When I was planning my most recent trip to Malaysia I knew that I wanted to do one thing and that was to go to one of the traditional wet markets of Malaysia. These wet markets are a fantastic insight into how a lot of people live their day to day lives in Malaysia, interestingly the term ‘wet market’ comes from the fact that they use water to wash the floors and keep all the meat and fish fresh. The closest wet markets to my hotel in Kuala Lumpur were at Chow Kit which was only 3 stops away on the efficient monorail. I headed out their early one morning in anticipation.
One thing that I knew about visiting the wet markets was that there would have to be somewhere nearby that all the workers from the markets would be eating. I already knew that this would be a great find and I was spot on the money. As I walked down the street from the monorail station to the markets I noticed a sign just before the markets that advertised that there was food and drink here. I decided to take a chance and turned into the hawker centre. What I was treated to was certainly very atmospheric with natural light coming through the hawker centre and the sound of people eating and talking.
At the end of the hawker centre I noticed that there was a man that was proudly selling Nasi Lemak. For the uninitiated Nasi Lemak is a dish where (that’s the nasi part) rice is cooked with coconut milk (that’s the lemak part) and then is served with a number of side dishes. I went up and asked for one serve of Nasi Lemak to which the very friendly chef obliged. Then the next choice I had to make was to choose what sides to accompany my rice from the choices in front of me. One of the choices I recognised was braised squid (also known as sambal sotong in malay).
While I was waiting for my rice the drinks man of the hawker centre came up and placed my order for drinks. I ordered a black iced coffee with sugar which arrived to me after a very short wait. In the non air conditioned humidity this was a fantastic respite.
I had only had a few sips of my iced coffee before my Nasi Lemak arrived and when it arrived and I smelt all those aromatic flavours I couldn’t help but smile. I often think about having Nasi Lemak in Malaysia before and this smell brought all those thoughts back. Tasting it the Nasi Lemak was fantastic! The rice was nice and oily whilst not being too oily and the squid was braised for a long time so it ended up being really tender. My favourite part of the meal however was the chilli paste, this was definitely a chilli paste that had some kick and by the end of it I had a fair amount of sweat coming off my forehead. 9/10
There are so many great places to eat in Kuala Lumpur. It seems that every corner you turn someone is talking about food or eating food. This is another example of a food obsessed culture where you can get fantastic food like this next to a food market. This is another meal that I will think about when I am back in Perth.