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Posts Tagged ‘Malaysia’

Things I Ate in KL

The first thing I ate, and I’d been dreaming about this for a while, was Roti Canai. Simple flour dough, folded several times to make flaky pastry rounds, crushed then served with sambar – a simple curry sauce, a little like the indian paratha. 

 I go to Nasi Kandar, my favourite roti shop, every time I’m in KL.  It’s one of my favourite places to eat in the world.  Its rotis and Dosa are perfect crispy examples of their like and they also serve some great non-veg curries. Its also open 24 hours, perfect for midnight munching.  I found myself in there a couple of times at 2am on this trip.

Another of my favourite midnight snacks are the burger stalls found near Chinatown.  Not a typically Malay dish but they do it their way. First they fry the burger, then make a thin omelette in the centre of the grill and put the burger on it.  Next add, mayo, chilli sauce, maggi seasoning – essentially liquid MSG, and fold the whole thing up into a parcel.  Salad and a bun and you’ve got yourself a tasty treat.  Don’t forget the tiger beer from the 7 eleven.

At night time Chinatown comes alive with people selling all sorts of stuff, clay pot chicken is one of the most popular.  Rice and diced chicken cooked up quickly in a clay pot over a super hot flame.  They mix in some spring onions and some wind dried pork sausage, which is tastes a bit off but once you get into it the saltiness really makes the dish.  The best bit though is the rice that has stuck and burned a little to the sides of the pot.  You can pull this off in pieces and eat it like a crisp.

The other great Chicken dish is Hainanese Chicken rice.  It’s a simple dish of soy braised chicken, some rice, a little cucumber and tomato and a spicy fresh salsa for dipping.  Simple but iconic dish, one of my favourites.

Lunch times are all about the Malay stalls advertising Nasi Campur.  The will have a selection of fried fish and chicken, spicy curries, some vegetables and eggs of some kind, either in a kind of green curry, or as had them for the first time the other day, fried and covered in a sweet/sour chilli sauce.  Amazing, even looking at them they didn’t look appetising, but I can’t wait to try this on at home

My last meal in KL was some pork noodles. Simple but some of the tastiest morsels to ever pass my lips. I can’t remember the name, but apparently it was the speciality of the house.  Thin rice noodles in a rich soy coating, some token onions and cabbage, but it was the pork, little nuggets of caramelised sweet joy and the garlic on top that were the amazing thing.  The garlic was made into what I can only describe as a brittle. Chopped fried garlic, mixed with sweet soy and pressed into sticky toffee sheets. We also had a bowl of soup dumplings, which would have been outstanding against any other dish I’m sure.

So that’s KL till next time.  I would have like to spend a bit more time on the food hunt, but I was there for a wedding.

 Even now though sitting at the airport, I’m watching guys at a fast food noodle stall making their own wontons, which just wouldn’t happen in Europe, but in KL even at the airport you get good food.

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Wedding Food

So what do you get to eat at an Indian Wedding?  Indian food of course, well I’ve only been to one so I can’t really compare, but the food at this one was great.  Being in Malaysia there were a few other bits and pieces that I’m sure wouldn’t be on the menu elsewhere.

The first of the 3 days is a party called the Sangeet, normally a girls only party, but with Kris not having enough guy friends and relatives in Malaysia the bridal couple are sharing this one.  Its great fun, lots of music, dancing and drinking.  In fact at one point Kris comes to me and says

 – I’ve paid for all this booze already, so make sure you drink them dry!

I’m never somebody not up for a challenge, so me and Jozef give it a go, a little hard after last nights antics though.

At this point the Buffet opens, and I spot the biggest pile of chicken satay I have ever seen.  So much I can grab a handful of skewers and not even make a dent in it. I’ve got a little bit of a fetish for meat on a stick. With a little salad, here its chunks of Cucumber and red onion, It’s the perfect meal.  Spoon over loads of peanut sauce made with the sticky kecap manis, the favoured soy type condiment found all over Malaysia and Indonesia.

The other dish that’s a perfect example is the Beef Rendang, beef cooked, dry in a pan, with coconut and fragrant dark spices till its almost a paste. Perfect for mixing with rice. There’s also a really strange but nice fruit curry, pieces of mango, apple and banana in a kind of curry sweet and sour sauce.

The only thing I don’t like, and trust me I’ve tried this a few times is the Iced Kuching, or I think that’s what it’s called.  Using a special Ice shaving machine, a bit like a stationary drill, Ice is shaved into a cup and topped with sweet corn, kidney beans and some flavoured agar agar jellies. Then some syrup is drizzled over.  It just not nice or maybe it’s just me.

So the next day is spent at the temple. We have some simple breakfast of noodles, Halwa and Grated carrot sandwiches, nice.  Luckily the hotel has the craziest breakfast buffet I have ever seen.  The really covered all the bases. Egg station with eggs of your choice; curry and roti station; dim sum; sushi and cured fish; breads and pastries; lassi; salad bar; cheese, yogurt and cereals area; toast area; noodle bar; savoury porridge bar;  even a waffle machine and of course all the usual international hot stuff. 

So l didn’t feel hungry, which doesn’t mean I’m not grateful, as all the food in Sikh temples is made by volunteers, I Just couldn’t hack carrot sandwiches on a hangover.

After the ceremony, there seems to be a lot more prayers so I sneak out the back with Jozef.  We sit and watch the guys serving out all the food at the temple.  Maybe it’s because I work in hospitality, but this could be done in 5 minutes, not the hour that it’s taking them.  I should volunteer to help teach them to serve in a quarter of the time; surely there would be more time for praying.

Anyway, lunch is mix of very nice potato curry, an amazing dhal, paratha and rice. Finished off with a fragrant rice pudding. It’s a perfect lunch but I can’t do it justice, not with a hangover.  I’ve got the groom to blame for that though.

The final event is a sit down meal in our hotel on the Sunday night.  It’s very much like the Friday, a little more formal and a lot more speeches, all very good.  They bring us out some pointless random things on a plate, one of which tastes like freeze dry chickpea flour.  Next is a tasty, little bit curry, tomato soup.

Once that’s out the way the real food opens up on the buffet at the back.  Curry is one of the only things that works well on a buffet, most stuff gets demolished, dry or overcooked, curry seems to love sitting out. It’s all nice, especially a really good lime pickle to go with poppudoms.

Friday’s food was still my favourite though; it tasted more home cooked and less formal.  Overall it was the best wedding food I’ve had. 

I’ll have to try hard at my wedding, when it happens.

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Malaysia Truly Asia

So we’ve just stepped off the plane and everything is different, the smell, the sounds, the heat.  This is the third time I’ve been to KL and Id always thought that it was a really westernised place, but that was coming from Thailand or Indonesia.  Coming from the UK it’s a world away.   You really know you’ve come somewhere different.

It made me think a lot about the advertising campaign.  I agree with it, but it should be ‘Malaysia truly the best of Asia’.  For me this is the place where all the best things about Asia can be found without some of the unwanted aspects – I wonder what ‘Incredible India’ is going to be like.

But the main thing is the food, the food is unreal.  I’m sure the Indian is better in India and the Chinese is better in Hong Kong, but they don’t live side by side on every street there along with Thai influences and the national Malay cuisine.

So I can’t wait to get something to eat.  Only problem is none of our cards are working and we’ve no money.

Fantastic!

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