Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I like getting local insight into places I visit, and in Malaysia more than anywhere else, people have been pointing me towards the food I should be eating, rather than highlighting tourist attractions, activities or the best budget brothels (these placed further down the list).

I'm not exactly a food connoisseur, but I'm getting better at treating eating as an enjoyable activity rather than a biological necessity to be taken care of as cheaply and expediently as possible. While this means I probably miss out by not fully appreciating (or even noticing) some excellent cuisine when I chomp it down, it also luckily means I haven't developed any annoying preferences or eating habits that would restrict my options. I am truly game for anything, even if the results are sometimes bloody disgusting.

I should have paid more attention to the great local food I was eating in Taiwan, but this was tricky considering my substandard Mandarin meant I couldn't even read the menus, and I had to resort to pointing at walls and enjoying my mystery dinners. But since I've been in Malaysia (and evidently developing some form of obsessive compulsive disorder if you've seen my blogs lately), I thought I'd give this Malayzin' food the attention it deserves.

This post covers interesting things eaten during my first couple of weeks in Malaysia. I doubt it'll be ongoing, as I have enough strange habits already without whipping out a camera every time I'm served lunch. Selamat menjamu selera!


Durians (bigger than you imagine) are supposed to taste their best in Penang.

So maybe I shouldn't have procrastinated trying them until I got to the Cameron Highlands, where the slimy flesh tasted like a cross between pasta and a man's semen (I imagine)

I tried some budget beansprout chicken here, which was pretty nice.
At least as an alternative to chicken rice, which I ate all the rest of the time


Some much better (and better known) beansprout chicken with meatballs and... other stuff, at Lou Wong's in Ipoh. Hayley was a great food guide too

Budget laksa telur (with egg) at Kuala Kangsar

Pomelos (also bigger than you imagine), the local fruit of choice, outside Perak Tong.

Disappointingly, I haven't tried these - but the disgusting durians put me off fruit for life
(that's my excuse, Doctor)

Ipoh's white coffee even gets its own Nescafe branding.

I wouldn't bother looking for it in your Sainsburys Local though

Sesame balls tried at Ipoh night market.

Not my photo, because I forgot to take my camera along to document every bloody thing that went down my throat. What a fool I've been! (Source:

Popular pan mee noodle, which had a one hour waiting list in Ipoh night market.

Clearly not my photo again, for two reasons: the professionalism and the presence of chopsticks, which I still can't use. (Source: 123RF)

Ipoh's Chinese community is crazy about the 'snow beer' served at Kafe Yoon Wah - icy Carlsberg in a frosty glass.

Produces much table puddle. (Source: eat drink play fun)

Cameron Highlands

Strawberries grown in the Cameron Highlands are supposedly quite sour.

I don't even like strawberries when they're 'nice' and not mostly green
(it's all because of the durians, Doctor)

I didn't buy any 'world famous' Boh tea, but tried the free sample of ice tea in the gift shop. Fruity!

I had a lot of fun Indian food in Tanah Rata. Like this chicken 'n' cheese masala thosai

And this nasi goreng.
80% of the food I've eaten recently has been rice with interesting stuff sitting in it

Perhentian Islands

Mama's special rojak. Mama cooked a lot of my food that week

Roti canai with chicken curry - typical Malaysian breakfast.

Curry for breakfast? That's the sort of thing people used to laugh at me for in Edinburgh, but here it's normal. I think I've found my new home

Orang Utan 'monkey juice' keeps the irresponsible beach parties alive on Long Beach


These biscuits I bought from a convenience store might not be typical Malay cuisine, but I was intrigued by the promise of a 'HILARIOUS MIX OF ASSORTED BISCUITS.'

How side-splitting can a biscuit assortment be, I wonder?

Ohh I see, they have funny faces on them. Ha ha ha! HA HA HA!


I'm never writing about food again.


  1. When was the last time you cooked anything? I made myself a sandwich today and it's the first time in around two months I've done anything like that. It sounds really weird, although it made absolutely no sense to make my own stuff in Thailand or India where restaurants were so cheap and tasty. I imagine with your travel route you've have cheap, cheap stuff for ages.

    Where's your favourite food in general been? Thailand was ace, but I had a massive craving for Israeli food the other day.

  2. Last time I cooked will have been some disappointing (and expensive) pasta 'n' sauce in Israel, in November (five months ago).

    Since then, it's been too cheap to eat out, plus there have hardly ever been kitchens anyway (even the flat I rented for a month in Taiwan didn't have a kitchen - it isn't considered necessary).

    Malaysia might be my favourite place for food, based on variety, availability and price.

  3. Also, I've been drinking tap water again. What a novelty!