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1ST TRIP TO MALAYSIA : IN SEARCH OF THE BEST HAWKER FOOD : PART DUA (two)

If there was a 2nd national dish competition held in Malaysia, char kuay teow (CKT) would be the undisputed winner. This wok fried rice noodle dish is found everywhere in Malaysia, from the hawkers stalls to fine dining restaurants. Commonly made with soft rice noodles, dark soy sauce, beanshoots, garlic chives, prawns and cockles. We googled and also asked our staff which ones are the best in Penang (also therefore the best in Malaysia), and made our way there.

World famous! 

World famous! 

Took an uber to Kafe Heng Huat 108, Lorong Selamat, George Town. The trip was only 7MYR which equates to $2.3AUD. Great way to get around because the taxis always charge double or triple for some reason.

The famous red chef hat.

The famous red chef hat.

Famous red hat chef x2

Famous red hat chef x2

As we got out of the uber, the first thing we see are the sweet old ladies are cooking from the wok stand at the front. We knew right away we were at the right place. The best hawker places always sell one or two things. We weren't sure how to order or what to do, we might as well have TOURIST stamped on our foreheads. So we figured out that you have to sit down where there is space, wait for the waiter/waitress and order what you want , easy enough. When the delicious plate arrives to your table, you have to pay the waitress on the spot. 

The smell coming from this should be illegal.

The smell coming from this should be illegal.

This picture just sums it all up. No words could explain.

This picture just sums it all up. No words could explain.

The size was smaller than what we're used to, but it certainly proved size doesnt matter. Smoky, savoury, and sexy. Noodles were soft and tender and seasoned to perfection. Before you knew it, the plate was empty.  

The drinks and dessert section is normally located at the back, and if you dont order a drink you have to pay 0.50MYR (15 cents AUD). Sweet old lady showed me a drink menu, and i just pointed to ais kacang which was 4MYR (1.30 AUD). The ais kacang was also great as well, the syrup they used have a strong artifical cherry flavour which was the prominate flavour. 

Ice Kachung. Great compliment to the CKT. 

Ice Kachung. Great compliment to the CKT. 

Most comprehensive Bak kut teh menu we have seen.

Most comprehensive Bak kut teh menu we have seen.

Around the corner another shop caught our eye, so we promptly walked in and ask for a table. Yi Xiang Bak Kut Teh is located on 88 Jalan Macalister in Georgetown. Bak-kut-teh is a meat dish cooked in broth popularly served in Malaysia and Singapore, where there is a predominant Hoklo and Teochew community, and also in neighbouring areas like the Sumatra, Indonesia and Southern Thailand. The name literally translates as "meat bone tea", and at its simplest, consists of meaty pork ribs simmered in a complex broth of herbs and spices (including star anise, cinnamon, cloves, dang gui, fennel seeds and garlic) for hours. Despite its name, there is in fact no tea in the dish itself; the name refers to a strong oolong Chinese tea which is usually served alongside the soup in the belief that it dilutes or dissolves the copious amount of fat consumed in this pork-laden dish.

Ordered pork ankle, pork ribs, enoki mushrooms and choy sum. Buk kuh teh is light compared to other famous dishes in Malaysia. The ankle and ribs was very gelatinous in texture and quite comforting. A 'must have' is a dipping sauce which you can mix on your own. We were told to mix the raw garlic, dark soy sauce, light soy sauce and chilli. It goes really well, its not a seasoning but more balance to the buk kut teh. Never had anything like this, so tasty. 

Hours and hours of pork ribs.

Hours and hours of pork ribs.

Lots and lots of people, with lots and lots of delicious hawker stalls.

Lots and lots of people, with lots and lots of delicious hawker stalls.

At night we walked into the tourist friendly Gurney Drive Hawker Centre in Penang, A hawker food centre is typically a group of food stalls, serving extremely tasty food at a reasonable price. There is lots of tables and chairs so you can choose what you want to eat and bring it back to the table and chow down. Definitely a must for any traveler. a little bit more pricey for Malaysian hawker standards. Everything looked and smelled awesome, there was so much variety. We couldn't possibly try everything, so we settled for Curry mee, Char mee, Nasi lemak, Satay skewers and Wat dan mee. 

