Short answer is you probably don’t. Longer answer is you do, if you are careful and try to run in the heat of the daytime.
I feel like it has been a long time since I have written a blog post but it is probably less than a week. The goal was once a week, and I think that is still very doable.
In moving to Malaysia, I did not pack a few things apparently. One was the cable to connect my camera to my computer. The others I do not know yet, but I reserve the right to realize the importance of BLANK object at a later time. So because of that I do not have all the photos of all the food we have eaten. I have been trying to take photos of everything because, well, I love food. And the food here is amazing. Seriously. Freaking. Amazing.
Everyone told me before moving here that the food is amazing. And I believed it, because they seemed so honest in their conviction. Although I suspect a few figured I would hate everything else about KL and so this was their one straw they thought I could hold on to. Everyone told me that the heat was unbearable. But so far, not too bad. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hot and humid all the time. But it is very manageable. Everything indoors is air conditioned. I tend to sweat a bit when I first step outside but after that my sweat glands calm down and I get on with the day. Even last week when I went to my first ESL interview, I had a few good sweat spots going, but after a 25 minute taxi ride everything was good. I walked around a bit downtown afterwards and was okay. You just learn to drink a lot of water and walk slowly everywhere. A friend of mine, and I will call him out by name, told me my blood will thin out and I will become used to the heat. Courtney Hastings has assured me through science that I will learn to live in the heat, and he is wicked smart so I believe him.
What was I writing about? Oh yes, food! All the photos I have here are from my cellphone so bear with the quality as best you can. Not that it matters, but there are in no particular order except the order I sent them to myself so I could download them on my computer and put them in here.
Let’s start simple. Na’an!
Hard to go wrong with Na’an. This is above and beyond though. It’s Tandoori oven na’an. Like, a big tandoori oven is sitting right outside the restaurant and we sit there and watch them make the dough, then put the loaves in the oven and watch it come out kind of authentic. It is great. Here, it is served with three dals: mild, medium, and hot. Great stuff. This is from a restaurant called Spicy that is in the neighborhood of Sri Hardamas that is our new neighborhood. More on that in another post but spoiler alert, we have an apartment.
Next, a drink. Teh Tarik
This was a drink that was on my list of foods I could not wait to try. It seems like every travel show that visits India or areas with large Indian populations such as KL have this tea. It’s pulled tea, chai to be specific or at least I think. Essentially you pour it back and forth between two cups in long “pulls” to make it this frothy tasty goodness. I did not know what it was called in Hindi or Malaysian, so I ordered it by pointing to the guy at the table next to me that was drinking it and asked for that. It worked. This was also at Spicy. We have been there twice now. It is a great place. The second time did not go as well. And by that I mean, I am sure that the waiter thought we were both raging idiots. The food was still good, great even, but the waiter was not impressed with us at all.
The national dish of Malaysia
We have not had that much straight up Malaysian food, as far as I know. Background story: If you have Chinese food in America, it is not the same as Chinese food in China or here in KL. I am not being arrogant or doing a humble drag, but having eaten Chinese food in China and here, made by real Chinese people for Chinese people. There is no orange chicken or chow mein like there is at any random Chinese restaurant in The States, so I do not have a great reference as to what is Chinese food here in KL. Sometimes it is obvious, because it is very clear that the restaurant is Chinese. But even then, the food styles mix. I ate at a place today that was called Hainan Place. Obviously a Chinese name and most of the food on the menu for Chinese, but not all of it. There was some that were Indian or Indian influenced, and some that I could not identify. Could be Chinese, could be Malaysian. There is one restaurant near us that identifies as strictly Malaysian food. However, it is in a mall and advertises as having “good malaysian food” which just right away makes me think it is terrible food. So all that being said, we did manage to have Nasi Lemak, the so called national dish of Malaysia.
We had it at a night market in Mont’ Kiara, a neighborhood right next to where we live. (in fact, the night market is about a three minute walk, if that, from our building) It is rice cooked in coconut milk served with peanuts, boiled egg, chili paste, a meat option and traditionally with anchovies. Iris and I skipped the anchovies and selected beef as our meat. It was pretty amazing. It was also the first time, for Iris, that she understood why you eat spicy food in such a hot climate. And I had to agree with her for sure. The sweat produced by the chili paste was not much, not a flop sweat, just enough to make us glisten. And it was cooling for sure! I was a big fan of Nasi Lemak. We have been to a few restaurants that had it on the menu but for some reason we cannot figure out, they are not serving it currently presumably because of Ramadan. Seriously, no idea why. So we were excited to finally be able to have it. And one dish, as seen here, was RM6. So less than two dollars. This might be our new Thursday tradition.
Speaking of national dishes, here is a version of Singapore’s national dish: Chicken Rice
This is a claypot version of it. We got it at a little hawker stall center in our neighborhood. It includes pork, chiles, and a side of some kind of salted fish. The guy who cooked it gave us a little on the side, just to try it. It was not bad, but I will not be asking for heaping helpings of the fish on my chicken rice next time. Overall, the dish was good. Not one of my favorites but good. The chicken in chicken rice, as made in Singapore according to Andrew Zimmer, is cooked and put into cold water. Apparently this helps to separate the fat and meat in each piece of chicken. I think the cook here did that, but the pieces of chicken were not the best to begin with. Now the rice, that was something to write home about. Great stuff! Hey look, I did just write home about it! That’s all for now. More to come for sure. This will be a continuing series of posts. I have tried to take pictures of all the cool food we eat, perhaps mostly for Jayci, but hopefully you all enjoy it too!