What ingredients to buy from Malaysia, 2010? | Hong Kong Food Blog with Recipes, Cooking Tips mostly of Chinese and Asian styles | Taste Hong Kong

What ingredients to buy from Malaysia, 2010?

Foods and edibles from Penang, Malaysia

When I was in Penang early this year, I happily fed myself with lots of hawker foods. Equally happy was that I toured a supermarket in George Town. In less than an hour (maybe much less than that as I felt not shopping enough), I bought some fresh fruits, snacks and a bag of cooking ingredients with which I brought home.

In the past few months, most of them have kept entertaining my taste buds, often reminding me of the flavors of Malay foods. Although I have not yet finished all these stocks, greedily I am getting ready to shop for another batch of edibles again in Malaysia soon. I love their dark soy sauce, belacan, black pepper, sugar (though I missed it out in this shot) …

White pepper, black pepper, dark soy sauce, grilled clam, fish sauce from Penang, Malaysia from Penang, Malaysia

Dark soy sauce
With a large red label printed mostly in Chinese, the dark soy sauce almost deceives me in terms of its origin. Having had a closer look, I’m assured that it is a PRODUCT OF MALAYSIA with NO MSG and believe it or not, it is manufactured by Campbell. I am glad that I have picked it not because of its brand name behind, but for reasons it proves to me that it is a great sauce for stewing, for mingling and frying with noodles. And It is probably the thickest soy sauce I have ever tried

Belacan (Shrimp paste)
I bought the belacan from a shop near Kek Lok Si (Temple of Supreme Bliss) in Penang. I use it for stir-frying vegetables, for making soup base. A small amount of this belacan is almost as salty as the same amount of salt but comes with a pungent flavor of dried shrimps. No doubt, it is also a great helper for cooking a flavorful dish of Char Koay Teow (Stir-Fried Flat Rice Noodles).

Spices, dried herbs, and seasonings there are displayed one section after another but prices of them are mostly at a fraction of ours. You shall not be disappointed if you are looking for bottled pastes – laksa paste, chili paste, rojak paste, sweet and sour paste, nearly all types of S.E. Asian pastes you could name. Since I am not a big fan of most pre-mixed pastes, I grabbed mainly the raw ingredients. Their black peppers please me as much as the ones I usually have, but again they deserve more credits because of their lower prices.

I made a foolish move however. I brought back from more than a thousand mile away the brands of coconut powder, fish sauce and grilled clams which actually are all available in Hong Kong!

So what are the best local foods to find in Kuala Lumpur where I will be visiting next week? Curry powder, tamarind paste, red chili flakes are already on my list… How about hearing advice from you as well?

White pepper, black pepper, dark soy sauce, grilled clam, fish sauce from Penang, Malaysia from Penang, Malaysia

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  1. penny aka jeroxie

    The bak kut teh packets! Curry powders and chilli paste.

  2. the lacquer spoon

    So many interesting spices and seasonings in your kitchen, woow! They must be helpful to reconstruct your memory of trip to Penang in HK. Wish you make “What ingredients to buy from Tokyo, 2011 😉

  3. TasteHongKong

    @penny, I enjoyed the bak kut teh (pork rib tea) both in S’pore and Malaysia. Sadly, I forgot to cook the packets I brought back from S’pore before they expired. That is why I refrained myself from buying any in my last visit to K.L. and Penang. Let me give it a second thought. Thanks.

    @the lacquer spoon, Yes, it is more or less like bringing back some memories of the trip. I would be more than happy to visit Tokyo even in 2010 should time+$$+hubby permit : ). Thanks.

  4. Pepy @Indonesia Eats

    You may want to buy asam gelugur (malay: asam gelugor) to cook traditional melayu curry base next time.

    I use the same brand of coconut powder that you have there.

  5. Christine@Christine's Recipes

    Most of the Malay products you showcased here I can find here in Asian stores. Heehee…..They are very popular. But I still want to go to Malaysia and do shopping and tasting there.

  6. TasteHongKong

    @Pepy@Indonesia, It is added on my list now : ), thanks.

    @Christine@Christine’s Recipe, Yes, it is always good to buy local foods from their origins. I remember there are quite a number of Australia items in that supermarket. Seems that there are lots of trades going on between these two areas.

  7. Angie's Recipes

    Coconut powder…never saw them here…
    how about some pandan leaves?? Again something you are not going to find here in Germany.

  8. TasteHongKong

    @Angie’s Recipes, That would be a nice idea to have some pandan leaves delivered from Malay in hours. Hope to see them toward the end of our trip, so that I could bring them back fresh. Thanks.

