“What are three words better than ‘I Love You?’”
A picture with these exact words popped up on my Instagram feed not too long ago. I was scrolling through, when a comment under the post caught my attention. Someone replied, saying their answer to this question is:
“I love food.”
Same, I thought.
I can totally relate to this.
If you know anything about me, then you know I’m a foodie.
I lived in Malaysia when I was younger and a big part of my experience while living there involved my love for food. My best memory of my stay also has to do with food.
Last year, my family and I went back to Kuala Lumpur after seventeen years.
We spent our days with my dad’s best friend and his family. A trend I’ve noticed, with our friends is something that was of a surprise to me:
They eat out at least three times a day.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner. Breakfast, tea time, dinner. Lunch, tea time, dinner.
One of those combinations. But it’s three times a day.
We also ate about five times a day when we were there. There wasn’t really a specific “time” of day to eat; we just eat.
Sometimes, we’d be having dinner at 11:00 pm, even though we had already eaten something at 7:00 pm.
If you know anything about me, then you probably know that I rarely ever take pictures of names of places, but for this restaurant, I had to snap a quick picture before leaving!
During my stay, the restaurant that stood out to me the most was Original Kayu Nasi Kandar. There are many branches across Malaysia and if I’m not mistaken, the one I went to was in Kota Damansara. (I have a really bad memory, so I could be wrong!
A sample of the many dishes offered at Kayu.
Kayu was a unique dining experience. We chose what we wanted (in small portions) and they make it fresh on the spot. The food was AMAZING. There were so many options to choose from and although there are a variety of curries and fried foods, we opted in for a Malaysian meal. We ordered the typical dishes (scroll down for pics!) that we rarely eat in Canada.
The highlight of the night was the “roti tissue,” which is a really long sweet flatbread. Although it looks HUGE and impossible to finish, it was gone within seconds.
The approximate length of Roti Tissue when placed on our table.
As you can see above, the entire thing took up at least four plates. Imagine a round table that seats a minimum of ten people, and in the middle of the table, you find the roti tissue, which extends from one end of the table to the other.
When the waiter brought the roti tissue to our table, he had to extend his arm and hold one plate under with his left hand and hold the tip with his right hand. The roti tissue was very flaky (it was thin and easy to break apart) and it melted when you put it in your mouth. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.
Some of the other signature dishes we had (I know it’s a long list but we actually ate it ALL!) included:
Different types of roti (flatbread): telur (egg), canai (original), milo (Milo = the Malaysian equivalent of Nesquik!)
Note: The savory flatbreads are served with curry or a sauce to dip it in.
Murtabak: stuffed thin pan-fried bread with meat
Mee Goreng: noodles
Nasi Kandar: rice with curry (c’mon, you can’t go to a Nasi kandar restaurant and not eat Nasi Kandar…)
Teh Tarik: I don’t normally drink tea, but I can drink Teh Tarik as if I’m drinking water.
There were a lot more, but I can’t remember the names.
We spent our time trying different restaurants at night. During the day, we only had snacks or small meals from local restaurants. Another one of my favorites is Hameediyah, a restaurant that’s been around for a long time (since the 1900s!)
Rice with the sides (different curries, veggies) and mango lassi
We met the owners and they were very sweet. One thing that caught my attention specially at this restaurant (although it was already dark out) was the graffiti on the side of the wall outside.
I’ve also noticed that in a lot of Malaysian restaurants, they have a sink outside, near the seating area (so you don’t have to go to the washroom to wash your hands). I guess that has a lot to do with the fact that a lot of people use their hands when they eat.
We tried both the beef and the chicken. We also ordered around four mango lassis.
A close up of the beef curry (non-spicy), along with some other dishes.
Note: We don’t eat spicy food, so a useful tip if you DO go to Malaysia is to remember to tell them in advance, as Malaysians do have some spicy meals sometimes. I suggest avoiding rendang (spicy meat dish) if you can’t handle the heat!
If there’s a dish that my parents always take about when we speak of the days we used to live in Malaysia, it’s CHICKEN RICE!
It’s a dish mostly popular among the Chinese culture, but it’s something we would always eat. It’s exactly what it sounds like:
CHICKEN + RICE = CHICKEN RICE.
We visited The Chicken Rice Shop. There, we ordered different dishes (as we always do whenever we go to different restaurants) and shared it.
A sample of the food we ordered at The Chicken Rice Shop.
This restaurant was a bit different in taste from the other ones I previously mentioned. I don’t know if it was because it was more “fast food” type because it was in a mall (whereas the others were just on the side of the street) or because it reminded me of a fast food place, but I didn’t personally enjoy the meal as much. (Or maybe it’s because some things were steamed).
Chicken rice is a dish I feel that is a must-try when you go to Malaysia.
There’s something about restaurants found in malls that don’t appeal to me as much as restaurants we don’t normally go to (just because they’re out of the way or not known, unless you’re a local). I say this, because we had our family reunion (with our family friends) at a restaurant called TEN YEARS in Sunway Pyramid.
The food was good, but it’s not a restaurant that I would go to again. To get me to go back to a restaurant, I really must really be pleased with the food.
Among everything I tried, the one that I still find interesting in taste is the ice kacang. It’s basically shaved ice, with syrup, beans, sweet corn, jelly and ice cream.
A local shop we always visited for breakfast was Restaurant Fawwaz, where we had the typical Malaysian breakfast: roti canai and teh tarik.
Breakfast from Restaurant Fawwaz.
Overall, I preferred the local finds A LOT better than chain restaurants (easily accessible to tourists in malls, for example), because I found the quality of the food to be a lot better and the ambiance of the restaurants felt cozier.
Another staple dish that was common in our everyday menu was Nasi Lemak. Nasi Lemak is considered the National Dish of Malaysia and is cooked with coconut milk, pandan leaf, beef with curry sauce and comes with nuts, anchioves, cucumbers and a boiled egg.
Now imagine that dish turned into a cheesecake!
When I first saw that in Malaysia (Nasi Lemak cheesecake), I thought WHAT IN THE WORLD?!, that doesn’t sound appetizing at all.
But, I decided to give it a try anyway…
and it wasn’t so bad after all.
So tell me, do you love food too? What’s your favorite cuisine?
I’d love for you to share with me, as I’m always looking for new things to try! (Yes, even if sometimes it sounds as crazy as Nasi Lemak Cheesecake).