Sunday, December 4, 2011

Life in Malaysia: Middle Eastern Food

Since moving back here, I notice that Middle Eastern restaurants are now as ubiquitous (ooohh...kill me Aunty Ninot) as Tom Yam joints. This is especially so in downtown Kuala Lumpur that is seeing an increasing number of Middle Eastern tourists. In fact, some suburbs have become Middle Eastern enclaves as certain nationalities tend to congregate in the same locality as their fellow countrymen. I have tasted Yemeni, Palestinian, Iraqi, Persian, Lebanese and even Saudi cuisine, either in restaurants or at public feasts. Even the supermarkets and grocery shops are selling what they call Arab bread, a somewhat white, round, leavened bread.

I think this phenomenon is not just caused by the influx of Middle Eastern visitors to Malaysia, it is also the result of the Malaysians having the economic means to travel more often to the Middle East. Also, there's quite a sizable Malaysian expatriate communities in countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Even among Mama's circle - an architect in Dubai, housewife in Qatar etc. Ahhh...the borderless world...

We were living in Sydney but somehow was also exposed to heaps of Middle Eastern culture. Apparently, the influx from the Mediterranean area back in the 1960s and 1970s brought along the myriad of culture from nearby regions. Thus, besides Greek and Italian food, we also get Turkish, Lebanese, Syrian, Egyptian and Jordanian food. Oh yeah...so we get so many versions of hummus. But I love them all. Travel to any remote area in Australia and almost always, there'll be a kebab shop at a corner somewhere. Serious.

Anyway, we found ourselves in a new township about 45-min drive away from Kuala Lumpur early last week. Mama and Dad had a meeting there and of course, as always, I tagged along. After the meeting, we decided to check what's on offer in that town. Lo and behold, we found not one but two Middle Eastern restaurants. One was closed on that day, so we checked out the opened one called Baghdad Cafe. I have never been to Iraq but it's interesting how they blend Iraqi culture with Malaysian in this restaurant. Let's check it out.

This is what we had. A humongous portion of roast lamb leg, mandey rice and some condiments. A normal person couldn't really finish this so we shared. It was yummy.......
This is what the restaurant called "authentic Middle Eastern tea" - the bottom layer is sugar syrup. In Sydney, we call this Turkish tea and usually served with cubed sugar...so, which one is  authentic?
The restaurant has furniture arranged in clusters unlike other restaurants where the furniture is usually of one type or style. An interesting concept. This corner is for those who want to have a bit of massage - notice the massage pads on the turquoise chairs?
Next to the "massage" corner is a settee set covered in striped cloth with a wooden coffee table. Very relaxed.
Somehow a water feature also fits in the decor.
A tea dispenser set - used as decor.


I looooove the different shapes of lamps they have. So ornate.

Angelina's note: Mama makes a mean Middle Eastern-like rice dish too at home. But our condiments would have lots of chillies in it. After all, we are Malaysians. purrr...meow!

26 comments:

Kitcaboodles said...

Ooh I like the styling - very eclectic. It's always nice when you can look around and notice lots of different details.

ninotaziz said...

Angelina!
You were just waiting to use that ubiquitous word, weren't you!

BTW, according to SashaBasil Potter, rock sugar is more authentic. But what does she know, she's part Siamese,part Javanese.

Al-Manar said...

Suddenly we saw one newly open near KUSZA. To save going home to cook we stopped to taste. That was the first and the last too! I suggest nasi dagang dengen ppala ikang tegiri any time! So next time you are on your way to Nuri do not get tempted there. Ppala ikang is good for you, especially for your family! Imagine going middle eastern!

meowwmania said...

woww agak menarik dan tertarik..

Angelina pesan kat mama kamu len kali kalau pegi jgn lupa ajak aunty yer ;)

masterwordsmith said...

*Gulps*

A stomach stirring post and a veritable feast for the eyes with your stunning pics!

:-)

Love it!

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Kitcaboodles,
By the time we artived, the lunch crowd had dispersed, hence the opportunity to look-see. Bug of course, we are dealing with hardcore pawpawrazzi here. purrr....meow!

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Aunty Ninot,
Rock sugar, eh? What will they think of next....
Hey...at least we know how to use the word appropriately. purrr....meow!

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Dear Pakcik,
Adat belajar, kurangkan makang ppala as it is believed otak ikang kalau termakang boleh menyebabkan lemah daya ingatan. Makanglah ekornya.... ni dalam kitab Imam Ghazali, bukan rekaan. It must be nasi dagang with gulai ikang aya kukus, buleh mamah tulang sampai hancur. Yummm......purrr....meow!

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Aunty Meoww,
Kasilah nombor telpon. Kalau tak macam mana nak ajak. purrr....meow!

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Aunty Paula,
Makes me hungry too, looking at the pix now. Mama cooks nasi lemak today. Just a simple one with sambal ikan bilis and telur rebus. No rendang or ayam berempah whatsoever. Yummmm....purrr....meow!

Nur Misnan said...

Wahhhhh.... ada utk aunty nur tak? Lapar nih... hik3...

Aunty nur like d third last.. =)

Sir Pök Déng said...

THIS was what I did with my first salary. Eat Arab food! Eat Japanese food! Taste all foods!! Devour satay kajang!!!

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Aunty Nur duduk jauhlah....jom balik sini. purrr...meow!

Cat-from-Sydney said...

I wonder Sir Pok Deng, did you spend any on cat food? purrr...meow!

Tamago said...

I like the interior of this restaurant. I like that they use different kinds of furniture and I love the lamps, too! The dishes look very yummy. Mmm!

Cat Chat With Caren And Cody said...

a massage with dinner? Now THAT'S interesting!! lol

I adore Middle Eastern food of ANY type...I'm on my way over!

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Tamago-san,
For a while there we imagined that we were in Baghdad....purrr...meow!

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Aunty Caren,
You're coming over? yeay!!! I wonder if they have belly dancing sessions as well. purrr....meow!

Sir Pök Déng said...

O Angelina, me gato Abu le Faboulous and Mek Pak le Tortie were left at their dwelling in Dungun. Me no bring 'em to Shah Alam. So me salary not spent to buy kitteh foods. Purrrr.... Purrrr.. Purrrr...

Sandy said...

I love middle-eastern food, yummm .... I'm surprised they're now becoming more like Tomyam in malaysia ^^

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Sir Pok Deng,
Aahhh....to live in Dungun is like heaven on earth for les chats...fresh fish everyday, non? purrr....meow!

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Tante Sandy,
Trust me. They are everywhere. Who knows, the trend may catch on in Jakarta too. purrr....meow!

one of Fae's humans said...

looks sooooooooooooooooooooooooo good! and what an interesting restaurant!

i find it interesting that here in Brisbane Thai and Indian food is as common as Mexican and Chinese food is in America.

LP said...

We love to learn new things about Malaysia. There is certainly an interesting fusion of cultures there!

the critters in The Cottage xo

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Fae's human,
Oh yes....they are everywhere, isn't it? Am more familiar with Gold Coast where getting our chili or curry fix is a breeze. Oh, you can try Michael's at this Best Western motel in Eight Miles Plains. They do Malaysian cuisine. purrr....meow!

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Cottage Felines,
Come on over. It's summer all year round here. We can treat you Mama's home cooking. Better than restaurants. purrr....meow!