Sunday, 14 September 2014

back to the beginning: eating in klang

The night we arrived in Malaysia, my parents whisked us from the airport, back to our home in Klang, and on the way we stopped to get some takeaway fried chicken from a street stall.

Fried chicken.

Klang is where I grew up. It seems fitting, then, that my sabbatical starts here.

I had some ambitious plans for this sabbatical, but to be honest, I haven't been terribly productive since I quit my job. Still, I have been eating my way around Malaysia. On this front, at least, I've done quite well.

There are food items that had barely crossed my mind, but I instantly recalled them with affection as my parents started dishing them up to me. Jianshuizong - which literally means "alkaline water dumplings" - is one of those things. Made with glutinous rice and lye water, it may not sound all that great, but there's something about the sticky texture and the alkaline taste that is oddly alluring when paired with something sweet - sugar, syrup, or honey.

Jianshuizong - alkaline dumplings, served with honey.

Then there is chee cheong fun, rice noodle rolls with assorted goodies such as beancurd skin, fishballs and vegetables, all slathered with a savoury-sweet sauce.

Chee cheong fun.

I am also in tropical heaven. When I was in Australia, I gravitated towards cheap,local, seasonal produce, and even though I missed the tropical fruits I grew up with in Malaysia, I usually didn't fork out the money for them. Here, however, I didn't need to hold back! Mangosteens, longans, dokongs... all can be enjoyed for just a few ringgit per kilo.

Mangosteens, longans, and dokongs.

We ate out often enough, too. One of the first highlights was this deep-fried salted egg tofu dish. Here, wobbly, silken tofu is masterfully held together in a crispy salted egg batter.

Deep-fried salted egg tofu.

Then there is the place where my dad says has the best roast pork he's ever eaten. I can believe it. The tender, juicy meat is topped off with probably the most satisfyingly crunchy crackling I've ever experienced.

Roast pork.

Last but not least, Klang is famous for its bak kut teh - which literally means "meat bone tea", and here, we like having it for breakfast, a truly carnivorous start to the day. Nary a vegetable in sight, just bowls full of various cuts of pork in a rich dark broth, to go with oily plates of rice. You may opt for lean meat, or you can go for a fattier part such as the pork belly, or chew on the gelatinous skin to your heart's content with the pork leg. Or, like me, you might choose to throw yourself at the pork stomach and intestines. Don't knock it till you try it...

Bak kut teh - the offal version.

12 comments:

  1. there's nothing like malay style fried chicken is there? Melbourne is going through a fried chicken trend, but I have yet to taste anything remotely close to what you get in South east Asia. Its like they are not even trying. Do they still serve sotong in their Nasi Lemak in Klang?

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    1. The batter for fried chicken here does seem different somehow. And YES, sotong in nasi lemak is the best!!! and I have been eating it in Klang, though I forgot to take photos...

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  2. Yum, you are making me so hungry! The roast pork looks amazing, and the offal soup sounds good too. I loved mangosteins when I was in Thailand but haven't been able to afford them back home.

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    1. Yeah, mangosteens are way more expensive in Australia, though I think if you go to suburbs with a huge Asian population you can sometimes get them for more reasonable prices.

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  3. Sooo jealous. You're making me miss SE Asian food so bad! And eating your way around Malaysia is productive - call it research for your blog =P

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  4. Ahhh, tropical fruit ... definitely near the top of the list of things I miss in Melbourne, possibly even above sunshine! :)

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    1. There's mostly enough sunshine for me in Melbourne, but definitely not enough affordable tropical fruit!

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  5. Wow, so interesting--I've never before seen photos of ANY of the foods mentioned in this post! Okay, I do know fried chicken, but somehow even that looks different in your picture :) I love learning about new cultures (which is good because I'm an American who lives abroad in Germany), and food is often such a big part of what makes a country what it is. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thank you for coming by! Glad you found my post interesting. I agree that food is a major element of a country's identity. I love traveling and eating my way around the world. :D

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  6. Now Kee chang (alkaline dumplings) that's one thing I haven't seen in Melbourne yet. Miss it! And love how the foods have different names, dokong to you is called buah duku to me. :D At a few ringgit per KG I'm sooo jealous!!

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    1. There is duku, langsat, and dokong, I believe. Slightly different varieties, but to be honest I still don't really know how to tell the difference between them. :p

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