Monday, September 21, 2009

Eating out - Penang Style!

On Sunday, Damian took me out for some Hawker food. That is: food sold in small quantities from a circle of vendors who deliver to your numbered table, and you pay on delivery. There's always a huge variety to choose from, from Indian to Chinese to traditional Malaysian...

1/ Roti Jala: Chicken curry with a kind of bright-yellow fried bread that looks like a fishnet made from cooked spaghetti. They make it by putting the liquidy dough into a device like an upside down pepper-pot and dripping it into the pan, so you get a web of just-cooked fried dough. Very nice, and good hand-food.

2/ Chicken clay pot: chicken and rice with bacon and some kind of fish-sauce to make it brown. And a fried egg on top. And Spam (no: just joking about the Spam).... and for pudding...?

3/ Rojak: sounding like a Japanese version of a device for preventing your car being stolen, it looks nice enough: sliced and diced fresh fruit covered in a brown sauce of some kind. Usually there is a mix of fruits in there, but this time it was mostly some kind of hard, not-very-sweet pear thing. "The best Rojak comes from Penang, everyone says that" quoth Damian, so I knew I was in the culinary epicenter. I got out the toothpick I was given and picked a piece up and ate it. Mmmmm...non-nom-nom.... bluuuurrgghh... a familiar taste was coming out. "Wass in this, Damian?" "Umm. Fruit. And shrimp paste. With chili sauce... " OK: it wasn't the worst thing I have ever eaten in my life (which I may Blog about at some point) but it will definitely be filed under N for "never again". Just for the record I ate a fair bit of it trying to "acquire the taste". I never did.

August is part of the rainy season in Malaysia: which means it rains every so often, usually in a torrential downpour, but they just put the blinds down and business goes on as usual - see photo.

Later that night I just walked a hundred yards from the G hotel down Gurney Drive to the well-known Hawker market there. I think well-known weird-food arsehole Andrew Zimmern did a show on Gurney Drive - may have been where he barfed the durian. Hahaha....
Safe travels! Des

1 comment:

  1. I thought Rojak was bald detective but anyway.... Sometimes its better not to ask. I remember being Beijing and some of my local work compatriots took me to lunch that seemed to be on the second level of an underground carpark. Being the guest I was expected to order and was presented with an A4 folder with 30 double sided two column to a page sheets in copysafes. After looking confused, they put me out of my misery and ordered for me.

    The dishes arrived and were uniformly delicious and covered in tasty dried chilli. One dish in particular stood out - some form of stock based sauce (with ubiquitous chilli) over what appeared to be short (2 inch) lengths of clear pasta. Impressed, I asked what is was.

    "Tendo. Behin nee. Tendo."
    "Ahh Tendon!"
    "yes. Jerried carv tendo"
    Jellied calves tendons. bloody nice though.