Foodie Friday: From Bad to Great

Breakfast in Bandung - white bread, butter, and chocolate sprinkles. Reminiscient of Dutch breakfast?!

We checked into a $32 a night ‘hotel’ in Bandung a week ago, and the negotiating point where we booked was a free breakfast. The next day we woke to four pieces of untoasted bread spread with butter and chocolate sprinkles. We went out for lunch instead and had stir-fried jack-fruit with rice and salty tofu and some fried beef fat (like pork rhines but we were in a Muslim country). It was okay, but it in no way made up for breakfast.  However, as you recall from our last Foodie Friday post, the rest of our meals in Bandung were fantastic!

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In Jakarta we stayed in a new and sold out hotel with plumbing problems that only seemed to exist in our room.  After sleeping with the smell of raw sewage, street food would no longer suffice. We were staying in Chinatown and decided to pop into the dim-sum restaurant we passed the night before on our walk home after partying.  We’ve never had such good Chinese food; it was even better than the place Mr. Lim took us, which was a mighty endeavor since that was our last most favorite dim-sum meal. Shanghai dumplings that exploded goodness on each spoonful, pork three ways, roasted duck, pork buns, several unknown vegetable dishes all had very refined tastes, textures, and smells. It was a much needed upgrade to our previous few days and seemed to make up for the lack of fresh air, pollution, and noise the city exhibited.

Maybe our expectations after Java were just really low, but Kuala Lumpur and Melaka were amazing for food. The WikiTravel article on Malaysia devoted 6 of 10 pages to food and it could have covered so much more. From the endless sidewalk and street stands to the multilevel dining centers, Malaysia knows how to do food.  And a meal here won’t cost you more than about $4 USD.  Melaka gave us chicken rice balls with a sweet and spicy chili sauce, more durian, and Portuguese food. While KL represented street food, mega dining malls, and Chinese hawker stands for breakfast, our favorite meal was by the inventor of the Soft Shell Maki, Master Chef Lew.  As you’ll see from the pictures, the dining experience is established the moment you walk under the arch of hollowed out bamboo and the food went beyond all of our expectations.

** Traveler Tip: The cheapest laundry was 12RM a kilo, and it was 4RM in Melaka, a big difference. Bus from KL anywhere is efficient, clean, and very freaking cold. The AC is blasting on high, with no way to turn it off, so bring a sweater if it’s a long ride. Last, our guidebook made the Cameron Highlands seem small with limited accommodations, which is not at all the case unless you come during a national holiday. There are hostels and hotels a plenty. 

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