Lewis the Lion was very happy to try out Malaysian food. It certainly had a kick to it as it was hot and spicy but this was neutralised by the rice staple and all of the delicious tropical fruits on offer. Some of the fruits, Lewis the Lion had never encountered in his life before such as langsats, rambutans and mangosteens. (See the photos in his gallery above). However, he could still find some of the regular fruits too like banana, melon and pineapple. One of his favourite breakfasts while he was there was a mixed fresh fruit pancake: delicious!
The other thing that surprised Lewis the Lion about eating in Malaysia was that often you wouldn’t find knives on the table, just spoons and forks. When he ate at the beachside cafes in Tioman, the Kak Long Corner and Hamdan Beach cafe, he noticed that there were sugar pots with lids on them to prevent the flies and ants getting in. This was a tropical climate after all and the insects were in abundance!
What Lewis the Lion loved about eating in Malaysia was that food was generally really cheap in price. He could normally breakfast for 5 ringgits and have dinner for 10 ringgits: very reasonable indeed! (Check out his next blog to learn about converting ringgits to pounds).
Apart from some of the usual Western food he could also find in Malaysia, here are some of the other dishes he tried there:
Sayurl lemak: a coconut milk soup with vegetables: cabbage, peppers, aubergines, green beans and onions
Traballi: a local fish which is fried and served with rice
Squid with sambal sauce. Sambal sauce is popular in Malaysia it is hot and spicy and contains ginger, mixed chilli, tomato and onion.
Rendang chicken: a type of spicy chicken
Tom yam: a type of Thai spicy soup or with noodles
Being a mainly Muslim country, Lewis the Lion noticed that pork was difficult to come by but chicken and fish were popular alternatives for meat eaters. He especially enjoyed a peanut chicken for instance, and he loved the fish, particularly the fresh fish served at the D-Corner Café in the Tioman jungle. Nasi Goreng Kampung also soon became a firm favourite: a type of fried vegetable rice with small crunchy fish.
As for drinks, well he was spoilt for choice in terms of fruit juices, then cans of Soy milk seemed to be a popular choice here in Asia. For grown ups, alcohol was sometimes difficult to come by with it being a mainly Muslim country and if you could find it, it was very expensive. However, luckily you could rely on a great cup of tea, especially in the tea plantation area of the Cameron Highlands.
A bit like Lewis the Lion had discovered in Singapore with the great range of food available at the Hawkers Centres, he learnt that there were fabulous food courts with a vast array of different world cuisines in some of the big shopping malls in Kuala Lumpur. Again, they were always great value for money. A typical dinner may only cost you 8 ringgits. In these food courts there were also shops where you could ‘try before you buy’ and Lewis the Lion had great fun sampling lots of different sweets and snacks but he drew the line at trying sweet flavoured cuttle fish!
Because Malaysia is a rich culturally diverse country, it benefits by having many different international cuisines. For example, Lewis the Lion tried some Thai, Japanese and some Southern Indian food, as you can see in his picture gallery.
If you were to prepare a well-balanced meal for someone, what would it include?
How much could you prepare it for?
Would it be good value for money?
Compare your meal with a friends: who could offer the best and tastiest deal?