Gapshida Malaysia! Let me start by telling you about “men holding signs.”
First, after saying goodbye to Mariska in Jakarta, I went to Soekarno Hatta airport to catch a plane to my next itinerary, Kuala Lumpur. After checking in my bag, I had a couple of hours to kill. Walking around, I saw a man holding a sign in front of a souvenir store. It said: “30 minute foot massage for 6 dollars.”
I had time and the price was reasonable, so why not? I followed him downstairs to where he worked and there were a few male customers laying down on massage chairs.
I love to get a foot massage! The first time I ever got a foot massage was on the beach at Ko Samet in Thailand. The masseuses were a husband and wife who found their customers on the beach by calling out: “Massage? Massage!” They used a kind of sandpaper on the bottom of my feet. : ) Since then I’ve always been interested in getting a foot massage.
The airport masseuse rubbed my feet for 30 minutes and then asked “Want 1 hour? I’ll give you discount.” but I thought “that’s enough” and told him: “No thank you!”
I found the second man holding a sign in Kula Lumpur. When I arrived at the airport there was man holding a sign that said: “Maangchi.”
I was going to shoot a video with Allison Chin in Kuala Lumpur, and she had let me know her driver would meet me at the airport, but I never expected him to be holding a two-sided sign with my name, photo, flight number, and arrival time on it. I couldn’t miss him!
He took me to my hotel. In the car, he gave me a letter from Allison. It said, “Welcome to Malaysia… I’m sorry I can’t meet you at the airport, but the driver will take you to your hotel. Please contact me at …” I was excited to meet her soon!
The next evening Allison came to my hotel.
“Oh, Allison!” “Oh, Maangchi!” We hugged each other.
I had to shop for Korean ingredients for the shoot, meetup, and potluck party, so she suggested Korean ingredient shopping first, then dinner, and then durian. “Sure, it sounds fantastic! Let’s go!” We were talking and laughing all the way in her car.
The Korean grocery store had a huge selection and we got everything we needed, but would still need to do more shopping next day.
“Pose for me, Allison!” She’s trying to look cute by tilting her head. : )
Allison took me to her favorite restaurant. It doesn’t really have an entrance: it’s open to the street and the owner cooks for his customers right in the open.
“Welcome to my restaurant” the owner of Soo Kee in Kuala Lumpur.
It’s not upscale, but the food smelled great and I loved the atmosphere. Allison said: “I knew you would like this place!”
The restaurant is very popular with Malaysians and on the wall I saw photos of celebrities who had stopped by and posed with staff. When I tasted their food, I was even more surprised: stir-fried beef with noodles, egg noodles, seasoned fried pork, and stir-fried garlic chives with pork intestine! All were super tasty. No wonder the restaurant is so popular.
Egg noodles with prawns. Allison said they make their own noodles.
noodles with beef
Garlic chives with unidentified intestine. I asked Allison: “What kind of intestine is this?” She said, “I don’t know…” : ) Very crunchy, and you can almost hear it as you chew: “shegrug shegrug…”
After dinner, Allison said: “Next, Durian!” Ooh whoo!
Even though I was very full, of course I had room for durian. They were hanging from a board and we got to choose the one we wanted. These durians were smaller than most of the durian I had seen, but it was the most delicious durian that I’ve tasted so far. It was flavorful and sweet, with a nutty aftertaste. I will write more about durians someday, they deserve a whole blog post to themselves.
Hanging Malaysian durians.
they crack open the durian you choose
Come to think of it, this was my own private Malaysian food tour, hosted by Allison!
Allison came to my hotel early the next morning and we went to breakfast at the restaurant in my hotel. Suddenly a man wearing a chef’s uniform approached me with a bright smile.
“Maa~ngchi!” he said.
Allison and I were very surprised. “Yes I am!” I said. “Are you…?”
Before I could finish the sentence with “my reader?” he answered: “Yes, I’ve been making Korean food following your recipes! Actually I saw you yesterday morning but I wasn’t sure if it was you so last night I went to your website and found out that you’re here in Kuala Lumpur!”
His name was Steve and he’s the head chef of the restaurant in the hotel. When I thought back to the breakfast the day before, I remembered that I felt someone was watching me from the kitchen as I scooped my porridge. I saw him watching me, so I gave him smile. That’s all.
So I said, “Oh, that was you!”
