Yes, we are home, sweet home. We had a great vacation but it is good to be back home after three hectic weeks abroad. We were in several different fast paced cities in three different countries. We enjoyed some amazing sights, walked a lot, and ate way too much. It was a blast!
THANK YOU for visiting while I was away. I am still jet lagged but will return your visits as much and as soon as I can. It will probably take me a week or two for things to get back to normal. Thank God it is the summer holidays here in the US for the boys, and we can take things a little slowly.
Malaysia was our first destination. We visited three different cities in this multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and multi-lingual country. The main ethnicities here are the Malays, Chinese, and Indians. The indigenous people and other minorities make up a very small percentage of the population.
Please enjoy the pictures I am sharing with you today and I hope you will stay tuned for the more pictures in coming posts.
Petronas Twin Towers were the world’s tallest buildings from 1998 to 2004, when their height was surpassed by Taipei 101. The towers remain the tallest twin buildings in the world. The Skybridge which spans the Twin Towers is open to public. Admission is free but visitors have to queue up for tickets. Visiting hours are from 9 am to 7 pm daily except Mondays. Issuance of tickets starts from 8:30am. Be sure to get yours early if you plan to visit. Unfortunately I was not able to get the tickets as I was there later in the day.
Kuala Lumpur skyline from KLCC (Kuala Lumpur City Center – A City Within A City) at the base of the Petronas Towers. KLCC is home to Suria KLCC (six floors of shopping complex of luxury and fashionable shops), a myriad of restaurants, convention centers, hotels, 12 screen cinema (Tanjong Golden Village), concert hall (home of Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra), art gallery (Galeri Petronas), science discovery center (Petrosains), aquarium (Aquaria), gymnasium, and health spas. You can spend the entire day at KLCC.
Nasi Lemak is the quintessential Malaysian dish. Nasi Lemak is a Malay word that literally means “rice in cream”. The rice is cooked in coconut cream with pandan leaves to give it added fragrance. It is traditionally wrapped in banana leaves with a hot spicy sauce (sambal), anchovies, slices of cucumber, roasted peanuts, and hard cooked egg. It is a common breakfast dish but is also served and eaten any time of the day. I had this at Madam Kwan KLCC. A great dessert to finish off the meal is the cendol.
Enjoy a bowl of cendol from Madam Kwan KLCC while shopping. This is a delightful dessert of shaved ice with coconut milk, jelly made from rice flour with green food coloring (or pandan juice), coconut milk and palm sugar. It may include cooked red beans and grass jelly.
Delicious Pandan Layered Cake and Durian Layered Cake from Golden Bake bakery in SS2 suburb, Petaling Jaya, a satellite township of Kuala Lumpur comprising mostly residential and some industrial areas.
The best homemade Acar Awak in town. This is a classic Nyonya dish of mixed vegetables with a spicy peanut and sesame seed sauce, often served during celebrations. Normally made in large quantities as it keeps well in the fridge.
Shell Curry Puff is another Malaysian favorite. It has a layered pastry with a curry chicken and potato filling.
All you can eat Dim Sum buffet at Opulent Court, Pearl Point Shopping Mall at OUG, Kuala Lumpur. This is a place for the dim sum lover as they offer a wide spread of dim sum dishes.
Hawker style Yong Tau Foo (stuffed tofu and fish cakes) normally served with Chee Cheong Fun (steamed rice noodle roll) for breakfast.
Open air morning markets are commonly found in the suburbs. This is a collection of stalls selling meat, fish, dried and fresh produce. They normally occupy an open field or a quiet street and ends by late morning.
Pasar Malam is a night market commonly found in Malaysia and Singapore. There are stalls selling clothing, toys, food, and produce at very reasonable prices. The locals enjoy going to these night markets in the cooler evening hours as it is a hub of activity.
Goreng Cempedak (cempedak fritters) is another local favorite. The sweet yellow flesh encases an edible seed that is delicious simply boiled in salt water.
Star fruit (carambola) is a very juicy fruit that is somewhat like a tart apple. The cross section resembles a five point star, hence its name.
Chiku (sapodilla) has a soft and exceptionally sweet flavor and color resembling caramel when ripe. It has 2 to 5 smooth black seeds which look like flat beans. Unfortunately I was not able to taste this fruit as the ones sold were not yet ripe….aiyah!!
