04.07.2013 - 26.08.2013
It was hard to find bad food in Malaysia. With such a diverse population of people including Indian, Chinese, Europeans, and Asians you can find a variety of dishes that are unique and delicious. The smell of spices can be overpowering in little India, and over in China town the soy sauce and egg rolls are frying in the wok. There is a big presence of noodles or "mee" in many of the dishes. You can get your mee with prawns, chicken, pork, or even that meat hanging on the stick that you have no idea what it is. We tend to stay away from that.
One meal that was found all over Penang was called the Steamboat. The Steamboat is a soup that cooks around a burning pipe that shoots up from the middle like a volcano. The traditional way to heat it is with charcoal although some of the older locals say that the newer generation might not even know what charcoal is anymore. We got a tip from a local about the best place in town to try one of these and we seized the opportunity to try something new. There is no specific recipe for this you just order what you want. We weren't sure what we were ordering so we had our server assist us. The meal came out with bite sized fish fillets, fish balls, liver, tofu, pork, prawns, squid, quail eggs, bok choy and a couple other greens, and a few more items that we couldn't identify. Everything comes out raw and you have to cook it in the boiling soup. It doesn't take long to cook because the soup is so hot. Everything was delicious and cooked to perfection. The broth bursting with flavor from the meats, veg, and spoon full of garlic we threw in was my favorite part of the meal.
The hawker stalls are famous in Penang and all over Malaysia. Hawker stalls are street food served up out of carts. There are many food gardens to go to where these stalls are present. We found one in China town that made us both a little queezy. We tried Laksa, a traditional Malay dish. It has noodles and a strong sour fish taste. I didn't make it more than 3 bites before I threw in the towel. Megan was brave enough to eat a quarter of hers. Later we found out that Laksa is also made with a coconut soup and is much better, but we were unable to stomach the thought of trying it again. At the famous Gurney hawker stalls we found some steamed dumplings and fresh fruit juices that satisfied our taste buds, we liked the dumplings so much that we went back for more. When it was all said and done we can honestly say we enjoyed our meals much better at a restaurant.
We made the trip to little India 4 or 5 times to eat the food. It was prepared on banana leaves and came out in massive portions. We liked this one place in particular, it was all vegetarian. The Masala sauce was definitely the best I have ever had. The mango lassi was such a great treat and went perfectly with the hot spice.
One day on a trip to the local grocery store for soap and fruit we found a chain restaurant that served sushi, the restaurant was called Sakae Sushi. The sushi was prepared fresh and placed on a belt that meandered through all of the booths and tables. You could either pick sushi off the belt or order different rolls via an ipad or touch screen computer. We enjoyed the sushi so much we went back 2 more times!