Heritage on a Plate

Malaysian Food

Try These 3 Delicious Food Places at Jalan Alor and Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur

Food Tour, Malaysian Food, TravelDanny MahesComment

Hey, guys! It’s been a month of long weekends and holidays here in Malaysia. I finally took a well-needed break and headed down to Kuala Lumpur to catch up with friends. And guess what we filled our time with? Yup, here’s even more food for your reading pleasure.

First, A Quick Brunch at Jalan Alor

 Kam Heong Chicken

Kam Heong Chicken

 Salted Egg Fried Beans

Salted Egg Fried Beans

 Tuhau from Sabah, sambal and fermented variety

Tuhau from Sabah, sambal and fermented variety

I arrived, as I usually do in places, hungry and ready for food. My friend Sarah joined me for a quick lunch with a twist - she’d brought some tuhau from Sabah.

Tuhau is a Kadazan Dusun appetizer made from wild ginger. It’s often prepared with sambals or sometimes fermented and used as a garnish, and its very hard to find on the Peninsula! It pays to have friends who also love food :)

We settled in for some simple local favourites, and the tuhau really brought an exciting flavour to the table (pun!). Crunchy, with a strong herb taste, fragrant and pungent, it elevated a simple and very common selection of lunch dishes into something special.

 I spent way too long trying to think of duck puns

I spent way too long trying to think of duck puns

 Pork Ear in Sweet Soy Sauce

Pork Ear in Sweet Soy Sauce

The next day, we came back to this stretch of Jalan Alor to visit a shop called Uncle Lim. If you’ve been following our blog posts, you’ll know I have a special place in my heart for good duck rice. And this one was pretty good! We also got a helping of pork ear that was delicious.

The next time I’m in the area, I’m definitely coming back for this. The duck rice stall is called Pin Chen and you’ll see signs out on the street advertising Uncle Lim’s various stir fry dishes and Pin Chen Duck Rice.

Nyonya Dishes and Chicken Wings for Dinner

 Mango kerabu is one of my favourite things in the world

Mango kerabu is one of my favourite things in the world

 Nyonya-Style Assam Laksa

Nyonya-Style Assam Laksa

 Ayam Sioh - first time I’ve ever had it!

Ayam Sioh - first time I’ve ever had it!

Nyonya food is enjoying something of a resurgence in recent years, which I’m very happy about. It used to be very difficult to find Nyonya food, as most of the dishes were cooked at home and not usually sold at shops or by street vendors.

I’d heard about Sarang Cookery from a friend. Their rustic approach to the ambience and reputation for good food made them a top priority on my visit. We ordered the mango kerabu (mango salad), telur cincalok (omelette with sweet fermented shrimp sauce), assam laksa (because of course) and ayam sioh (chicken cooked in tamarind and bean paste sauce).

I’m already looking forward to visiting again to try the other things on their menu. They have very limited seating space, so if you’re planning to go on a busy weekend, call ahead to check for availability.

 Best chicken wings I’ve ever had, not even kidding right now

Best chicken wings I’ve ever had, not even kidding right now

 They also have cendol to go with the chicken wings!

They also have cendol to go with the chicken wings!

Guys, I did it. I’ve found the best chicken wings.

Sweet, sticky, spicy and mouth-scalding hot, the chicken wings from Ticklish has unexpectedly made its way to the top of my Chicken Wings List (yes, I have a Chicken Wings List.)

This was one of those happy suprises that happen when you’re wandering about after dinner. I wasn’t really expecting to get anything else. Gotta stick to that diet, I told myself. Then I smelled the aroma- fat and skin crackling on a hot grill, sticky sauce bubbling luxuriously in the heat, the sweetness of butter softly being brushed onto moist, tender flesh.

Following that gorgeous aroma brought me to this pop-up stand by Ticklish. I somehow restrained myself from getting the pork ribs as well as the chicken wings. The concept of this place really tickled me (pun!) - barbecue and nyonya desserts. Oh, and the chicken was everything I thought I’ve ever dreamed of. Succulent, spicy, satisfying. Absolutely relished every bite and I’m coming back for the pork ribs!

Evening Drinks at a Rustic Gin Bar

 The signature Gin Pahit. Loved that it wasn’t saccharine sweet like most cocktails here. Only got the pun much later.

The signature Gin Pahit. Loved that it wasn’t saccharine sweet like most cocktails here. Only got the pun much later.

 They also have delicious mocktails for who don’t drink alcohol. I forgot what this is called, but it’s sirap inspired.

They also have delicious mocktails for who don’t drink alcohol. I forgot what this is called, but it’s sirap inspired.

I’d been looking forward to visiting Pahit for a while, and oh boy was I excited to get the chance. If you’ve spent any time in Penang, visiting the local food places or the upsurge in local-themed bars, this place will feel familiar.

