Sunday, April 29, 2012

Malaysia Days #9-10

Hi again to everyone who is still following along with our journey in Southeast Asia! Things are definitely not as exciting as the first two weeks of our trip, but we are still finding a lot of unique things to eat that we don't normally get in the US.
On Saturday, Derren's uncle from Kuala Lumpur was in town, so he took us out to lunch to Indian food. No one else in Derren's family will eat Indian food, so we rely on Uncle Chee Yeng to take us to one of the many Indian options! Derren's dad came along with us too, since he is willing to try Indian food too!
Here's a picture of the Indian restaurant that we ate at. It was actually somewhat expensive compared to the rest of the food that we have been eating in Ipoh - about 50 ringgitt ($16) for four people.

Here's another picture of the restaurant, with Derren, Francois, and Uncle Chee Yeng talking to the waiter about which curries we were going to order.

To accompany our lunch we had "teh tarik" (or pulled tea) which is an Indian tea. It was very sweet, and ice cold, and tasted delicious with the spicy Indian food. Derren and I had already had a cup of coffee at home before this, and then we actually went out for a cup of coffee after lunch. Needless to say, Derren and I couldn't fall asleep on Saturday night!!

And here is some of the curries that we ate. Starting from the left is dal (a vegetarian garbanzo bean curry), some meat curry (Derren doesn't even know what it was), then another vegetarian curry, then sweet and sour cauliflower, and finally on the right is a fake mutton (vegetarian) spicy curry. The crunchy chip things are a free appetizer to dip in the curries.

And to go with our curry we had garlic naan. This was hot and yummy. Not as thick as much of the naan I've eaten before.

On Saturday night, we finally made the trip to go get what Derren calls "old man noodles." This little wonton noodle restaurant has been around for a very long time, and in the front of the restaurant the "old man" is featured, making the bowls of noodle. The noodle is homemade, and this old guy makes every freaking bowl. People go there just to watch him. We had come here four years ago, and this is one of Derren's favorite places to eat. I recorded the old man making the bowls of noodles:
We had to wait more than 30 minutes for our noodles because this guys is so popular!

While we were waiting for our food, Derren and I got soy milk with grass jelly. The grass jelly doesn't have a lot of flavor, and is less chewy than tapioca balls that you get in boba drinks.
And of course, our bowls of preserved green chillis to eat with the noodle (not very spicy!) Yum!

This is what the noodles looks like. This is Derren's bowl (you can see a little bit of pork on it), but mine looked almost identical, minus the meat of course! At this restaurant you can do a "single" order of noodles, a "1 1/2 order" or a double. Derren's was a double of course!

And to go with the noodles, everyone else besides me eats these wonton noodles. Derren ate about twelve wontons just by himself. He really loves this place!

Then for breakfast on Sunday morning, we were woken up early to go out to eat with Derren's Uncle Chee Yeng, and the rest of the family. We went to this noodle restaurant which was quite busy.

Not only do they have noodle soup, but they have a similar "yong tau foo" set-up, where everyone shares the fried fish paste things (you can see all of the options on the left side of the picture).

Derren had curry noodle soup - it looks so spicy to have for breakfast, but Derren really enjoyed it!

And of course, I got plain noodles. These are the "rat tail" noodles - very thick and chewy.

And here's the stuff that everyone shared - fried bean curd and fish paste.

Since we had such a filling breakfast, for lunch we had Derren's Aunt Wendy's homemade dessert soup. I took a picture of Derren's mom and aunt, and Derren in the kitchen before we ate the soup.

This soup was made with LOTS of coconut milk and little balls of wheat (it basically looked and tasted like barley). It was very rich and delicious. I engorged in three small bowls, knowing that I probably would never get it again for a VERY long time, and it was one of my favorite things that I've eaten this trip!
Thanks to his aunt for making this famous recipe of hers!

And for dinner we went back to a restaurant that we ate at earlier in the week. We had to drive more than 30 minutes to get to this place, but it was Derren's uncle from Australia's last night in town, so he wanted to go all the way there for the homemade noodles. So for dinner...more noodles and fried bean curd with fishballs.

And for dessert, I had another helping of kaya rice waiting for me at home.I finally remembered to take a picture of this tasty delicacy before I devoured it. Unfortunately this is an ugly looking kaya rice - they usually aren't all smashed, but this one was more than a day old, so it wasn't as pretty. :( It still tasted pretty good though!

