Bursting Out

A couple of months ago, we had planned to fly from Bangkok (Thailand) to Bangalore (India) – but the prices were way too expensive… so we checked for flights to Bangalore from Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia – home of cheapass airlines Air Asia), and they were something like a quarter of the price… so we took the decision to travel all the way down south to Malaysia instead. We were going to spend only 10 days there, and all I knew about this country was that it had great metal bands, killer fanzines, and that the official religion was Islam! That’s pretty much it!!

Research taught us that the country has in fact a population of 28 million people, including 54% Malay, 25% Chinese, 7.5% Indian and the rest being indigenous people and westerners, with the religions of Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Sikhism and Shamanism. We read that the resulting mix makes a big melting pot of cultures and interesting food fusions – which we couldn’t wait to explore…

Georgetown
Our 8-hour train ride from Southern Thailand took us all the way to Butterworth, which is a city located in the Penang state of Malaysia. I had read that Penang holds the best street food of Malaysia, and that its capital, Georgetown, had a reputation of having the best stalls. We just had to take a ferry from Butterworth to reach Georgetown – and we were there, in food paradise!

Approaching Georgetown, which is actually located on an island!

Georgetown is very well known for its great culinary culture, but also for its calmness and the beauty of its streets and buildings. The historical centre has to be one of the nicest we have visited in South-East Asia – reminding us a bit of the city of Sucre, in Bolivia for its white colonial buildings (remains of the colonised by the British in 1786). In fact, the city has been classified Unesco world heritage since 2008. Everyone greeted us in English, giving us the hugest smiles we’ve seen (including street cleaners and city workers!!!) We were instantly taken in by its charm. Too bad we are only staying here for one full day!!

Colonial building – I think this must be some kind of church?

The town hall

The Queen Victoria Clock Tower

Chinatown, with Chinese New Year decorations

Some gigantic incense sticks burning in front of a Chinese Buddhist temple

What we also enjoyed was how so many different cultures lived side by side in (what seems like) harmony. Here, you can walk in front of a mosque, a hindu temple and a Buddhist temple in 10 minutes. It’s just unreal! And the diversity of the food sold on the street was absolutely amazing. We had a food checklist and tried as many local dishes as we could.

Prawn Nasi Lemak (fat rice), a breakfast dish. The rice is cooked in coconut milk, and served with a spicy seafood paste. It can also come with a boiled egg, peanuts and other stuff.

Duck and fishball Kway Teow soup

Penang Laksa – a sweet and spicy soup featuring fish, tamarind paste, onion, basil, pineapple and cucumber in slices. This is considered a Nyonya dish – a mix of Malay and Chinese food

Fried oysters! François told me the fatness of it was the equivalent of eating a Poutine (French-Canadian fast food)

Lok lok, a selection of food on sticks that you warm up by plunging in boiling water

I’m bursting… I’m bursting out!

Some people say that the only thing to do in Georgetown is walk and eat… but we found something much better. A old, rotting resting ground!!!! This 250-year-old protestant/catholic cemetery was absolutely creepy and we had fun exploring its 500+ tombs – some of which were broken and totally used up by the local vegetation…

Georgetown cemetery

Chinese graves

Resting in peace (eating too much always makes me sleepy hehe)

More amazing rotting graves

A very doomy photo of François. Notice the scary cemetery trees in the background!

A freemason tomb

The next day, we hopped on a 5-hour bus journey to reach the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.

Kuala Lumpur

“Have you eaten yet”?

I don’t know if it’s because of Hellbent for Cooking or what, but all of my metalhead friends in Kuala Lumpur kept on asking me that question. I guess it says alot about the local culture; people here live to eat. Minutes are counted between meals… it’s that important!

So, when we arrived to Kuala Lumpur, and I called my friend Iskandar (from the band ENVENOM), the first thing he asked me if we had eaten. We had, of course, but we were curious to know what he had in mind. It was Saturday night, and he took me on the Saturday night market called Lorong Tuanka Abdul Rahman. It’s a traditional Malay market that sells clothes, jewellery, fresh fruits and veggies and most importantly, hawker (street) food. I liked this market so much that I returned, a week later! The variety of food here was overwhelming, and I would have wanted to try everything!

The crowded street

Some Kueh (sweets). I especially liked the white and green ones, called “Kueh Salat”. They have a layer of coconut sticky rice and coconut egg custard. One of my favourite Malaysian foods!

Popiah Basah – “wet popiah”, some sort of spring roll made with a crepe, stuffed with turnip, bean sprouts, french beans, grated carrots, chopped peanuts, and shredded omelette. It is then covered with sweet sauce. Very yummy!

Murtabak, a folded crepe stuffed with chicken, eggs, onions and garlic. You dip it in curry sauce.

I’m bursting… I’m bursting out!

And if that’s not enough, he then brought us record shopping (we also came back there with some friends, a week later hehe). Right next to the market is the Campbell Complex, a shopping center which has about 5 metal record shops on the 2nd floor. The stores were really cool and had some local CD’s, of totally obscure Malaysian rock and metal. Unfortunately, they also had quite a few bootlegs, and their vinyls were very expensive, but most stock was good!

