8/25/2009

The Food Paradise - Malacca & Taiping

Jessie jots...

Continuation from The Food Paradise - Penang post

As pinky promised, here's some of food pictures to satisfy all your hungry eyes. Not many sorry, since I didn't spend many days at these places.

Before I continue on, I attached a link to a picture of the Peninsular Malaysia map for those of you who are not familiar with the location of the places I went. Visit here to see Penang northwest of Malaysia. Just right below Penang is Taiping, located in the state of Perak. Then further south, is Malacca/Melaka situated right below the capital city Kuala Lumpur on located in the west coast of the Peninsular Malaysia.

Malacca

One thing about Malacca that everyone should know is that Malacca is a place rich in culture and it is one of the oldest township in Malaysia that provides much history to how Malaya was formed back in the late 14th to 15th century. Malacca has just celebrated their one year anniversary after receiving the World Heritage Site Award before Penang was also awarded for maintaining their old architectures on site. In Malacca is where you find more direct descendants of Baba Nyonya who are descendants of the Indonesian Chinese interracial marriage, also sometimes termed as the Peranakan Chinese. They form a sub-group of the Chinese community mostly Hokkien and resides in the West coast of Malaysia, combining traits from both ethnic groups into their lifestyle.

One of the best known local tidbits is their Pineapple Tarts, sometimes call biscuits cause' they come in many form. Some are wrapped up like a bolster or Pig in the Blanket, as what Westerners like to call them. Some are made like tarts, with pineapple fillings in the middle, surrounded by crisps, buttery crust all over. Below is some of the freshest made, just came off from the oven. Pineapple Tarts are simply scrumptuous!


The greener ones are made with screwpine (pandan) leaves, so it gives a more aromatic scent than the regular yellow ones. I still prefer the original Pineapple Tarts.


My mom and I dived straight into hunting for the best Pineapple Tart in town, trying every sample each shop has to offer. Was it a hard decision? Heck yes, I couldn't imagine anyone has to be a judge to find out who does it best. In the end, we bought about 10 boxes from a random fellow because it was getting late, and we didn't have enough time to decide somemore. So much for hunting. :P
One box as below, cost us about eleven ringgit each. And then we bought 5 more boxes the next morning from another vendor. I only took one back for YW and it's still at my kitchen counter sitting there... looking delicious. BRB I'm gonna grab one.
*Crumbs all over*
I didn't try the Radish Cake but I reckon, it'd be as delicious as the ones I tried in Penang. They are made of radishes, duh... mixed with rice flour, steamed until they harden. Then they are cut up into pieces like below and stir fry them with soy sauce, salted vegetables, eggs and bean sprouts. See the prices? Small packet is RM2.50 and big packet is I think 3.50, can't see... it's blocked. With egg, small packet is RM3.00. So inexpensive!

Some of you probably know the deal with Jonker Street in Malacca. It's one of the most happening bazaar in Malacca. If you're there in the weekends, there's no way you'll miss it. Along the street, we found a hawker noodle stall. The sauce that is over the noodle is called Kapitan Curry, made with lots of ground turmeric and turmeric leaves. So it gives out a very fragrant smell which I absolutely love, love, love. I never know how to make this, I usually cook this dish out of storebought instant packet, add my own coconut milk and some chicken, which is not even nearly as good as this original, made with love kinda Kapitan Curry. Delicioso!


Unlike the Westerners, Asian find much fondness in eating gross, ugly looking, strong smell snacks in between meals. When other looks for Oreos or Frito-Lays for afternoon snacks, we look for dried grilled squid, or dried little baby crabs that is crisp and crunch when you bite. Here you can see the older lady grilling the baby crabs, seasoned with hot paste and salt. Taste great with beer!


This man is selling dried noodles, he probably made himself. I don't know... it's not all that impressive, but I felt it was necessary to show many of you that we don't frequent the supermarket to buy noodles. We go to this specialty stalls because they taste more like how we like them - original, tasty and springy.
And that brown thing in the middle, all plastic bagged up is the famous Gula Melaka aka Palm Sugar. Malacca is very well known for their Palm Sugar as they are found to be very original, such that it is not mix with regular brown sugar or flour. Palm Sugar is quite difficult to process - it's labor intensive to extract the juice out of the palm trees, cook the juice over hot fire and hot stove for a small quantity of the sugar and it takes a long time to wait for it to harden up and slice them to pieces for packaging. The ones found in our regular supermarket which are usually lighter brown are not true to taste. The real ones are actually quite dark in brown color and has a very distinctive fragrant flavor.



