10 October 2015

Ice Fight

The drinks you can get at markets in Malaysia are amazing. There's a good reason why a big part of this culture involves sitting on plastic stools around a plastic table, eating noodles or roti and sipping on iced drinks--chatting with your friends as the minutes turn into hours.

Teh ais, an iced version of teh tarik (tea with milk that's traditionally mixed by being poured or "pulled" from one cup to another), is very popular, along with Milo ais and a variety of fruit drinks. For my order, I usually alternate between: starfruit juice, orange juice, pineapple juice, and limau ais (iced, sweet water with the juice of a small lime squeezed in). After you've tasted fresh fruit juices like these, I can assure you that it's very hard to go back to anything bottled.

 Wan Tan Mee

Char Koay Teow

Going to market with our friends for evening drinks and a meal was our weekly Tuesday night tradition. Our parents let the three oldest kids go by ourselves--because it was a 10 minute walk, because we were teenagers, and because they never seemed to enjoy the noise and the smells of night market as much as we did. Besides, they knew that even if we left the house, we were never out of sight.

Growing up, we learned pretty quickly that we were always being watched. Malaysia is truly a country that believes "it takes a village to raise a child," and whenever we weren't under our parents' supervision, the uncles and aunties of the community took it upon themselves to keep an eye on us.

Now, when you go to night market for dinner and drink up a delicious iced drink, you're usually left with extra ice in the bottom of that cup. Now, what's any healthy teenager gonna do with that ice other than walk over to their friend's table with a handful of ice in their hand...and stuff the ice down the back of their friend's shirt? I mean, doesn't everybody do that kind of stuff?

Sometimes our ice pranks and wars escalated. I'm not too embarrassed to say that if you were walking past our particular section of the outdoor market, you might see people blowing crushed up ice at each other through straws...or you might spy an ice missile hurtling through the air from one table to the next.

What can I say? I was 15, and the others were roundabout the same age. It was hot in that steamy, smoky outside market, and ice was fun.

By the next morning though, the report had already gotten back to mom about our night market ice-capades. Mom herself was not particularly disturbed by the news, but she did tell us to lay off on the ice-throwing for a couple months because we were disturbing the uncles and aunties. We did. Because we knew, if we didn't, the news would come right straight back to Mom again.

{This is Day 11 in my 31 Days series: 31 Days of Growing Up in Malaysia}
Tayler Morrell said...

Those drinks sound delicious!

Donna said...

limau ais sounds delicious!!

Charlene Maugeri said...

I am loving these little stories and peaks into your life growing up in Malaysia!