He said: “I make kimchi, fried chicken…” I felt honored to hear that such a successful chef cooked my recipes. I invited him to the potluck party that night, but he had plans already. So I invited him over for dinner the next day. He was very happy.
I said: “It’ll be easy for you to find the address, because we’ll be in my hotel room. : )” My hotel room had a tiny kitchen, so I was going to cook for Allison and her husband. It’s not easy to believe that I have so many readers and viewers around the world. Isn’t it wonderful?
Allison and I picked up some more groceries and then went to her house. Her husband Austin brought a new cutting board for us to use for the shoot, and one of her husband’s friends, Tony Wong, who is a professional videographer, brought his all equipment: his high-definition camera, lights, and tripod. These two men were my cameramen on that day. Austin shot with my video camera, and Tony used his own camera.
Tony knew exactly what to do. I didn’t have to give him any direction like “come closer to shoot this” or “go back to focus on…” It was very pleasant to work with him. We filmed 2 dishes: Allison’s “fish head mee hoon” (noodle soup with fried red snapper head) and my “Korean style curry rice.” The shoot went well. When he started to film, Tony said: “rolling!” which is the same as my “ready, go!” I thought it was funny to hear the word. Rolling!
Tony Wong (left) and Austin (right) with tripods. I said, “Yay, they look like machine guns!”
preparing for the shoot
me taking photos of Allison’s finished artwork, “fish head mee hoon”
fish head mee hoon; the recipe video will be posted later
my Korean curry rice. The video recipe is coming soon!
during the shoot, Allison wanted me taste this duck egg called a “century egg”
a century egg is coated with a mixture of mud, ash, lime, salt and rice husks
this is inside the egg. It was delicious: a little chewy and salty
Allison’s house is located on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, so I was a little worried about readers who wanted to join the meetup. Without a car it would be impossible to find the place.
But many people came! And again, when I saw their food, I was surprised. When you see each dish, you will know that everybody did their best to make it delicious and look awesome! I made Korean curry rice and seasoned cucumber. Some people brought Korean dishes like japchae, ddeokbokkie, and gimbap. Some people brought traditional Malay Chinese dishes: seafood, chicken, beef, salad, and desserts. All the dishes were incredibly delicious and beautiful! Everybody became good friends instantly. They have something important in common: they are passionate cooks!
“Maangchi, all our family have been making delicious dishes by following your recipes!”
I was impressed with the packing job on this pot. It must have been done by a person who organizes very well!
“I can’t wait to taste everything!”
“Ddeokbokkie is my favorite! Spicy and chewy, yum yum!”
“Hmm, Korean curry? interesting!”
2 hidden people in this photo: a cameraman filming with one hand, and someone holding a green cup.
Homegrown papaya! Allison said: “Birds know which one is ripe and delicious!”
It looks very appetizing, doesn’t it? If it’s cut into regular rectangles, it won’t look as appetizing as this.
Beautiful shiny green rice cakes made with tapioca. Amazing presentation and taste!
Cute small tapioca balls look like jewels! I want to make a necklace with these!
fruit salad, yum!
“Ho ho, happy happy!” One of my readers with Tony Wong’s baby.
What did I talk about? Thank you for listening to my “bla bla bla” : )
“Hello everybody, let’s dance!”
When we took some group photos, someone from the group suggested a different action for each one. This was “everybody point at Maangchi!”
This time, the photographer said: “hey guys, look up! I’m here!”
This time: “Hey guys, go to the stairs and pose for me!”
“Sure, we’ll do whatever you ask!”
“I’m taking home leftovers for my family! Victory!”
The next day I had some free time in the morning, so I went to the KLCC (Kuala Lumpur City Center).
children taking a field trip to the KLCC
My lunch at the cafeteria in the KLCC: seafood, vegetables, and rice with a cup of Fanta cost only $6.00!
In the evening I invited Allison and her husband and Steve to my hotel for dinner. I made some vegetable dishes, braised fish, and a Korean style side dish with cockles (a kind of clam). Everybody enjoyed my last supper in Kuala Lumpur!
Steve, Allison, and Austin
Allison brought durian. She said: “I sealed this tightly so it wouldn’t smell. If the hotel catches me bringing durian, they won’t let me in!” : )
Kuala Lumpur had been a successful stop on my trip: I met some great people, had some wonderful food, and shot some good videos. I had been travelling for weeks and weeks and now there was just one place left: Manila!