Saturday, January 21, 2012

Tasting Malaysia

Cencaru fish with chili padai and petaiKL can be an exciting place for foodies with its incredible variety of street food and cuisines - brought together by the different ethnic groups that make up this interesting country. I had a chance to sample a selection of foods, some for the very first time. There are three distinct sets of cuisines associated with the major ethnic groups: Malay, Indian and Chinese, but there are also some lesser known ones such as Nyonya (of the Straits Chinese ethnic group) and Sarawak (a community that lives on the island of Borneo).


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Enter The Dragon

Chinese New Year at KLKuala Lumpur was decked in gold and red as the city got ready to celebrate the Chinese New Year - the Year of the Dragon. Chinese restaurants in the city advertised special menus with names such as Prosperity, Happiness, Wealth. The upscale malls of Jalan Bukit Bintang were crowded with well-heeled shoppers out to have a special time for the New Year. Seeing all the excitement, one wouldn't realize that only 20 percent here are of Chinese origin while the majority are Malay who are predominately Muslim. This is one reason why Malaysia advertises itself as Truly Asia. With a vibrant multi-cultural population of Malays, Chinese and Indians, this country is a melting pot of religions, cuisines and cultures, not very unlike India.


Saturday, January 07, 2012

Shisha & Addah

Shisha Cafe PuneShisha is Persian for hookah. Which gives you some idea of what to expect: a Persian themed cafe run by an Iranian where a flavored hookah can be ordered at the table-side. However, what makes Shisha truely popular with the locals and foreigners alike is the refreshingly different interiors, the greenery all around, and the live jazz on select weekend.

Shisha is a great place for a casual date or even a late-evening rendezvous with friends and colleagues. But it isn't a place you visit with kids in tow! The large restaurant has two levels and on most days is packed during the late evenings. The restaurant opens for a late breakfast and lunch, if you are nostalgic for some Iranian staples in the city.


Sunday, January 01, 2012

Tuk-Tuks and Temples

The Reclining Buddha in BangkokThere were no signs of the recent floods during the day we spent gallivanting through Bangkok. We had decided to take some time off from our beach vacation in Koh Samui to soak up some culture and food in this captivating city. Our hotel, the Royal Orchid Sheraton, was located right on the banks of the Chao Praya River, giving us the flexibility of choosing between a taxi, tuk-tuk or a riverboat. In addition to the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew - which I have visited before - we took a diversion to some other temples off the beaten path.

Wat Ratchabhopit, a temple dedicated to the Buddha, was a-glitter with gold and red motifs. Far away from the tourist hordes, this temple provided us a peaceful oasis from which to admire the thought and intricate workmanship that went into building Thai temples, many of which such as this one is a combination of influences - local Thai, other Asian and European.