09 August 2013

10 Reasons to Eat at Hawker Stalls

1. Comparatively inexpensive
2. Possibly very tasty (Possibly not)
3. Introduction of new bacteria into your body for the purpose of strengthening your immune system.
4. Convenience
5.Anything's better than McDonald's
6. Supporting family-owned businesses
7. Opportunity to use foreign language skills
8. Check off on bucket list
9. Variety 
10. Life is for living, right?
Here in Malaysia, you're nearly always within walking distance of somewhere that sells food. You might not be able to predict or determine what type of food will be available, but trust me, unless you're in the depths of the jungle, there will be food. Small restaurants and marketplaces which consist of an open floor with a bunch of tables, surrounded by individually-run stalls that each specialize in particular dishes, are everywhere. And there's also a lot of portable hawker stalls that appear daily on street corners and in parking lots.
Recently, I've gotten a little pickier about what I'll eat and drink, just because of some health problems. There are a few places here where I do only order canned drinks rather than drinks made with tap water because I haven't had a long enough relationship with the restaurant to know what safety precautions were taken with the tap water (i.e. was it boiled?). But you're missing out on a lot if you travel to another country and only stick to eating things that look something like your own culture's definition of food.
I love Malaysian food. I lost weight when I moved to America because I have found it hard to adjust to enjoying many Western dishes. I've spent this trip enjoying just about as much of my favorite foods as I can manage to eat while I'm here.
When traveling, I do recommend sticking to canned drinks if there's any indication that the water used to make drinks isn't particularly clean. I recommend eating at places that are kept busy by local people (obviously, they know where the good food is). You can always order something, and if you don't like it, give it to your friend. Don't let any lack of knowledge about the types of foods available prevent you from adventuring. I've lived here for a long time, I already have my favorite foods, and I tend to stick to them. Angel, on the other hand, isn't quite so set in his ways, and instead of letting us order for him, likes to take the menu into his own hands and try something that sounds interesting. You might end up surprised when you find out what the food that you ordered actually looks like, sure, but hey, it's all in the name of adventure! There was a time when I didn't know that my favorite foods: char koay teow, roti telur bawang, bok choi, and palak paneer existed, but now I can't imagine my life without them.
Tanjung Bungah Market

Tanjung Bungah Market

Tanjung Bungah Market

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Unknown said...

Trying typical dishes from the country you travel to is one of my favorite experiences and one of the most important reasons to travel abroad!

Pretty much every dish you posted looks so delicious!

Leia said...

All your Malaysia posts are making me miss KL-- especially the food!

Suzanne said...

I have to say that of everything about traveling this is where I have the most problems. I find that I get sick from the food very easily when I travel. Even when I watch the water I drink I always seem to spend at least one day with severe stomach cramps and everything that goes along with them. Although I'd love to be more adventurous spending days while you are away sick is the last thing I need happening when I'm away from home.


Anonymous said...

I love that even though we're from completely different parts of the world, we both look forward to the food when we go to our respective homes. I always go to my favorite food spots and eat as much of my favorite food as possible. Those hawker stalls look amazing! I can definitely see why you enjoy them.

Tayler Morrell said...

I love trying new foods! It's one of the best things about traveling--or just using your eyes and seeing what is near you!
Our Fairy Tale

Sarah Pete said...

LOVE your list at the top of the entry.
I agree with you--when you're somewhere new, try THEIR food. Sometimes, you just don't want to know what it ACTUALLY is. If it's edible, enjoy it and don't ask questions.
I remember, when my parents and I first arrived in China (like just stepped off the plane) we ordered from a KFC near our hotel because it was the only place where we recognized what was on the menu. Even so, it didn't taste or look like KFC. The local dishes were MUCH better. :]
I've always seen trying new foods in a new country as a great adventure. Sometimes, it's terrible, and then you have a fun story. Other times, it's really good, and you have some new treat to look forward to if you ever return. Either way, you totally get bragging rights ;]

Moonofsilver said...

All that food looks so exotic and yummy!!!

Katie said...

i used to be the pickiest eater and would not try new food. once I met my husband he made me try things and i'm so glad i did! some of that food looks quite interesting!