“Auntie”’s metal shop – a place owned by a lady/music encyclopaedia and her husband. Good place to score local stuff as well as Malaysian made tapes

Niebula, an old record shop/label that had a good LP section, some good black metal and a shitload of tapes!

Another view of Niebula

An unopened “Strength of Steel” ANVIL LP priced at 30$!!

“Uncle”’s metal shop, which was quite similar to Auntie’s, but with a different selection

François, myself and Rudy from Karunguni metal shop

Abhorer 7"! Not for sale... only for tease!

The Karunguni vinyl section

My record scores!

Of course, after all this record shopping, we went eating again… haha! We ended up in an Mamak restaurant (Malaysian Indian), and had some Dal curry Roti Telur (pancake with egg, covered in lentil curry and served with chilli paste. Again, one of my favourite Malaysian meals! I ate this one quite a few times during the week.

It looks gross, but it’s really awesome. Kind of reminds me of a big plate of nachos!

The next day, we met up with Sen (ex-ANTACID vocalist, now in LOBOTOMY) and went out for some food (how surprising haha) and exploring. They took us to Restoran Sate Kajang, which is the most famous place to eat bbq’ed Satay skewers in Kuala Lumpur! They were absolutely wonderful, and you could dip them in a sweet and spicy peanut sauce. I stuffed my face with those babies. They were so good!

The Satay skewers. On this you have rabbit (my favourite!), mutton, chicken and beef intestines

We then visited a mosque – (an Islamic place of worship). As a woman, they gave me a robe to hide my mini skirt, arms and hair. It was my first time in a mosque, and I found it very peaceful – although I found the architecture a bit too basic for my tastes. Perhaps it’s because it’s quite a recent one?

Mosque from the outside. The towers on each side are for “prayer calls”. These calls are actually quite doomy and melodic... makes us feel like we are in the desert or something

Inside the mosque. Look how clean everything is!

Myself and Iskandar (with his Impiety shirt!)

Prayer mats inside of the Mosque

After visiting the mosque, we met up with even more friends – Ratna and Fizan. Ratna is half Indonesian, and she brought us to a fabulous Indonesian restaurant close to her workplace. I was expecting something quite small since we had already eaten meat skewers, but they actually filled the whole table up with dishes! I couldn’t believe my eyes!

Epic Indonesian dishes

The food was very nice – just enough spicy and very exotic tasting… but my favourite thing of them all was an avocado juice! They mix avocado with condensed milk and add some chocolate syrup. I never had avocado as something sweet, but it was to die for, seriously! I couldn’t say a word, it was just so, so sososososososo good! You guys have to try it out!

The amazing avocado juice!

Now, I’m seriously bursting out!!!!!

The next day, we went to an Islamic art museum, which is located right in the centre of town. I was always interested in Islamic art – especially calligraphy, and it was really cool to see some in real life! Although they had Islamic art from all over the world, they mostly focused on Asian Islamic stuff. Really fascinating. I totally recommend this museum, it was really well done! Here are some glimpses of it:

A Chinese-muslim calligraphic scroll

More calligraphy!

We also saw some cool weapons, including a magical kris dagger, which is used both as a talisman and a weapon. It had some cool engravings on it!

A Malaysian kris dagger

Some maces

So, again, we had some yummy food after the museum. This time we had a thing called “claypot”… which is a burning hot pot filled with rice, meat and veggies!

François couldn’t wait to eat before I took the photo haha

And for dessert, one of my favourite Malay foods… CENDOL! Cendol is a weird dessert consisting of shaved ice, which you cover with coconut milk, palm sugar syrup, mung bean noodles, red beans, and other stuff like sweet corn, lychee, and even mango! It’s really really good. I had like 5 in a week!

Cendol!

In the evening, we met up with even more friends – guys from LOBOTOMY, and we went to their rehearsal. They play some kickass speed/nwobhm, and did the songs from their demo as well as a few covers (Metalucifer, Heavy Load, etc…) These guys are really great, and they are actually playing in Japan next month, at the “True Thrash Fest”, along with RAZOR, JURASSIC JADE and ABIGAIL. Support!!!

Sen, LOBOTOMY vocalist and bassist. He sounds alot like Hugo of WITCHTRAP!

Aloy, the drummer

Iwan, guitar master!

We went for a few “drinks” (usually, this implies eating and drinking juice hehe). Iwan ordered a weird thing called “syrup”, which actually looks like really cheap shampoo and tastes like bepto bismol! Not bad! It’s pink syrup mixed with condensed milk.

Iwan drinking shampoo!

Aloy! He’s wearing that shirt because in Malaysia, the price of beer is absolutely out of range. In fact, it’s more expensive than in Canada – due to the government putting the taxes up. Same thing with tobacco. Sucks for Malay people who want to have a bit of fun!

A few days later, we went to visit one of the only tourist attractions near Kuala Lumpur, the 400-million year-old Batu Caves, one of the most popular Hindu shrine outside of India. It is dedicated to Lord Murugan, and features a statue of him right at the entrance. You need to climb 272 steps in order to reach the shrine… which was actually not very hard.

