Food Adventures in Asia

I started my trip to Asia with a connection overnight in Hong Kong. Flights to Hong Kong or mainland China are always cheaper than direct flights to Taiwan. On the way back from Taiwan, I went south to Penang, Malaysia and Bangkok, Thailand.

Near Dundas St, Mong Kok, Hong Kong
I should be getting some dim sum or won ton noodles in Hong Kong, but I was lazy and just ate something near my hotel. 水煮魚 (Boiled Fish) – This is a very common dish in the Sichuan province in China. The first time I tried this was when I went to Toronto, Canada on business. This dish is typically very spicy. I remember when I first ate this, my nose was running like crazy but it was so good. When I went to Chengdu, Sichuan a few years ago to visit the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, I had this dish again at a food court and it was super spicy there. The Sichuanese really like their spice.

Datong District, Taipei, Taiwan
I was looking for some breakfast one morning. In Asia, breakfast is not your traditional western breakfast. I ended up at a stall eating 滷肉飯 LU ROU FAN (TAIWANESE BRAISED PORK RICE) and Fish Ball Soup. This is a very common dish in Taiwan. It’s very inexpensive and you can find it almost anywhere.

滷肉飯 LU ROU FAN (TAIWANESE BRAISED PORK RICE) and Fish Ball Soup

Tamsui District, New Taipei City, Taiwan
阿給 (Ah-Gei) consists of a piece of fried tofu stuffed with cooked glass noodles. My cousins and I also ordered some steamed meatballs and fish balls soup for lunch.

Menu at 曾記淡水阿給 (Tamshui Ah-Gei)

Keelung Night Market, Keelung City, Taiwan
Keelung is a coastal town north of Taipei. It’s known for its seafood. They have a very good night market that has numerous food stalls. My uncle and aunt took me here on a rainy evening. We had oyster omelette, tempura, grilled crab and shrimp, braised eel soup, and 湯圓 (tangyuan).

Oyster Omelette
Tempura
Stall selling Braised Eel Soup, unfortunately I forgot to get a photo of the soup.
For dessert, we had 湯圓 (Tangyuan) which is made from glutinous rice flour mixed with a small amount of water to form balls. We used to eat this to celebrate holidays such as the Lantern Festival. Now it’s common to eat it any day.

Viva Local Food Haven, Penang, Malaysia
My first time in Penang, Malaysia and I was on an adventure for food. After I checked into my hotel and took a nap, I was ready to eat. I went to this Hawker Centre (open-aired food court), since it was closed to my hotel.

Hokkien Mee
Nasi Lemak with fried chicken

Hawker Centre, Pekan Ayer Itam, Penang, Malaysia
My Grab (Southeast Asia’s version of Uber) driver recommended that I try the Curry Mee as I was going to the Laksa Stall. More on Laksa below. The Laksa stand was full of Chinese tourists when I arrived, so I decided to give the Curry Mee a try first. The bowls of noodle soup in Southeast Asia were small, so I figured I can eat 2 bowls of noodles. 🙂 The Curry Mee was very good. It is usually made with thin yellow noodles and thin Bee-Hoon (rice vermicelli) with a spicy coconut milk curry broth. The noodles dish is topped with condiments.

Penang Curry Mee

Pasar Air Itam Laksa, 1, Jalan Pasar, Pekan Ayer Itam, 11500 Ayer Itam, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
I tried to follow some of the footsteps that the late Anthony Bourdain has been. Anthony Bourdain – No Reservations Season 8 Episode 8, Penang, Malaysia. At 9:35 of this video, you can see Anthony slurping on this bowl of Laksa. Laksa is a spicy noodle soup that consists of thick wheat noodles or rice vermicelli with chicken, prawn or fish, served in spicy soup based on either rich and spicy curry coconut milk or on sour asam. The taste was like no other I have taste. It has a very distinct seafood/fish taste to it. Definitely not for those that are not into fish.

Laksa stall at Pasar Air Itam, Penang, Malaysia
Before I stirred the Laksa noodle soup
After I stirred the Laksa noodle soup

Chulia Street, Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia
While walking around town, I stopped at this Wonton noodles, sometimes called Wonton Mee (Wantan Mee) place for lunch.

Wantan Mee

New Lane Street Food Stalls, Lorong Baru, Georgetown, 10450 George Town, Penang, Malaysia
It was lunch time again and I went to another Hawker Centre in the middle of George Town. This place had a variety of choices. I started with some roast duck then followed by the famous Char Koay Teow (粿條). Char Koay Teow stands for “stir-fried rice cake strips” and is a favorite among the Southeast Asia region.

Roast Duck with rice
Char Koay Teow

Restoran Nasi Kandar, Line Clear, George Town, Penang, Malaysia
This is another famous local spot that Anthony Bourdain stopped at. I was still pretty full from lunch, so I decided to get the food to go. This place is famous for Nasi Kandar. I got it with some fish and chicken. From Wikipedia: “Nasi kandar is a popular northern Malaysian dish, which originates from Penang. It was popularized by Indian Muslim traders from India. It is a meal of steamed rice which can be plain or mildly flavored, and served with a variety of curries and side dishes.”

Nasi Kandar to go from Line Clear
Nasi Kandar wrapped up to-go
Nasi Kandar with fish and chicken, unwrapped

Maxim’s, 153/1-2 Sukhumvit Soi 11, Bangkok, Thailand
By dinner time in Bangkok, I had a taste for Tom Yum soup. I went to this small restaurant for Tom Yum Kung (Shrimps/Prawns).

Tom Yum Kung Soup with Morning Glory vegetable

MBK Food Island, MBK Center, Bangkok, Thailand
I had a few hours before my flight, so I walked around the large shopping malls by Siam Centre and ended up eating lunch at the food court in MBK Center.

Pad Kee Mao (Drunken Noodles)

Overall, I didn’t get to eat all the food I wanted. Maybe I’ll have the opportunity again in the future 🙂