Monday, December 13, 2010

Malaysian food in Geelong

Geelong is a small relaxing city about an hour drive from Melbourne. It has a beautiful water front along Port Philip Bay. It is also the place where Alan and Joyce set up home, raising a delightful family of five boisterous kids.

In the Geelong suburb of Highton very near to the Crosbies' home, is a small Malaysian restaurant that has perhaps made Alan and the nearby Malaysian community very sated. He was visibly excited when he told me about it, and I can understand why.

Rich Maha is a Malaysian thoroughbred. Coming into the place would certainly make any Malaysian feel very at home, perhaps even a little home sick. The sight, the sound and the smell in the restaurant were all Malaysian. The man who managed the place was a Malaysian name Kalia. He obviously knew Alan very well.

Half the premise comprised the kitchen, with counters displaying an array of curries and other good stuffs.

The other half had tables and chairs where we ate. There were Malaysian tourism posters on the wall as well as pictures and even a map of our country.

The restaurant served a wide variety of Malaysian fares not just Indian tastes. Kalia was soon to come out with a most pleasant surprise.

The masala thosai was my choice. It was gem of an Indian preparation. The thosai was crispy and the potato masala filling was thick and smooth. It was served with dhall and 2 types of coconut chutney. The sauces were rich and complemented the thosai very well. This thosai was better than any I had tasted in Malaysia.

The banana roti canai was truly Malaysian. Where else in the world would you find banana in a roti canai but in Malaysia. I did not taste the roti but it certainly look like the ones we have at home - only a lot bigger.

Finally, it was Kalia's surprise. It was wat tan hor fun (形蛋河粉) or koay teow Cantonese style. We will never find this dish in our Indian restaurants in Malaysia. When Alan ordered this dish, likewise by my wife, I was most skeptical. My skepticism persisted even when the plates of noodles were brought to the table. But when I had a taste of it, I was amazed. It was so very good. It was better than a lot of wat tan hor fun cooked by Chinese in Malaysia. The gravy was smooth and delicious. The hor fan (noodles) was soft. They was real prawns in the dish - not the silly "plastic" ones in some Melbourne restaurants.  It was prepared by Kalia himself. Apparently he learned to cook this on one of his trips home to Malaysia.

All the foods we had were washed down with good old cups of teh tarik. 

Of all the Malaysian makan places we visited during our holidays, this was perhaps the most authentic. And Aussie Malaysians don't need to be in Geelong to enjoy this home away from home. They have branches in Melbourne and Vermont. Check out their website

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