Category Archives: Food and Drink

I Am Nearly at My Goal Weight

I wanted to eat clean and healthy, but I felt like I did not have the information I needed to do it the right way. I knew that it basically consisted of two things. The first is to eat a lot healthier, and the second is to exercise more to reach the goals that I had for myself. I knew that I could manage the exercise part on my own, but I was not so sure about the food part of the goal equation. I decided to go online and look for some helpful tips or hints, and I actually found the answer to my problems that way.

I found a local company that prepares healthy and low calorie meals for people like me. I guess there might be some people who are not looking to lose weight that use this service too because the food is very tasty, and the convenience of having a full meal prepared and brought to you just cannot be beat.

Malaysian Food and Top Ten Must Eats

Eating is a favourite pastime in Malaysia. I don’t know if it was a Malaysian who coined the term ‘live to eat’, but other than visiting the mall, Malaysians eat, eat and eat. In fact, we eat at anytime of the day. Or night. Or even midnight. Yes, there are plenty of 24 hours restaurants called ‘mamaks’ that cater to our midnight hunger pangs. In fact, the stereotype of a Malaysian is that he eats not just during breakfast, lunch and dinner, but in between as well! This used to be such a problem in civil service that the government had to eliminate brunch time in order to increase productivity!

In fact, in Malaysia, very often people do not say, “How are you?”. Instead, they say, “Sudah makan?”, which means, “Have you eaten?”

It’s not surprising that Malaysia is truly a paradise for food lovers. Being a multi cultural and multi racial society, not only do we have the best food from each culture, cultural integration produces even more types of foods.

Let me introduce to you the cuisines of the three main races in Malaysia- Malay, Chinese and Indian. If you have tried Chinese or Indian food before and think you’ve tasted it all, think again. Malaysian Chinese and Indian food have adapted to the local palate and have evolved into cuisines of their own. And like other cuisines, there are many regional variations, but here I will give you a general overview.

Malay

Cooking Style

Let’s begin with Malay food. Malay cuisine uses many types of fresh aromatic herbs and roots such as lemongrass, ginger, garlic, shallots and chillies. Many of these herbs and roots are native to this region. Spices are also important and they are called ‘rempah’. Another important ingredient is coconut milk, which is added to make a dish creamy and rich. There is also a key ingredient called ‘belacan’, which is a fermented paste made from tiny baby shrimps mixed with salt and chillies.

Typical Meal

You can find Malay food everywhere in Malaysia. A typical meal that you might order is a rice dish with dried anchovies, cucumber, peanuts and a hard boiled egg, together with the meat of your choice, called ‘nasi lemak’. The rice is cooked in coconut milk. You might even order plain rice and usually accompanied by three side dishes of your choice, such as chicken, mutton, or beef and a variety of vegetables- all cooked in Malay style. Accompanying your dish, you could have beef soup which is called ‘sup lembu’; or mutton soup which is called ‘sup kambing’ – two very popular Malay soups. To wash it down, you may order a refreshing cordial drink called ‘air sirap’; or a cordial drink with condensed milk called ‘ais bandung’.

Other Delicacies

Other Malay delicacies include fish mousse, grilled slowly over a fire, called ‘otak-otak’ and a noodle dish garnished with cucumber, onion, and lettuce served in savoury fish soup called ‘laksa’. There are many regional variations of ‘laksa’, so try one in every state. There is also a Malay salad, which is called ‘ulam’; consisting of a combination of fresh aromatic herbs; mint, basil, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, turmeric leaves, and raw vegetables like bean sprouts, long green beans, shallots, and cucumber. Instead of Thousand Island dressing, the topping is a combination of salted fish, dried prawns, fish crackers, fried grated coconut, and other savory garnishes.

If you’re in Kelantan, which is the north-eastern state of the Peninsula, try this regional dish that serves blue rice with a variety of side dishes, It’s called Nasi Kerabu. The blue colour is a result of the cooking process, where certain types of herbs are thrown into the water during the cooking of the rice

Dessert

For dessert, try a bread-like puff with sugar, corn, and coarsely chopped nuts in the middle called ‘apam balik’.

