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Date [ 2013-02-05, 11:00 ]

How to taste Malaysian favourites without actually going there.



(Kuala Lumpur=koreanpress) by Ramani = If you are a visitor in Singapore or a Singaporean but do  not have the chance to hop over the Causeway for a Malaysian treat, not to worry. You know that old saying – ‘If Mohd. cannot go to the mountain, then the mountain must come to Mohd.”

So then, just make a beeline to Resorts World Sentosa. They have set up the Malaysian Food Street there. Just like pre-war Malaya, the ubiquitous old Chinese shophouses straddle the street.  Old advertisements in Malay. Actual street signs of Kuala Lumpur and an old parked rickshaw add to the ambiance. It sets just the right mood for the hawker fare of Malaysia

The RWS spokeperson informed, ” We currently have more than 60 F& B outlets offering the world’s best cuisines in one destination, fitting every taste buds and budget. With the opening of the Malaysian Food Street, we have further not only enhanced the extensive food and beverage offerings but also have offered something unique to visitors of RWS. We will be looking at way to update MFS from time to time.”

 “Since opening on January 12th this year, Malaysian Food Street has received positive reviews on its authentic food offerings and nostalgic ambience. It sees an average of more than 33,000 guests walking through its doors in a week,” Tan further revealed.

Malaysian visitors may wonder, “Why Malaysia? After all Singapore too has the same type of foods, from Chicken Rice to Satay and more.”

The answer Tan gave was,”Malaysia is a food haven, with many Singaporeans travelling miles just to taste some of the best dishes Malaysia has to offer. We’ve consolidated this and have a few famous hawkers, offering their family traditions and heritage under one roof.”

Chicken Rice, Curry Laksa, Char Kway Teow, Satay or Yong Tow Foo. The Hokkien noodles come with quite big juicy prawns, the roti prata is accompanied with a bowl of rich, spicy chicken curry -– they are all here. Some with slight differences from what is found in Singapore. Kuala Lumpur’s wantan has thicker and darker sauce than its Singapore counterpart.  Food prices range between S$4 to S$5 and some would consider this to be more pricey than the average Singapore hawker fare. But this is still a steal when you consider how well portioned the dishes are and with that special Malaysian flavor, worth every Singaporean cent. 

And no meal would be complete without the drinks – top of the list of course is Teh Tarik, unique to Malaysia and the frothier the better! It is all in the art of pulling the tea up and bringing it down to the koleh (mug)!

Tan adds,”The hawkers at MFS prepare dishes that they know best. There is additional capacity at MFS, so we’ll be looking to refresh offerings from time to time like the new Penang Assam Laksa stall that started operations last October.”

The street officially opened in January this year. But a lot of ground work was done before that. Eight months to be precise, when some of the lucky staff of Resorts World Sentosa had the enviable task of eating themselves across Malaysia. Or rather hitting the cities of Melaka, Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh and that food paradise – Penang!

The food tasters, once satisfied with the fare placed before them, then had to persuade the stall-owners to uproot themselves and do their handiwork in Singapore. Not an easy task when some of them had ensconed themselves in a spot for decades.

Thanks to the persuasion of the resort staff, some of Malaysia’s culinary
legends crossed the border. Penang’s Lim Brothers with their fried kway teow, from Klang came bah kut teh, translated as herbal pork ribs soup, Melaka with its chicken rice balls and that special porridge found only in Petaling Street, where the Malaysian capital’s Chinatown is situated. The stall holder has been doing his business on this street for the past 50 years! That says something for the quality of his food, doesn’t it?

Other favourites that can be found at the Malaysian Food Street are
lor bak, spicy mutton curry, sliced cuttlefish, dim sum and that coffeshop breakfast tradition – toast with kaya ( a jam-like paste made with duck eggs.)



However when next you are in MFS and wondering what to order, perhaps you can go for the best selling item – SATAY! The recently opened stall is selling 1800 sticks of satay daily. Close behind are1,000 servings of char kway teow and chendol  sold on a daily basis.

Resorts World Sentosa has taken care that there is enough halal fare for Muslim visitors from the Middle East, Indonesia, East Asia amd Malaysia of course. These stalls are certified as halal.  So Muslims can safely tuck into perennial favouries nasi lemak, paratha (better known as roti canai in Malaysia.) For something more heavy and filling there is Biryani which can come with chicken or mutton with its staple side dish of pickled cucumbers.

Foreign tourists who may not have any knowledge of the hawker fare, need nor despair. For locals and Malaysians who cannot decide what to eat, help is at hand. Free copies of the Malaysian Food Street newspaper can help them decide what to tuck into.


Where drinks are concerned, besides the afore mentioned teh tarik, there is nothing like a cup of hot kopi-O. That is local black coffee and Malaysians if they want it very thick, always say, “…..make it kow-kow.”
Air Bandung is an ice cold drink of syrup added with tinned milk that gives the drink its very soft pink colour. But the mother of all cold drinks is definitely the chendol. How can anything beat it, when its generous mound of crystal cold shaved ice is slapped over with short noodles made of flour that is coloured green and wafting an aromtic fragrance emanating from a big bunch of pandan leaves tied tight and dunked in the giant chendol container. Then the finale – a pouring of thick santan (fresh oconut milk) and thick, sweet, rich brown gula melaka (palm sugar). Some patrons ask for a helping of pulut (glutinous rice) or red beans to be added. After this liquid wash down, chances are, you will now want to just sit back and watch the world go by. 


                                              
Feb 5
Ramani@koreanpress.net

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