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 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaya_(jam)#Malaysia_and_Singapore). 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!
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