Hawker foods to eat in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Petaling Jaya (PJ) is part of Greater Kuala Lumpur, but is really its own city. KL sits within Wilayah Persekutuan (Federal Territory) and is governed directly by the federal government whereas PJ is under state government. It’s all very confusing to an outsider like myself. Though I flew into KL International Airport, which technically isn’t even in KL (it’s in Sepang), this trip I spent all my time in PJ. I covered satay in detail in a previous post, and here are some further hawker foods to get acquainted with in PJ. All of these places are my brother-in-law’s (BH) favourites.

Nasi lemak is a breakfast dish, often available in banana leaf bungkus (pack) ready to go from wet markets, kopitiams (food courts) and curry houses. Nasi lemak is a simple idea, and when done well, is ridiculously good. The body of a good nasi lemak is the coconut rice, then you must have excellent sambal, crispy ikan bilis (anchovies), half a boiled egg and roasted peanuts. Sometimes the ikan bilis is cooked with the sambal, sometimes you get a couple slices of cucumber. The nasi lemak truck outside the condo complex we were staying offered up a myriad of other extras, such as fried chicken. Every nasi lemak I had was good, some were downright amazing. 

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Nasi lemak food truck

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A day trip to Melaka, Malaysia

Melaka (or Malacca) is a UNESCO heritage site situated an easy 2-hour drive south of Kuala Lumpur on the North-South Expressway. Since its founding in the 14th century by a Sumatran prince, Melaka became a very important port for centuries by the colonising Portuguese, Dutch and then the British. Port of Malacca and its sheltered bay provided a welcomed stopping point for the trade route between China and India. All these cultures, plus the arrival of the Chinese from British colonies created an intruiging melting pot in Melaka. One of these is the unique Peranakan (Straits Chinese) culture.

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Where to eat satay in Petaling Jaya and Subang Jaya, Malaysia

When I am looking for local fast food in West Malaysia, it’s a toss-up between roti or satay. Both are delicious, and both provide a fun spectacle. Watching the Mamak chef deftly twirling his roti is exciting, but there’s something hypnotic about watching a satay maestro basting and fanning sizzling skewered meats over hot charcoal.

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Satay is dinner fare at the hawker centres, but if you crave satay for lunch, head to one of the many outlets of Sate Kajang Haji Samuri. Kajang, a town 21km west of Kuala Lumpur, is famous for satay. History has it that satay was brought to Kajang from Java where it was given a local flavour and became very popular. Haji Samuri started in Kajang in 1960 and has become synonymous with satay in the state of Selangor and beyond. Their tagline translates to ‘For the real taste of satay kajang’. Continue reading

Food finds in Coromandel

I have fond silly memories of the Coromandel region. My very good friend Gen and I embarked on a road trip when we were fresh graduates, where we wore commemorative toe rings (yes, really), got completely lost (who knew we were both so deficient at reading maps) and ogled the hunky waiter at a café in Coromandel township.

Cathedral Cove

15 odd years later, I finally made a return visit. This time sans toe rings, and with a spouse who knows the area.

Hot Waves Café
BL’s cycling trips in the Coromandel always included a meal at the very cozy and welcoming Hot Waves Café. Hot Waves Café is right beside the famed Hot Water Beaches, where you can dig your own hot pool at the junction of where the hot springs meets the seawater. Continue reading

The Oyster Shed, Bateman’s Bay, New South Wales, Australia

Oysters are a mysterious food. Eating a live* sea creature seems like the anathema to many people, and yet, what a glorious food experience.

For a very long time, I shunned oysters. Then in my early 20’s, I visited friends in Melbourne who are oyster aficionados. They convinced me to first try these mollusks grilled, and then eased me into tasting raw oysters with a squeeze of lemon. These were premium grade oysters, shucked the previous day and kept in ideal conditions. And they were unlike what I feared. These were briney, sweet, tender and delicious.

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Old Bus Depot Markets & Local Press Café & Frugii Dessert Laboratory, Canberra

We took a weekend trip down to Canberra to visit the best-in-country museums and art galleries. Canberra is an interesting city, small (pop. 360,000) and pristine. It was planned to be a capital city, and the town planners went …umm… to town with the brief. The roads are a bit strange, especially around Parliament zone. For a pancake flat city, there are an inordinate number of loops and ramps, you can’t seem to get anywhere in a straight line. But it certainly looks impressive on Google Maps. After the somber history lessons at Australian War Memorial and the museums, you’ll want find some solace in food. The Old Bus Depot Markets is in the trendy, redeveloped neighbourhood of Kingston. The Markets are divided into a food section and an arts & crafts area. There were all manners of baked goods, fresh produce and flowers, and artisan products. There was also a food truck section around the back, including a vendor serving up spiced beverages. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Continue reading

Hunter Valley food hunt, New South Wales, Australia

What better way to follow up a trip to the South Australia wine regions than an encore weekend to Hunter Valley? The two regions are a stark contrast. While SA had a laid back vibe with its myriad of heritage towns and artisan producers, Hunter Valley was more commercial, with over a 150(!) wineries packed into the small region. It is busy with coach-loads of tourists, resorts and to my surprise, chain ‘artisan’ shops. Okay, my disappointment is showing.

The region of Hunter Valley covers the villages of Lovedale, Mount View, Broke Fordwich, Cessnock and at its epicentre, Pokolbin, where some of the original pioneering wineries are located. Continue reading

Andre’s Cucina & Polenta Bar, Adelaide, South Australia

Adelaide is becoming quite the dining mecca with its great local produce, and is attracting both emerging and established culinary talents to set up fresh, innovative eateries.

BL and I wanted somewhere casual-ish but modern, and Andre’s Cucina & Polenta Bar (by Masterchef finalist Andre Ursini for those who watch the show) fit the bill perfectly. The eatery focuses on Northern Italian cuisine. Another winning feature was its menu fisso ($59 per person), a feast of 5 selected dishes to share.

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Wine country food, South Australia

What better way for a teetotaller to spend the festive season than a trip to the wine regions of South Australia? I may not drink wine, but I enjoy the fabulous restaurants that seem to accompany great cellar doors. Add to that the beguiling sceneries and often-striking architectures, the artisanal food producers who situate themselves in these environs, there’s a great many things an alcohol-intolerant can love about wine regions.

The husband planned a 5-day trip to South Australia, and we spent most of it meandering around the wine regions of Barossa Valley, Clare Valley and Adelaide Hills.

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