Where to eat, where to eat?!

When looking for a place to eat in Malaysia you have to leave your western ideas behind. The best place to eat is more often than not the one that looks old, worn, has plastic chairs, no table cloths and an open air kitchen with woks that look ancient.

I had some issues about the look of the restaurants when first coming to Asia in 2007, I later realised I used my Western eyes and looked for other factors. Back home, the nicer restaurants usually spend a lot of money on the interiors, fancy furnitures and what not. In Malaysia, I have had great meals sitting on a battered plastic chair, eating off a plastic plate.

We are lucky to live in a small village that has quite a few good restaurants. Musa serves awesome satay and his chicken soup is to die for. The stock has been boiling forever and after eating a bowl of Musa’s soup you will go home smiling.
You will also find a restaurant named Hana Maju after its owner and head chef. We eat there a lot, she is an excellent cook and also very nice and friendly. If you are unsure of what to order, just ask and she will guide you through the menu.Hana-3

The menu, yes that is also interesting. In Sweden we usually have two varieties of nasi goreng (fried rice), one with chicken and one without. Here, you have anywhere from five to endless varieties to choose from. Nasi goreng china is not spicy, nasi goreng kampung is more spicy and have lots of ikan bilis (dried anchovies). I love nasi goreng kampung and my youngest daughter loves the ikan bilis. I usually end up with only a few fish left on my plate, the rest is on hers and she munches away happily. Some nasi goreng comes with a fried egg on the side, some have chicken, others have beef. All of them have vegetables, but what kind varies.Menu

More often than not the menu is a sign next to the kitchen, sometimes they have a printed version as well. At some restaurants you have to ask what they serve as there are no menus at all. Nasi goreng and mee (noodle) dishes are always a sure bet if you want something filling, fresh and satisfying. It might not be the most experimental dishes but they will not disappoint you.

I am still clueless as to why the Malaysians eat at KFC, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and other chain restaurants from West. Not only is the food very bland but a lot more expensive than at other places, a family eating at KFC will pay at least double.
So if you want good, authentic food, look for the plastic chairs and stay away from the chain restaurants and the posh looking ones.


A phone in the loo, what a great idea… said no one ever!

We are in Johor Bahru for three days. Drove down on Friday and we are going back tomorrow, Monday. The main reason for the trip was to visit my husband’s cousin and his family and so we did on Friday. We went to their house, talked and played for some hours and ate really tasty food. Homemade satay, beef and chicken, and the best peanut sauce so far on this trip. Food made with love always taste better, doesn’t it? We booked a hotel over internet, just chose one that wasnt too pricey and had free parking as well as a pool. Turns out we are staying in a new hotel resort, called KSL Resort, that is huge and built on top of a shopping mall. So here we are, lots and lots of shops and restaurants just a stone’s throw away. And the best part is that not only are there two swimmingpools but the resort also has a water park with slides and three different pools. Free entry for the hotel guests, otherwise 50 RM which is a bit on the pricey side. We have pretty much stayed at the resort the whole weekend and for us that is a new experience. Not being that interested in shopping we have spent a few hours at the mall, amazed at how much stuff you can buy. Do we really need all that stuff? Bought two dictionaries as I am on a mission to learn Malay on this trip. At least enough to be able to do a bit more than ordering food and asking for directions, which is pretty much all I can do now. So the children and I are learning a new language together which is nice. Tonight we had dinner at Taiwan Recipe, one of the many, many restaurants downstairs. We paid nearly 70 RM for all of us which at first felt like a lot. We are used to the prices in Kluang which means we rarely pay more than 30 RM for a meal for the whole family. But compared to back home it is still so cheap it is ridiculous. I had 3 cups chicken which tasted great. Lots of garlic, sesame oil, chili and ginger. The fresh watermelon juice was also good, a real thirst quencher. IMAG0503 (2) The hotel has like 30 floors and we are on the 16th. Great views of Johor Bahru but for someone having a great respect for heights (as every normal and sane person should have) the floor to ceiling windows are a pain. Good thing there are black out curtains in the room. And in the bathroom there is of course a phone on the wall by the toilet.Who has ever, in the history of mankind been sitting on the toilet and suddenly had the urge to make a call?! I myself have other things to do once I sit down in that particular room. IMAG0508 Notice the state of the art bumcleaner installed on the toilet. Do not set it on high, or you’re in for a surprise.