Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Malaysia in no particular order

So we went through all of Malaysia without stopping to post anything. This means it's all getting squished into one big post. Here's a few pics of Lilly and I in our natural habitats. Kuala Lumpur street market and Penang mountain temple respectively.

Our trip was very much guided by the foods we wanted to try. We were very proud that we ate almost all of our meals out of doors and on the street. We had some of the best seafood of our lives and were introduced to so many new foods...but so much happened and so much is still happening that I'm unable (or rather unwilling) to organize them properly. So here they are as they uploaded...

This is the kitchen at Baba Charlie's in Melaka. This sweet shop makes "square cakes" in the tradition of the Chinese immigrants who settled this region in the 18th century. This place was one of the food highlights of our trip. Everything they made was delicious. 

 Nuf said.

 Through out Asia we have found Turkish ice cream vendors. We found yet another in Kuala Lumpur. Lilly of course got durian flavor. 
 Nasi Kandar is style of food typical to Penang. You get a plate of rice and top it with what ever you want from the case. Then they add sauces from everything to make a soupy meaty mess which is addicting. 
 Yes, the name says it all. This is a curry of fish heads. Although the flavors could be strong we found this very mild but pleasant. 

Here is one of my Nasi Kandar meals. This plate has fried chicken, curried fish roe and liver all covered in a lentil sauce. What?!? YES !

The impact of Chinese cuisine on Malaysian cooking cannot be understated. One ubiquitous and delicious soup coming from earlier Chinese immigrants is Bak Kut Teh. It is a pork rib soup served in a clay pot. Real comfort food. 
 Satay is deceptively simple. But when it is good it is really good. This meal in Kuala Lumpur was REALLY good. On this plate are small stuffed crabs, lamb, red cooked pork that is then grilled among many other delicious things. 
 At the Hindu temples in the Batu Caves outside of Kuala Lumpur we did a lot of monkey watching. 
At the same cave temple we tried "Fish Muruku." We were hoping for something really unusual and strongly fishy. Nope. They are kinda like Ritz crackers. 
 More satay. Yes the fish is perfectly grilled. 

 Decisions decisions...
 Went for the prawn. These critters can be the size of your forearm in Malaysia. 
 Comparing my forearm.

 We spent the last week of Ramadan in Malaysia. The country is majority Muslim and many people fast during the day. It was great to be out to break fast with everyone else. You can see the diners above anxiously checking their cell phones to see when sun down has officially happened. When it did happen we all enjoyed black pepper crab. Perhaps the best preparation of crab we have ever had.

 This shot taken at a market in Melaka shows the palm leave boxes that people weave for the end of Ramadan. Theses were everywhere. As ubiquitous as christmas lights.
 Lilly taking in a mosque in their provided coverings. 
 Did I mention that there is an large and culinarily influential Indian population. These are from an outstanding Tandori stand in Melaka.

 A very common lunch is "Chicken Rice" but don't let the simple name throw you. These chicken is slow cooked in sub-boiling chicken stock over night and then served with glutenous rice balls. They should call it "elaborate orb plate."

 One of the square cakes form Baba Charlie's. The blue comes from a local flower.

LASKA! This is a distinctly Malaysian bowl and can be found almost anywhere. It takes influences from China, Thailand, Indonesia, India and everywhere in between and puts it in one dish. It can be prepared in many ways. This particular version has a strong vinegary broth made of both prawn and chicken then flavored with tamarind and blood orange. 

A really amazing visit. We are now in Thailand and will have many more pics to share. 

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