Food is an important aspect in my life and throughout my formative years. My maternal grandfather ran a bakery while my paternal grandfather owned a restaurant. My mother made the best home-cooked meals and my family love to eat. Every time I visited my parents and siblings, the first thing they would ask is "Have you eaten already?" or "Are you hungry?" or "What do you want to eat?"
We would even travel for hours, across states, countries and seas to sample the best cuisines we could find.
When I was growing up, my mother insisted that each one of us contributed in making food. My sisters and I were assigned to peel garlic and onion, de-seed dried chilis, grind spices, pluck the feathers from dead chicken, de-shell shrimps, chop nuts and dried fruits, cook rice, measure flour and sugar, wash fresh veggies.... you get the picture. When my mother felt tired of cooking that day, my family would pack tightly like sardines in the family van and head off to the nearby food stalls or restaurants.
I always considered myself blessed to grow up in a country like Malaysia. Yes, one might claim it is the fabulous tropic weather but really, it is the food that makes me yearn for home.
Malaysian food comprises of richly blended flavors from ethnic groups such as the Chinese, Indians and Malays. Where can one find fried and spicy chicken, served with Hainanese rice and wash down the delicious meal with a hot cup of chai? Or find sweet and sour pork with a side of sambal belacan green beans and biryani rice on a fresh banana leaf? Just writing these makes me think of the wonderful flavors and smells from home!
I dedicate this entry to you, fellow food lovers. Please take a moment and enjoy some pictures from my recent trip home.
Penang assam laksa
Char kway teow
Rojak, a Malaysian fruit and veg salad
(Clockwise from top) Ipoh kway teow soup, fried bean sprouts and fresh spring rolls aka popia