All the food we tried in Malaysia was delicious. Malaysian food, it seems, is a mix of centuries of varied migratory and cultural influences. It’s a cuisine readily accepting of outsiders’ culinary expertise. It caters to everyone. It’s a flavour that can be enjoyed by all. Most importantly, it’s a cuisine that preserves and even defines their cultural background.
Take, for instance, the Hutong food court in the basement of Lot 10. The entire basement is an ode to the former street-hawker culture of Kuala Lumpur. For decades, vendors cut the cost of the four-walled middleman known as the restaurant and sold their delicious food to passers-by. The area where Lot 10 stands was home to families of Chinese immigrants. In an effort to preserve the culture, they were moved indoors and provided luxuries like air conditioning and seating in exchange for selling food. Hutong sells Chinese and Taiwainese-style dishes at various stalls. We partook in beef and noodles on a couple of occasions and even cooled down with some shaved snow.
Then there’s the food court at Menara Maybank, which was discovered totally by accident one extremely hot afternoon. At the food court, we were privy to Malaysian food lackadaisically dolled up on trays, modestly beckoning hungry patrons. Dishes like rice with scrambled eggy pancakes, naan, fried chicken, green vegetables and starchy basics toppled over each other. There was no design to the chaotic delicatessens, just trays of the basics. For $6 for the both of of us, we filled up on these Malaysian delights and downed them with freshly-made dragonfruit smoothies.
If there was one thing we loved about Malaysia, it was the fruit. Fruit, it seems, is much more ripe, much more colorful and much more flavourful in Asia. Fresh-fruit smoothies are found everywhere and are richly delicious, much unlike the smoothies found in the sterilised Styrofoam environment of say, Jamba Juice.
Snacks, on the other hand, left us craving more. We love food on a stick (but who doesn’t) and that seemed to be the most popular kind of snack at Jalan Masjid India. Food was decoratively cut to look like hearts and stuck in trios on skewers. Orange-breaded items waited to be purchased and fried fresh. We snacked on a fried hotpocket-looking food with chicken (ayam) inside, while perusing the outdoor market. But, the best part about our skewered snack experience was that we weren’t charged an arm and a leg to purchase it. It was decently-priced for the amount of food we received, which is an endearing quality we don’t exactly find in the States.
If one were to travel to Malaysia, they can enjoy a cuisine that has been delicately groomed for generations. It has a little something for everyone and that merely adds to Malaysia’s ability to capture and preserve their culture despite their ever-increasing important role as a major financial world player. Malaysian food can be enjoyed by all and that’s a pretty amazing quality about Malaysia.
The Wondernuts believe it’s possible to see the beauties of this world and to have fabulous adventures. And that doesn’t require taking out a second mortgage. Not every person desires to track “off-the-beaten-path” during their travels. Some folks like to hit all sites “touristy.” The Wondernuts prefer a mix of both and do so with the utmost efficiency, fun and enlightenment.
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