Breaking the Fast Late
Brunch seem to be the hip and happening thing for the urbanites in Malaysia, at least for Klang Valley dwellers as I have seen it. In fact I am quite one of these hip urbanites that embrace the brunch culture in Malaysia. And why not? We like to fool ourselves into thinking that we can save calories, in light of the recent hype of health consciousness. It is also a perfect excuse to then gorge on a wonderful meal as after all, we are eating two meals in one go technically. I do not know how this would add up to the ‘saving calories’ part, but it works, humour with me.
When I first learn of the word brunch, it was way long ago when I was just a little kid. My god-sister told me about it. She said, “Let’s go for brunch. Oh, wait! You know what brunch is?” My little head shake furiously. “It is something we all love to do (she was then working sometime in KL for a while), it is actually a combination of breakfast and lunch – so brunch! Got it?” Then my eyes lit up! I got it! I felt so smart that later when I got home, I told my mum about my new found knowledge of the world. My mum shrug me off as talking nonsense, but I was adamant then even as a kid that it is not, in fact it was pure genius to me, though I know for anytime soon, I would not be able to enjoy it as my mum thinks it is nonsense. Well you see, in my little hometown, everybody wakes up early. They have their breakfast early then they go about being productive in their own ways, and then they got hungry by lunch time and had a meal again. So the concept of brunch never really occurs to us.
Photo by ROKH
So when I finally came down to KL for my tertiary education, brunch came naturally into my life. In fact it became a norm. I was never in time for breakfast. Student life is like that, we slept at odd hours, we wake up at odd hours then we nap at odd hours again. But only when I finally went out and joined the rat race, brunch became a luxury to me, a weekend indulgence. I have then finally officially joined the hip urbanites’ brunch culture.
The brunch choices in Malaysia are so wide, I do not even know where to begin. It ranges from our local varied kopitiam, to shops with various hawker stalls inside of it to cafes and then even to posh and fine dining. The amazing thing about brunch is, you can be having either breakfast or lunch food and still call it brunch, but somehow to me and many I believe, breakfast is the way to go, and a big one at that. So normally we would go for the indulging kind of breakfast, one that can fill us up from the long fasting and then sustain us enough for the long day till our next meal which is dinner.
Photo by rashdan
So let us start from our local style of brunch. If we head out for cheap eats and fast and unpretentious food, normally we would hit the various coffee shops around that has many hawker stall inside that will spoil you with choices. We can go Chinese food such as toast bread with egg, char kuey teow (Malaysian stir fried flat rice noodles with prawns and cockles), wan tan mee (dry sauce noodle with wanton and BBQ pork), bak kut teh (pork in herb soup), dim sum, while we can also go for Malay food such as nasi lemak (coconut rice with anchovies sambal and egg), nasi goreng (fried rice), nasi dagang (glutinous rice in coconut milk with fish curry, cucumber pickles and sambal) or we can go for Mamak (Indian Muslim)/Indian food such as roti canai (flatbread), tosai (rice flour bread), Maggie mee goring (fried instant noodles, yes straight from the packet and fried with whatever is available at hand from cabbage to taufu to sliced chicken to green vegetables shredded). Having mentioned all that, I have actually just scratch the surface of what Malaysia has to offer locally for a lazy brunch, nearly everything save from full fledge meal are suitable.
For those who want to splurge a little and have decadent and indulging breakfast both on stomach and the wallet, Malaysia boasts a whole lot of choices as well. From the lower end of posh cafes, one can get the typical American breakfast (as interpreted by most Malaysians) which is toasts, ham, eggs, beans and sausages, or you can get indulging sandwiches that has thick freshly baked breads sandwiching mountains of fillings in between, or the kopitiam style of toasts and half boiled eggs with good cup of coffee. Even recently the pancakes fever had invaded Malaysia, and it is no longer something ‘easy’ that people does at home for breakfast, one now can go out to a restaurant and enjoy them in various forms, from thin crepe-like to thick puff-like, with various accompaniments, from savoury to sweet. Also one can then move further up the chain and go to posh dining for various brunch choices, where in Malaysia it is extremely popular to have brunch buffets especially in hotels. We are lots that love to get the best value out of our money not to mention the time so we shall feast like there is no tomorrow to not only cover the two meals that we are supposedly having, we may also fill up for the night as well. There are also of course many fine ala-carte choices in these posh establishments that well cater for the brunch crowd, yes the idea is so powerful restaurants are creating and planning their menu around it.
Photo by Judhi
Anyhow, the idea of brunch naturally occurs to us Malaysian, especially those in the rat race that appreciates their weekends very dearly, nearly as if its sacred, therefore there are bounds to be sleep in or things to do in morning, chores to finish before the day starts, and so by the time that people got out to find something to fill their grumbling tummy from the long fast, it is always almost lunch time but not quite yet and with absence of breakfast, it is then the perfect time for brunch!
Rokh is a food columnist on Malaysia Travel Guide, she’s an epicurean and a cook who loves to eat, also writes in her own Malaysia Food Guide – Thamjiak.com . In this column, she will bring you along while she explore various Malaysia foods, like what is good, what makes them so special and how or where to best well enjoy them. More [+]