Chinese

Cooking Style

Next, we move onto Chinese food. Chinese food is typically considered milder in spiciness, but Chinese cuisine in Malaysia has taken a spicier touch. Chinese cuisine is varied, but in Malaysia the style is generally the Cantonese style of cooking. A common way of cooking is stir fry. Cantonese cuisine balances the yin and the yang, of food, a difficult concept to describe. You may hear people refer to it as the cooling or “heaty” effects of food. For example vegetables, some fruits and soup are considered cooling and meat is considered heaty.

Typical Meal

A typical Chinese meal can be found easily in many restaurants and hawker stalls in Malaysia. You can also go to a ‘kopitiam’, which is a traditional Chinese cafe. You might order ‘economy rice’, which has rice and a variety of side dishes. A common practice is to choose three side dishes- one meat, one vegetable and the last, a dish like tofu or egg. You might also order a noodle dish. There are many styles of cooking noodles such as Cantonese or Hokkien style. You can try the fried noodle with eggs, cockles and bean sprouts called ‘char kuey tiao’, or Chinese noodles with dumplings and roast pork called ‘wan tan mee’. You could also order thick noodles fried with black sauce and pork lard called ‘hokkien mee’. Chicken rice is also very popular in Malaysia. To wash it down, you could order Chinese tea, or herbal tea.

Other Delicacies

Other delicacies include Chinese spring rolls stuffed with steamed vegetables, bean sprouts, turnip and carrot, called ‘popiah’. Another popular dish here is the pork rib soup called ‘bak kut the’. The soup is cooked for many hours with garlic, pork ribs and a variety of herbs. Chinese dumplings are also a must-try. They are glutinous rice wrapped in a leaf along with pork, mushrooms, nuts and salted duck egg yolk. if you have heard of ‘dim sum’ before, you must try the Malaysian version. It is basically an assortment of bite size dishes, including seafood, meat and vegetables. Dim sum is usually eaten in the morning.

Dessert

For dessert, a well-loved Chinese dessert is curdled soy bean milk topped with syrup called ‘tao foo fah’.

Indian

Cooking Style

Indian cooking is of course, very spicy and hot. it has also adapted to the local culture to create a new type of cuisine. Most of the Indian food in Malaysia (comes from) from Southern India, but North Indian food is also widely available. Spices are the heart and soul of Indian cooking. Spices like coriander, cumin, turmeric, fennel, cardamom, clove, cinnamon and star anise are widely used.

Typical Meal

Indian food is easily available in Malaysia. For a typical meal, you might want to have rice served on a banana leaf, accompanied by a variety of spicy hot dishes such as mutton, chicken, fish, squid and crabs. Or you might order bread, and there are many types of them. To name a few, thin rice pancakes or ‘thosai’, fermented rice and dhal or ‘vadai’, wheat bread or ‘chapati’, flour bread or ‘roti canai’. Or you may also be interested in chicken tandoori- that’s chicken slowly grilled in a clay oven.

Other Delicacies

There are 24 hour restaurants open if you’re suffering from a midnight hunger pang. Affectionately called ‘mamak’, they have been institutionalized as a Malaysian icon. Mamaks are run usually by Indian Muslims. If Westerners hang out at bars, Malaysians hang out mamaks. Mamak food is distinct, and a popular drink here is the ‘the tarik’, or tea with condensed milk. Other popular food you can order in a mamak is the ‘maggie goreng’, which is fried Maggi instant noodle with eggs, vegetables and meat.

Dessert

For dessert, you may be interested in a sweet dish of rice noodles topped with coconut and coconut palm sugar called ‘putu mayam.’

Other Cuisines

There are many other types of cuisines in Malaysia, such as Nyonya cuisine, which is the cooking of the Straits Chinese. Straits Chinese trace their ancestors to Malays and Chinese, and their cooking combines the styles of these two races. I’d recommend a chicken stew cooked with salted soy beans and coconut palm sugar called ‘ayam pongteh’; and a chicken dish cooked with nuts from a type of mangrove tree found in Malaysia, which is called ‘ayam buah keluak’.

The Portuguese, one of the many colonialists who set foot in Malaysia, left their mark too on local cooking. One (example) is the Devil’s Curry, a dish made from vinegar, herbs and nuts and plenty of chilli- hence its name Devil’s Curry.

Top Ten Must Eats

Alright. It’s now time for the top ten must try foods in Malaysia. As with all cuisines, it is very difficult to compile a list of only ten, especially in Malaysia where there are definitely more than ten foods you must try!