These are two landmark buildings in the historical state of Malacca. The Stadthuys was built by the Dutch occupants in 1650 as the office of the Dutch Governor and Deputy Governor. It is oldest remaining Dutch historical building in the Orient and is now the home of a Museum of History and Ethnography. Christ Church is the building to the left of the Stadthuys. It was constructed in 1753. The building houses hand-crafted church benches, jointless ceiling skylights, a copper replica of the Bible, a headstone written in the Armenian language, and a replica of “The Last Supper”. The Dutch defeated the Portuguese in 1641 and occupied Malacca between 1641 and 1824. They later lost control to the British under the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824.
Jonker Street (Jalan Hang Jebat) is famous for its antiques. There are lots of Peranakan and Baba-Nyonya kitchen ware and furniture to be found here. Baba-Nyonyas are descendants of late 15th and 16th-century Chinese immigrants some of whom intermarried with the local Malays.
Nyonya Asam Fish (spicy tamarind fish) is another classic Nyonya dish that is very popular. I had this at the Nyonya Makko Restaurant. Nyonya cuisine is a blending of Chinese ingredients with spices used by the Malay community. The food is spicy, tangy, and aromatic. Key ingredients include coconut milk, tamarind juice, chili paste, shrimp paste (belachan) pandan leaves, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, galangal, and torch ginger.
A village grocery store in Segamat, Johor. These stores generally carry products and produce that are popular with the local residents and they function as an indispensable service to the local community.
Malaysian cuisine uses a lot of coconut milk and fresh hand squeezed coconut milk is preferred. Local grocery stores such as the one above provide this grating service using a mechanized grater. This contraption consists of a vertically mounted wide metal bucket attached to a motor with a spiked metal ball that spins in the center of the bucket. The coconut is cracked into two and the juice discarded. The halved coconut is then held to the spinning metal grater for it to be grated. This looks easy but I can assure you that it is no easy task.
This Stir Fry Scallops, Macadamia, and Mixed Vegetable dish is part of a sumptuous dinner feast I had in Segamat. First time I ever had a stir fry with macadamias in it. The nuts gave the dish greater texture and was a nice contrast to the scallops. If you like macadamias like I do, you will enjoy this dish.
Another dish in that dinner was this Crispy Roast Chicken prepared and served somewhat like Peking Duck with a thin crispy skin and just a thin layer of meat attached to the skin. The meat is eaten with pickled cabbage.
The next two dishes were served at a wayside restaurant close to the border between the states of Johor and Pahang. Some of these restaurants off the beaten track serve fantastic food known only to the locals. I was fortunate to have very good guides with me. This Fried Rice Noodle with Tiger Prawns is the signature dish of the restaurant and is quite unique. It came out looking like a pancake with the prawns hidden inside. While it did not look too promising initially, I was pleasantly surprised at how delicious it tasted. Tiger prawns are fresh water shrimp known as udang galah in these parts. The male shrimps have two large blue claws.
Wild caught catfish has gained popularity and some species like the Patin (silver catfish) and Tapah (giant catfish) have become a delicacy in Malaysia. They fetch a pretty penny anywhere from RM100.00 (USD30.00) per kilogram upwards and they are not easily available. These fresh water fishes have a mild flavor and a very fine texture and is normally steamed with ginger and dressed with a simple soy sauce and sesame oil dressing. The dish below is Steamed Tapah.
Satay is the ever popular grilled skewered beef or chicken marinated in turmeric served with a spicy peanut sauce, slivers of onions, cucumber and ketupat (rice cake wrapped in woven coconut palm leaves pouch). The most well known satay outlets are in Kajang, Selangor dubbed as the “Satay City” but satay is found throughout every state in Malaysia. I ate these satays in Segamat, Johor, a southern state in Peninsular Malaysia across the Causeway from Singapore.
Durian is native to Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei and is widely known in Southeast Asia as the “king of fruits”. The edible flesh has a distinctive odor which some people regard as fragrant while others find it overpowering and offensive. The flesh is often added as an ingredient to sweet cakes. Care for some durian ice cream?
The creamy pale yellow flesh is slightly alcoholic with a pronounced aroma and it encases a seed the size of a chestnut. The durian is considered by the Chinese to have warming properties. To counteract this, water mixed with a little salt is poured into the empty shell and drank. An alternative is to eat the durian with mangosteen which is considered to have cooling properties. Another common belief is that durian is harmful taken with alcoholic beverages as it causes indigestion and bad breath.
We want to express our heartfelt THANKS to everyone we were fortunate enough to meet. YOU made our stay so ENJOYABLE!
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day!