Derren and I have only one more week in Ipoh, and then will head back to Kuala Lumpur for a couple of days before our flight leaves next Tuesday. Derren is making a mental list of all of the places he wants to make sure to go before we leave town. So lots more to come! We miss you all! Please keep in touch and leave us comments to tell us what you think! I miss hearing from everyone. :)

Ashley & Derren

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Malaysia Days #7-8

Another couple days of eating and playing mahjong and shopping in Ipoh, Malaysia! On Thursday we went out to lunch with Derren's entire family to a popular noodle restaurant. I have been posting nothing but food pictures, so I tried to take a couple of Derren and I again. :) This one is before we went out to lunch. We are standing in the driveway of his aunt's house, looking out onto the front yard. All of the houses in this neighborhood have cement walls around the entire property with gates to get the cars in. It's preventative because they have a really bad police system, so you just have to prevent burglary. Apparently the police are useless if you have a burglary, and you have to pay them to file a police report. Derren's aunt and grandmother had a serious home invasion incident in the 1990s, so they are much more careful now, with lots of safety measures and a security system in the house.
But a nice picture and a sunny day!

This is a picture I took at the noodle house that we went for lunch. This is Derren and his immediate family (minus his older brother Justin who is not on this trip with us). This is Derren, his dad, older sister Monique, and his mom.

With our lunch, Derren and I ordered a cold drink - ones that we've not yet had on this trip. Derren's is a sweet barley drink, and mine is crushed red beans (another sweet beverage; the one on the right).

Here's what the restaurant that we were eating at looked like. A pretty clean place actually.

And here's my lunch - another bowl of noodles with soy sauce. This one actually had a really good flavor, even though it was a very small portion (hard to tell in this picture; a small portion is actually good, since there is so much other food to eat all day long!)

And here is Derren's bowl of noodle soup. This is a curry soup with barbeque pork.

After lunch Derren and I spent the afternoon at one of the local malls. This mall is brand new and actually opened just a few days ago. It was very nice and reminded me of new malls in the US. It was just Derren and his parents and I. We just window shopped and looked around. They did have a supermarket in the mall (as do most of the malls - weird!) and we bought a bunch of snacks there. We will make another supermarket trip before we head home to stock up on snacks!
For dinner on Thursday night we had some home cooked food. Derren's oldest aunt used to own a restaurant stall, and is an excellent cook. She made noodle soup with some amazing delicious noodles that you can only get in China. I have no idea what they are called, but they were like the size of spaghetti but made out of rice instead of wheat. So here's a picture of his aunt serving a bowl of noodles. She also made Asian vegetables, and the bowl of meat is minced pork and prawns, to be eaten in the noodle soup. (You can kind of see my bowl of "dry" noodles (without soup) on the back right of the picture. She stir fried the noodles with garlic and olive oil - so simple, yet the best bowl of noodles I've eaten this trip!!

And here's a closer shot of a bowl of the noodle soup with pork and prawns, and then my noodles on the right (with my first pile of vegetables - I hand another pile too!) And I also had some egg and root vegetable.

Another close up shot of Derren's bowl of soup:

And here's what the table looks like a short bit later. I usually don't show you this aspect of our meals! :)

That night, Derren's aunt brought Derren, Monique, and I to the local night market. This night market is much larger than the one we ate at in Patong, and had much more things for sale! The night market takes place in a different location every weeknight, and on Thursdays it is just a few minutes drive from his aunts. We regretted that we ate dinner before going because there was so much food to eat there! We still tried a bunch of different things, but were limited by our full bellies! We are planning on going back next week to actually have dinner at the market!
Here was one of the first stalls we saw when we arrived at the very busy market. This is bags and bags full of fish! (pet fish, not eating fish). If you look closely, you can also see the dog hanging out on the table. This was a "pet store" that was also selling hamsters, but I don't think the dogs were for sale.

Of course Derren was enamored with the hamsters (they were Russian dwarf hamsters, just like the ones he used to have!) In this picture, Monique, Derren, and his aunt are all asking about the hamsters.

And then the food begins. Check out all of this fried stuff on sticks. I literally don't know what most of these things are...lots of chicken and seafood and fish paste. On sticks.

This stand on the other hand, I was way more interested in. Each of these bins is filled with Asian "buns" or pastries. Each is only about 1 ringgitt or less (about 30 cents!) And you all know me...I am a glutton for sweets! I love all of this stuff! Derren tried a bun filled with cocount cream (he had for breakfast the next day) and Monique had a pastry for dessert (see below). I had to pass for the moment because I already had dessert waiting for me at the house!

And more desserts and fried goods:

And lots and lots of junk. These shoes are probably only a couple of dollars each. But they're crap.

And more fried stuff!!!! Check out the ENTIRE crabs hanging out in a little paper dish. Chicken nuggets, Chicken wings, etc. And obviously, it's all very cheap!

Here's a picture of the busy night market as we were walking along. The whole market was like around all four sides of an entire city block.

