Quite simply, good food is one of the best things in life, wherever you find it. And Malaysian street food ranks among the best of the best.
Georgetown sits on Malaysia’s west coast, a city so rich in food and cultural experiences it could cover its chopsticks with gold and still have some left over for high days and holidays. Redang lies to the east, where it lazes around among white sand and clear waters as any self-respecting paradise island would.
In between, the road swirls and lurches, staggers and stretches from one great coastline to the next. The clouds test our headlights, the skies give the windscreen wipers a run for their money and the road signs that threaten various unidentified animals keep our eyes on constant alert.
Yet vigilance isn’t the only name of the game. In between the towns and villages, under makeshift rooftops and stocked by the contents of the backseats of cars, impromptu food stalls line the roads.
It’s Ramadan, and not yet dusk, so food is traded if not eaten on site. Most meals come served in clear plastic bags, swinging from hands like goldfish at candy-pink fun fairs of the past.
People laugh as we walk past, at the awkward foreigners who clearly don’t belong. But it’s shy and friendly, welcoming and with peace. They’re happy for us to take photos, happy for us to blunder along as we shop and even happier when we come back for more.
Leaning against the car at the side of the road, songs of coconut and rice, smoky charcoal and malt syrup flow through my mind. The wet earth clings to my feet and I think about what it means to taste good food. This year I’ve been lucky. I’ve eaten at arguably the best restaurant in the world and now I’ve eaten here.
Both, my tastebuds are sure of it, serve up some of the best food in the world.
Can you identify the food in these photos? Answers on a postcard…or better yet in the comments below…
Abigail King is a writer and photographer who swapped a career as a doctor for a life on the road. Now published by Lonely Planet, the BBC, CNN, National Geographic Traveler & more, she feels most at home experimenting here: covering unusual journeys, thoughtful travel and luxury on www.insidethetravellab.com