Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Malaysia: The food

Indian Banana Leaf Curry
I am a hiker after all and therefore food is one of the most important things in life for me....
And the food is one of the best things in Malaysia!!! Because there are so many ethnical groups, there are also so many food choices... There is Indian food, Chinese food, Thai food and Malayan food. You never get bored here.

Roti Canai with Milo
My first food problem was breakfast. I spent the first days in Malaysia eating overpriced Western style breakfasts with horrible toast, no butter and mostly no jam. Even the baked beans tasted horrible. I decided to try something else and tried Indian - and that is the solution. The normal Indian breakfast here is Roti Canai. Not that I had ever heard of that... It is some sort of chapati with a little bit of dhal on the side. It is made fresh in front of your eyes! The stalls have a big supply of little dough dumplings and when you order it they are squeezed into a rectangular form, put on the grill for 2 minutes and that's it. They come in all sort of varieties from plain (Roti Canai) to Roti with eggs, sardines, bananas and/or chocolate - but even with chocolate Roti you will be served dhal, which makes a weird combination!

For lunch and dinner there are so many choices that I always have a hard time deciding what to eat. My favourites so far are:
  • Indian dhosai: a sort of rice/lentil flour pancake - very crisp and served with 3 sorts of dhal
  • Indian Thali: is vegetarian, contains rice and various sorts of dhal, curry and dips. The locals just pour the sauces over the rice and eat it with their right hand - but I have not managed that art yet. In the cheap version you get all this served on a banana leaf.
  • Tom Yam: is a very spicy Thai soup. Comes as a soup but also as a rice dice.
  • Mee and Nasi: Mee is the Malay word for noodles and Nasi for rice. Goreng means fried, so the famous Nasi Goreng is nothing else but fried rice. Here you get all sorts of variations on rice and noodles - fried and in soup - with meat or vegetables - spicy or mild.... and so on and so on
  • Satay: is either little pieces of chicken or pork on a wooden skewer barbecued right in front of your eyes and served with peanut sauce.
  • Laksa: This is my favourite Malay dish so far. A very sour and spicy soup with noodles and seafood.
Peanut pancakes
And what do you drink? Again, various choices. In all the Indian places you get wonderful lassi. Then there are tons of food stalls that serve freshly squeezed fruit juice - with ice. And of course there is hot drinks as well and as I do not drink coffee or black tea my favourite is Milo. Milo is a sort of chocolate powder for water and you can get the drink cold or hot.

Desert was a bit of a problem for me first as I am very much chocolate oriented - and due to the climate chocolate is not very popular here. But then I discovered Mr. Sweet - and Indian sweet shop where you can buy all sorts of delights, usually made out of nuts, ghee and condensed milk. Definitely not dietary stuff and very sweet, but ultra-delicious. I will probably come back to Germany overweight! But this would give me an excuse to go hiking again... which I will do anyways.

    No comments: