With excitement and trepidation, I am due to start a new chapter in my life; one that is coincidentally yet closely related to my love of food and travel. Change is a part of everyday life, yet it is for us to decipher the good from the bad and have the ability to adapt ourselves to each new door that opens up. I, for one, welcome this change with open arms.
Nestled between the pristine waters of the South China Sea and the Strait of Malacca lies the multicultural Malaysia. Known for its diversity, not just in races but in geography as well, this nation is fast becoming a magnet for expats. Trek through the mountainous regions of Kota Kinabalu and sun bathe on the shores of Langkawi, there is something for everyone in Malaysia. A serene environment, coupled with azure beaches, freedom of religion, bustling street markets and opportunities for all, Malaysia has now turned into my new destination.
With the increasing importance for high quality education world wide, major universities are now opening up their campuses in various cities of the world to expand their scope. One such university is the prestigious University of Nottingham, which has opened up purpose built, fully equipped campuses in Malaysia and China. My expedition to Malaysia is due to begin, courtesy my husband, who is to start his Msc in Finance and Investment at the University of Nottingham, Malaysia campus. Sprawled across a 100 acre campus in the town of Semenyih, Selangor, this small town is known to have turned into a university town. Reading blogs and researching, I have been made to understand that Semenyih is known for its lakes, greenery, the famous Broga hill and of course the University. The best part about it is that, it is only 45 minutes from Kuala Lumpur, so there is definitely much more to discover. High on my list of things that I want to do while in Malaysia are:
Rummaging through the Street Markets
Popular in most cities of Malaysia are the weekly street markets. The sound of customers haggling, food sizzling on large woks and hawkers selling their wares, is like music to the ears. The smell of fresh vegetables and steaming food envelops the air. Some markets are open in the day, whereas the more popular ones are the night markets. It would be like entering into a treasure trove, an adventure I would like to make the most of. Central Market in Kuala Lumpur is a covered version of these street markets, a place recommended by most travel websites. The novel theme of this market is that every race, ie Malays, Chinese and Indians, get a corner of the market to display their culture; hence you will find the Lorong Melayu lane, Straits Chinese lane and Lorong India lane. All Malaysian products can be found under one roof. Another very popular choice is the street markets in China Town. Filled with people, it is said to be the best place for street food and shopping. What else would you want from life?
Known as mamak stalls, Malaysia is immensely popular for its street food. Hawkers dot the sidewalks of most streets, selling coconut rice, curry, steamy broth and noodles. Some of the more known dishes are Nasi Goreng, Mei Goreng and Nasi Lemak. Spiced tea is also a favorite amongst street food lovers, you can actually see the vendors toss the tea from one cup to another before serving it to you, hence not just please to the palate but to the eyes as well. With my ever increasing thirst for knowledge about food, this destination seems to be perfect for me.
And some more street food:
Explore the Island Life
Dotted with beaches and tiny islands, you can take your pick or go island hopping in this country. From the popular resorts of Langkawi to the lesser known and less touristy islands of Redang, Pangkor, Perenthian, and Tioman to name a few, the world is your playground. Sunbathe, swim, relax, eat and drink on any of these islands is sure to take all your pains away, and hence it makes it to my list of top 3 things to do while in Malaysia. The best part about a plethora of beach resorts is you can actually visit a different one each time, but definitely not in the lap of luxury on a student budget.
The list is far from exhaustive. The more I explore, the more material I will have for my blog. You too can experience the wonders of Malaysian culture, gastronomy and life through my upcoming blogs. Each one will represent a different taste of Malaysia. I am going there with no concrete plans of which place to visit first, except booking tickets for the quarterfinals of the Malaysian Open Tennis tournament, hence each adventure will have a meaning of its own. The only initial delay for updating my blog will be amount of time taken to get a new internet connection, after that I invite you to experience the adventures of Malaysia with me. As Pamela Louisa Rodrigues McKenna said “Malaysia is truly a land of fascinating sights & sounds…and food!”. I eagerly await this journey…which begins tomorrow.