We have been in Malaysia for a few days. It is the first Islamic country I have visited. The call to prayer is interesting to hear reverberating throughout the city in the morning and evening. There are three distinct ethnic groups that make up the majority of the population: Chinese, Malay, and Indian. Everyone speaks Malay and then Chinese or Tamil. It has been fun to try and learn some Malay to speak. “Terima Kasih” means thank you. Always trying to keep up with our manners.
The Arabic architecture is clearly seen in the geometric patterns and shapes. It makes the buildings have more of an artistic appearance. There are a couple distinct buildings the Kuala Lumpur Tower is essentially their Space Needle and the Petronas Towers used to be the tallest twin buildings in the world. These add to the cultural feeling of the city, but what makes the culture obvious is the food.
Mr. G, took us on an informal tour of the downtown corridor which is impressive and has roughly 2,075 people per square kilometer. The density contributes to the availability of so many different types of food, which we took to the task of tasting. Some of the highlights have been the noodles! I have had lots of noodles on this trip and the ones today were different than the rice noodles of Vietnam. Even though it is Chinese food it is Chinese food with a Malay twist. There are all kinds of spices that are mixed in them and even a chili bar at one place. Surprisingly nothing has been super spicy, which in some ways I have been expecting, but maybe that will come when we get to Thailand.
The bakeries and desserts here remind me of being in Japan. The closest thing we have to it in Seattle is Fuji Bakery in the International District. There are so many little beautifully decorated pastries it is hard to choose just one. The are filled with so many interesting and tasty fillings. One of my new favorite condiments is kaya, coconut jam. So delicious, I may have to check a bag just to bring a few jars of this home! D has been loving the availability of baked goods, but I am sure that he has not eaten enough pastries. My favorite dessert has been the shaved ice, it is dairy free and delicious. Again, another thing that needs to come to Seattle it could easily dethrone fro-yo for top dessert craze. I had green tea shaved ice that they topped with red beans and cornflakes, it was a great combo. There was a palm sugar desert too ( Putu Bambu) that was so light and fluffy and melt in your mouth… I need to try and make it when I get home.
We tasted all kinds of dishes that were all equally delicious and different. From nasi lemak, kuay teow, to more familiar sounding dishes like tandoori chicken and garlic nan. Here in Malaysia they pride themselves on their food and it is what they do here for recreation is to eat and shop. The cultural blending of cultures results in great food and fun. For example, we went to a Indian style curry house, but they also make Tom Yum soup and Pineapple fried rice and they make it well. This is a testament to the successful blend of cultures in the culinary world.
My day was complete until I saw Dr. Fish and wanted to try his services. At first it was unbelievably ticklish, but you kind of get used to it. After a few minutes it did not feel that bad and they really do clean up the dead skin off your feet. Crazy!
Sayonara for now… D&M