Tuesday, October 23, 2007

KL food trip

It's been almost a week since I got back from KL, so this post is long overdue. Unfortunately, my KL trip wasn't the food trip I expected (work getting in the way of what I should be doing in KL, hehehe), but it did have its highlights.

1. Otak-otak. I wrote about this in a previous post, and I did get to try it in KL. Rather than baked or grilled, the version I tasted was steamed. It basically tastes like a fish-flavoured tamale with a good hint of chili and curry. It was actually not bad, although I don't see myself craving for it either.

2. Nasi Ayam. Nasi means rice, ayam means chicken, and nasi ayam is a common meal served by street hawkers in KL. An order of nasi ayam costs around RM 5 to RM 6, giving you a generous serving of spicy fried rice and a modest piece of fried chicken breast, sometimes with a soup of garlic and cilantro on the side. One can also order nasi daging (beef or mutton) instead of chicken, or mee ayam (noodles) instead of rice. Basically, street hawkers have a set of staples on one hand (fried rice, fried noodles, noodle soup, fried bread) and viands on the other (chicken, beef, mutton, seafood) and you can order any combination of staple and viand within a reasonably narrow price range.

3. Teh tarik. Basically black tea sweetened with condensed milk (RM 2). Teh means tea and tarik means altitude-- the tarik in teh tarik comes from the process of mixing the tea and condensed milk. Place piping hot black tea and condensed milk in one cup (usually metal) and pour it onto another cup, increasing the distance (or altitude) between the cups as you go proceed. This process cools down the tea and gives it a frothy texture. Now, I'm more of a green tea person, but teh tarik ranks high in my list of black tea favourites, second only to Indian masala chai.

4. Roti bawang. Roti (RM 3) is an Indian bread cooked on a hot griddle instead of baked. It begins as a ball of dough that is stretched many times over, giving the final product a chewy texture-- you'll see the same process in making pizza dough. Unlike pizza dough, roti is much thinner and folded over when cooked, so it is pretty light despite being cooked in oil. Bawang in Bahasa means onion, so I got the onion roti. One can also add an egg or even some meat to the roti. It is served with a thick curry sauce (taken from any meat curry dish they have lying around) on the side.

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