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April, 2012

  1. What Is Malaysian Food?

    April 7, 2012 by The E.A.T. Team

    Malaysia is a huge mixing pot of cultures, with such large populations of immigrants that Chinese and Indian food can be considered typical Malaysian food.

    Nasi Kandar is a really popular dish here in Kuala Lumpur and throughout Malaysia: it’s basically rice served buffet-style with different curries, vegetables, noodles, and other sides.  ”Nasi” means rice and “kandar” is the pole that vendors use on their shoulders to balance two buckets of rice.  One heaping plate of warm delicious-ness that leaves you feeling like passing out costs a whopping 6 or 7 Ringgits (USD $2).  Basically its heaven.

    Today, my Polish couchsurfing hosts Magda & Jurek took me to their favorite Nasi Kandar restaurant, and I spoke with the owner, Norshaw Izzarudin and her son Raffik.  Raffik’s brother in law is the chef and it’s a family business through-and-through.

    They’ve been running the business for 7 years, which, like most similar establishments, has no name or address.  However, just because they’re not on Google Maps doesn’t mean business isn’t booming.. its a friendly neighborhood shack and the locals use their hands to eat (according to Magda it tastes better this way).  A nice cold Lime Ice Tea helps wash down the spicy chilis peppered throughout the curries while you sweat in the shade, karaoke from the wedding accross the street filling your ears.

    My favorite dish was Pajeri Nanas (pineapple curry) and Raffik’s is Siakap (fish with coconut milk and chili).

    For dessert, we headed right next door to the women cooking up a storm.  Colorful squishy blobs made of sticky rice, tapioca, and flour confused but delighted my taste buds.

    The photos might do the whole experience more justice:

  2. Award for Best Amateur Chef Goes To..

    April 6, 2012 by The E.A.T. Team

    There are some things you just can’t plan.  Not only can you not plan them, but you can not even imagine them existing in reality.  One of those such things was Couchsurfing with a young Russian couple living in Ao Nang, a subdistrict of the southern city of Krabi, Thailand.  We could have stayed in a hostel and followed the traditional guidebook recommendations, but instead we trekked out to what felt like the boonies to spend the night with strangers…

    Fresh off the boat from Ko Lanta island, we tried to figure out how to get to the house of our Couchsurfing hosts, with whom we had only spoken to via email.  Hot, sweaty, tired and a bit intimidated by the taxi driver’s confusion, we were slightly apprehensive about how this was all going to play out.  We were running on Thai time, so the bus arrived two hours later than expected.. would they be waiting for us?  Would we find the right place?  Was the taxi man driving us in circles to rip us off?

    Finally locating the right house, we knocked and… nothing happened.  A few minutes later, Liz and Ed emerged and greeted us warmly in the more-than-warm afternoon.  Relieved, we settled in quickly to some of the best days of our trip.

    Exploring a hidden monkey beach, a day-trip expedition to the giant Tesco Lotus supermarket on their motorbikes, the only wine we had in Thailand, spotting a dinosaur-like giant lizard in their backyard, Papaya salad from Liz’s favorite food stall, teasing their cat (aptly named Cat), wooden “swordfighting” in the city center, watching fish with legs crawl creepily out of the ocean like a glimpse of evolution in progress.. we had a very unique experience with Liz & Ed that we would not have had by reading a guidebook, and that’s the beauty of Couchsurfing.  But most importantly, we found two new fantastic friends.. ones that are welcome to stay in our homes, and that we will travel to purposely visit next time.

    I’d like to end this post with an awards ceremony.  Liz spoiled us daily with unbelievably tasty fresh stir fries, noodles, omelets, and sandwiches.  The EAT Team Best Amateur Chef Award goes to Liz for her outstanding culinary delights!