I’m by no means a gin connoisseur, but I really enjoyed the Gin Pahit I ordered. It had an original approach, very interesting flavours and it was really a departure from a lot of cocktails I’ve had here. Slightly bitter but fragrant, it might feel challenging if you’re used to very sweet drinks. But I really relished the opportunity to explore everything this creation had to offer.

Yeah, you guessed it, I’m going back!

I hope this post has been helpful if you’re planning a night out around the Jalan Alor/Bukit Bintang area. I might link up a few of these as a series down the road. What do you think? Did you find this post helpful and do you want more? Let me know in the comments.

Intermission: Some Penang Food Favourites!

Food Tour, Malaysian Food, Penang FoodDanny MahesComment

Hello! This week I wanted to take a break from our regular Penang in Pictures and Friday Flashback series, and show you some gorgeous food pics. Oh, and if you don't already know, the "intermission" is from old films they used to show at the cinema. Typically, midway through the film there'd be a 5-10 minute cut for toilet breaks. That's when you'd go out to stretch your legs and top up on the cinema snacks like chickpeas and sugared nutmeg. It was pretty cool!

Penang Kopi (Local Coffee)

if you've met me or been on one of our food hops in Penang, you'll know that I'm addicted to the local coffee. This stuff is so good. The local coffee, or kopi as we call it here, is often flavoured with spices, butter and palm sugar. If you walk into a shop and ask for kopi, you're in for a wild ride. Flavours can range from nutty and sour to sweet and spicy. It usually comes with condensed milk and sugar, so you might want to ask for less sugar, or strong and black with no sugar or milk to really savor the flavor.

hop penang food tour coffee kopi

Nyonya Otak Otak (Braaaaainnnsss)

When the zombie apocalypse finally rolls around, I'll be well prepared. By which I mean that decades of enjoying the Nyonya Otak Otak in Penang will have prepared me to consume brains as a zombie.

The dish is actually made from mashed fish and flavoured with spices, curry powder and in Penang, daun kaduk (wild pepper leaf). It's steamed in banana leaves for the Nyonya version, which has the consistency of a nice custard. The Malay community will grill it, giving it a more solid texture quite similar to fish cake.

The name itself means "brains" in Malay, due to its... well, brainy look. The otak otak is notoriously difficult to photograph, so I'm pretty happy this shot came out looking anything other than a brainy pile of mush :P

hop penang food tour nyonya otak otak

Penang Nyonya Assam Laksa

These pictures were initially part of the Laksa Shootout series, but I decided they were a little too specific. I wanted to capture the range of colours and ingredients, and the little quirks at different shops.

hop penang food tour assam laksa

This picture is from the Penang Road Famous Laksa, and I really loved how the colours from the mint, shallots, torch ginger flower and pineapple (!) really came together.

hop penang food tour nyonya assam laksa 1

This is from the other laksa place just up the road, and I really loved the detailing on the chopsticks. It gives the place it's own personality. I've become aware in the last few years about how strongly we are conditioned to consume without pause, with no chance to take a breath and critically examine the things around us. Things like this remind me that this isn't just another laksa on the list. It's a place with it's own character, personality and history.

Something to remember as we explore this beautiful world together. Safe journeys and good eating.

Friday Flashback: Our Favourite Penang Food Part 1

Penang Food, Malaysian FoodDanny MahesComment

Are you looking for an easy way to find food in Penang? We got you covered! In the time that we've been doing food tours here in Penang, we've made a lot of recommendations for travelers looking to enjoy the best of Penang food.

The Friday Flashback series will help recap some of our recommendations and help you decide which delicious dish to prioritise on your trip here. For our first FF, I'm starting with a couple of breakfast food that's some of my personal favourites.

Penang Loh Mee

hop penang food tour loh mee

Don't be alarmed! The Penang Loh Mee looks intimidating, but is really soothing and great soul food. It's egg noodles in a thick, sweet, starchy sauce with roasted pork, braised egg and a generous helping of chili and vinegar. It may not be a looker, but it's fulfilling, nutritious breakfast food. Read more about Loh Mee here.

Roti Canai on Transfer Road

hop penang food tour roti canai

You may have heard that eating Roti Canai is something of a Malaysian sport. This crepe-like flat bread can be had in many ways and in many places. My favourite way to have it is what we call "banjir" i.e. flooded with curry. On Jalan Transfer/Transfer Road, you'll find a really popular breakfast place that serves the roti canai torn up, drenced in beef or chicken curry and crowned with a runny egg on top. Try that with a sweet cup of coffee and tell me it doesn't give you all the morning buzz you need.

There's a lot of good food in Penang. The Friday Flashback series will help recap some of our recommendations and help you decide which delicious dishes to have on your trip to Penang. For more breakfast favourites, read Part 2 of our Friday Flashback series.