My friend Ted asked me to write a post about all the food I ate on my honeymoon to Malaysia. Since he is among my most loyal readers, I promised myself to get it done. Well Ted, it took me three months, but here ya go…
Recently I made a batch of paté, and it brought up memories of my honeymoon (not because we ate paté covered strawberries in bed). I’ve been through a lot trying to find an appropriate place to make my paté for wholesale. Unfortunately (and fortunately), they make it challenging for someone to produce value added meat products. Usually I find restaurant or catering kitchens that I can borrow. This puts me right up against the edge of what can and cannot be done. I am reminded of my honeymoon because the standards for food preparation in Malaysia are very different.
Throughout Malaysia, I ate street food everyday and I forced my patient pescatarian bride to eat it as well. There are no standards for meat preparation over there – the butchers smoke while they work, prep is done on whatever surface is available (be it a filthy crate or even the street), flies are absolutely everywhere… Literally, there are buckets of animal guts every five feet in the market.
Yet… I never got sick, not even a tiny squirt. Yet, here in America people get sick after eating tainted spinach.
Enough preaching – what about the food! It was fantastic: spicy, salty, sweet, sour and a whole lot more. The street food system really works in Malaysia. You choose a random table in an alleyway or on the street and whoever owns the table sells you drinks. For us, it was $2 Tiger beers, basically Budweiser with an Asian accent. Now you choose between 15-25 carts, point to something you want, give them your table number (no matter how far away the table is, they will find you), and within a minute you have a giant plate of hot food for 30 cents. That is no misprint.
We had curries, noodles, satays, and everything in between – fried pork intestine porridge, rotis, laksa, etc. I want more right now.
I was surprised to find very little fresh fruits or vegetables. I found no outdoor markets filled with ripe produce or overflowing sacks of spice. We were fortunate to get there in time for the Durian Festival. Have you had this “fruit”?
It is, without a doubt, the most disgusting thing I have ever put in my mouth, and I’m taking into account that time in college when I got drunk and woke up in the wrong bed. Anyway, it was shocking mostly because all the natives described it as irresistible, like a “drug.” “You will become addicted!” they said. Well, they were fucking wrong. It tasted like wet, fermented, sweet, extremely bitter shit. They warned me that the first bite could be tough, but really. I crap my pants just thinking about durian. Let’s not forget how it smells. It smells so terrible they don’t allow it in hotels, rental cars, subways, buses, stores, etc. I don’t know how you would get it home if you bought it.
What do you think Ted? I still haven’t talked about Hong Kong or Singapore! They are worth their own posts.