I have been busy this week sweating my arse off in the Malaysian climate here in Melaka. This is a great place! Despite having to spend every day working, my colleagues and I have had the opportunity to experience a lot of what Malaysia has to offer.
The biggest thing about Malaysia is the mix of cultures. There are three main ethnic groups here:
- Native Malays - also known as Bumiputera and the majority of the population. They are all(?) Muslims and occupy many positions of power in the country.
- Chinese - these people are the largest minority and are typically hard-working and very clever. Why do you think that there are so many Chinese Malaysian doctors in Australia? They form the majority of overseas students that travel to universities in Australia, UK, US etc.
- Indians - they were brought to Malaysia during the time of the British rule to be employed as estate workers. You would be forgiven for thinking that you were in India when you are talking with them. They have maintained a strong ethnic identity whilst integrating into the Malaysian society.
So whats with the anthropology? Well I'm glad you asked. As you know, it's all about the food at chateau mac. We are very enthusiastic about eating and enjoy sampling the delights of wherever we go. Here in Malaysia I have eaten a wide variety of delicious foods since I arrived.
When we first got here, we had some Chinese (with a Malaysian twist) which was very good. They use chilli in everything so if you're a wuss - stay home! Then we went out and had Satay sticks and Kway Tieow. The satay sticks are self explanatory, but the Kway Tieow is a broad flat noodle dish which is fried in a wok and then served with an eggy sort of gravy. There is always a good mix of seafood in it such as prawns, squid and octopus. The place we went for the satay was like a huge shed and the man out the front cooking the sticks was slaving over this fire for hours, fanning it with a banana leaf fan - just across the road from apartment buildings - bizarre! There were about 8 of us for dinner that night and we were ordering the sticks in lots of 20 or so. They were small strips of beef and chicken and grilled to perfection.
The next night was a steaming bowl of fish ball noodle soup - and no WS! fish balls are not the delight YOU think they are! A clear broth with mee noodles (that's probably a tautology) fish balls, crab claw and non-descript (but delicious) greens. Great
Thursday was Curry Laksa - ms. mac's favourite! This a coconut and red curry flavoured soup with noodles, prawns, chicken, greens and fried tofu. Awesome!!! It is imposible to eat without wearing a large portion of the soup so don't wear your best shirt for laksa.
Last night my Chinese Malaysian friend took us to a roadside Chinese food court. I'm going back so there will be pics - don't worry. Dinner was Char Kway Tieow, Char Siew Pork, Crispy Skin Pork, Herbal soup with Pork Ribs, Curried Stingray and these crazy boiled barley drinks that were slightly strange but very cooling. Can you see the porky theme? I was moaning that there is no dead pig in a Muslim country and Ho said, yes there is - let's go and get some. It was an easy stroll from thje hotel and well worth the trip. In all, dinner cost RM30 which is about CHF10 so you can eat well for next to nothing. I heart Malaysia!
See youse all later.
And a big Happy Birthday to my Mum who is celebrating her 23rd birthday for the 36th time today. Happy Birthday Mum xxx