Melaka food especially the Malay cuisines such as asam pedas, fried vegetables, kuah bening, masak tauchu and so on.
2) Belacan Bakar (grilled shrimp paste)
One of Melakan's favourite shrimp paste, this belacan give the best aroma for the food and the texture of the sauce made of the mixture of belacan bakar and spices will impress anyone who try the foods.
3) Belacan Basah (moist shrimp paste)
The taste of belacan basah is quite similar to belacan kering but it is moist and soft rather than the dried shrimp paste. This belacan are fragile and could easily broken.
4) Belacan Kering (dried shrimp paste)
The dried belacan could be kept longer than moist belacan. Melakan love to use this belacan for the ingredients of their foods especially fried foods such as fried rice, fried noodles and fried vegetables.