However, if I were to compile a list, it would look like this:

Number One.Nasi lemak. This is the national dish of Malaysia. Nasi lemak literally means ‘rice in cream’. There are many regional variations, but the most common ones consist of steamed rice that is cooked with coconut milk and pandan leaves, which is a kind of plant indigenous to this region. Traditionally served on banana leaf, the rice is topped with cucumber slices, dried anchovies, roasted nuts and hard-boiled egg. But the most important ingredient is the ‘sambal’, a kind of hot spicy sauce made from chilli, pepper and spices. In fact, how delicious a nasi lemak is really depends on how well the ‘sambal’ is made! Most people will eat nasi lemak accompanied by a dish like chicken, cuttle fish, cockles, beef, or beef rendang which is beef cooked in dried spices, and vegetables.

Number Two. Bak Kut Teh. The name translates into ‘meat bone tea’. This Chinese dish is a soup with pork ribs, herbs and garlic cooked for many hours. Other ingredients include mushrooms, internal organs, and dried tofu. Green onions and fried shallots are sometimes added in as well. Bak Kut Teh is served with rice and ‘you tiao’, which are long fried pieces of dough. Chopped garlic and chilli in soy sauce served in tiny plates often accompany this dish. Chinese tea is a very important part of this dish and is drunk to balance the taste. Try Bak Kut Teh for an authentic Chinese meal.

Number Three. Laksa. Yet another favourite Malaysian dish, laksa has many different regional variations. The more common one is the asam laksa. It is a sour fish- based soup where the main ingredients are shredded fish, usually mackerel, and finely sliced vegetables including cucumbers, onions, red chillis, pineapple, lettuce, mint, and ginger buds. Thick white noodles are then added into the soup. To top it off, a thick sweet shrimp paste is added. Other variations of laksa are Laksa Sarawak, Laksa Penang, Laksa Kedah, Laksa Ipoh, Laksa Kuala Kangsar, Laksa Kari, Laksa Johor, Laksa Kelantan, Laksam, Laksa Lemak and many more.

Number Four. Satay. You might have heard of this one before. It’s basically skewered meat served with peanut sauce, cucumber, onions and rice cakes. The choice of meat is varied- you can choose deer meat, rabbit meat and even fish, but the most common are chicken and beef. The marinated meat is skewered on bamboo sticks and grilled over charcoal.

Number Five. Char Kway Teow. It literally means ‘stir fried rice cake strips’. Flat rice noodles are fried together with chilli, prawns, cockles, eggs, bean sprouts and vegetables. Sometimes it is fried with pork lard. It also has many regional variations, but the most famous one is the Penang Char Kway Teow.

Number Six. Nasi Kandar. A popular north Malaysia meal that originated in Penang, nasi kandar is widely available. It has rice, and a variety of spicy side dishes to choose from. In fact, it is the spices that make nasi kandar so unique. The dishes are laid like a buffet and you have to point to the side dishes that you want. After you have chosen your side dishes, the waiter will pour a variety of curries onto your plate, and this process is called ‘banjir’ or ‘to flood’. If you can’t take spicy food, ask for less curry.

Number Seven. Roti Canai. One of the most (widely consumed foods) in Malaysia, roti canai is a type of flatbread that is available everywhere. It is round and flat, and is eaten with lentil curry called ‘dhal’. You can ask for your roti canai to be made in many ways. The more popular variations are: with eggs or roti telur, with banana or roti pisang, made smaller but thicker or roti bom, made thin and flaky like tissue paper or roti tisu. You can even be more adventurous and ask for roti kaya, spread with Malaysian jam made from coconut; or roti Milo, with chocolate powder sprinkled on top. Try a few and find your favourite roti!

Number Eight. Cendol. An all time favourite Malaysian dessert, cendol consists of shaved ice, smooth green rice noodles in chilled coconut milk and coconut palm sugar, or gula Melaka. Sometimes, red beans, glutinous rice and corn are added. If you have a sweet tooth, ask for more gula Melaka, as many Malaysians do!

Number Nine. Teh Tarik. The national drink of Malaysia. It is tea sweetened with condensed milk, and can be ordered hot or iced. Teh means tea in Malay and tarik means to pull, jerk or tug. The milky tea is prepared by using out-stretched hands, pouring the piping hot tea from one mug to another several times. The higher the pull, the thicker the froth, the thicker the froth, the more delicious it is.

