The weather here in KL has reached 36°C and all I can think about is ice cream. Feeling inspired after having a scoop of salted caramel ice cream in Hokkaido Ice Cream in The Garden Mall, I went in search of recipes. I was very pleased that this splendid flavour was now available in KL. I’ve only ever had salted caramel in Paris (the best is from Berthillon). I found a recipe I am keen to try. Upon finding this recipe, I was keen to explore other flavours and thought that a pandan coconut flavour would be very nice indeed. I looked it up and found this.
The perfect song for making ice cream is perhaps Battles’ new track featuring Matias Aguayo on vocals called Ice Cream. If the video reminds you of El Guincho’s Bombay, it is because the video is directed by the same folks.
Find salted caramel ice cream (sold as shio caramel) in:
Lot T-201, 3rd Floor,
The Garden Mall,
Mid Valley City,
Lingkaran Syed Putra,
There are some flavours that are almost universal in their appeal. Pandan is such a flavour. Pandan’s power lies in its versatility. It is not limited to Asian dishes. I made pandan pannacotta earlier this year, to serve as dessert for my Chinese New Year meal. I made the pannacotta in a rabbit mould and this resulted in the wobbly little creature above. In the UK, pandan can be bought from most Oriental supermarkets. If you live in London, Golden Gate Cake Shop on Macclesfield Street sells pandan layer cake. My sister and I have since started obsessing over pandan macarons. Since being back in KL, I have had them twice. They are, as you can imagine, seriously delicious. These can be ordered specially from The Huckleberry Cafe. I have not seen this concoction sold anywhere else.
I find it quite strange that in a city like KL – where there must be the highest number of foodies per capita in the world and the most interesting mixtures of flavours and fusion food, I have yet to see pandan used in other European desserts. Pandan coconut meringue pie, pandan cream puffs, pandan coconut crepes…mmmm I can see so many possibilities! Someone, make ’em a reality!
Quite simply, no trip back to KL is quite complete without a stop in Chinatown or Petaling Street as it is known. I spent many years’ worth of weekdays in this area. My mum used to send us to Mandarin lessons which we took in the back of a Chinese temple every day, after our daily school lessons. The classes were held in the back of the temple, up a flight of stairs. There were 3 rooms, where the lessons were taught. Walking through the temple you will have to go through huge incense hanging from the ceiling and there were always some homeless people begging for money right at the entrance. I hated learning Mandarin, so for me the lessons were an opportunity to make the temple our playground.
On Tuesday night, Augusta and I went to Petaling Street. Our friend Bassi had requested some mirrored wayfarers, so we went to hunt some down. After walking around and finding some bargains, we stopped for a little snack at Kim Lian Kee. This little corner shop has been around since the late 20s. It has not been modernised much and remains pretty much a modest outfit. This is Malaysian street food after all! We shared a plate of Hokkien mee/meehoon. I’ve eaten here several times before, and was happy to find that the noodles were still good in this KL institution.
We were thirsty and ordered one of the best thirst quenchers ever- kalamansi lime juice with asamboi. Kalamansi limes are a special variety of limes. They are tiny, but packed with flavour, a little explosion of sweet and sour. The juice of kalamansi limes with a couple of asamboi (preserved salted plums or saladitos) = flavoursome thirst quenching drink. It’s a drink that packs a flavourful punch, satisfying almost all the different tastebuds. Palate Palette, which is one of my favourite places in KL does an alcoholic version of this drink with your choice of Vodka or Rum. It’s pretty, pretty, pretty good.
It’s been very hot in KL this few weeks and when the weather leaves you all sweaty, nothing is as nice as some ice-cold juicy watermelon. When walking around Little Korea in Ampang on Friday, my friend Kio and I were excited to find a watermelon ice lolly. Fashioned like a watermelon slice, this ice lolly was made so realistic it even had seeds scattered all over.
This popsicle looked so good, it reminded me of a jumper I’ve had my eye on and keep meaning to buy. The handknitted jumped is from Dudua based in funtime Barcelona!
A quick research also led me to quite a few fruitwear (footwear) watermelon-inspired designs. These include socks from artist/designer Baron von Fancy , and at least 3 models of trainers/sneakers that Mike Perry had customised in watermelon including Nikes and Vans. Funnily enough Vans also released the watermelon themed collection for Spring/Summer 2009, giving Van fans quite a few different cuts of the fruit to wear.
Keep is also offering watermelon fans plimsolls that will hopefully keep feet fresh all day. I like the use of colour in their offering. Slightly more subtle than the crazy Vans version although I must admit I love the green soles.
The watermelon is a striking fruit. So round and so green with such vermillion flesh, dotted with black seeds. It’s no surprise that designers find it an inspirational fruit. This morning I had some watermelon with salt for breakfast and when I am back home, I will probably be digging out my copy of Richard Brautigan’s In Watermelon Sugar to read again.
Update: Fans of Joakim can get his mp3 Watermelon Bubblicious here.
The thing I love most about KL is the randomness and incongrous buildings that sit side by side each other. Like the Hindu temple that sits under a shopping mall called Mid Valley. Or this Chinese temple I spotted today whileI was waiting around for my sister to finish in a meeting.
This shanty temple stood out next to the highway in vermillion and had a little one-stop bike thing filled with joss sticks, statues of deities, Malaysian flags and a sack or two. I walked into the smokey interior and witnessed a ladymonk/nun going about her business on a side altar and an older man rushing around the main altar which was filled with about what seem like a thousand gods.
Note the little altar that’s been propped to the side of that tyre complete with joss stick that’d been burnt.