Cooking up a storm in Malaysia

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Monday 14 December 2015

Sailing up to Puteri - and hoping that ship turns!

Sailing up to Puteri – and hoping that ship turns!

Having berthed Adina in Puteri Harbour marina situated in the river that separates Singapore and Malaysia, we welcomed Part II of ‘Catch up with the parents’ when Tom’s father Keith arrived for a visit. Southern Malaysia and Singapore don’t really lend themselves to sailing unless mixing it up with assorted cargo ships and fuel tankers is your type of cruising so this is an area better suited to land travel. Holding up the tradition of ‘Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun’ we explored the streets of nearby Johor Bahru and Singapore, seeking out temples and good food. Back on board Adina, Tom’s father turned the big 70 this year and we decided this was the perfect excuse to have a celebration and decorate Adina, break out the good wine, treasured lobster from Papua New Guinea and just for Dad, a cigar.

Lessons in how to feed a peanut to an Elephant by Susie

Lessons in how to feed a peanut to an Elephant by Susie

Hopping on a plane we flew up to Kuala Lumpur to do some more walking in the midday sun and explore a few more sights and shopping malls. We’ve been away for two years and nine months now and just like back at home things age and even get out of date (and it’s not us we’re talking about). Computers and iPads get old, camera batteries don’t work so well, external disk drives give up the ghost, travel adaptors stop working. Living in a city it’s easy to upgrade or replace as the need arises. Asking a Solomon Islander if he has a Nikon 5100 camera battery in stock in exchange for some rice is not going to get you very far. Kuala Lumpur was the perfect place to get our electronics fix and Adina is now ship-shape once more on that front thanks to Low Yat Electronics Shopping mall!

Keeping ourselves busy, we visited the Kuala Gandah Elephant sanctuary and enjoyed feeding the elephants some peanuts and more so eating ice cream to try and cool ourselves.

The lovely Christina opens Sarang Cookery - great fun!

The lovely Christina opens Sarang Cookery – great fun!

Three years back, just before we left England, we visited Kuala Lumpur and stayed in a B&B owned by a lovely local couple called Christina and Michael. We have fond memories of our local ‘wet’ market tour with Christina and even fonder memories of taking part in a night time food tour with their whole family during which Christina tried to feed us everything under the sun, or should that be the moon? This included duck tongue, 100 day old eggs, durian and never to be repeated fermented tofu. At the time we said ‘We’ll be back” and generally we like to honour what we say we will do. Much to our delight Christina and Michael have gone on to be very successful, expanding their little empire including opening up a new restaurant and cooking school, Sarang Cookery . All hands up, we’re up for a cooking lesson.

We remembered Christina as one of those driven, fast paced, knowledgeable, immensely likeable people and nothing had changed. A chef led the class and Christina chipped in supervising, anticipating and making sure things went smoothly. And so we watched and peeled and chopped and made heaps of positively scrumptious food. Great fun and it’s bound to be another success story for them. Christina, apologies for all the questions on what’s a good substitute for a local ingredient and please can you reduce the number of shallots in the recipes – we’ve never peeled so many shallots! We wish you all the very best and without doubt “We’ll be back”.

Cheers - Tom and Keith

Cheers – Tom and Keith

So before we knew it we were enjoying a final Singapore Sling looking out at the impressively lit Petronas Towers of Kuala Lumpur and bidding farewell to Keith. We genuinely appreciate and enjoy having our parents out to visit. It’s never easy for them as we always seem to find ourselves living in baking heat, and each and every trip we try our best to make life as easy as possible and we take lessons away. Next time less arguing with taxis by Tom. Fingers crossed the next break won’t be so long. A big thank you to our parents – thank you for spoiling us, thank you for your continued support in all its many guises.

Adina is now making her way up the west coast of Malaysia. It’s not the greatest place for cruising, the waters are murky and there is a lot of shipping. Added to this we are still in the equatorial belt so there is little wind, big thunderstorms and terrifying lightning to keep us on our toes. Our plan is to fast track up to Langkawi with just a few quick stops to break things up. Langkawi is a destination favoured by cruisers as the waters clear up, there are some great anchorages and good old white beaches. Just our type of gin and tonic so it’s here we’ll be basing ourselves for Christmas. Time to make some decorations and have Adina looking full of Christmas cheer.

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3 responses to “Cooking up a storm in Malaysia

  1. Malcolm & Liz Keenor says:

    Hi each!
    Thanks for your continued updates along the way and for an insight into local practices, people and food…..especially food (or ‘drink’ as we often like to call it here!)

    Seeing Tom and his dad holding on to that giant tankard has prompted me to write and tell you that I have brewed some 9 gallons (you remember them?) or in more recognisable language, 72 pints, of beer for Christmas…..should keep us going. And of course we will be lifting a glass or two (or more) to our intrepid friends on Adina and their continued well-being on the continuing journey, which of course I continue to plot on a daily (or so) basis.I reckon that you have just about pipped the 24,000 mile mark. Not too bad on one mainsail. Have you got your new one hoisted yet?

    Our love and best wishes to you both for Christmas and the New Year from all the Keenors in this wind-swept and rainy Blighty…Brrrrr…xx

  2. Christina Foo says:

    Hi Tom & Susie,

    Thank you for being the first to sign up for our classes. We were targeting to start our classes only in mid Dec but when you said you wanted to sign up you have no idea the panic it threw me into..ha ha.

    Nonetheless it was great seeing you guys and I love reading up on the journey you both are taking.

    We wish you much happiness in your journey. Be safe. Hop to see you both again.