Gong Xi Fa Cai, Rendang

Dragon dancer

Another year, another chance for lion dancers to molest the unwary.

lion dance

The risk of a lion dancer catching aflame grows each year.

A hanging lettuce

The hanging iceberg lettuce attracts them. Welcome to the Chinese New Year.

I had a vague plan to hit up some dumpling joints but was derailed by a newish Malaysian place: Old Town Kopitiam. It looks much like the gentrified coffee shops in Kuala Lumpur with shiny marble table tops, uncomfortable stools and dark timber aplenty. Maybe they’re not just a clone of the Old Town Coffee but a real franchisee? On the upside, the menu reads like Malaysia’s greatest culinary hits: bah kut teh, , , rendang, cendol. Their char kway teow comes with the option of bonus clams which is always a good sign. And they’re all priced in the pre-millennium sub-$10 a plate range.

Nasi Lemak, Old Town Kopitiam
The nasi lemak ($8!) is a bit short on the coconut but has the crispiest ikan bilis (fried anchovies) possible. The beef rendang was collapsing under its own weight, thick with actual herbs and spices rather than something that had come from a can.

They were fresh out of . All the more reason to go back.

Location: 195 Little Bourke St, ,

Cendol and pearls


These green worms are cendol (pronounced chen-dul), made from green pea flour flavoured with pandan leaves. They’re essential for making the dish that is their eponym: a combination of the worms, shaved ice, santan (the first extraction of coconut milk), gula (palm sugar) and often red beans. With a dish so simple, the only key is finding a vendor who uses top quality ingredients.

Tapioca Pearls

The same vendor selling the cendol had (what I’m guessing are) tapioca pearls, dyed red. From a distance I thought that they were pomegranate arils, but on closer inspection, they clearly were not.

Any suggestions?

See Also: The Star Online provides a recipe for cendol.