Couple more cookery articles we liked; – this one from the Guardian on the amazing diversity of Malaysian food is spot on, though we reckon it’s actually even more diverse than they make out! The point about the ethnic Chinese or Indian communities in Malaysia is that they come from all over China or the subcontinent. Most UK cities have half decent Chinese and Indian eateries but in Penang, KL, Malacca etc you not only have great Chinese cuisine but you find restaurants specializing in Cantonese, Sichuanese, Hokkien, Hainanese, Nyonya etc etc dishes or Tamil, Keralese, Punjabi specialities and so-on. In Georgetown for example you’ll find the excellent Passions of Kerala; then a speciality biryani cafe, (with something like 30 different variations) – over the road another spot doing only North Indian tandoori and nan sets next door to a roti and murtabak cafe! (Murtabak, a fantastic kind of Arabic/Indian fusion, is sort of an elaborate stuffed roti served with a dhal and can be found all over Malaysia.)
So it’s the best of Asian food but not really mentioned are the European influences – namely Portuguese in Malacca, (especially the desserts), and the curious Malaysian passion for eclectic British faves. Guinness is the country’s 2nd best selling beer, (yes ok we know it’s Irish but…), hawker stands specialize in ox tail soup and baked beans are a favourite breakfast food! Yes, baked beans in tomato sauce – slightly sweeter than at home but basically the same! Furthermore KL yuppies will drive all the way up to the Cameron Highlands to check out a new tea-room, sup Earl Grey and see if their scones, clotted cream and strawberry jam are up to scratch! (The cool highlands support dairy cows and strawberries and of course are famous for tea plantations!) It’s big business – we once met a celebrity, professional tea-room designer from KL – he’d just received tea-room of the year award for his latest, ‘granny’s sitting room themed – flowery print comfy sofas by the log fire’, tea room! We kid you not!!!
Anyway moving on we’ll draw your attention to the very good Longest Way Home blog’s Philippine food article, though since we’ve never been there we can’t comment on it!
Next up is an odd post on Thai Travel News about an initiative to install cardboard cut-out, smiling Bangkok Airport staff because the real ones don’t do it enough! No comment!
Finally, on the subject of airports try this link! We’ve tried in vain to find flights in or out of Phi Phi Island Airport and since there is no runway we’re assuming it’s for seaplanes only but it does have an official airport code, PHZ, so it must exist.
You can check out Cameron Highlands’ tea rooms on our award winning Malaysia, Coast to Coast tour, visit Phi Phi (but not by plane), on our Jungles and Islands tour, meet rude, unsmiling or friendly smiling immigration officials, depending upon your luck, at Suvarnabhumi Airport on any Thai tour but you can’t do our Philippines tour yet since we don’t yet have one!