T R A V E L & F O O D || Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
This is a long time coming guys. I can't believe it but just over a year ago, I stepped foot into Asia for the first time in my life. Why did it take me so long? I have no idea, but I was given a great excuse when my lovely friend Rai invited a bunch of us over to celebrate her marriage. Then I read a travel article [Aaron's adventures in Asia to be exact] on one of my favourite blogs Yin&Yang recently and was inspired to look back over photos from my own trip to Malaysia early last year. To no surprise, I had taken a thousand photos and felt the urge to share some of the highlights with you guys. Better late than never! With so many memories to choose from, there might be a few instalments coming up so watch-this-space. In the meantime, let me take you to Imbi market for a spot of brunch...
Just south of KL city centre, you can find a fun little walled traditional market called Imbi - recommended by my guide book as a great place to have breakfast, and apparently very popular with the KL-ites. So one morning a group of us hopped into some taxis [a must if you want to find your way around easily] and found ourselves dropped off in what initially seemed like the middle-of-nowhere.
I remember for a split-second thinking have these taxi drivers had a good laugh and dropped us off for our own little adventure [eeep]. We decided an explore might give us some clues on where this famous brunch venue was. Luckily, the locals were so relaxed around us that eventually we found what looked like a market [above] selling lots of fruit, veg and live seafood [no snaps of this bit as not everyone was a fan of the smell so it was a hurried rush through!]. As we got deeper into the market, I was feeling unsure about what the custom was - maybe this was a market you just buy fruit and veg at and eat as you go? Who knows. Then suddenly, out of nowhere we arrived at a small clearing filled with red plastic tables and stools. There was a buzz of chitchat and a hum of delicious smells…
we found brunch!
The tables were at the centre of a food-hive and on the fringes were lots of different stalls selling local specialities from the sweet, the sour, the savoury and the spicy - whatever you are looking for it was there. If I'm honest, I was a bit overwhelmed by the level of choice so decided to just browse the first stalls right in front of me and ordered!
My first choice was the popiah which are fresh spring rolls common in many Asian countries, highly recommended as a speciality it turned out when I later re-read the guidebook! This particular popiah is made up of seasonal shredded vegetables and crushed peanuts. I cannot explain to you how delicious this was - I could have eaten a bunch and immediately got the urge to learn how to make it. The others also had a similar first choice tactic as me and opted for bowls of delicious noodle soups [the one above is fish balls and was pretty tasty too]. You might have also noticed that I seem to have been drinking a milkshake type beverage. Well, you are wrong. This is actually black tea with condensed milk or teh tarik [pulled tea] to be exact. It's special because of the way it's made - the tea man or woman will pour the tea and milk combo back and forth between two metal cups from some impressive distances which creates the froth like texture. This is not like any cuppa you'll have tried before - I really enjoyed it!
After my first brunch course I decided to have a bit more of a proper explore around all the stalls. It was fascinating watching each stall make their speciality [usually just one or two dishes]. I got the impression eating was an express activity in the market place as all the stalls had super organised preparation areas, bowls, cups and spoons ready stacked high and smiley owners all trying to entice you in. It's a really exciting and happy atmosphere to be in.
After a bit more browsing, some of the others opted for bowls of noodle soups, dumplings and some other plates I didn't catch the names of [if you know, please comment below as I'd love to!]. I on the other hand was a feeling a bit low on appetite due to the heat so ended up opting for a cutie little nasi lemak - carefully secured inside a pandan leaf is a pyramid of coconut milk rice topped with anchovies sambal and a mini omelette. Don't be fooled, this may be small and cute [I was smitten with it] but it packs a load of flavour and [mine] spice! A really great little parcel of Malaysian cuisine and a must try.
Aside from the fresh made-on-request meals on offer, there was an abundance of snacks - great for just picking up and eating on-the-go if you feel like going on a browse rather than sitting down to eat. There were lots of cute red-lid jars filled to the brim with snacks galore too. I couldn't tell you what half of them were but it made for excellent window shopping and no doubt would make great little gifts for taking back home to family and friends. Post-brunch on your way out of the market, you'll also find a variety of dried foods from sausages to shrimps which means if you feel like having a go at home yourself or just feel like doing your weekly groceries after a spot of brunch, you can!
hope you've all had a lovely weekend!