Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Makan love



That's sort of a foreign pun this time. Makan means 'eat' in Malay. No, it still doesn't really make sense, but look impressed anyway.

When you talk to locals from any country (there may be notable exceptions), they'll invariably tell you more about the food you should try than the places you should see, and I found this in Malaysia more than anywhere. The first time I visited I was determined to try the breadth of the cuisine on offer, as long as it didn't exceed the low budget threshold, and made a couple of overly detailed blogs cataloguing my efforts. It wasn't very impressive.

These days my income isn't actually any bigger and I'm paying for two, but being in company deludes me into thinking I can be slightly more lavish now, which means only eating at dirty roadside huts a couple of times a week. Here's a similarly tediously exhaustive food diary (not literally everything I ate; I'm not completely insane) from our recent Malaysia/Borneo trip and from our previous trip last April, which I somehow forgot to obsessively document at the time. Must have been something I ate.

Guaranteed to be free from edifying cultural or culinary insights. I didn't cook it, did I?


Malayzin' food (April/May 2013 edition)



His: Chicken murtabak (Indian counts as Malay)

Hers: Chicken nasi lemak (the healthier fish 'n' chips of Malaysia)



His: Chicken (rice + egg seems to be a given) w/ satay sauce

Hers: Fish w/ mushroom sauce

Theirs: Spring rolls (all gone, naturally)

Incredible how I can remember these precise details almost a year later. Either that or I pieced it together from the painstakingly detailed file names and position of the diners



We needed an early breakfast in Tanah Rata and this was the only place open. We didn't know what this was. My file name only speculates 'weird-toast-egg-mee-curry' (mee is noodles)



We also didn't have much idea how this buffet system worked, but were pretty happy with the result. Those black things must have been some kind of animal



'Island' fried rice on the Perhentian Islands, which is presumably different from fried rice prepared on continental Asia. And a 'special' shake, but for once that isn't a blatant euphemism for drugs. We assumed not anyway - maybe that explains my story



All this weird and spicy Malay/Chinese-Malaysian/Indian-Malaysian food on offer, and her favourite discovery of the trip was potato wedges with fake cheese sauce from a greasy cart on the streets of Georgetown. We cooked these a lot when we got back to the Philippines. We didn't cook weird-toast-egg-mee-curry even once, that's quite sad



Chicken rice balls and a tasty wheatgrass drink on Jonker Walk, Malacca. I've discovered I generally like drinks made from stuff that grows in the ground rather than in trees. There will be some massive, gaping holes in my theory (I think it applies to food too), but it mostly works - I love these Asian wheaty 'n' herby drinks



Further evidence for my soily drinks theory is Malaysia's incredible yam milkshakes. The trendy place that sold this called it a 'blog,' because that's cool or something.
It's not a blog; it's a drink. Grow up.


Malayzin' food (Jan/Feb 2014 edition)



For our first foreign meal of the year I had semi-ironic fish 'n' chips again (hardly nostalgic, they never get the chips right) while she ate like a local. We shared a nice raw fish thing which was basically the Filipino kinilaw under a different name, as all these countries like to claim they invented the same food



Curry laksa in Kota Kinabalu. Looks like someone's had the idea of doing a food blog by this point (by which I don't mean a food milkshake)



Waiting for sunset at Signal Hill with an unceremonious burger and canned chestnut drink that was okay apart from the bits



Nasi lemak (again again etc) at Tanjung Aru beach. Like the location matters when I'm photographing a plate



His: Sloppy rojak at a local outdoor restaurant in KK. They tried to scare away the tourists with a non-English menu, but forgot to use strange foreign symbols instead of normal letters



Hers: Black pepper chicken plus poppadom, same same place place



Noodle breakfast at Slagon Homestay, Ranau, because Asian breakfast is better than toast



Our surrogate Malaysian mother prepared bounteous banquets every night.
They generally looked something like this.

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