Late night eats – Mamak style [BIMT6]

May 8, 2009 at 2:52 pm

After roaming around the streets of Kuala Lumpur and our…unique experiences at the fish spa we decided to go for a midnight snack. We’d eaten a huge dinner just a few hours previous, but we had a job to do, and we were willing to suffer for it…and by suffer I mean gorge ourselves on delicious food. Pity us.

Our midnight "snack"

Our midnight 'snack'

We headed to Bangsar, a suburb south-west of downtown KL, to try out mamak cuisine. Mamak is a style of cooking developed by Malaysia’s Indian Muslim population, and mamak stalls have been a fixture in Malaysian culture for years. Typcially open 24/7 and offering open-air dining areas, they’re a great place to grab a bite late at night, and make for popular hang-out spots.

We set up camp at a mamak stall (chosen at random by Sarah) and ordered half a dozen items (okay, I guess it was more of a second dinner than a midnight snack).

Onto the foods!

Maggi Goreng

We got our first taste of maggi goreng, one of mamak cooking’s staple foods. Instant noodles are boiled, then stir-fried along with veggies, tofu, meats, and spices unique to each mamak stall.

I can't believe it's instant noodles!

I can't believe it's instant noodles!

Using the humble ramen noodle as the base for a dish like this is a testament to the culinary skill you’ll find across Malaysia: I lived off ramen for years in undergrad and never dreamed that you could turn it into a meal you’d be actually proud to cook for your significant other.

Bruce closes his eyes in ectasy after the zippy taste of Maggig Goreng

Bruce closes his eyes in ectasy after the zippy taste of Maggig Goreng

Of course, I never had access to the range of spices found in Malaysia. Lime livened up the taste of the veggies and tofu, while the curry paste that was soaked up by the noodles gave off pleasant heat in the aftertaste.

Roti Canai with Egg

We also ate a lack-lustre version of roti canai, which featured egg mixed into the batter. It was a bit dry for our tastes, and the scrambled egg didn’t do much for us by way of flavour. Boo….

Roti Canai with Egg

Roti Canai with Egg

Roti Tisu

The highlight of our trip to Bangsar had to be roti tisu – a sweet bread that’s pounded and pulled to be wafer thin, then rolled into a cone and frosted with sugar – for a couple of reasons. For one thing, the crispy bread seemed to melt away into buttery smoothness in our mouths.

EAT THE HAT.

EAT THE HAT.

For another, ripping apart and eating a giant sugary wizard’s cap (see below) is just too weird to not be awesome. We dipped the roti into mild fish, chicken and lentil curries to cut the sweetness with some savory, hearty goodness, and generally made a mess. We hadn’t intended on playing with our food on the trip, but the appearance of the roti tisu proved too tempting.

Ian tries to not destroy the edible hat....tries...

Ian tries to not destroy the edible hat....tries...

Can you blame us, though? If you can look at this particular item of food and claim with a straight face that it doesn’t invite childish antics, I owe you a coke.

It was well past midnight by the time we’d cleaned our plates, and we were far beyond exhausted (I still hadn’t slept since leaving Vancouver). We drove back to the hotel to get some much needed sleep and rest up for another full day of exploring KL.

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