Friday, April 15, 2011

A Malaysian Cuisine Adventure

When I first went to a Malaysian restaurant I was ten and from that moment on it was my food of choice. I was hooked. All my friends decided that I was crazy visiting the same restaurant every weekend, sometimes on my own. But the mix of spice and simple Chinese food was simple yet complex, the sheer juxtaposition of food types made me wonder about the country itself. I was determined to visit the home of my favourite food.

Most of my friends thought that my obsession with the Asian food had gone far enough, but one had faith. My friend Tanya decided that although my mission was born out of a love of spicy pancakes, she was going to accompany me on my wild and albeit slightly deranged adventure. So we planned our trip down to the last minute and to her credit Tanya was just as excited as I was in the end.

The morning of our departure, we were nervous, but with maps, tickets and passports in hand we took flight.

In the air looking down below at the country which had inspired the whole trip, we reflected on our journey. From a ten-year-old fussy eater to the grown woman sat on the plane excited about the cuisine that was waiting in on the ground below. The journey we had taken had been born out of sheer lunacy, but we were bound to have an amazing time.

When we landed in Kuala Lumpur I was tired and wanted to get to the hotel as quickly as possible, but then during the taxi journey to the hotel I saw all the delicious culinary delights that were on offer. From that moment on I was determined to visit all the street stalls and the small local restaurants dotted around the capital.

After a short nap we left the hotel and headed to the centre, the jostling atmosphere made us both come alive.

The atmosphere was so alien to our own, but at the same time I felt as if I had come home for the first time.

A mixture of Malay, Chinese and Indian culture, the country reflects the world of today, a true mix of people, flavour and diversity.

On our journey of food discovery we encountered many tastes, people and customs. The best times were spent observing the people of the region, jostling down crowded streets and cooking a delightful mix of meats, spices and flavours. The street stall owners cook incredible meals from their memories, recipes that have been passed down by generations, altered and adapted by the varying cultures fluctuating in the area.

The rest of my trip was a blur of historical sites, food and more food. We travelled through the country listening purely to our stomachs and their needs. We came back several pounds heavier, but our hearts and souls were cleansed, leaving our minds lighter and at ease.

To experience Malaysia and the veritable feast on offer click here.