We have had very delicious Indian food twice in the past two days. It’s different than Indian food that you get in the US, which is almost entirely northern Indian. (We of course had no idea until we got here that there was much of a difference.) So we haven’t had any chicken tikka masala, lamb vindaloo, mulligatawny soup, palak paneer, naan, or anything like that. Instead, Saturday night we had a bread-y dinner, and last night we had a rice-y dinner. The bread-y dinner featured all sorts of different breads–chapati, paper dosa, and others that we can no longer remember–served with curried lentils and a coconut-y sauce. Very spicy and good, but thinner than the type of Indian food that we are used to. Some of the breads were fried, some seemed to have been griddled or grilled, and at least one rice cake bread seems to have been steamed. Last night we had banana leaf food. We’re not sure if this is a method of eating particular to this restaurant, to Malaysia, or if this is something that you could find in southern India or Sri Lanka too. No matter, it was awesome. You get a big banana leaf, and then guys start coming by with all sorts of things. We had a big pile of rice, some cucumber/yogurt salad, sauteed cabbage, deep fried yummy vegetable bits, pickle, dal, fish curry, chicken curry, and salted fried chili peppers. This all came with the standard package. Then we added a chili chicken, some other kind of chicken, and some mutton. Mmmm, mutton! It was really really good. For all you can eat, with two drinks each, the total came to $6. You can’t beat that.
Saturday night we went out with our friend, a Malaysian guy, and his friend visiting from Singapore to a party hosted by the online newspaper Malaysiakini, which means Malaysia Right Now or Contemporary Malaysia. It is known for being relatively independent from the regime here, and has a big following among the Anwar Ibrahim crowd. (We’ll have to discuss Anwar Ibrahim some other time, but suffice it to say he was the old dictator Mahathir’s number 2 henchman until he had the gall to gainsay Mahathir’s policy choices, at which time he was sacked and placed in jail for six years for sodomy. As long as you’re making up charges, you might as well have fun with it.) For all of you who have been to a crowded college party, you know how hot and smoky such gatherings can be. From our experiences, this takes the cake. It was on the fifth floor of some industrial/artist space with one ceiling fan and probably a hundred people squeezed into a small room. This group represented the free spirits, hippies, and the anti-establishment crowd. Lots of dreadlocks and two guys playing experimental rock on their guitars. We stayed for two beers and then hightailed it out of there.
Instead of going home, we went to an “Irish Bar” called, yes, Finnegan’s. For a mere US$7 plus 15% service charge, you can have a fairly decent Beamish Stout and the always tasty Strongbow Extra Dry Cider. Were it not for the prices and the overabundance of Westerners jamming to a terrible DJ, this could be fun. Well, it was a nice time anyway.
Starting tomorrow, free high-speed internet access at our friends’ apartment will be done. Hopefully we’ll figure out how to have it installed in our new apartment two floors up, but if not, we’ll try to find a good internet cafe from which to continue our ramblings.