On Thursday last week it was a stunning 25°C. It lasted all of  a sad 24 hours and on Friday, winter decided to rear its ugly head, pummelling London with big fat freezing raindrops and dropping the temperature to a positively chilly 13°C. 13 degrees man, and for those who have no idea how Celsius works, that’s a meagre 55° Fahrenheit, which in my opinion is simply Not Warm Enough for September.

Last Friday was also Malaysia Night, the first of an annual series of markets in the style of traditional pasar malams, aiming to promote, share, educate and entice the unsuspecting public on the delirious goodness of Malaysian cuisine. Though somewhat disheartened by the horrendous weather, it was pointed out to me that perhaps the cold would keep the crowds away, leaving more food for me. This thought alone warmed my belly and so rugged up in my big green anorak, I hit Trafalgar Square to chow down on some of my people’s food.

But as it turned out, every other living person in a 300 mile radius of London also had the same idea.

The crowds were insane on Friday night and the stress of it all turned me into a cranky person, but I tried to reason with myself that ok, you know it’s not so bad because this means people love Malaysian food and so they should! Because it’s only like the best sort of food in the whole universe, right? Right.

For a total of about two minutes, I was riding high on pride for my home country, our culture and food, but that was until some asshole in the crowd jabbed me hard in the ribs, trying to push through a rock solid wall of people. This irritation was compounded by the fact that I had to queue in a rude, loud and uncontrolled crowd for 45 MINUTES just to get myself a serve of chicken satay (which, luckily, was delicious) and was further amplified by the fact that at 7pm, many stalls had run out of food.

Like seriously, for an event that was meant to carry on until 10pm, what the fuck people.

I’m not sure if it was bad event management, or just the sheer fact that they didn’t expect one hundred billion (I’m sure I’m only exaggerating a little here) people to descend on Trafalgar Square. But with the freezing conditions and stupidly rude crowd, it was impossible to get any food, let alone trying to stand and eat it in peace. I lost all my fun, we went and had margaritas instead and spent the night crooning to old power ballads in a warm, dry and utterly spacious karaoke room.

BUT. This post ain’t over. We did manage to get some food along the way, and what kind of food blogger would I be if I didn’t share? Here’s what we managed to get, before I called time out for fear of actually punching someone in the face.

Chicken satay from Puji Puji

Beef rendang and mee goreng from unknown stall, but it had a Holiday Inn sign (?)

Beef rendang from Melati

Curry laksa from Makan

Roti Canai from Awana

And at this point, super frustration hit me square in the face. I wanted nothing better than to get out of the crazy event so y’know, I took these photos super fast and super wobbly and… oh well.

Ayam goreng manis pedas from Satay House

Laksa from Satay House

We didn’t have any desserts. This made for a very unhappy catty.

Anyway, as much as Malaysian food is hands down my favourite cuisine (I’m not biased or anything), and given that an event like this is probably the best place to sample as much as you can… I whole hearted did not enjoy the night. I’d rather make a reservation at a restaurant, sit down and enjoy dinner in comfort and warmth, at least an arms length from the next person.

But in light of all my whining, I should give kudos to Malaysia Kitchen who ran the event and are busy helping Malaysian cuisine gain the recognition it deserves.

So kudos. But I still had a crap time.

24 Thoughts on “Malaysia Night @ Trafalgar Square. Death by food and trampling.

  1. OOOh – was disappointed I couldn’t go – now I think I’m very glad. I hate those kinds of crowds – I could have killed.

  2. oh my god! i was there! it was disgusting! we couldn’t get any food and my boyfriend wanted to leave. at least you got some food… i was so disappointed. agreed m’sian cuisine is the best 😀

  3. I can’t do crowds, especially in Trafalgar Square (not after a nightmare New Year’s Eve 15 years ago). My brother-in-law is Malaysian so we regularly eat Malaysian food. My favourites are satay and roti canai. Yum.

  4. What a feast!!! I wish I could have come too!!

  5. It was bad wasn’t it – glad you didn’t turn into The Cattynator, not while i was there anyhow, raining death and laser rays on the crowd… At least, as Sasasunakku pointed out, those crowds sure kept you warm…

    What food i got wasn’t half bad either, the beef rendang from Satay House (which had no satay – WTF?) was tasty as was the Rojak from, ummm, i forget, except that it was by the fourth column. Overall, i thought the rotis from Awana were probably my pick of the dishes that night.

  6. lucky for me i decided against going then. tho i must say the food looks delish! how much did the portions cost and was it worth it?

    now i’m craving laksa and roti prata!

