Goodbye, Malaysia. A Memoir in Food Photos

I’m leaving Malaysia for good after eleven wonderful years living in Penang. Though there are people and customs and culture and other things I’ll miss about Malaysia, I thought my Goodbye Post should highlight some of the food items I ate in my last week. I will miss all of this tremendously.

Imagine the fragrance and flavor as you look at these beauties:

Beef Rendang – Indonesian, coconuty, Amazing!
Nyonya – Roti Babi – fried pork sandwich. Yum. Oh, and some greens.
Nyonya Pork Rendang. So different from the beef, but equally delicious.
Sambal Goreng – so unique, prawn, coconut, eggplant, sambal
Thai Long Bean & Pork – tremendous curry sauce on it
Indian! The best butter chicken masala with garlic butter naan.
Dry Curry Mee Noodles. Oh. My. Goodness.
Manchurian Califlower – fried, spicy, crunchy

The terrible thing about these photos (besides I’m not going to be able to eat these foods daily) is that it truly only scratches the surface of Malaysian fare. It’s diverse, flavorful, and dare I some, some of the best food in the world.

Goodbye Penang. Goodbye Malaysia.


I’m Posting this for Myself (Malaysian Food)

Self. Remember these 7 delicious dishes after I leave Malaysia. Here is how I can make them!  Don’t forget. That’s why I put it on my block. Do a simple search to find them and your mouth will be happy once you leave Malaysia.

Don’t forget to try these! Stop eating greasy hamburgers and remember the flavor you once knew. Now. Do it.

7 Typical Malaysian Dishes You Should Learn to Cook.

7 typical Malaysian dishes you should know how to cook

Analysis: This is an excellent list and love every single one of them. The one which has grown on me the most is Nasi Lemak. I could never stomach anchovies until I came to Malaysia. When added as a crunchy snack on top of the fragrant coconut rice, it’s wonderful. Mix a little curry in there as well and oh my!

The Best: In my opinion, the best dish on the list is rendang. I mean, wow! Our school cafeteria makes it from time to time and it is to die for. Yes, I said cafeteria. So flavorful! In Malay cuisine, the beef rendang is the most popular (sometimes chicken) and when the beef is tender, it’s excellent.  In Nyonya cuisine, it’s pork rendang and it’s to die for. There’s a little restaurant near my house called Nyonya Breeze that serves the most amazing pork rendang. I can’t describe it. No words.

Malaysian food is excellent. Varied. Flavorful. Fusion. Fragrant. Wonderful.

Give it a try!


Me and Sriracha (And it has something to do with Vietnam)

I was a sriracha hot sauce fan before you! Is that what Americans are yelling these days. It seem’s that Huy Fong’s delectable hot sauce, Sriracha, named after a place in Thailand where the hot sauce originated, is the condiment of choice for America – certainly the condiment of the decade. It has it’s own line of clothing, Lay’s potato chips has Sriracha flavored snacks, and the California bottling plant is putting out an enormous amount each day while fielding lawsuits from neighbors who complain about the smell.

2014-10-18 17.24.05Here’s a bottle of the precious which my family bought for me for Father’s Day when we were in America. We hand-carried it back to Malaysia and have been making delights like these Sriracha chicken wings. The ones on the left are mango-sriracha. Yum!

2014-10-18 17.45.46

Now you might ask if I live in Malaysia – the region of the world which lives off of chili sauces – why would I have to bring back a bottle of Huy Fong’s sriracha?

Good question. There’s a simple answer: it’s better than any Malaysia or Thai chili sauce, and it has Vietnam to thank. (I know I’m stepping on a few toes here.)

When I first moved to Malaysia in 2006, I happily noticed the grocery aisles loaded with chili sauces – condiment heaven – except for one thing: they were all sweet. Really sweet. Sweet and sweeter. What’s going on? Can’t I find a non-sweet chili sauce?

When I lived in Vietnam, I became used to the myriad of chili sauces which would be made fresh daily by the many different street hawkers. I loved adding the chili to pho, or for dipping fried potato cakes in it. Subtle, spicy, tangy, delicious. Not sweet. Vietnamese chili sauce is, in my estimation, the best in the world because of that.

When I moved to America in 2004, I discovered Huy Fong’s Srirachi in an Asian grocer. I was immediately attracted to it by the Vietnamese writing on the outside. And upon first taste, I knew this was they authentic Vietnamese style chili. The owner of Huy Fong was formerly from Vietnam – of Chinese descent. He captured the essence beautifully and started selling. Look where he is today.

So now I’m a fan from afar. I’ll bring back bottles of it when I get a chance. In the meantime, America, you can be assured that you have the authentic taste – the chili sauce of chili sauces.