Melaka has a long and storied history as a staple of western Australia’s diet, but it’s been largely forgotten about in the past decade.
The city of around 250,000 has been a major meat and seafood hub for more than a century.
“The first melaka was in 1685,” says Greg Broughton, the city’s chief executive, and a meat-free lifestyle is the citys most widely held belief.
It was a popular way of getting your daily protein fix and in the years to come the city has continued to attract people, from those who have never been to the wealthy and the well-to-do.
Melaka is a city that has long been synonymous with meat, and it has long enjoyed a reputation as a haven for vegans.
Broughton says while the city is now in the midst of a major renovation to its iconic St Stephen’s Cathedral, the meat-friendly reputation has not been lost.
He says the city was the first in the state to offer meat-only food, including a small menu of vegetarian burgers.
“We’ve had vegans come here and they love it, we’ve had people come here for the first time and they’re just saying it’s their favourite city,” he said.
Melaka’s reputation has long helped attract people who may not normally have been vegetarian.
As the city grows, the food scene is changing, with more people embracing the concept of veganism.
The city has been trying to revive its reputation in recent years, with the city council making it a “vegan hub” and increasing funding for animal welfare.
But there are still some misconceptions about the city and its food, says Brough, who has travelled to some of the city for a few months each year to visit a handful of local farms and eat.
For example, people may think it’s just a steak and some mushrooms, he says.
A lot of people have this idea that the city only has beef and lamb, and they might be wrong.
I just love the diversity of what’s out there and I love seeing people who love the food so much.
People want to eat healthy, not just a certain type of food, he said, and he thinks this is an important part of the community.
“The more people who are coming here and enjoying the city, the more people we can help in terms of the animal welfare.”
A new vegan restaurant at the Melaka Art GalleryIn 2014, the Melora Arts Centre in Melaka, which had hosted a local vegan foodie for several years, opened its doors to a wider audience.
And now Melaka’s first vegan restaurant is opening in the centre’s main building.
Owner Chris Rochard is one of those who has always loved food and is trying to open a vegan restaurant in the city.
Rochard says the idea came from a recent trip to Japan and Melaka.
During that trip, he came across the popular Japanese sushi restaurant Yoshitoshi, and the idea of a vegan-only restaurant came to him.
So he has now opened a new vegan-friendly restaurant, located inside the Art Gallery, which he says is a big part of its identity.
Its opening weekend is March 16.
Mr Rochards vegan restaurant, a restaurant called The Vegan World, has a menu of vegan and vegetarian dishes, but also has a selection of non-vegan foods.
His menu is a mix of “organic” ingredients, including kale and seaweed, along with vegan products like cheese and avocado.
“Our vegan menu is very organic and it’s really about sustainability and the environment,” he says, adding that the vegan menu has been developed by the owners of an organic produce company.
“We also have a range of vegan cheese, including avocado, walnuts, and kiwi, and we’ve got a few vegan salads too.”
Melora’s city manager, Kate Pardie, said it was important to have a vegan eatery in the capital.
She said the vegan restaurants were part of what was special about the area, and she was pleased that many of the locals were coming back for the opening.
“It’s fantastic for our community, it’s a great place for the community to come and be in,” she said.
“Melaka has become such a community and we’re all connected and that’s what makes us such a special place.”
Melaka Arts Centre is one in a series of vegan restaurants to open in Melbourne’s CBD this year, with other vegan food venues opening in other parts of the state.
While many of these restaurants may seem a bit unusual to some, Mr Rochars restaurant has a strong local following, and Mr Broughs says there is still a long way to go before Melaka is one to be feared.
“There are a lot of different people in Melora and you can go to the