We have actually been in Malaysia for a month now, but we’ve been so busy eating our way round that we’ve not caught up with our posts. There is so much good food to write about that by the time we’ve finished, we hope you’ll be tempted to book a flight out here!
Having spent months in a gorgeous house right by the sea in HK we were now on the 17th floor of a condo overlooking the twinkling skyline of KL. We’re so lucky to have a place to stay in KL that we could not thank my parents enough. Oh and did I mention the condo has a swimming pool, Jacuzzi, sauna, gym and tennis courts? A world away from the nights spent in grotty hostels with stinky squat toilets in China!
Malaysia is a very unique country in that it embraces a variety of cultures, races and religions. Not just a smattering of other peoples like in London but huge communities of Chinese, Indian, Western and Malay.
Many Malaysians can speak up to four languages and a conversion could involve all four! We’d witnessed this when we met up with a local friend. She spoke English to us, Cantonese to her mother-in-law, Mandarin to her daughter and switched to Bahasa (national language of Malaysia) in the restaurant. I’ve been flicking from English to Cantonese and that’s exhausting enough!
I’ve always thought the food in London was very multi-cultural, until now, because what I’ve found here is that there is a real sense of authenticity in in the different cultures cuisine.
If I asked any Londoner what their favourite Chinese dish is, they will probably say Sweet & Sour or Lemon Chicken. I don’t think half the population of China would know what those are. I once saw prawn crackers and cheesecake on offer in a Mongolian restaurant, burgers in an Italian and fish and chips in a Chinese! The food has been somewhat adapted to suit the Western palette and to an extent, has lost its identity. But what is authenticity anyway? Most cultures have borrowed, adapted, ripped off or stolen something from someone else…why is it you get noodles in Italy called spaghetti?
In Malaysia, they’ve adapted and integrated the food brilliantly but you can still get each cultures own dishes, just like mamma used to make. You can go to Mamak (Indian Muslim) restaurants and order yourself banana leaf rice, they start piling on a variety of curries, fried veg, marinated cucumber, salt fried chillies and sauces, then you just tuck in with your right hand. (The left hand is considered unclean as it’s used for botty washing). Go to any street hawker and you get typical Chinese and Malaysian food ranging from rice porridge with crispy dough sticks, Hokkien mee and the well-loved national dish of Nasi Lemak. There’s so much variety on offer that we’re struggling to fit it all in. So before I launch into it, I’ll let you take a breather!