Those of you that know me, know I have deep ties to Malaysia.
My mother, although of South Indian heritage, was born there, my wife Jasmin (coincidentally) is also from Malaysia – We were married in Kuala Lumpur the capital city and visit on a fairly regular basis.
I doubt that anyone who has visited this amazing country would disagree when I call it one of the most diverse and interesting melting pots in the world – especially when it comes to cuisine.
In order to define Malaysian cuisine, you’d need to have a bit of imagination. Imagine a Malay (to paint with very broad strokes think of a cross between Indonesians, the Philippians and the Thai), a Chinese and an Indian. So you have these 3 distinct cultures, and now put them in a room with the same fruit and veg, the same meat, the same rice and noodles. And what you get is an amazing mix of culinary delights. The Chinese borrow from the Malay’s, the Malay’s from the Indians and the Indians from the Chinese…. you get the point. It becomes a mix match of all of these lovely flavours and ideas…. but at the same time you can still go out for a really really good Indian, Chinese or Malaysian meal…
Malaysians are the sort of people who think about their next meal whilst they are eating (or just about to eat) their current meal. Sometimes the planning goes even further than that. When I ask Jas what she’s going to eat first on a trip home, she usually has a fairly long list with a few repeats in there. Our normal stop is to a Mamak shop within a few hours of landing. Mamak shops are the best melting pot of Malaysian restaurants. Usually always run by Indian Muslims, open air restaurants that run 24 hours… this is where you can find the best Satay’s, Dosa’s and Mamak Mee Goreng.
Every time I visit Malaysia I bring my camera with me. With all of the family and friends… the uncles and aunties, the nephews and nieces… sometimes it’s the perfect excuse for me to get a bit of alone time and shoot a bit of my heritage.
Over my lifespan I’ve probably visited Malaysia 6 or 7 times… and I’ll be going back again soon.