"Gardening makes my heart bloom" -- mum

"The hardest thing of all is to find a black cat in a dark room, especially if there is no cat." -- Confucius

Monday, 27 September 2010

Malaysian Night at Trafalgar Square

Ok, so Friday was grey, a tad wet and absolutely freezing.   Never mind that.  I read about 'Malaysia Night at Trafalgar Square' in a Time Out newsletter and decided to join a gaggle of diehard foodies to support this event.  Braving arctic conditions (by my calculations, that would be anything below 10˚C),  I arrived to the sounds of Malay traditional music and the heady smells of hawker food.....  

and it looked like the entire expatriate Malaysian (and Singaporean) community had decided to follow their stomachs as well!  A huge festive crowd was already there, tucking into Penang laksa, char koay teow, beef rendang, ayam percik, satay, chendol.....   

Most people sat around the fountains to eat their food but this gentleman here has demonstrated a most elegant way to tuck in standing up.....

What style!
Mmm.....check out the menus!  In my haste to satisfy my taste buds, all thoughts of food photography flew out the window.....until the very last dish, rojak. 


Rojak is a salad made from cucumber, jicama, bean sprouts, pineapple, green mango, Malay apple, guava and fried tofu puffs - ingredients will vary.  The dressing, the vital part of this salad,  is dark and viscous and made up of shrimp paste, tamarind paste, sugar, chilli and lime, topped with crushed roasted peanuts and a sprinkling of sesame seeds - salty, sour, sweet and spicy - the flavour is out of this world!
Imagine buying kicap manis or fresh birdseye chilli in the middle of Trafalgar Square!

Maggi chilli sauce for sale here
.....and kicap manis here
Champion carver Weng Kit Ho flew in from Paris to present a stall full of fruit and vegetables.....

Royal stamp of approval
I might add that the entertainment was pretty good too:  traditional music and dance, parade of ethnic costumes, demonstration of the martial art of 'silat'.....

Folk dance

Malay musical instruments

Unfazed by the steadily dropping temperature and spurred on by the tantalising smells of food, the crowd grew and grew.....

The brightly lit National Gallery overlooking the event
Foodies are a very patient lot!
This event was part of a year long campaign by the Malaysian government to introduce the British to Malaysian cuisine (http://www.malaysiakitchen.co.uk/).  All participating food stalls in this event were run by Malaysian restaurants based in the UK.  A jolly good idea well executed!

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