Food Adventures in Malaysia: Day 3, Kuala Lumpur

Jun 6, 2011 by     5 Comments    Posted under: Malaysia, Travel

Day three took me to the base of nearly 300 stairs up to Batu Caves, a holy Hindu worship ground.  The hike up was made fun by all the macaque monkeys climbing everywhere enjoying the flavors of fruit and flowers which I presume they stole from visitors (surely people wouldn’t have handed the food to them freely because there were signs all over saying not to feed the monkeys).

Lunch at Batu Caves

After taking in the sights of the caves, shrines, and worshipers, I found that the wonderful smells coming from the little food stands at the base were a bit intoxicating.  I followed the scents and found a flat grill cooking ladles full of runny batter which crisped up into thin little crepes which were then stuffed with delicious Indian spiced vegetables.  I couldn’t resist, so I paid the 3 Ringgit (about $1) and ordered one.  It was called Masala Tosai.  It was so good that it made me want to become a Hindu vegetarian so I could eat it and its distant cousins all the time.  The vegetables in the middle were potatoes, carrots, peas, green chili, corn, mustard seeds, curry leaves, very spicy little red chilies, onions, and fennel seeds.  Just simply wonderful.

Masala Tosai 1

Masala Tosai 1

Masala Tosai 2

Masala Tosai 2

Masala Tosai 3

Masala Tosai 3

Masala Tosai 4

Masala Tosai 4

Masala Tosai 5

Masala Tosai 5

The whole thing was folded up and served with an assortment of accompaniment sauces; from left to right:

  1. Slightly spicy soupy sauce made of tomatoes, onions, chili, and lentils (dahl).
  2. The most exquisite creamy dahl I’ve ever had, seasoned with chilies and cumin, and sweetened with carrots.
  3. A grated coconut sauce made with chilies, parsley, and coconut milk.
Masala Tosai 6

Masala Tosai 6

Masala Tosai 7
Masala Tosai 7

 

Lunch at Time Square Mall, Kuala Lumpur

An hour later it was 2nd lunch time as I walked through Kuala Lumpur’s Time Square Mall, home of Shihlin Taiwan Street Snacks.  I ordered the XXL Fried Chicken.  What was this thing?  American fried chicken, German chicken schnitzel, Japanese katsu?  Perhaps a bit of all three, kind of like KFC Extra Crispy breading meets Panko bread crumbs, surrounding a flattened chicken breast that still had its connective bones in it.  The bones actually added to the moistness of it all.  The breading had a very sweet but subtle star anise flavor.  It was sprinkled with a “spicy” chili powder that wasn’t spicy at all, then served in a paper bag.  It was so wonderful I contemplated eating the bones, but decided against it and sucked every morsel of tender chicken off of them instead.  Good good good, I’d like another please!

XXL Fried Chicken from Shihlin Taiwan Street Snacks

XXL Fried Chicken from Shihlin Taiwan Street Snacks

 

Dinner at Pavilion KL, Kuala Lumpur

Dinner that evening was at the basement food court of Kuala Lumpur’s prestigious Pavilion Mall where Bentleys and Ferraris greet you at the door.  There are so many incredible food stalls here that choosing what to eat is an hour long decision; sizzling hot plates, giant bowls of soup, sweet desserts, satay grills, Chinese, Japanese, Malaysian, Thai, and everything in between.  But at last I made the best choice I ever could have imagined.  Beef Curry from Scissor Cut Curry Rice.

Scissor Cut Curry Rice, Pavilion KL, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Scissor Cut Curry Rice, Pavilion KL, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Oh my sweet heaven!  Let’s first start with the soup.  This vegetable water was incredible.  How in the world they were able to get such intense savoriness without any meat stock, soy, mushrooms, or seaweed is beyond me.  Must have been caked full of MSG.

The entrée’s side dish I chose was a wok fried crazy tube-like leafy vegetable I saw earlier at the market but have no idea what it was.

Crazy Tube-like Leafy Vegetable

Crazy Tube-like Leafy Vegetable

It was completely flavorless, and very crunchy; kind of similar to broccoli stems, but without the taste.  It did have a great charred wok flavor from cooking though that made it quite enjoyable.  I would gladly eat it again.

Then the beef….the magical beef.  It tasted like Vietnamese pho, but put into a curry gravy form.  I think it was made with a red curry paste and coconut milk.  But it also had the strong familiar pho flavors of charred ginger root, onions, and star anise.  The beef was very tender, much like pot roast.  I took a bite and started swearing again.  The cursing of joy continued throughout the meal.  Santa Claus came early this year….

