A Malaysian Food trip
There is a wonderful street in Penang called Jalan Muntri, where you will find small boutique hotels diverse coffee shops a cooking school with it’s own cafe and really interesting backpacker accommodation. The streets are quiet and the small restaurants and cafes are not like the ones you will find in the surrounding streets, with plastic chairs, formica tables and dishes spilling onto the street. The renovated terrace houses here now host funky looking tables and chairs, bars with palms and signs offering free wifi and a bit of a leaning towards western style food and service. What you don’t expect to find is cyclo driver with blaring music and dapper cricking fingers. His skinny little frame perched on a seat and propelled forward by muscular, years of service legs. We had a great time, as he circled several times laughing and clapping while I danced to the beat of Michael Jackson and ahem… Cher. His Malaysian passengers quietly pretended not to notice.
This is our last chance to soak up the streets of Georgetown before moving south to Ipoh and then Kuala Lumpur. So hold on and I’ll take you on a last whirl. The streets are full of colour and food as part of the population prepares for the sun to go down and the feasting of Ramadan to begin. Penang is a wonderful mix of Indian, Chinese and Malay
Along Jalan Pantai (Beach Street) there is a little lady with a take away stall that is rightfully famous. She sets up early and is gone by lunch making Char Tau Kueh or fried Rice cake (or carrot cake as it is known here).
The noodles are hand cut and then a serve at a time are tossed in lard, garlic, soy, shallots & bean shoots. She spoons it into a paper cone hot and delicious. Eat this while walking along, forget the morning heat rising, look out for the next exciting place to stop.
The next stop along the way is a very small little cafe along Jalan Carnarvan. It is almost empty and finished for the day at around 11.30 am. Breakfast noodles are very popular. First up the well know and one of my favourite Hokien Mie with prawn and pork.
Then Lora Mie not so well known but delicious all the same. A thickish cinnamon , five spice based soup with two kinds of noodles, sliced pork and egg
Walking the streets of Penang I saw the blue sign below many times, so much so I began to eagerly look out for it, I couldn’t find it on the map and yet it seemed to be very important street. Jalan Sehala was sign posted everywhere. At intervals it appeared over and over again and I began to think that the streets must go round in circles or that all streets led towards this one, until a bus trip out to Tunjung Bunga, the beach. There were signs to Jalan Sehala out there too. Suddenly it dawned on me and I had to laugh at myself…..it means One Way street. Mystery solved.
Good bye Penang………..
A bus to Ipoh costs around $10 and takes about 1 1/2 hours. Buses leave all day and the bus station is at Komtar, one of the tallest buildings in the centre of Penang. Ipoh has a flourishing food scene, however we didn’t take Ramadan into account. This is a holiday for many people and that includes restaurants. We had to make do with staying at an interesting hotel ( Sekeping Kong Heng )and breakfast treats .
Curry mie was in order first up. We waited at our table watching the crowds and looking impatient because we weren’t being served before the women we were sharing the table with told us we had been seen but we would have to wait our turn to be served. oops! We ordered what they ordered Curry Mie with a side of meats… roasted pork with crackling prawns and steamed chicken. delicious.
Satay at the coffee shop underneath the Sekeping Kong Heng Hotel In fact some of the best food to be had in this area is along Jalan Panglima where the Sekeping Hotel is. This dilapidated looking place is clean and organised with a computerised ordering system and amazing food. They were also hand peeling about 15 kg of fresh boiled prawns ready for the mornings Curry Mie
The streets are wide and at night this not only houses a market but tables and open air street side dining. Here we had Hunan Chicken Rice and greens
The market Coconut men
Its time now to leave Ipoh but keep in mind, this is the food truck we need in Sydney a portable BBQ King steam boat truck. The bus is easy to get from the new bus station, albeit a little way out of town but, two hours later you are in KL. On these journeys you must insist your curtains are not closed. Locals don’t like to look at the scenery as they drive along. The scenery did kind of upset me as it was almost 2 hours of Palm oil plantations and I suspect no Monkey’s or any other animals were left in there.
Ah, Kuala Lumpur and the biggest holiday of the year…Ramadan. This didn’t leave much open beside Petaling Street market ( very important) and the enormous shopping complex near our hotel ( luckily). The hotel was the Traders with the view above from the pool and bar ( below). It was worth every penny of the $139.00 from Asia Rooms.
Our first night’s dinner is in Jalan Alor a seemingly endless street filled with food. Smoke and noise and people and the always annoying cars trying to drive down a street full of people. There are street performers and an amazing choice of foods to eat as you go, or find a restaurant sit in the outdoors and order. Waiters will collect food from other stalls for you as well. If this is too much for you the streets around this area are filled with cool modern restaurants and bars with thumping music and beautiful people.
Don’t ask me where we sat in the market street but here is what we ate.
The following days were full of shopping and eating. Petaling Street , the famous KL market and food streets were a favourite for food and the “Jimmy Choo” handbag I bought.
I know that now things must end. I will leave you with a few tasty dishes from KLCC the large shopping complex under the Petronis towers. We had a free shuttle back and forth to this centre. You can also catch the local tube train( fantastic) and bus from here. These gardens are very popular with the locals for the paddling pools and trees to sit under. There is cheap and good quality shopping in both clothes and restaurants here at KLCC, you can get almost anything. Madam Kwan Malaysian loved specialties, was both packed and delicious and when we visited twice.
That my friends is my little 10 day food tour in a nutshell. I know it’s a little too much but I hope you enjoyed. I’ll leave you with a picture of the deep fried display at the supermarket!