M alaysian food is most definitely under rated. When most people go out for Asian food they seem to get stuck on Chinese or Indian and for the “more adventurous”, Thai. They are all excellent but the thing about Malaysian cuisine is it combines the best of all three! Just think, the three most popular Asian foods combined into one!
Just walking through the streets and narrow alley-ways, there are these irresistible aromas of sweet soy, lemongrass and curry paste pulling you in every direction. The smoke from an old woman lightly fanning her flame grilled satay ayam (chicken skewers with peanut sauce) or a steamy bowl of laksa (fish noodle soup) at breakfast is like an orgasmic sensory overload.
There are a few food meccas in Asia but one of the world’s best, lies on the island of Penang. After making absolute pigs of ourselves in Melaka and Kuala Lumpur (two of the other food havens of Asia) we made our way to Penang. We ate and learnt how to cook dozens of dishes around the island before making a stop at Gurney Drive. It is basically a food fanatic’s playground where countless street food stalls are set up eagerly waiting to please everyone’s palate. I can’t say exactly how many hawker stalls there were, but I can guess around 100. One hundred food stalls and we tried to eat at every one of them.
The three of us split up and we were on a mission to try as much as our stomaches could handle. And believe me, at that point in our trip our bellies had a lot of practice. Curry noodles, ikan bilis(crispy anchovies), charcoal grilled chicken and Lor Mee(thick yellow noodles with pork and egg) are only a few of the dozens of things we had tried. And just when we thought we were going to explode, another cook enticed us by giving us a free sample of popiah, a spring roll like crepe stuffed with vegetables, egg and sausage. We were in heaven, and let me tell you we took full advantage of the food that Malaysia had on offer.
Wow… all this talk about food is making me hungry again!