Asian food heaven. 

Asian food heaven. 

Carnival of food.

Carnival of food.

Typical layout of a hawker stall.

Typical layout of a hawker stall.

Fruit juices, tropical style.

Fruit juices, tropical style.

Food skewered, cooked in front of you in some broth. Delicious.  

Food skewered, cooked in front of you in some broth. Delicious.  

Wan tan mee. Malaysian style wonton noodles, super popular. A must try.

Wan tan mee. Malaysian style wonton noodles, super popular. A must try.

Seafood ready to be cooked.

Seafood ready to be cooked.

Satay over a charcoal open fire. Wish we could do this back at the restaurant, but we don't have the space.

Satay over a charcoal open fire. Wish we could do this back at the restaurant, but we don't have the space.

Every hawker food centre has a nasi lemak stall.

Every hawker food centre has a nasi lemak stall.

Definately one of the larger stalls at Gurney Drive Hawker Centre. 

Definately one of the larger stalls at Gurney Drive Hawker Centre. 

The coconut rice steamed in a wooden bucket. 

The coconut rice steamed in a wooden bucket. 

Your condiments, cucumber, anchovies and peanuts.

Your condiments, cucumber, anchovies and peanuts.

Add the essential sambal and ready to take away and devour.

Add the essential sambal and ready to take away and devour.

Frying the chicken. These people know what they are doing.

Frying the chicken. These people know what they are doing.

Even with a plastic white plate. Nasi lemak is a beautiful thing. 

Even with a plastic white plate. Nasi lemak is a beautiful thing. 

Got the half boiled egg, fried chicken and coconut rice.

Got the half boiled egg, fried chicken and coconut rice.

Another angle.

Another angle.

These stalls all have permits and certificates. Curry mee is what we call curry laksa in Australia.

These stalls all have permits and certificates. Curry mee is what we call curry laksa in Australia.

The herby hit was addictive in this laksa. Check out the sambal given to you on the side.

The herby hit was addictive in this laksa. Check out the sambal given to you on the side.

Mates waiting patiently for their char kuay teow. They all ordered the same thing. 

Mates waiting patiently for their char kuay teow. They all ordered the same thing. 

Prawn wan tan mee.

Prawn wan tan mee.

If there is one thing all Malaysians can agree on is their food. 

If there is one thing all Malaysians can agree on is their food. 

That was a great first hawker experience. Tried a lot of new dishes in their street food state. Cant wait for our next outing.

Feed me now!

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1st trip to Malaysia : In search of the best hawker food : Part Satu (one)

Malaysia’s food culture is second to none.
Behind the seat on the airplane. You dont say? :)

Behind the seat on the airplane. You dont say? :)

This will be our first time Aline and I have travelled to Malaysia. To be honest we don't know what to expect when we land, so we have been approaching this with no bias and an open mind. This being primarily a business trip and business is food! And lots of it!

NL House in the house!

NL House in the house!

First stop is Penang, which is located about a hour away from the capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. What we are really looking for is the national dish, Nasi Lemak. But apparently its "famous" or "best" version isn't found in Penang. Not to fret there are plenty of other famous things to eat here. 

Typical hawker food court menu.

Typical hawker food court menu.

Checked in the hotel and had 5 showers (Very humid in Malaysia). We just walked into Gurney Plaza, which is like Melbourne Central. 

The eating times are similar to Melbourne, mad rush at 12pm, shops get filled real fast, and you can tell which places are more popular than others. Found a hawker style food court and immediately felt "the" vibe. Which is only found in Melbourne at food festival events such as Queen Victoria night market and the south east asian festival. The potions are quite small so we ordered 3 meals and sat down.

Assam Laksa. Nothing like its other sibling, Curry Laksa.

Assam Laksa. Nothing like its other sibling, Curry Laksa.

