Chicken satay from Gurney Drive, Penang
I never tire of regional novelties like cooking a skewer of something in a boiling pot of satay sauce, which constitutes something of a specialty in Melaka (Malacca), Malaysia and is the raison d’etre of Capitol Satay. This style of satay, satay celup, was (as far as I can find) invented by the owners of Capitol Satay in the 1950s and continues to be a reason for Kuala Lumpurites to drive down to Melaka to eat a morsel on a stick.
Capitol Satay on Lorong Bukit China is packed with satay-boiling punters from the moment it opens around 5:30pm until whatever ungodly hour that it closes. Pick from a random and wide array of skewered components from their refrigerator, ranging from meats to quail eggs to tofu and wontons, take a seat and wait for a roiling pot of peanut sauce to arrive at your table and present you with a new opportunity to burn yourself on a rich and sticky fluid.
The result: not as tasty as it is downright fun. The flavours of your chosen components barely make a dent in the satay sauce’s nuttiness, and conversely, very few of the components (apart from bread and tofu) soak up much sauce. I’m still positive that I lost a wonton in the sauce’s simmering brown depths never to be seen again.
Location:Capitol Satay Celup, 41, Lorong Bukit China, Melaka (Malacca), Malaysia
As an antidote to laziness, I headed out to one of Bangkok’s larger wet markets, Nonthaburi market, at the end of the regular river boat line on the Chao Phraya. Nonthaburi would be hard to beat in Bangkok for the range of produce and regional Thai street food vendors floating about the market, and despite the sheer size of it, the market retains a friendly, local feel.
Young satay jockey, overlooked by attendant grandmother.
The old section of the market is barely used and although it hasn’t fallen into disrepair, many vendors shun it for the surrounding streets and alleyways.
Barbecuing catfish over the coals, for that smoked/charred effect.
The resulting fish.
Greenlip mussels, painstakingly arranged.
Getting there: Catch the express boat (the one with the orange flag) up the Chao Phraya to Nonthaburi Pier. Walk 400 metres down Pratcharat Rd and the market is on your right.