In Malacca, you cannot miss the chance to dine at a true Nyonya house home cook meal. Nyonya restaurants are everywhere, anyway. They are not that inexpensive, I wouldn't consider but if you're paying cheap prices for Nyonya food, they probably aren't that real. Here we have, from left, Sambal Petai with Shrimp and raw cucumbers, the dried up bowl is actually Kiam Chai Ark Tng (Sour Vegetable Soup with Duck Meat), Gulai Ikan (Sour Curry Fish), Ayam Pong Teh (Chicken cooked with, I'm guessing, five spice powder, soy sauce and potatoes) and Sambal Kacang Botol (Winged Beans with Sambal).
There were actually 3 more dishes after this picture was taken and as far as I can remember, one of them was Curry Chicken with Bitter Nuts that was black in color, as well as some desserts using the melted Palm Sugar, poured over shaved ice and home made cendols, a dish also called as Cendol or Ais Kacang (Ice with Nuts and Cendol)


For dinner, it's almost mandatory that one should have Chicken Rice Ball meal with roasted chicken or steamed chicken. Either one is good. The special part is having that darn round rice balls, it's so good and it's so filling. One or two of it and you're done. They are probably cooked in chicken broth and round them up with hand and recook them until it hardens to this shape. I may be wrong but I guess, it's probably hard to make them since they should be shaped while warm.

We ordered Ais Kacang/Cendol again because it was just so good!! The palm sugar as you can see, it's poured over the ice and it creates that wonderful in-depth sweetness taste when the ice melt in your mouth. The green thing is cendol, made with flour and screwpine leaves (pandan) and some red beans to complete the dessert.


That's basically it for Malacca. I wish I took more pictures of the other food we had but you know me, lack of willpower, lack of discipline. :P My apologies to the viewers.
Taiping
Next up, Taiping! The town I grew up in for about 3 years and where I married Hushby and where's Hushby is from. It's about one hour drive south of Bukit Mertajam, as you can probably tell from the map. Taiping is also one of the oldest town formed in the late 1800s when it was built due to greed for money and power as the area was filled with riches of timber and tin. At that time, Chinese immigrants were brought to Taiping to mine for tins. Even my descendants, panned for tins. Ironically, today, Taiping is a humble little peaceful town where neighbors are your friends and your relatives. Old market place are a hangout spot to most residents where they sit there to gamble what time the rain will fall. Being known as a rainy town, Taiping is also known for being a retirement place because it is peaceful, clean and less crowded.
Fortunately and unfortunately, I had the leisure to dine at some of the more elegant places in Taiping because I was a guest and guest has to be treated with nice, elegant dinners, no? Unfortunately to me, I didn't have a lot of time to wander around to satisfy the foodie palette in me. Fortunately for me, I didn't have to sacrifice my waistline!
The elegant Chinese dinner one can have is typically like the following. It's almost like a Chinese wedding occasion but not quite as it doesn't have the traditional 'luck' dishes. From top left is Choy Tam (Steamed Baby Kai Lan with Fried Onions), right to that is Broccoli with Mushroom, poured with Abalone sauce, Steamed Siakap (Grouper) with restaurant's special sauce, Claypot Tofu with Straw Mushrooms and Vegetables, and lastly, Roasted Duck served with raw Cucumbers. Yum-O!


Below is a must have if you're in Taiping for the day. Hushby and I are never ever going to be done being HEAD over HEELS for these Banana Leaf Rice. It's an Indian cuisine, usually for vegetarians but you can have them with meat too. I especially love the mutton curry. I mean, this Indian guy, who has probably been there for decades, cook this mutton curry like no other. I cannot find any substitution ever for this mutton curry. It's amazingly delicious.
So before you start, you have to wash your hands cause' you ain't gonna get fork and spoon here. You will have to scoop your rice with your hand. They servers will place the Banana Leaf in front of you and then pour a lot of rice on it. You have to tell them to stop or they will not because Indians eat bountiful of rice. Then they will serve you the side dishes, individually. Usually, there's cabbage in turmeric sauce, as seen on far left, Potatoes/Pumpkin minced in curry sauce, some Papadum (chips) and fried eggs with onions. On top of the rice is the curry of your choice. This is my sister's curry - her choice was Chicken. When you're done with your food, make sure to fold the leave towards your body to show that you will return and the meal was delicious. Not to forget, also drink a small shot of Rasam (a very sour soup) to wash down all that fullness and heat.


In fact, Taiping is well-known for a lot of food, too many to mention, too little time for me to eat them as well. Yes, you can also grow fat in a small town like Taiping. One of the food that will make you pack on the pounds is this. Roasted Pork! Located next to the market is this succulent, tender, well-roasted pork. Small amount like this can cost up to RM15.00, depending on the parts you get as well. I'm not a big meat lover, but I'll dive into this anytime.


So that's all for now at the moment. I'm itching to stop now cause' it's time for tennis! WOO HOO... enjoy the pics, enjoy imagine eating them and I shall soon post pictures of KL food. Cheerios!

2 comments:

Extreme Power said...

Nice makan pictures. Add me lah.
http://taipingkakis.blogspot.com
Thanks

Anonymous said...

I want an order of everything!! especially the banana leaf rice la.. and the chicken rice ball and the siew bak next to it la.. and the steam fish la, and the roasted duck la and the kiam chai ark tng, and the gulai ikan, and the cendol la.. ya that's all i want, kthxbai :p

san