Forget the humble nut cracker. I love that in Malaysia you get a little hammer to crack open your crab.
After three days in Phuket exploring James Bond and Phi Phi islands, we make our way back to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for a finale of shopping and eating. Crab has been at the top of our To Eat list, and we head to Wong Poh in Petaling Jaya, a local favourite famous for their crab.
Wong Poh sits in a small cluster of restaurants, a beacon of bright lights in an otherwise deserted street. Inside we find the undecorated dining room filled with families -- many of them boasting three generations -- all sitting on plastic stools and huddled about large round tables.
The blackboard menu
We start with complimentary nibblies - salted peanuts and slender strips of pickled papaya - as we peruse the menu, a carefully hand-written blackboard menu offfering a dizzying array of choices.
Fish head curry RM40 (about AU$14.30)
Fish head curry is the first dish to arrive, a deep tureen of tumeric-tinted curry that is packed with tofu puffs, okra and fat chunks of fish head slowly simmered until the flesh is soft and yielding.
Marmite pork ribs RM20 (about AU$7.20)
Marmite pork ribs are a cross-cultural celebration, mixing marmite (similar to Vegemite) with honey to create a sticky finger-licking muddle of caramelised pork goodness.
Stir-fried noodles with lala (pippis) RM18 (about AU$6.40)
I still love the fact that the Malaysian word for pipis is "lala". It makes dinner sound so musical. We dig into a mound of stir-fried noodles, savouring the surprise finds of pippi meat hidden within.
We've ordered two styles of crab. Butter crab is a glistening bounty of sweet crab flesh bathed in a rich creamy sauce. There is nothing more joyous than eating crab with your fingers, using your chopsticks to coax out reluctant shreds of flesh, and licking the shells to get every every last bit of sauce.
Salted egg yolk crab
Salted egg yolk crab is a wet mixture that clings to the surface of the crab. It's not the crumbly egg yolk I'm expecting, but the richness of salted duck yolks is relished regardless.
We pounce on the deep-fried mantou buns, soft pillows of sweet steamed bread that have been deep-fried until the skins reach a toffee-like crisp. The buns are meant for dipping in the crab sauce, but I prefer to eat them on their own, enjoying the contrast between the golden shells and the fluffy interiors.
Everybody loves crab
Fruit plate RM6 (about AU$2.15)
The fruit plate is a serve of mangoes, cooled with shards of ice and eaten with plastic toothpicks. They're bright yellow in colour but are actually sour in taste, designed to refresh the palate. Malaysians also love sour fruits.
Lotus paste pancake RM7.50 (about AU$2.70)
The sweet factor is more than provided by the lotus paste pancake, flaky pastry stuffed with sweet lotus paste and fried in oil until crunchy and blistered.
Popiah RM4.50 (about AU$1.60)
Our final day is spent shopping. Minh and I pound the pavement at the One Utama shopping centre, shopping for twelve hours from 10am until 10pm. We break for food in the local food court, and before we leave there's even room for a final 1m roti tisu, a fitting mega-sized farewell to our group of voracious food bloggers.
Penang char kway teow RM8.50 (about AU$3)
Tahu bakar tofu puffs stuffed with salad RM4.50 (about AU$1.60)
One last Assam laksa RM4.50 (about AU$1.60)
Ais batu campur or ais kacang
Crazy Pringles flavours at the supermarket including soft shell crab, seaweed, wild spices and lemon and sesame
And guess what - by the time you read this post, I'll be back in Malaysia! I'm travelling around Malaysia for a week as a guest of Malaysia Kitchen with a small group of journalists, hosted by Adam Liaw, winner of MasterChef Australia season two.
Follow me on Twitter or Facebook for updates, and don't worry, posts will continue as usual on Grab Your Fork!
< Read the first Malaysia 2010 post (Kuala Lumpur)
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5/23/2011 05:22:00 a.m.