A year ago, I bumped into a series of flag designs created out of food for Australian Food Festival. The idea was simple, each flag was composed with traditional food elements that related with each country. And then me and Honey thought, what would it be if it were a Malaysian flag? Would it be made out of nasi lemak? Or chicken curry?
Jalur Gemilang was designed by Mohamed Hamzah in 1947 for the Malaysian flag design competition. The first design was a green flag with blue kris in the middle, surrounded by 15 white stars. The second design, which was among the three finalists, was similar to the current flag but with a five-pointed star. He borrowed major elements from the American flag, by using stripes as the idea to represent the 14 states.
Anyway, Malaysia just celebrated their independence day yesterday, so as scheduled this week would be Merdeka week in FC headquarters. Everyone has their own project and contribution for website content. And I have my own project too!
Hence this is a tribute to my adopted country, a Malaysian flag made out of Nasi Lemak- rice, sambal, ikan bilis, boiled egg and peanuts on top of banana leaf. An edible Jalur Gemilang.
Happy Independence, Malaysia! Continue reading »
"It's like food Russian roulette..."
Brad Farmerie, the Executive Chef of Double Crown was in a good mood. They were opened in the morning because of the world cup and both US and England just won their matches. That day when we there talking about his last trip to South East Asia he fed us soft, starchy pau's filled with shredded duck, a refreshing watermelon rind pickle and Shishito peppers. These are addictive, just seared on a flame until they blister and pucker up releasing their natural sugars, then salted. This is the ultimate bar snack. "I love them, in every ten you get one that's super hot, it's like food Russian roulette," Brad grins.
Double Crown is one of those places that has a little of that ambience of a time when people had a g&t before tea, wore bush hats and took their rifles to the local watering hole. High ceilings, exposed brick wall, deco collected from all over South East Asia and a menu inspired from former colonies. I suppose the closest term is Anglo-Asian. Ever so often Brad and Chef de Cuisine Christopher Rendell travels down our way, trawling through markets and street-side eateries bringing back copious new ideas and ingredients for their menu.
And what a menu. Incredibly interesting to read and almost tactile in the ideas of flavours it evokes in your mind. Dishes like Miso-glazed bone marrow with orange-olive marmalade, Chinese five spice foie gras, halibut jungle curry and a Singapore style lobster, baked in the shell with chillies. Fusion in the finest way.
So don't expect authentic dishes here folks, instead you can sip a delicate Coconut Laksa from porcelain cups. Not hardly hot enough for me (I ordered a side of chilli paste) but subtle and fragrant. On Sundays he lays out a Nyonya Dinner borrowing liberally from the Strait States.
This book inspires you to cook traditional Malay style dishes with the large beautiful glossy photos of simple and delicious food. Every recipe has you drooling, and we even had a bit of trouble narrowing it down to four to attempt at the FC kitchen.
The first part of the book shares a bit of history on the past four Prime Ministers. We… More »
Join Alex as she shows you the easiest way to cut a pineapple.
"The Sarawak Laksa is worth the journey"
One day, after a long while of not having a bowl of Sarawak Laksa, I travelled with a group of friends to the outer reaches of the city. Alas, the stall was missing! What follows now is a tale of perseverance, adventure, and some pretty darn good laksa.
The restaurant staff gave us a name, the stall moved to a place called Diamond Square in Gombak. “Gombak?!” I internally screech. Nevermind. 'Di mana ada kemahuan, di situ ada jalan'. And I really wanted that bowl of Sarawak laksa. We pile back into the car and head towards Gombak, frantically googling directions on our smartphones. “No, not Gombak! Diamond Square is in Jalan Gombak!” someone announces from the backseat, pointing at their phone. “Just tell me how to get there already,” the driver barks. We go around the proverbial mulberry bush of Jalan Pahang and Jalan Genting Kelang for a good hour. Tempers are running high, stomachs are grumbling, the sun is setting. Finally, we see it. Dapur Sarawak. Collective sighs are heard as we park the car and scramble out in hunger.
A banner with actor Mahmud Ali Basha's face hangs in the restaurant, asking us to “jom berambeh makan”, which translates to “come over and eat”. Owned by said actor, the restaurant is decorated like a typical Malay nasi campur shop, and the smell of laksa wafts out of the window between the kitchen and the dining area. We place our orders. Silence has taken over the table, save for impatient tapping on the table and bouncing of feet. We discovered they also sell mixed rice during the day (I hear there's umai!) and one can also order kuih lapis Sarawak from them.
The bowls arrive. Sarawak laksa – thin laksa noodles in an earthy, almost nutty broth topped with omelette slices. Mee kolok – noodles with sliced beef and chicken, clear broth on the side. And something extra this time for me to take away, nasi aruk dabai – fried rice, but with a bluish tint.
The Pasar Ramadhan tradition here in Kuala Lumpur is something I've found to be similar to the ones back home, in Jakarta. It's a time where people can have various types of kuih, drinks and of course traditional lauk and enjoy the festivities.
This year, my content editor asked me to cover pasar ramadhans in KL in the form of a photo essay. To start the hunt, we went to TTDI market on the third day of Ramadhan, expecting the food to be a great treat for iftar. Sadly, it was disappointing. It wasn't as happening as last year.
Our hunt then continued to other markets in Kota Damansara, Pelangi Damansara and Puchong Perdana. And of course, the faithful hunt brought us to better markets where we were able to fulfill our craving for some delicious dishes.
Seksyen 6 Kota Damansara - I came here without high expectations. But this market has lots to try, from ayam golek to sup tulang to apam balik and even samosas!
Kampung Sg. Penchala - This market is probably the most decent one, there are no complaints about the food(and the distance from our office)! It has a lot of interesting buys, like the old-skool soda drinks sitting side by side with traditional… Continue reading »
I have been fasting regularly now for 20 odd years. And let me tell you I have made all the mistakes. Ate so much at buffets, they have to wheel me out on a gurney. Suffered nights of indigestion. During uni days with limited funds and a need to look like a waif, I only ate one meal. By the time the 10th day of fasting came, I clear passed out during an economics lecture.
There's more. But the stories are dodgy so let's just put it that though I've always fasted sincerely, there have been times when I've completely missed the point of it all.
That fasting is time to reflect and be thankful for something as simple as knowing where your next meal is coming from. It's also a time of moderation. And I suppose with the siren call of buffets and Pasar Ramadhans galore, it's hard to keep centred.
Here's some stuff I came up with through the years to not go nutts during Ramadhan. For some odd reason, people go CRAZY over ayam percik golek during Ramadhan Focus:
Pasar Ramadhans are a great time waster. And it's a real treat to see what exciting things might be on offer this year. But when you go, to stop that itch of buying everything that looks greasy and delicious FOCUS. Plan ahead on what you might like to eat. Ogle all you like but keep strong. Don't be tempted to get into a line just because there are loads… Continue reading »