Jalan Kee Ann/Kg Jawa

This generation is getting old

In the first quarter of last century, a wealthy man called Seet Kee Ann donated land for a main road to be built, residents in adjacent Kampung Jawa were moved so that a big Municipal market could be constructed next to Malacca river, and rapidly the area around Kee Ann road and Kampung Jawa changed character. Businesses, eateries, entertainment, vices. Many stalls began life around Lido cinema, which in previous incarnations had been the Cinematographe Francaise and then the Eldorado Theatre. Although the Lido is long gone, Sumatra-born Pak Sahrudin continues to sell Apam Balik, as he did in the Lido days, and Ahmad and Abdul Rahman Abdullah continue their family’s Rojak Cendol Lido business. Just next door, Loong Choy Lan keeps her Hainanese makan heritage alive by preparing the forgotten “Ya Kueh” or Hainan Coconut Cake. William Tien, Andy Yoong, Lim Hoo Chin, Kristine Hoh, Lai Nai Kwee, Khoo Chua Thong, Lee Chai Yen and Lee Kiong are gold merchants in the area, many of whom are second and third generation

Other traders with old businesses on Jalan Kee Ann include watch repairman Lai Loi Sin (Tukang Arloji), Gujarati carpet sellers Pankajkumar and Nileshkumar (Wall-to-wall Carpet) and tailor Shirley Chong Siak Lin (The Tailor). Although the wet market is long gone, the road encircling it (Jalan Pasar Baru/New Market Road) still has old businesses and small traders, including Ratna Rabain (Kain di Kampung Jawa) who has sold textiles there since the 1980s. Bert Tan (Mo Gi Paser) shares his childhood memories of the market, and Penghulu Ali Hassan (Rambo di Kampung Jawa) recounts how his father used to sell fish near Kampung Jawa. On Jalan Jawa (or the evocative “Java Lane”), stands the very old Sin Hiap Hin Bar (From Opium to Rice Wine)  in which Doris Lee, herself an institution, has served Melaka Samsu (Malacca Rice Wine) in lychee, rose and other fragrant flavours for decades. (“This is the sort of place worth going to a city for. Not a museum, not a themed bar, a genuinely old joint run by a genuinely lovely old girl, fun and full of enthusiasm for the bar and the drinks she served,” wrote one patron on Tripadvisor). Nearer to Bunga Raya junction, Yee Wei Leong sells herbal drinks said to reduce “heatiness” in the body (Teh Herba). If no one in the family wants to continue the business, he told us, the family would prefer the trade secrets to die off rather than pass them on.


Jalan Kee Ann
Kg Jawa
Jalan Pasar Baru
Jalan Jawa
Lorong Jawa