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Hanna Butler Journeys

The dirty one near the drain

MALAYSIA | Wednesday, 4 July 2012 | Views [1691] | Comments [1]

When we travel we always get recommendations of things to do and see,  none more so than what and where we must eat. But when you travel specifically to eat, that’s when people sit you down make you take out your notebook and write down where you need to go and what you must have. Even being told to go to the a restaurant that is the dirty one near the drain. My must-eat-list is growing, like I will be, since I have got to Malaysia and told people I am here to eat and write about it.

Food carries culture and heritage like nothing else. I can’t think of any other ritual that we do more often than we eat. Food holds pride, knowledge; it reflects the local geography and says a lot about economic status. It is also something that transcends boundaries. While there are many ceremonies in cultures that are not appropriate for foreigners to join in, everyone can always eat!

After a day talking and thinking about food, I met Cho for less talk and more eat. It seems pretty fitting the name of her cookbook translates to “please eat”. We visited the evening markets and ate our way through it. Every stallholder and vendor had steaming, frying and golden food under bright lights. Every second stallholder Cho stopped at and brought a bit for me. Have this one, this one is good, and please, you have to try this, she said.

Between Cho and the people who I have met in Malaysia so far, here is what I need to eat. Malaysia, I am going to eat you!

Line Order - apparently there is two, one is an imposter, the original is the dirty one near the drain.

Kasim Mustafa – between 12pm and 3pm they put on a dish where I am told there is a vat of rice, dhal and chicken, no choices.

Prawn Mee – Penang staple must have of prawns and noodles

And Cho’s list of what to eat in Malaysia.

Naki lamak - coconut rice infused with pandan leaf served with cucumber slices, small fried anchovies, roasted peanuts, hard-boiled egg, and hot spicy sambal. Traditionally sold wrapped in banana leaf or newspaper

Rendang - usually beef or chicken slow-cooked with ground spices and coconut milk until the meat literally melts in your mouth and the spicy sauce is reduced to a dry curry

Kangkung belacan - water spinach stir-fried in shrimp paste and chillies

Banana leaf rice - rice with an assortment of vegetables, curried meat or fish, pickles and papdum served on a banana leaf

Roti canai - thin bread with a flaky crispy crust (when done well), fried on a skillet and served with usually a three condiments to dip the roti in

Assam laksa - thick white rice noodles served in a tangy spicy fish soup with onion, basil, pineapple and cucumber topping.

Char kway teow - stir-fried flat rice noodles with prawns, eggs, chives and bean sprouts. Usually, with an option of cockles as well and sometimes the best ones tend to have a bit of crispy pork lard

Curry mee - thin yellow noodles mixed with beehoon (rice vermicelli) in spicy curry soup with coconut milk with dried tofu, prawns, cuttlefish, chicken, mint leaves and topped with a special sambal

Hokkien mee - thick yellow noodles fried in thick black soy sauce and crispy pork lard

Prawn mee - yellow noodles and meehoon (rice noodles) served in soup boiled from prawns, boiled egg, kangkong vegetable and chilli

Pan mee - Hokkein-style noodle which means ‘flat flour noodle’ served in a soup. The dry pan mee is served with minced pork, fried onions, anchovies, and topped with a poached egg that is stirred into the noodles. The key to the dish is the dry chilli mix sambal, which is served on the side

Kaya toast or roti bakar - bread served with kaya which is a sweet spread made from coconut and egg

Popiah - fresh spring roll stuffed with stewed vegetables and tofu in a sweet brown sauce

Otak-otak - grilled or steamed fish wrapped in banana leaf which has been flavoured with spices and coconut milk

Lor bak - marinated mined pork, rolled in a thin sheet of soybean then deep-fried until the outside is crispy

Cendol - a dessert/sweet drink with green noodles in coconut milk and shaved ice

Ice kachang - sweet red beans, seaweed jelly, barley pearls, sweet corn and fruit covered in shaved ice then laced with rose syrup and condensed milk (sometimes with durian ice cream)



You mean "Nasi Lemak"! hehe

  Salman Aug 18, 2012 6:50 PM

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