Monday, November 05, 2007

Malay Pit Stop - Part 2

The next day, we were jet lagged and didn't set forth from our hotel until the afternoon. As we didn't have too much time before we had to prepare to go to the wedding banquet, the boy and I went to to check out a recommended chain restaurant, Madam Kwan's, in the nearby Suria KLCC shopping centre.

Madam Kwan's was introduced to me as being a kind of upscale hawker stall food which was done very well. We ordered one of their signature dishes, Nasi Lemak, and then the Assam Laksa, which I remembered liking as a child.

The Nasi Lemak was good, with crispy skinned chicken and decent rice. To me, it tasted just a touch too plain. Especially when compared to the Assam Laksa...

All I can say is that my mouth is literally WATERING while typing this. I LOVE Assam Laksa. I can even place it as one my favorite things to eat in Asia. It is sooooo umami, so delicious that I ended up eating 4 bowls of it in 2 days. I even insisted on downing a bowl even though we were late for the airport. It is so freaking good. Pungent, spicy, sour and slightly sweet, it is the kind of food that makes one reel their head back and go, "woah...." before putting one's head down and slurping the entire bowl, unashamedly tilting the bowl back to get the last drops of soup.

I don't know if anyone knows how to make this but if you ever do, and invite me over, I will love you forever. FOREVER.

I don't recall if the boy ate any of it but I think that if he tried, he may have lifelong teeth marks on his fingers.

To finish off, we had to have the cendol, shaved ice with lots of beans and jellied bits with gorgeous dark, almost burnt sugar to sweeten the deal.

Then it was off to the wedding that evening to see the lovely bride and groom seal the deal.

The next day, I was determined to down more than my fair share of Assam Laksa. Being a little worried that I wouldn't find a comparably delicious bowl, I had a bowl at Madam Kwan's to start me off.... just in case!!

Luckily I found a mini-bowl elsewhere, which had a lighter colored gravy but was just as delicious, redolent of fresh herbs and bolstered by the meatiness of the fish.

My first introduction to Rojak was a bit... well, let's just say I didn't like it. Which for me, is a shock as I like almost EVERYTHING (except Turkish delight. Ick) . Not being one to shy away from foods, I was determined to try it at least twice more to ensure that I don't like it. My parents' rule was try to try it at least 3 times before making a decision of whether or not you like the food. I have adhered to it ever since.

The first time I tried it was at a little Indian Kopi Tan, or Coffee Stand. They had Rojak noodles, so the boy and I ordered a bowl to try. While it wasn't the best thing I ate, it was quite decent and the eggs went especially well with the slightly fishy and nutty sauce. A kind of bent twist on peanut noodles served in mall food courts that the West seem to the like and the East seem to gag at.

Then we tried a plate of traditional Rojak with fruits at quick drink stop at a mall restaurant. This one was more fishy than nutty although crushed peanuts were sprinkled on top. I can't say that I liked it but I didn't dislike it. It seem a little bit "wrong" and that's even to me, who enjoy sweet mixed with savory and especially fruits in savory dishes.

All in all, the boy and I agreed, we wished we had more stomach space to fit in all the delicious looking food we wanted to eat. At the end we were defeated. But Malaysian food seem to be very big and bold in flavor, the absolute opposite of that of English food. Rather than a friendly tap on the shoulder, it was more of a get up and smack you in the face food. While I enjoy subtleties of some of the more quiet food flavors, I also love food that yells. And Malay food definitely yells.

Sorry, no addresses for most but here's Madam Kwan's.

Madam Kwan's

- 65 & 65-1, Jin Telawi Tiga,
Bangsar Baru, 59100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2284 2297

- Lot. 420/421, Level 4, Suria KLCC,
Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 5088 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2026 2297

- Lot. F-052, First Floor, Mid Valley Megamall,
Mid Valley City, 59200, Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2287 2297/98


susan said...

Oh, I'm salivating! I want assam laksa. Can't get it in Hong Kong - well, you can but it's not very good. And what's the point of wasting precious stomach space on not-so-good assam laksa when there are many more delicious things to eat?

Labhaoise said...

Which parent? :)

Sui Mai said...

Haha, trust a teacher to pick up my typos!! :)