At the Spice Market

Last week was totally mindboggling. A number of tasks to complete, a number of errands, and then some. Sometimes it feels as if the whole week had just flown by.
But the good thing was, Nic and I were looking forward to last Friday, hectic or not. It was one of those appointments which were more about food and friends, rather than the usual client appointments.
foodfriends talk penang

We were invited by Tze to join her and her FoodFriends group at the newly opened Rasa Sayang Resort (which is absolutely beautiful and lots more elegant now. The grand dame has been transformed completely – akin to those makeovers you see on TV) for an event which included a talk and culminating in a lovely lunch.
IWA Penang ladies
Thrown into the event was the presentation of the EDCs (Exclusive Dining Card) by Arbind, the resort’s GM to guests and members of FoodFriends. The EDC encouraged us to wine and dine at Rasa Sayang Resort and its sister resort, the Golden Sands Resort by offering us up to 30% off total food and drinks bill besides getting discounted rates for room rates and priority restaurant reservations. We were all definitely encouraged to visit again.
With such good news, it was no wonder that we were all in such good spirits when we were gently ushered into the Spice Market cafe for Tze’s talk on spices, to be followed by a three-course lunch.
ladies at lunch
Tze’s talk was interspersed with audience participation as everyone had a tip or two about cooking with spices and herbs such as coriander, pandan leaves, wild pepper leaves, serai, daun limau purut and more. She had more in store for everyone too as some of us got to win her PenangPassion aprons. As Nic was the only guy (it was an all women affair), Tze picked him to kick off the short quiz. He performed rather well, probably because the herb he had to guess was one of his favourites – coriander!
Our lunch followed soon after – I think our hungry looks must’ve made Tze cut short her talk! (It was resumed after we had our lunch.) The first course was a delicious ramen with wanton dumplings in a yummy stock (and I’m not even a fan of ramen!). Add a spoonful of sambal made with dried scallops and we basically had a rich prawn noodle-like dish. Good to the last drop!
ramen noodles
This was just the beginning – our Indian platter came next – skewered BBQ prawn, tandoori chicken chunks with mint sauce, mild curry made with red beans eaten with a choice of cheese, garlic or plain naan. I preferred a spicier dhal curry and red beans aren’t exactly my favourite beans.
Indian platter
But the last course more than made up for it. Chef Franco (who is rather cute and lanky in a helpless sort of way) had made us all a temptingly rich dessert – creme brulee which had a tinge of ginger. That was the best bit of the lunch – it wasn’t too sweet, in fact it was just right and the ginger helped reduce the cloying though highly pleasant miky richness of the dessert.
creme brulee
FoodFriends is an initiative under the IWA (International Women’s Association) of Penang. They’re very much into food and eating so be warned, it can be rather taxing on the waistlines! (But, like the Malaysian that I am, I love food so joining FoodFriends can be a gastronomic adventure on its own!).
I’ll let the photos do the talking… in the meantime, I shall go back to my painful but much needed ab crunches (Yes, dearies, I DO need to make those abs a bit more firm. I even got an exercise CD on how to get fabulous abs and butt – that will probably make a good post sometime later this week.)
Chef Franco, Maggie & Tze
While the rest of the photos above are mine, this last photo of Chef Franco, Maggie and Tze is courtesy of Wen, an avid photographer/Tze’s girl Friday from Tze’s publishing company, Hekty.

3 thoughts on “At the Spice Market”

  1. Hi d: Thanks. His article was a bit too flippant don’t you think? And if I remember well, curry mee contains pig blood. Is the writer sure that everyone partakes in this dish, particularly those from the police force (whom many are Muslims)? It paints a rather unreal scenario especially if the writer’s talking about curry mee (as we locals know it). Anyway, good read though. Btw, are you joining this Sat’s writing workshop at the Y?


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