Petaling Street Food

The problem with expectations is that most times, I get disappointed. Sorely disappointed! Or maybe my tastebuds grew up and know what’s good from well, what’s bad.

I just came home from a short time in KL. Petaling Street to be exact. Petaling Street is Chinatown and it’s a food haven. And I, armed with my Flavours Good Food Guide, was raring to try the recommended cafes, hawker stalls and restaurants.

Here’s my opinion after trying out some of the recommendations.

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I love cooking shows. I mean, I used to sit through wacky Chef Wan and his antics from years ago. I even watch (if there’s nothing else on TV) some boring RTM production – you know, the type where everything looks OLD and the lighting’s all yellow and the women look too pasty for words. But heck, I sit through THOSE too because I watch for the food, not the stilted host!

But then, TV became so sexy and food was the new sex (please correct me if I am wrong). All of a sudden, everyone’s popping up and declaring themselves cooking maestros.

Now I watch because the host is cute/sexy/funny and food comes second. Most times, the food isn’t that tantalising either as many of these hosts/cooks are rather slapdash. Nic’s biggest grouse is that these people/hosts/chefs do not ‘respect the food’ they are cooking with!

My favourite used to be Bourdain, yes that sunken-eyed, chainsmoking American with the French connection. He was the most sarcastic thing on Channel 11. He still is, though but he seems a bit bored. Maybe too much of food is a bad thing!

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Feasting on the Eve

Each year, we have a feast at my Grandma’s place. For Xmas? Well, everyone loves eating so we’ll take any festivity as a reason to come together and showcase our cooking talents.

Ya, did I say talents? Yep, we’re a highly kiasu cooking family. We love to cook up a storm and then sit down for a great big feasting.

We try to outdo each other each year…. but Christmas isn’t the only time we do this cooking do. We do it about 3 or 4 times a year, depending on our moods. Usually it’s because there are folks converging in my Grandma’s place – either someone far away comes home, or just the KL-based relatives coming back.

Anyhow, it’s very Malaysian to bond at the makan table. It’s almost unthinkable to have a party without good old Malaysian food.

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Not Over the Moon

Went shopping last minute for mooncakes today. I know, Mooncake Festival is not for another week or so but these sweet pastries aren’t for me. They’re for my parents and Nic’s parents.

It’s this tradition we have where we mail (yes, good old Poslaju) the solidly wrapped mooncakes in their steel tins to our parents – one set to Selangor and the other set to Kuching – each year.

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A Gem in Armenian Street

“You like Penang?” A friend once asked.

I guess I do. I didn’t spend much of my growing up years here but I spent almost all of my school holidays in Penang when I was younger.

There’s something about Penang which is charming although the traffic can be crazy at times. But Sundays are good days for exploring Penang, at least the little nooks and crannies where the tourists won’t go. But I cannot be too sure. These days, tourists are a heck of a lot smarter and know more than the locals. I take that back. Friends of mine who are occasional visitors to Penang often confound me with the places they find and the unknown things they experience.

Things and experiences I take for granted at times.

Today it was Armenian Street. I’ve been to Teresa’s Edelweiss Cafe all but once and I’d been raving about it to Nic. The ambience and the decor can really sweep you back into an era where life moved a little more leisurely.

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A Heartfelt Recipe

“You know, cooking with you is different,” Best Friend says, in between observing me chopping up tomatoes for the tomato salsa we were preparing.

“Why?” I look up in surprise. I know Best Friend is rather hesitant in the kitchen, and she sticks to dishes she can cook. Give her a new recipe and her world is in chaos, temporary though it may be.

“You always know your dishes will turn out well.”

“But of course!” I give her my broadest grin.

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Local Delights and More

Yes, folks. There is a Part 5. The concluding one in this whole Cherating series. A reader (eh hem) and close pal asked me this when I met him last week. What’s in Part 5, he asks? Well, the food part. But of course. Food features heavily in my life. I suppose it’s natural considering how I grew up surrounded by great cooks (my grandma comes to mind as well as my2nd aunt) and fabulous food.

Read moreLocal Delights and More