Beef Curry from Scissor Cut Curry Rice, Pavilion KL, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Beef Curry from Scissor Cut Curry Rice, Pavilion KL, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

 

Dessert Disaster: Durian Ice Cream

After this package of joy, I felt the need for a little dessert.  But unfortunately I chose very poorly.  No matter what you do in this life, if you ever find yourself in front of a treat stand selling durian ice cream, run like your ass is on fire.  All I can say to this filth is NO NO NO!!!  Close your eyes and picture a beautiful colored smooth and creamy yellow ice cream entering your mouth.  You expect tropical wonders taking you to faraway lands of bliss, but instead you get a sewer plant in your face.  This crap tastes just like what I imagine frozen mashed rotten onions tasting like.  Freaking gross!  Do not ever eat this, unless you’re just plain dumb like me.  I gave it 3 bites just to be sure, and then tossed it.

Filthy Durian Ice Cream

Filthy Durian Ice Cream

 

Dessert Salvation:  Taiwan Strawberry Shaved Ice

I quickly ran to the next stand over where they were selling delicious looking shaved ice.  Where the durian disaster spewed forth straight from Satan’s bowels, this was like angles dancing on your tongue.  Strawberries, strawberry syrup, flavorless clear gelatin tubes for texture, and coconut milk all atop some freshly shaved ice.  Oh my!  It was fantastic.  Like a walk in Willy Wonka’s factory of creative yum yums.  I felt like a kid again.  The gelatin was really fun.  This would be so easy to make at home, or at a county fair raking in the dough.

Taiwan Shaved Ice

Taiwan Shaved Ice

Yes, Go Here

Yes, Go Here

 

5 Comments + Add Comment

  • It’s embarrassing to read your impolite blog – you calling the locals’ fruit “filth” coming from “Satan’s bowels”.

    You definitely need your horizons broadened still.

    • Alison,
      I can describe any food anyway I like and feel the need too. I can be “polite”, or I can be truthful. Which would you honestly prefer to read? My blog’s message is the pursuit of true deliciousness, not the pursuit of talking about foods in a way that could never offend or hurt somebody’s feelings. If you truly took offense at this post, perhaps it’s you that needs to broaden your culinary horizons a little. Did you completely miss all my other posts about Malaysia and the amazingly delicious foods, fruits, vegetables, and dishes I found there?

      As for Durian, I’ve eaten it several times. In raw form, it’s not horrible, but is certainly not delicious to me. This ice cream was truly horrid, and if you tried it, you would probably feel the same. I feel the same about eggplant. Does that mean that I need my horizons broadened? Doubtful. I wonder If you’ve submitted accusing emails to the Travel Channel for all the times Andrew Zimmern has ripped on durian?

    • It’s easy enough to sit behind your computer and rip on someone for not having “broad horizons.” In fact it seems to be the national pastime these days: you’re a cultural Neanderthal, I’m more experienced than you, you’re insensitive, I’m tolerant, you’re intolerant, blah blah blah… yeah, yeah, we’ve all heard it a million times. Take it somewhere else.

      If you read the other entries in this blog, you’ll see that Jothan is a man who is passionate about food. He is passionate in his praise and criticism of it. I think most of his readers enjoy that and take his comments about durian in the fun-spirited context of the blog as a whole.

      And for the record, durian is disgusting. I’ve met loads of people who think otherwise, and I’ll tell them point-blank that I hate it. Does that make me insensitive? No more than the Asian folks who tell me they can’t stand cheese. It’s an expression of opinion – a discussion that makes inter-cultural contacts all the more rich and satisfying.

    • LOL a food is not a religion – lot’s of American’s hate some American food, and if all Asians like Durian it would not be called “Stinky Fruit!” Not to mention the fact that ASIAN RESTURAUNTS IN ASIA ROUTINELY POST SIGNS SAYING “NO STINKY FRUIT!”

      I do not like yams. I am an American anti-Yammist, but that does not make me anti-pilgrim.

      And, as a personal friend of the Bald Gourmet, he is equally insulting to bad food regardless of cook, ingredients, race, religion, creed, marital status or country of origin. And he doesn’t care who knows it. That’s why his advice is useful.

    • Malaysian politician floored by stinky fruit
      A Malaysian politician has been hospitalised after gorging himself on durian, a south east Asian fruit that is widely-banned in public places because of its pungent smell.
      read the article here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/7889068/Malaysian-politician-floored-by-stinky-fruit.html

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I'm Jothan Yeager and I am The Bald Gourmet. After years of experimenting in my kitchen, creating delicious food and eating at amazing places around the world, I wanted a place to share my experiences with everyone. Thus the Bald Gourmet was born. I hope to open the doors of great food and great cooking to you, to inspire you to reach beyond prepared boxed meals, and to teach you of a world of deliciousness that has brought joy to me and those around me. Please enjoy the adventure which is The Bald Gourmet and share it with those you love.