Malaysian Street Food @ Rasa Sayang
Given how much time I spend in London's Chinatown, it's hard to believe I've only just visited Rasa Sayang. Maybe I can attribute it to general lack of knowledge about Malaysian-Singapore food, but more likely it's because I'm usually lured by bao zi and other Chinese delights every time. On a recent Sunday, this seemed like an idyllic lunch spot.
First up, the seafood curry laksa! This was my first curry laksa experience and it won't be my last. The broth was spicy, but not over the top, and infused with flavor from the chilis and coconut milk. It also had this mysterious peanut taste even though i have no idea if there were any peanuts in there. I especially loved the fried tofu and hard boiled egg. Stick a hard boiled egg on anything and it's immediately Asian, and delicious.
Next, the chicken rendang. Described as chicken slow-cooked in rendang spices served with glutinous rice wrapped in coconut leaves. Did this come as I pictured? Not so much. The rice was plain, and nothing was wrapped in anything. But despite this initial disappointment, I loved the flavor of the chicken with the rendang sauce. What is rendang you might ask? Why it's a Malaysian curry that is stewed for hours using coconut milk and a spice mixture of ginger, tumeric, lemongrass, garlic, chillis, and other things i don't know about. Ahem, thank you wikipedia. And to be clear, this tastes nothing like Thai food.
As a vegetable side, the flash fried kangkong (or morning glory) in shrimp paste was tender but slightly too pungent for my taste. This really gave me a little glimpse of SEA cooking, something to look forward to.
Given this was my first go at Malaysian cuisine, I have no basis for comparison. But this is definitely a unique and tasty alternative chinatown experience.