by Lee David Bananuka from Tanzania
I got to Malaysia five years ago to study. So many things have happened since, and picking just one Malaysia story is challenging. I’ll tell you one of my favorites.
I’m a bit of a foodie at heart. I eat just about anything and think meals should often be an adventure. So coming to Malaysia one of the things I was really excited about after who I would meet, was what I would eat.
I started asking what are the good things to eat as soon as I arrived at the airport. If you are from here, then you know that in Malaysia that is a long list. I had no idea where to start so I asked a local what is the most Malaysian of all Malaysian dishes. I realize now that question was still a little too general but he suggested Nasi Lemak. So I went with that.
|Nasi Lemak with friends|
I went to a nearby Malay food stall near where I lived, and I ordered it. They served it up, and I sat down with it. The interesting thing is almost everything about Nasi Lemak looked completely familiar to me. Rice is a staple in Tanzania, the aroma of the coconut milk also brought memories of cooking in Tanzania. Anchovies are fished out of the Indian Ocean right off the coast of my home town. The only thing that I couldn't identify on sight was the sambal sauce. So I scooped a big spoonful of that, added a little rice to it, put it in my mouth and began to chew.
A little background on Tanzanian cooking… It is rarely spicy. Most times peppers and other kinds of chili are served as a side. You add them according to your personal taste. This was probably the first time in my life that I had so much of something so spicy in my mouth all at once.
It was a pretty warm night, and there wasn't much breeze where I was sitting. All of this has nothing to do with the way I was sweating that night. Luckily I had a nice cold limau ice at my side. Never has a lime juice been so badly needed in my life.
I came away from that adventure a little more cautious about how I eat. But I can honestly say that after tonnes of Nasi Lemak, Nasi Goreng, Chee Chong Fun, Bak Kut Teh, Briyani and desserts whose names I can’t recall, Malaysia truly is a never ending food adventure for me.
Even better than all the food, are all the people that I've always found willing to eat a meal with me, and teach me all about the food here. Malaysia is a beautiful place that's full of awesome food, but best of all, full of awesome people who just seems delighted to share it with everyone else.
That’s it for now, I’m off to have a bit of food adventure!
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"Seize the day, Caper Diem"
"Seize the day, Caper Diem"