Saturday, September 1, 2012


Meeting my in-laws was as lovely and uneventful as one could hope. They are wonderful, but then they raised my wonderful husband, so that only made sense.

Today my FIL took us on a day trip down to Melaka. Melaka/Malacca was a center of Portuguese, Dutch and British trade and colonialization at various times, and it has some of the oldest buildings in the country. In theory, we were there to show me pieces of Malaysia's history, but when my in-laws take trips, it's all about the food, so we ate at one restaurant after another all day. This is definitely not a complaint.

-I ate durian cendol, which is a local specialty. I was not a fan of durian. Even once I got over the smell to taste it, I didn't find the flavor to my liking. We had gula melaka (palm sugar) cendol later in the day, and that was very nice.

-We went to a food court for breakfast. These are outdoor yards with tables, ringed by vendors. Each vendor pays rent to the court owner, and you order your food at each stall. I had char kway teow, which is a fried noodle dish. I'd had it before in America, but this was a hundred time better. I could eat this all day. And it had cockles! As in, "with silver bells and cockle shells, and wee little maids in a row." My MIL says they are called lalas in Bahasha Melayu. Watermelon juice, which is expensive back in the US, is cheap here, and that made me happy.

-We ate Nyonya food for dinner. Nyonya are the descendants of Chinese migrants who came to Malaysia 500 years ago, intermarried with the locals, and created their own culture. They are famous for being excellent cooks. My FIL ordered so many dishes I can't remember them all. We had chicken rendang, which is a spicy stew with, I think, a coconut base. There was squid coated in turmeric and fried. I've never enjoyed squid before, but this was so fresh and tender and didn't squeak on the teeth. We had okra too. I'd only had okra boiled until slimy before this, so it was a revelation. It was very tender and crunchy and reminded me of green beans. There was also yam leaves, fried chicken, tofu, and probably other dishes I am forgetting.

-We passed by a machine making Amoy waffles. I wish I had taken a picture of the machine. They're small waffles shaped like a fish, filled with pandan flavored coconut jelly. Very tasty. my BIL said they were overpriced and you were paying for the packaging, but the packaging is adorable.

-My FIL bought mochi, which is rolled in ground, sweetened peanuts.  I thought this was a Japanese treat, but my FIL says it's Chinese in origin. 

-Unfortunately, I am an idiot and forgot to use sunblock. Since I'm glow in the dark pale, I got a bit of a burn from walking around outside. My FIL says the sun is stronger here because we're near the equator. My MIL fussed over me and gave me a UV blocking parasol to use and we picked up sunblock on the way home. 

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