The entrance of Batu Caves with the Murugan statue (the highest in the world, apparently)

Ratna, Fizan, myself and Sen on the bottom of the staircase

The caves have a small colony of monkeys, who hang out around people. They get territorial when you approach them too close, but they were actually quite entertaining!

Mama monkey and her son sucking on her monkey tittie

The inside shrine

Hanging out with hindu gods

A sexy winged cow (details of the shrine)

Coming down, we saw a killer sunset and a beautiful view of Kuala Lumpur in the very distance. The caves were really cool, and I think it was quite a good introduction to our next destination (India!)

View from Batu Caves staircase

The day before we left Malaysia, we got invited to Fizan’s brother’s wedding… and of course, we accepted! They lent us some traditional Malay clothes – which were quite comfortable (mine was made out of silk!)

The traditional Malay wedding consists usually of two ceremonies – the first one is the exchange of rings and vows, and the second one is basically the wedding party and feast. The married couple becomes “king and queen” for the day. They wear crowns, are seated on royal seats and are offered royal food… it was really cool to see!

The wedding of Terima and Kasih!

Ladies throwing some fragrant herbs

The “royal” couple at their table. The decorations at the bottom of the photo are boiled eggs, which were later offered to the guests as a symbol of fertility.

Fizan and his daughter doing the horns!!

Fizan, Ratna, myself, François and Sen

We then took part of the wedding feast… we were assigned a special table, and we had some sort of never-ending buffet in the middle. The food was very good, especially the beef rendang! We again, ate until we burst hahaha

Beef rendang – beef with tons of spices that is cooked for a very long time until it becomes caramelized. Usually served in special occasions like weddings and after fasting for Ramadan.

Royal crab

We were brought in the family house, and shown the wedding bed. Apparently, it happens that sneaky aunts listen during the night… hahaha

Wedding bed

We were then invited to have some tea, sweets and hang out with the bride and groom’s mothers! Everyone took photos of us, we really felt like we were guests of honor or something!

Inside the family house. Notice the “Burning Abyss” zine hehe

After that, we returned to Kuala Lumpur and as it was Chinese New Year eve, we went in the China town and had a few beers with some friends. It was really fun, although it’s really too bad that our stay in Malaysia was so brief…

Chinese guys blowing up illegal fire crackers in the street. These things were really, really loud!!!

Malay metalheads! We’re missing my friend Ahmad, who left us right before, to find some nice girls at a bar hehe

The next day, everyone drove us to the airport and gave us a warm goodbye before our flight departed for India. Malaysia was truly a kickass experience, and we would definitely love to come back and explore other cities (and metal scenes!!!)

Sen with Ratna/Fizan’s daughter’s “princess in progress” bag in the airport parking lot... hahaha

François getting on our Air Asia flight to Bangalore!

We are currently in Bangalore, at a friend’s place, and getting ready to play a gig with Cauchemar (backed-up by an Indian line-up of Bevar Sea/Dying Embrace members!!!) and we will open for none other than Japanese black metal ABIGAIL!!!! It will be one hell of a good time, we can’t wait!


This post is dedicated to late RIOT guitarist Mark Reale, who passed away from cancer on January 25th 2012.


10 responses to “Bursting Out

  • Mark Lüntzel

    I would like to add: TOTALLY AWESOME VOIVOD SHIRT! 🙂

  • marsineraTOR

    awesome looking food! I would eat the shit out of that duck and fishball soup :)))
    and the fried oysters! yum yum!

    beer in malaysia sounds like beer in norway, that place has ridiculous prices for beer…so stooopid.

    hope you kicked ass with ABIGAIL!! Looking forward to a new set of pics from that gig.

    Salute!

  • Véro

    Hahaha wow tu vas vraiment éclater 😀

    C’est super cool que tu ais été invitée au mariage, c’est une rare opportunité de voir comment ça se fait ailleurs hehe.

    Petit nit-pick: Mark Reale n’est pas mort du cancer, mais de complications de la maladie de Crohn. 😦 RIP.

  • Erik

    Brain Dead on CD, nice!

    Speaking of that avocado juice – you should definitely try making avocado daiquiris, so awesome if you get the amount of lime juice and sugar right.

  • hakucygnus

    Damn you lady; you make me wish I could somehow tag along! 🙂

    Malaysia seems like a more moderate Muslim country than much of the Middle East, but at the same time I’m wary of its racial issues… case in point, one hyper-religious party there tried to ban the Chinese population from saying “Allah”, claiming it to be a Muslim-only thing. I’d like to see them try telling that to the millions of Arab Christians and Jews, who have been saying “Allah” for centuries!

    Also, are either Fizan or Ratna in any of the bands over there?

    • intothevoid

      Yeah Malaysia was really cool and very tolerant about other religions, but I think there is still quite alot of racism going on unfortunately!

      Anyway, I do this blog so people can tag along the best they can hehe! 🙂 Cheers!!!

  • Prakash Samputh

    Leaving Tokyo for a 3 days stay in K L. Your notes will help me a lot. Rds, Prakash Samputh of Mauritius.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: