Making Paté in Malaysia

Street Food

Street Food in Kuala Lumpur

That Man Love Pate!

That Man Loves Pate!

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.

Gut Bucket

Gut Bucket

Smokin Butcher

Smokin' Butcher


Prepping Chicken

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.

Excuse having to see me slurp

Excuse my slurping

Skewer Cart

Skewer Cart

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”?

First Bite of Durian

First bite of Durian

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.

It was our honeymoon...

It was our honeymoon...

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6 Responses to “Making Paté in Malaysia”

  1. 1 Ted September 20, 2010 at 10:21 am

    Good job, and wow the name dropping, much appreciated.

    So proud of you for trying the Durian. NPR (yes we have that here in the south, thank you NYT) had some commentary about the Durain Festival and the most commonly attributed taste/smell to Durain was “decay”.

    Thats some fine eating. My son keeps asking me to pick one of those things up at the Farmer’s Market. Maybe the next time he misbehaves. . .

  2. 2 MP September 30, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    I’m from Vietnam. And yes, most Asian people that I know loves durian while I can’t stand the smell, let alone be close enough to put it in my mouth. I have to give you credit for trying it out. Maybe you’ll get addicted to it someday :). And after reading your experience in Malaysia, I want to go there for a visit. And just like Malaysia, street food vendors are so much better for the rest of Asia countries. They’re oh so dirty and cheap, but they’re authentic and much more tasty.

  3. 3 TEDDY October 1, 2010 at 9:52 am

    I think Fried Durian could be a hit

  4. 4 Ted October 1, 2010 at 10:42 am

    Whoa, that idea has some merit. Southern fried in a thick batter perhaps. Along with some cracklins and chow chow.

  5. 5 Mary Helen (@MaryHelenOrama) February 29, 2012 at 12:50 am

    I had durian while I was in China, and I have suspicion that it might be one of those things that hit people in different ways. My husband and I hated the smell, but liked the fruit – but we also had it layered on top of mango and sticky rice, which the chef claimed made it a lot easier to handle. He couldn’t believe I wanted to try it in the first place, and an entire restaurant of eyes fell on me as I took my first bite. I had to know. Good for you for trying it to. We should start a club. Durian tattoos?

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