Number Ten. I’ve saved this until the last because there are few things more divisive than this fruit. It is the durian. Known as the King of Fruits, you either love the durian or you hate it. Its smell has been described as sweet, heavenly, fragrant, or disgusting, revolting and downright offensive. The smell evokes either deep appreciation or intense disgust. Some have compared the smell of the durian to the civet, sewage, stale vomit, skunk spray and used surgical swabs. The British novelist Anthony Burgess describes the durian as, “like eating sweet raspberry blancmange in the lavatory”. Chef Andrew Zimmern compares the taste to “completely rotten, mushy onions.” Anthony Bourdain, while himself a lover of durian, says of it: “Its taste can only be described as…indescribable, something you will either love or despise. Your breath will smell as if you’d been French-kissing your dead grandmother.” Travel and food writer Richard Sterling says that its odor is best described as “pig-shit, turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock that can be smelled from yards away.” It’s no wonder durian is banned in most hotels and airlines.

The durian is green in colour and has sharp thorns on the outside. Inside, the flesh of the fruit is usually yellow, but the colour varies from species to species. Durians used to be seasonal fruits, but with genetic modification, durians are now available all year around. This is either good news or bad news, depending on your feelings towards durians. The best place to get durians is directly from the orchards, but if you’d like to just sample a bite or two, you can get them at major supermarkets. Just ask around.

I encourage you to be adventurous and try the durian. However, if you are too overpowered by the strong smell, you can always try durian ice cream or durian cakes, though purists will swear it is not the same at all.

So there you have it. The top ten must eats in Malaysia. I hope you’ll manage to try all ten.

Go out and explore. Ask the locals where to find the best nasi lemak or bak kut the. Everyone would have their favourites. It’s time to find some Malaysian food and start digging in. Or as we say in Malaysia, ‘makan-makan’ or ‘let’s start eating’.

End

This is the end of Malaysian Food guide. I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about Malaysian food. Hopefully, this will give you a better understanding of the cuisines in Malaysia, and a deeper appreciation of its food.

3 Reasons to Love Thai Food

Thai delivery services are serving up some of the best take out food available anywhere today. You can sink your taste buds into some of the most incredible flavors with delicately sautéed vegetables, perfectly cooked chicken and fish, and a variety of other foods that will make you never want to put your fork down.
Following is a list of just some of the top reasons people state for loving authentic Thai food. What reasons could you add to the list?

#1: You can always find a hot and spicy Thai dish when you crave it.
Many people crave hot, spicy foods, and not every cuisine has this type of dish readily available. Authentic Thai cuisine is different because it is known for being very spicy. Many restaurants allow diners to choose between different sauces and some may be a bit hotter than others, but you can always get an authentic Thai kitchen to kick up the heat when you need it.

Craving something hot? Thai is the way to go. Try a dish called Pad Kee Moa and ask for it very spicy if you like hot dishes. Nam Prik is another hot one to try out.

#2: You don’t have to be rich to learn to cook basic Thai dishes.
Anyone with Thai parents who grew up eating authentically cooked Thai foods will tell you is that you don’t have to be rich to enjoy this cuisine. Thai people aren’t rich for the most part, but they take advantage of all natural resources in their environment to make delicious foods that could be served to the rich and famous.

Some very cheap foods are considered staples in the Thai cuisine. This includes rice, which practically everyone has access to today. This is a cuisine that can teach you to infuse very basic ingredients with intense flavor and aroma.

#3: There is such variety in Thai food that you will never get bored.
Some national cuisines rest on a few basic tastes or types of meals, but Thai is definitely breaking the mold. This cuisine offers such a wide variety of dishes that you could eat it every night for the rest of your life and never get bored.

This is why many people who love Thai food say that you are never “not in the mood” for Thai. There are so many different flavors, textures, and types of food that you can always find something appealing to your taste buds.

This probably comes from the differences in Thai cuisine in different areas of Thailand. You can go to different regions of the country and see some real differences in how they prepare food, what dishes they serve, and how even how they are served.

Thai food is affordable, fun, and delicious. There are ways to spice it up and tame it down, depending on your own taste buds and what you may be in the mood for. Of course, be prepared for intense heat if you order one of the hottest Thai dishes being served. This is not one of those cuisines that claim to have hot food while serving mere mild dishes.