Hearing about it from our customers and its a must try. It tasted fresh, with a fish and tamarind soup base with a slight sour note. With its thick white rice noodles, it went down a treat. I would call it Malaysia's tom yum but with more body to it. It was a great start to brunch. 

Yong Tau Foo. Stuffed tofu mountains to choose from.

Yong Tau Foo. Stuffed tofu mountains to choose from.

Next up was Yong Tau Foo. The version we ordered was the soup one. It's freshly made fish balls, seafood mince balls, fried tofu in a flavourful broth, with vegetables and rice vermicelli noodles thrown in for good measure. The textures are so soft and with its opaque white soup broth, its deceitfully flavoursome. Topped with garlic, we enjoyed this a lot.

Pillows swimming inside liquid clouds.

Pillows swimming inside liquid clouds.

Lastly we wanted a rice dish and couldn't find nasi lemak in this particular food court. So we settled with claypot rice. This one had braised pork and chicken, made with ginger, belachan, thick caramel sauce and kecap manis (sweet soy sauce). Which gives it that dark and comforting colour when mixed in with the rice. The claypot gives the rice an earthy taste which is nice and also there are crispy bits of rice stuck on the bottom. And i'm a sucker for crispy bits of rice. 

Rice drenched in a brown sauce? Has to be claypot rice.

Rice drenched in a brown sauce? Has to be claypot rice.

The portions are a bit smaller than the average plate in Melbourne. Which means you can eat more in one sitting. So much good food to try we feel like we don't have enough time to sample it all in Penang. We will try our best. Uber is the best way to get around, not the blue and red taxis. This place from first impressions is not as pushy as some other tourist hotspots like Bali or Phuket. Great for us, with our cameras and backpacks we stick out like sticks in the mud. Most locals understand english, making it very easy to get around.

Economical way to eat lunch.

Economical way to eat lunch.

If there are any places we have to go eat. Leave a comment! Next up we line up for the best char kuey teow in all of Penang.

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Growing the world's hottest chilli?

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Growing the world's hottest chilli?

Use of chillies has exploded in countries like Australia in recent times, due to the culinary influence of the Asian diaspora.
— Australian Geographic

The Scoville scale is the scale chilli's spiciness is measured against. Lets put this into perspective, Sriracha© comes in at 1,000-2,500 SHU. Tabasco© sauce is 2,500-5,000 SHU, while our own chilli sambal would be rated a bit more than Tabasco© sauce. This particular type of chilli is rated at 1.4 Million! Guinness Book of World Records confirmed this. After posting this I'm going to search the interwebs for people who have attempted to consume this little devil. This was a nice Christmas gift from my cousin, I am in the world of food and chillies so this is a very fitting and thoughtful gift. This is my first time growing or planting anything so this blog series might end next week fingers crossed it doesn't. The ferocious Trinidad Scorpion registers 1,463,700 Scoville heat units, placing it ahead of the previous world record holder recognised by Guinness World Records, the Naga Viper, which comes in at 1,382,118. Green Jalapenos measure about 2500-5000 Scoville units.

Nice and simple instructions. 

Nice and simple instructions. 

This is the bottom of it.

This is the bottom of it.

The top.

The top.

I followed the instructions, popped both ends and this is what it looked like. I then shoved the whole can in a pot with some soil and watered it. Its filled with a pebble mixture, probably to facilitate growth and keep it dry during transit. The packaging is quite clever and very eco friendly.

Left indoors and next to the window, to catch the sun.

Left indoors and next to the window, to catch the sun.

Human experiments suggests that the pain of spicy foods is part of their pleasure. In the human brain, the sensations of pleasure and pain both activate dopamine neurons and areas responsible for perception and consciousness. This unique to us humans, where as other animals that have been tested never like spicy foods or even grow to like it. Poor chillies, they develop this painful deterrent through eons of evolution, and here we are jarring it up and putting it on everything we eat to achieve our own culinary nirvana. If got any questions leave them below i will do my best to answer them,  in the meantime I will keep you updated!

Traditional sambal from NL House ready to go.

Traditional sambal from NL House ready to go.

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