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Where's Jonny? Care to dine with me? You would think that 11 years of daily food tasting for a living might put me off?......au contraire! Chomp away with me across 6 continents. Seduced like a bloodhound to the scent of good food, I anticipate the misty waft of steaming broths, the satisfying crunch of mudbugs and the vibrant aroma of freshly pulverised lemongrass. Buon appetito

Hugh Grant on rollerblades

MALAYSIA | Monday, 28 May 2007 | Views [2220] | Comments [1]

Jets of fog spewed from the ceiling and 90s dance music thumped from huge speakers.  A stumbling westerner, arms flailing, attempted to get to grips with his in-line skates at the roller disco.  Stumbling around like a baby deer, I must have looked like Hugh Grant on skates.  Thats not necessarily a bad thing in Asia.  They love Mr Bean too.  The irony is that my brother is currently playing roller hockey for England. (in Germany)

Earlier in the morning I visited the Batu caves.  Although famous for their limestone formations and Hindu traditions (its a shrine) I was there to photograph my supersonic-sonar-radar-equipped friends. (bats)

There were none. 

However there were mischevious cave monkeys intent on throwing half coconut shells at my head.  I took a few photos, admiring the vibrantly colourful Saris worn by the many Hindu women that were visiting.

A cab ride back to town for lunch which just had to be in, "Little India."  As the car door opened my nose was assaulted by a myriad of intoxicating smells.  Wow.

I cannot emphasise enough just how good the Indian cuisine is in Malaysia and Singapore.  The spice blends are infinetly better than anything I've experienced in the UK.  This place was vegetarian but did I miss the meat?  Did I Hell.

I may be a chopstick "Jedi-Knight" but eating with fingers like everyone else in the restaurant is a completely different matter.  They did offer a spoon and fork which I immediately disregarded.

The first time I used my fingers (in Singapore) the result was 8 types of curry stain on my shorts.  I remember the laundry girl looking perplexed when I handed over the soiled garment.

Back to the restaurant and I have been given a large rectangular banana leaf "plate."  This is "de-rigeur" at Indian restaurants here.  On to the ribbed green mat were dolloped the following spectacularly flavoured foods,

spiced white cabbage, soft beetroot cubes with fennel seeds, thin mango chutney, carrot curry, curry with chickpeas, yellow rice with crunchy peanuts, thick-set white yoghurt, a poppadom, a warm chappati, lime chutney and finally a bright pink square of creamy coconut candy for dessert.  My mango lassi was a two-tone affair with perfectly pureed Indian (the best) mango on the bottom and a creamy layer of yoghurt above.  Amazing, and all for 25 rigits or 3.50GBP  

My journey back to the "Trekkers Lodge," took in the small but beautiful colonnial district.  The most prominent building is a cleverly designed east-west blend of architecture that is the High court in Merdeka square.

As I walked further to the shopping district I noticed how the malls were tiered according to your wealth.  I ventured into the squeaky clean one where the guards had pump action shotguns over their shoulders.  Very impressive inside, all the superbrands there, Mulberry, Gucci, Bang and Olufsen etc but not many people.  I couldn't help choosing a cigar from the humidor at the Davidoff shop.  (I'm saving it for Raffles)

Further up the road in a mall stuffed with technological wizardry, I noticed the roller disco.  The whole place was brimming with young people buying ipod nanos, mobile phone accessories and laptops.

Ever since the "San Francisco incident," I have veered away from the extreme sport known as roller blading.  Basically I began a descent down a ridiculously steep hill (San Fran is full of them) and realised at 40 KPH that I had no idea how to stop.  I collided with a lampost on a residential street (which was a better option than the traffic) and was knocked senseless.  Slightly concussed, bruised and feeling stupid I vowed never to put unnatural devices on my feet. 

Until now...................because I felt a sudden urge to express myself in Kualar Lumpur.  I admired the grace with which people circled the floor and knew that this was an art form I could try.

Malaysians become utterly mad when wearing skates.  They form huge trains and zoom around the floor at high speed.  The poor person on the end is inevitably catapulted to their death somewhere near the popcorn stand.

I had fun dodging the cigarette wielding teenagers and feeling worried about kids with lollipops protruding from their mouths.  I was probably the oldest there by 20 years but I didn't care.  After 40 revolutions I had found my groove and formed my own style.

The mix of people, culture, food, religion and language in Malaysia and Singapore are unlike any other part of Asia I have visited.  At first I was dismissive, thinking they were too western.  However I am warming to this part of SE Asia, particularly because there is a tolerant atmosphere in which everybody gets on.

I have chatted to many different cultures here including one guy who is an indiginous Malaysian Borneo tribesperson.

Foods exist as colourful hybridisations AND as purist forms of a nations cusine.  Borrowing seems to be the norm. 

I can eat superb Indian, Malay, Chinese, Western OR a mix of all of them here.  And, like my Hugh Grant on rollerblades impressions, no-one really gives a stuff.  They just smile and offer a hand. 

Tags: Adventures



You write like a legend mate. A laugh in every sentence. A fit in every paragraph. Im going back to my 2 quid bungalow to rest after spliting my sides!!

peace JJ

  JJ Jun 15, 2007 7:44 PM

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