Korean Ramen Noodles Are Becoming Popular

Korean Instant Ramen are usually known as Ramyeon noodles, and they do have some unique characteristics that set them apart from typical Ramen Noodles. For example, these sorts of instant noodle mixtures often contain more seasonings than ordinary Ramen… spicy oils and powders, flavored with chili and garlic, are the norm. This particular flavor composition is very popular in Korea…on Korean Instant Ramen Noodle packets, the words Kimchi or Kim Chee will indicate the presence of this unique (and very Korean) spicy, garlicky flavor. They pack a punch

Often, Kimchi Korean noodles pack quite a punch. flavor-wise; they have a lot more “heat” than some people might expect. However, there are many different brands of Korean Instant Ramen Noodles, so it is possible to find just the right level of spice for your own personal tastes and palate. For those who enjoy bold flavors and strong tastes, these noodles may offer a more pleasurable eating experience than their blander Ramen Noodle counterparts. Some Korean Instant Ramen come with vegetable packets for even more texture and flavor. In some cases, a packet of Korean noodles may contain as many as four flavoring packets, versus a single flavoring packet for non-Korean Ramen Noodles.

  • Variety: Korean Instant Ramen Noodles may also have different textures of noodles; these may range from thin, translucent noodles (these are similar to typical Ramen) to thicker, more substantial noodle types. The brand you choose will dictate which type of noodles you receive – generally, you will be able to tell from the package photo exactly what you will be getting. It’s fun to experiment with different textures of noodles when exploring the world of Korean cuisine through these quick-to-prepare and inexpensive noodle snacks.
  • Dress them up: To add more nutrition to your Korean Instant Ramen Noodles, consider some delicious extras, such as thinly-sliced onions, mushrooms or peppers. Chopped spinach (or other chopped greens) will also add vitamins and minerals to your noodle bowl. Seafood, poultry, pork, beef, tofu and seitan are other amazing choices that will give you a welcome serving of protein to balance out the carbohydrates in these instant Noodles. To add more spice, choose fresh Kimchi sauce or another spicy Korean condiment to pour on your cooked noodles.
  • Quick and Easy: Typically, instant Noodles of the Korean style are prepared just as regular instant Noodles would be; however, there will be added steps as you put the various flavor packets into your noodles. To get the best results, cook your noodles in a couple of cups of boiling water, for about three minutes; then, remove your pot from heat and stir in the flavorings. Pour the finished noodles into a wide, large bowl and eat with chopsticks or a tablespoon. If you don’t enjoy slurping your noodles, break them down before adding them to the boiling water – this way, they’ll already be in convenient, easy-to-eat bite-sized pieces.

Hot Dog Recipes

Everyone loves hot dogs and with Halloween just around the corner there are sure to be plenty of gatherings where hot dog recipes will be needed.

So if you have a party planned for this Halloween let’s take a look at some ideas for you to tempt your guest taste buds.

Of course there is the traditional hotdog to start with which can be boiled, fried or even Bar Be cued and placed in a bread roll with mustard or ketchup plastered all over it, but the hot dog is very versatile and here are just a few ideas for you to think about.

If you are having a large gathering with many guests then food will play an important part of the evening these hot dog recipes are designed to be appetizers or delicious snacks for a serve yourself buffet. Cocktail wieners are always a big hit at parties because they can be placed on plates or just eaten straight from the stick, and if they have pineapple, cheese olives or even toasted marshmallow placed on the stick your guests will just love to pick at them. Alternatively you could cook them slowly in a chili sauce and serve them in bread buns topped off with onions, grated cheese and tomatoes.

If you plan on having hot dogs for the main evening event then there are plenty of ideas for you to try, you could create the hot dog recipes of the windy city Chicago, using beef dogs and filling the buns with all sorts of delicious foods including dill pickles, mustard and boiled onions. Or you could dip them in a batter and fry them until the batter is nice and golden brown then just serve on a bed of lettuce for effect.

Hot dogs are the favorite snack food of America with billions being consumed every year. At parties, sports events and family gatherings all over the country, there are many hot dog recipes online to inspire your imagination if you are looking for something different from the traditional hot dog. So for your party this year have some consideration for the popular hot dog and find some great recipes to fill your guests with the tastiest dogs they have ever had. Cocktail or regular size dogs can all be made into recipes that will send your guests’ home happy and full.