And here's one of the motorcycle food stalls that was making "fried carrot cake" (if you remember, we had this in Singapore. It's rice cakes fried with egg and bean sprouts). This lady was frying up orders in her gian wok and charging only about 3 ringgitt ($1) for a large serving. I will show pics below. We also had a few other random little things split between us all just to try (e.g. a fried yam thing, a sweet gooey rice thing...i have no idea what any of this is called! That's why we just try a little of everything!)

Once we got home, we broke into the food we had bought. This is the bun that Monique had picked out for her dessert. It's a bun filled with cream and chocolate sprinkles!

Here's one of the things I wanted to try. This is a little piece of yam cake - it is actually a savory little thing. It's gooey yams (or taro root...I'm not sure) with chunks of the vegetable in it and then topped with fried onions. I actually really like the gooey texture and savory taste.

And here is Derren's fried carrot cake mentioned above. It's in this shape because they wrap the dish up in a banana leaf for take away. This is how it came out on the plate:

And once it busted into it with his chopsticks. It's quite a large portion for just $1. And delicious!

I haven't taken pictures yet of my favorite dessert, but that is what I had on Thursday night after the night market snacks. I call it "kaya rice" and it is a mound of glutinous rice (the really sticky one) with a helping of kaya spread into it. As mentioned in previous blogs, Kaya is a sweet coconut jam that I am absolutely in love with ( I plan on bringing back a few and freezing them so I can enjoy it for the next few months!

This is kind of randomly placed, but I don't often mention all of the fruits that we snack on all throughout the day. I have been eating a TON of mango and papaya - so fresh and delicious here. Here is some sliced mango. We have mangoes from Thailand sometimes (the really soft, sweet ones) and sometimes we have green mangoes which are less sweet and much firmer/crunchier.

Friday morning I had another serving of kaya rice for breakfast. Yum!! Then, on the way to the mall to go shopping, Derren and I stopped for some of our favorite iced coffee (called "Kopi Ais" here). They give it to you take-away in a bag. And with it I had a red bean ball. This is one of my favorite little treats, and something that I actually get in the US as much as I can. It's easily found at Asian markets.

Derren and I spent about six hours shopping on Friday - we found a mall (different from the two that we've already been to in Ipoh, this one is older) with much cheaper prices! We did a ton of shopping (and buying) from this department store. Lots of clothes for ourselves and some gifts for family!
Derren and I just ate lunch in the food court in this mall. As mentioned, it's an older mall with an older food court, but still lots of choices. I ate chee chong fun (the thick sticky rice noodles) with mushroom sauce and a sweet and spicy sauce and fried onions.

Derren's first meal was a chicken and dried chili dish with rice.

Here's a picture of the food court. Similar to some of the other food courts we've seen, here you have to order at the "stall" you want to eat at, and then pay at a common register. You don't pay each stand individually. Kind of weird...
You can see the registers are outside of the stalls:

Another picture of the busy food court. It was Friday at lunch time and I think all the students have early days on Fridays, so there were lots of kids in their school uniforms!

After chee chong fun, I had an iced dessert like I had eaten at the previous mall a few days ago. This is the woman making my "cendol." She has the bowl of shaved ice and is drizzling the brown sugar syrup on it. The bowls on the right side of the picture have all the different toppings for the various icy desserts - corn , longans, grass jelly, etc.

And here's my cendol. I thought the one at the other mall was better, but this was still refreshing and tasty!

Instead of an icy dessert, Derren wanted some chee chong fun, but he got his with curry sauce on top:

Here's a picture of the department store where we did all of our shopping.

And for dinner on Friday we had our third home cooked meal of the week! His oldest aunt made dinner again. This time we had rice with vegetables and she made steamed fish and clams. On the far left is the omelette (I ate a bunch of it!), lots of green veggies, and on the right top is the soft bean curd (tofu) that I ate a bunch of too, and then the clams, and a small bowl of some chicken (and chicken parts).

A close up of the clams. These were very popular around the table except for Derren and I (Derren doesn't like clams at all).

And here's the steamed fish. It's a fresh water fish, but we weren't told exactly what type. Again, very popular, and every last bit was eaten by the eight non-vegetarians at the table!

After dinner we played some more mahjong with Derren's family, and I had another bowl of kaya rice (his aunt had bought three from the market, and if you were keeping count you'd see that I ate all three of them in the span of like 24 hours. SO not healthy, but it's literally my favorite thing here, and something I absolutely can't get in the US, so might as well overindulge, right?)
Did I mention that I have another one waiting for me for dessert tonight too? :)

We look forward to another ten days of good eating, and a first class flight ten days away! We will keep you posted on the delicious adventures we are having, and we miss you all!

Ashley & Derren