Malaysia-bound Part 1: the food

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This website isn’t really a travel blog. That said it is a reflection of the interests and perspectives of both me and my brother. At this point in time, I’m currently preoccupied with figuring out Malaysia, more specifically Kuala Lumpur while I start work in my new-found home so I figure this suffices.

Ascott Sentral

The Ascott Sentral – i.e. my home for the first three weeks of living in KL. #thehighlife

I arrived unreasonably early on a Saturday morning KL-time after a rather sleepless 12 hour flight on Malaysia Airlines (enter MH370 joke here). I sat next to this guy who works as an economist for the Cook Islands and we had a good chat, even shared a cab into town. Just as well – if you think Auckland Airport is far away try 70kms from the CBD.

Looking over the past two weeks I’ve actually managed to do a fair bit. I’ve acquired a Malaysian cell number, made it through two weeks of 12-hour work days at work, figured out the subway/monorail system, browsed (i.e. got lost in) the myriad of malls that seem to exist everywhere I go. I’ve even managed to not die of heatstroke although that was a close call a couple of times. #win.

Without detailing every single thing I’ve done “dear diary” style, I thought I’d pick one thing which I’ve found interesting in KL for each post.

MAS food

Food on Malaysian Air. I had the fruit and the chicken. I tried the chickpea salad but it tasted like disappointment and betrayal.

DAT food

Malaysia is home to three dominant ethnic groups, who all contribute something unique to the fabric of Malaysian society. Nowhere is that more apparent than with the food. It’s a fantastic mix of curries, noodles, and spices, with most of the dishes being flavoursome, slightly sweet and carbohydrate-rich. There are eateries absolutely everywhere from street vendors through to Michelin-star restaurants so I definitely have not been short of cuisines to try.

1. You don’t see people grabbing a quick sandwich on the run over here. From what I’ve observed food plays a pivotal role in social interaction, whether it’s a coffee with friends or enjoying a leisurely brunch with the extended family. A legitimate conversation topic is the best place to get a certain dish, or which café (chain) makes the best vanilla mocha whatever (I mean, it all tastes like unnecessary lactose and diabetes to me, so I just smile and nod).

2. That reminds me. I had the shock of my life when I first went down to the hotel breakfast buffet, lifted the silver lid and found fried chicken in one of the serving trays. Turns out there is a traditional breakfast dish called “nasi lemak”, which is basically fried rice with fried chicken, served with a spicy sauce along with peanuts and fried anchovies for a garnish. For breakfast. 0_0.  Another morning there was a spaghetti dish. And yes, this is in the breakfast buffet. It’s not that I mind any of those dishes (I tried the nasi lemak when I was hungover for brunch and it was quite nice actually), it’s just not something I can even contemplate touching earlier than 1pm that’s all.

Char Kuey Teow

This is that CKT dish (see below). It was pretty tasty. I think it was RM10 (about $3.80 NZD?)

3. Another thing. If you manage to find a nice Gruyère, maybe some Cherries, salsa dips, pesto, basically anything that is “Western” that is not processed sugary shit, prepare to pay through the nose for it. I had a few workmates over for a swim at the hotel so I bought some antipasto platter-type food. The cheese wheel cost me $10NZD alone (keep in mind a dinner is $3-5NZD usually).

4. Dem carbs. Oh lordy dem carbs. Do you want more sweet carbs with your carbs? Cause you’re gonna get it, big time. NO VEGETABLES FOR YOU. Don’t get me wrong, the food is freaking delicious. It’s just not healthy or balanced that’s all. I’m not used to such a carb-heavy diet so I’ve been skipping dinner in lieu of a mango and a protein shake to compensate somewhat, then cranking it at the gym cause I’m insecure and vain.

Notice how they have dehydrated cup noodles under the "Fresh Food" aisle? I feel like this is symbolic.

Notice how they have dehydrated cup noodles under the “Fresh Food” aisle? I feel like this is symbolic.

5. Favourite dishes so far? You can’t go wrong with mee goreng can you? I think that will always be my favourite, but some recent favourites include nasi lemak (that sambal sauce stuff is amazing), and char kuey teow (sp? Imma call it CKT – see above for a pic). CKT is basically a flat rice-noodle that has been stir friend in soy sauce and oyster sauce with an assortment of vegetables, prawns and egg. They serve it with a little bowl of finely chopped chillis which you can use to season the dish.

I have heaps of observations to share with you, I will try and be more proactive about snapping a couple of pics going forward.

– Chris.

Author: Chris Park

One half of the Park Brothers. Purveyor of banter, curator of misc. Manage comms for @BuoyandMine. Read More

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