“When in Malaysia, thy must eat Indian food. ” – the hungry prophet.
Wait a minute. But what about Malaysian food? Well, like everything else in Malaysia, there are three predominent kinds of cuisines (in case you can’t guess from my previous KL post): Indian food, Chinese food and Malay food, which is basically an adaptation of the both.
To my surprise, it was pretty difficult to find a “Malay” restaurant. From what I found, the restaurant and street food scene was dominated by Indian and Chinese food. After talking to some locals, I discovered that the Malay cuisine is generally cooked at home, where Indian and Chinese is eaten publicly. Now, I’m an Indian food fanatic, so I wasn’t there to mess around. The official AWC mission? To find the BEST DAMN INDIAN FOOD I’VE EVER HAD.
My journey began where else, but Brickfields neighborhood of Kuala Lumpur, lovingly referred to as “Little India.” I was wondering the streets of Brickfields during prime lunch hour, passing countless packed Indian buffets, the smell of curry nearly knocking me upside down. But I was on a hungry mission: to find the one. Resisting the temptation to settle for one of the 100 spots I passed, I persisted into an abandoned street…where I found it. A dingy worn cement storefront, with a weathered awning that read “Vishal Food & Catering.” Yup, this was the place.
I walked into the doorless- doorway, unsure of what I was about to get myself into. I looked around. Before I was able to fully take in the fact that I was the only white girl in the place surrounded by a bunch of Indian-Malays eating off banana leaves with their hands, I started to feel light-headed. That curry. If there was any moment that I was contemplating leaving, that rich and robust smell of curry left me no choice but to plop (or really, collapse) down in the first empty seat I saw.
Before I was able to make sense of where I was, I was greeted by an Indian man with a toothy ear-to-ear smile. Without words, he smacked down a banana leaf in front of me, whipped out two tin buckets, one full of some spiced potato thing and the other full of veggie masala, and plopped down a heaping spoonful of each on my banana leaf. Then he ran off.
I looked around. Welp, everyone else was eating with their hands. Here goes nothin’…
I’m not gonna lie. There was something about eating a spicy delicious potato mash with my bare hands that gave me an adrenaline rush. It’s like everything my mom ever told me not to do, made gloriously socially acceptable.
Then came the second course. A fat mound of rice, followed up by a heaping ladle full of spicy-as-hell chicken curry to top off my rice. YES YES YES. YES. I was right in there with the locals, letting down all my Western inhibitions as I dug into my pile of rice with my hands. The complexity of spices, layers of flavors and complimentary textures sent me into taste-bud overload. Just when I was coming down from my flavor high, my smiling waiter came back with a piping hot Masala Chai tea. Sweet and creamy, it was truly the perfect cherry to top off the rollercoaster of a meal.
Hours: 7am – 11 pm, everyday