  7. Bron: Yes, I very nearly killed.

    jenny: I know, we only got food cos we were there at about 5.30pm. Anyone who came after 7pm or later would have had a hard time!

    sakura: I love satay! Queued 45 mins to get some 😀

    Old Cow: Wished you came too 🙁

    The Grubworm: I know, it’s bizarre that Satay House didn’t serve satay haha.. the food was pretty good, just wish there was more. And less people.

    vix: Prices varied depending on dish size (like £3-£5?) but generally was really good value. My satay dish for example had 5 chunky sticks of satay with all the accompaniments and loads of sauce – that was only £5.

  8. Holy god – that is a lot of people. Poor stall holders though, could they feasibly serve up so many people for that length of time, in a hugely busy area on a FRIDAY NIGHT?

    I saw their PR people tweet “great night at Malaysia Night in Trafalgar Square – proof PR really works!”

    Aint it so.

  9. I popped down on my way to dinner (yes, I know, I am a pig) and had no hope of getting a morsel in time or finding anyone. The food looked, and smelt, great however – which is partly why I had to leave before my stomach imploded.

  10. awww your malaysia festival looks way more awesome than ours! man i could totally go for some rendang right about now

  11. Well, you were pretty restrained in all – I guess the prospect of bellowing ballads can calm a girl down. I think I see a particularly attractive red arm holding the beef and chicken rendang and roti canai.

  12. I know, the crowd was INSANE! I gave up after satay.

  13. Argh, how horrible! I decided not to go because the weather was so totally pants that day – instead I went and had French food with Momma Lee at one of the new Cote Brasseries that have opened up in Chiswick. Duck confit for the win!

    But, on the plus side, you got to try food from Awana who are hands-down my fave Malaysian restaurant in town! But Kiasu comes a close second 😉 Awana are fancy, Kiasu are street. I gots love for them both. I was sad to have missed out, because I lived in Malaysia for three months and was totally addicted to the food, but glad I didn’t have to deal with crowds.

    I feel your pain, girl. I seem to remember I was telling somebody the other day that despite being a people person, I actually dislike the vast majority of society. That’s some definite hyperbole, but crowds suck. In fact, I think I was saying/shouting/crying about that as I was fighting through the crowds at Feast On The Bridge a couple of weeks ago…

    Jax x

  14. Lizzie: No I don’t think the stalls expected this much people.. it was manic and I kinda felt sorry for them really but still, I WANT MY FOOD!

    Greedy Diva: I know, Euwen and I tried to look for you – fat chance!!

    chocolatesuze: Yeah it gave everyone a taste for Malaysian food 🙂 I think all the M’sian restaurants around London will be packed for weeks! 🙂

    Sasa: Best hand model EVAH 😀

    pigpigscorner: I gotta say, the satay was yum though… but yeah the waiting, that sucked massively.

    Jackie: Eeeeek I don’t like Awana. Went once, had the most horrendous service ever and I think if they want to charge the prices they do, at least the service as to be good. Kiasu I LOVE. Good prices, good service, good food!

  15. Oh god, reading your post brings it all back… the horror of the crowd pushing up against you from right, left, and centre. But as you say, at least the food we *did* manage to get was good.

    Wouldn’t do it again though. Especially not in 13’C weather….

  16. It was a nightmare. It was like queuing for food at a festival or a sports ground albeit with better grub but without actually getting to see anything.

  17. The event looks amazing, but crowds are always annoying

  18. even tho i get all that food just down the road, all your pics still look so tempting and delicious!

  19. samara trainor on September 29, 2010 at 9:37 am said:

    the food looks great there – almost as authentic as back in malaysia. i live in a small town in colorado and haven’t had good malaysian food in years so i think i would brave those crowds for some satay and rendang!

  20. I was so disappointed that i didn’t get much food!:(
    So far i haven’t had any good laksa in london! the only okay one is prob from makan!

  21. Su-yin: Hehe yeah how bad was it at Satay House?? LOL.. ah the memories…

    Mr Noodles: well, there was the Malaysian dancing… hehehe…

    My Restaurants Melbourne: If only all the stalls were open just for me and my friends… that would be so much better 😉

    mc: No complaints from you! I need to visit you to eat stuff.

    samara: Awww you need to visit Malaysia soon then! Get a fix!!

    Linda: Yeah laksa is a toughie. There’s a place called Apium near Farringdon Station, their laksa is pretty good!

  22. mary chow on October 1, 2010 at 8:07 am said:

    Oh that night was crazy. My friends and I were there just after 7pm and couldn’t get any food. Think it was re-stocked later on, but the crowds were awful so we left! at least you were able to get some food! satay looks great!

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