I have known Xara since we were in primary school. Yes, way back in Ipoh. When we entered secondary school, both of us cycled to school… and that was the beginning of many after-school “extra-curricular” activities. We’d cycle to town to watch our favourite chinese kungfu movies, parking our bicyles for 10sen per movie in those makeshift sheds beside the cinemas (Lido, Cathay, Rex & Majestic were our usual haunts). We’d pay 65sen for the lowest class seats and we’d litter the floors with our kuaci shells, our kacang putih papercone wrappers while keeping our eyes glued to the too-near neck-straining cinema screens where Ti Lung and Carter Hwang would be flashing their swords or flying across tree tops.
Then after Form 5, Xara packed her bags and went off to North America to continue her education and thereafter trottered half the globe for both work and pleasure. In all the years that she was sweating her pretty butt off in far-off distant lands, we’d still keep in touch, albeit kinda erratically. In the last few years we’ve grown closer… maybe because she was back here for a few years with her family before going back to the US again 3 years ago. She comes back to visit her family every year and every time she does that, we’d have a blast… as much a blast that can be had in a few short days.
Prior to her recent trip back here, she made me promise to bring her to some of the places I have blogged about. She would have made me take her to ALL of them, if time had permitted… don’t let her small frame kid you – this woman really enjoys her food!
So, the food trail starts and here are some highlights.
What a better restaurant to start than the exotic Erawan…
… we started off with the crunchy refreshing Rose Apples, which is one of my perennial favourites there…
The Pineapple Prawns Curry and Roast Duck Curry were a hit with Xara and we really had to stop ourselves from spooning more rice onto our plates..
Since I tried the Lotus Stems served during their Songkran feast, I had been thinking of this delightful flower stem (so, is it a vegetable or is it a flower?) and when I saw that this is on Erawan’s updated menu, I just had to order it…this time stir-fried with shrimps. It was simply delicious.
For desserts, Xara had to have the Roasted Bananas (bananas being her favourite!) and I also ordered the Black Rose and Lemongrass icecream for her to try.
Despite not being a seafood lover (yeah, she’s weird that way!), we went to Champs for their signature “Damn Shiok” Prawn Noodles…
Question: how do you explain/translate “shiok” in 1 word to a non-Malaysian? “Shiok” is one Malaysian slang word that describes explicitly what we Malaysians feel in almost any situation… be it eating something, doing something, experiencing something etc… but try translating that to a foreigner?
Hokkien Mee took on a new dimension in Champs… they call it “Black Worm Noodles”… it certainly sounds squeamish… but they taste far from squeamish – they are so full of sinful lardy goodness!
We wanted to eat the Fruit Rojak at Champs but somehow this order was screwed-up and it never came. So, still unsatiated, we drove over to Bangsar Village in search of dessert… and ended up having this:
Let Xara, the undisputed Dessert Queen show you how to eat cake…
You can never have enough of local food while in Malaysia… or even near-local food. Any food with Malay or Indonesian influences would be a hit – Xara’s cravings knew no bounds. And since we were already in Bangsar, it took us mere minutes to make our way over to Dancing Fish!
Even though there were only the 2 of us, I think we did pretty well that evening, haha! Not shabby at all, I would say.
Just look at the spread we had… (granted we had to pack some of the Bebek Goreng home!)… and of course, the Dancing Fish was polished off completely, every crunchy crispy bit of it!
How can one be back in Malaysia and not go for mamak food, right? The All-Malaysian comfort-food Roti Canai beckons… and such a fluffy one, too…
The gluttons that we are, it’d never do just to have roti canai, right? We must have at least a few accompanying dishes at Raju’s…
Did I say Xara is a banana fan? She must have her Roti Pisang… let no one stand in her way for this!
Nyonya Kueh – another weakness of the woman… she absolutely refused to leave the country without having her fill of this. So where did we go?
It’s just as well that Parkroyal Kuala Lumpur is currently having their Nyonya Food promotion by their guest chef, Debbie Teoh. So we went to try out their Nyonya Hi-Tea buffet and while we were there, we met up with the chef herself!
After all the rich spicy local food that we’ve been stuffing ourselves, we headed to Elegant Inn for some simple Cantonese fare, Hongkong-style.
It’s not hard to figure why we are such best friends – we both love Elegant Inn’s Steamed Cake (Malaiko) to bits!
Those are the highlights of our food trail for the few days Xara was in town. Besides these, we also went for our favourite Wantan Mee and Char Siew… and not forgetting the Angkoo Kuih and Banana Cake I made and the home-cooked Bak Kut Teh dinner at my house. Gosh, isn’t it amazing how we gorged on so much food in a few short days! So, the 3kg that she put on – well, what can I say except that it’s worth it, lol! First thing she needs to do when she’s back in San Francisco is to put on her running shoes – way to go, gurl!
Once you’ve lost those extra kilos, it’s time to head back here to KL, gurl
Meanwhile, here’s something to keep you going until the next feast back here…