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.