This post was written and submitted by N. Dardin (@nadardin).
I’ve always been a foodie and I don’t think that’s ever going to change. Prior to moving to London, it never really occurred to me just how homesick I’d get. I was excited by the prospect of trying out Michelin star restaurants, exciting street food and a whole lot of Afternoon Tea sessions. But as the weeks rolled on by, coupled in with some very long hours of searching for the best Oriental Supermarket in town, I find myself missing and yearning for a taste of “home” made readily available in Malaysia. And it starts with:
1. Not paying more than RM10 for a meal.
A full plate of rice and several dishes from your local Nasi Campur/Chap Fan spot won’t cost you more than RM10. Even a Double Special Burger Ramly would cost you about RM7 and though it’s loaded with trans fats (hello, margarine), you probably wouldn’t complain because it was only RM7. And when you belanja friends for a meal, you’d probably get more of a bang for your RM30 while feeling like an absolute baller.
2. CHILLI SAUCE
Unlike mustard and ketchup, chilli sauce is practically non-existant over here (Sweet Chilli sauce and Sriracha do not count). Also, no amount of mustard and ketchup in Great Britain will ever satiate my love (and need) of having chilli sauce with fries (and chicken nuggets). Want chilli sauce? Get yours from your local Oriental Supermarket because that’s probably the only place you’ll ever find it #sadbuttrue.
3. Nasi Lemak for breakfast
I remember waking up a couple of weeks ago and thinking to myself “Man, I could really use some Nasi Lemak right now. But it’s almost 10, I’m sure the Aunty down the street would be all out of Rendang.” I had a mini breakdown shortly after realizing that I’m not in PJ anymore and there is no Aunty down the street selling Nasi Lemak *cries*.
4. Basically having “nasi” for every meal of the day
Nasi Lemak for breakfast, Nasi Campur for lunch and Nasi Goreng for dinner. Seriously, if there’s any place in the world where you can get away with having rice for all 3 major meals, it’ll be Malaysia. Just don’t make it a habit for your health’s sake.
5. Actually spicy food
I’m a major “pedas” freak, thanks to years of spoiling my tastebuds with food doused with cili potong and sambal (also probably due to smoking but that’s neither here nor there). Seriously, no meal is complete without a healthy dose of “pedas”. Case in point, the guy I order my Maggi Goreng from knows my order by heart now from the amount of times I’ve put emphasis on the word “pedas” – Maggi Goreng extra EXTRA pedas.
Which leads me to my next point…
6. Flavours that are literally in your face
Who has time for “subtle hints” of that and “notes” of this when you can get all these robust flavours just clamoring at your tastebuds? And that’s the beauty of Malaysian food – you literally can get all the best flavours in a single plate.
7. Having food at literally any time of the day
Most fast food outlets in the UK stay open until 12a.m. But if you get hungry past midnight, you better have some stuff stocked up in your pantry. This isn’t the case in Malaysia, obviously. You can get basically anything you want 24 hours in a day and I sorely miss this advantage.
8. The way food unites Malaysians
If there’s one thing we all can agree on in Malaysia, it’s gotta be our food. You can diss our government, our policies and our missing billions. But you CANNOT TAKE THE SACRED INSTITUTION OF OUR FOOD AWAY FROM US. #TeamNonCrispyRendang