  9. Heavenly Housewife

    I’d love to go to malaysia some day. Actually though, the Indian shop that i go to does have some of these ingredients. I actually have coconut powder but am not that sure what to do with it LOL. HOpe you had a great weekend.
    *kisses* HH

  10. tigerfish

    Some curry powder perhaps? Wow, you frequent Malaysia quite a lot. Enjoy your trip, ya?

  11. noobcook

    same here, I like to buy a lot of cooking stuff when I’m overseas, only to realise that they are sold in Singapore too when I come back 😛 But I know one thing you may not find in HK but can be found in M’sia is red glutinous wine lees (红槽). Not sure if KL has it though, it’s really yummy 🙂

  12. sophia

    I wonder if you can apply this to Singapore, too! Hee hee, I did not come back with dark soy sauce or belacan, but I did come back with a bunch of cheap spices! 🙂

  13. pigpigscorner

    A relative ask us to bring over some Lingham chili sauce and curry maggi noodles when we went to HK. I used to bring back bottles of that dark soy sauce, fortunately I can now find it in Chinatown here.

  14. TasteHongKong

    Hi Everyone,
    Am back with a bag of stuff for cooking again, palm sugar, curry powder, tamarind paste, spices …. Thank you for all your advice, so kind!

    @penny aka jeroxie, Thanks! I’ve got a pack of bak kut teh – pork rib tea. There were many brands to choose from, and I picked one that labeled with vegetarian style as we should have only tried the meat version before.

    @Pepy@Indonesia Eats, Thanks! I brought back a small bag of asam keping, which I believe is the same as asam gelugur. It costs RM1.30 only. Although the asm keping is dried, it looks fresh.

    @Angie’s Recipes, Thanks! Sadly, I didn’t see any panda leaves, probably because I mainly visited their supermarkets than local grocery stores.

    @Heavenly Housewife, Thanks.! How do you like cooking curries and desserts with coconut powder?

    @tigerfish, Thanks! I bought curry powder in my last and recent visits. Hubby decided to visit Malaysia again as there was a promotion from the Malaysian Airlines. Besides, he loves their foods.

    @noobcook, Thanks! Maybe similar to Malay’s red glutinous wine lees (红槽), we have here red rice yeast (紅麴) as well; but it is very rare now. Perhaps, I had missed it out when touring the supermarkets in KL : (.

    @sophia, The things I bought were inexpensive either. Though mostly of them cost about a few dollars RM, I am very happy with them. Spore?! Just please don’t stop me from buying laksa paste.

    @pigpigscorner, If there was no expiry date of that dark soy, I would carry a few more bottles back : ).

  15. Mary Moh

    I usually buy spices when I go back…small and easy to bring in and will not be stopped by custom. They are authentic too. Very often I brought back ready mixed herbs for soup or medicinal purposes too. I don’t buy them in bottles as they are heavy and more expensive. Those ready curry pastes are very good. I can get some here so I don’t buy them. The best is to ask for recommendation for the brands to buy, and even the place to get them. I am not familiar so I always have to ask my friends or family for advice and help. Have fun cooking Malaysian food.

  16. Mei Teng

    Beef ball noodles at Soon Kee restaurant (Lebuh Ampang, near RHB Bank). And there’s also the kuey teow with beef slices (Jalan Imbi). I have been enjoying those dishes since I was a child…although I have not visited the latter one for ages.

    M’sia is a melting pot of cuisines.

  17. RC

    I noticed that there were several post that mentions you can find these items in Hong Kong. Where in HK can you find grocery stores catering in m’sian food products?

  18. TasteHongKong

    Excuse me, are there such posts?

  19. Maya

    Hi taste – it’s funny but when we go to HK we too love your bright supermarkets especially the fruit section. I think that’s the beauty of sampling food products in foreign countries and bringing them home. For me, it was the luscious strawberries and blueberries from HK supermarkets that I love most. Not to mention the delicious soups and dishes. We even like dining at Maxim and Cafe de Coral – so much to try and eat at all times. As I live in Penang, i wonder if you tried the nutmeg products such as nutmeg juice and dried nutmeg slices? They are famous throughout Penang.

  20. TasteHongKong

    Yes, the in season berries are lovely; we are fortunate enough to have them imported from abroad, thanks to the efficient airport infrastructure. Visited Penang for a couple of times, and I never feel bored going again. I have yet to try the many nutmeg products you mentioned, but we did bring back with us some nutmeg oil. Thanks for sharing.

  21. Chris

    Hi, Might be too late to post but just a few ideas. I live in Canada though born in Pg and have had the fortune to travel back a few times recently. Pg is definitely a foodie heaven! If still looking for the dark soya sauce, the best brand is the one with a rose on the label. It is only avail in Pg as I tried to look for it in KL and nothing. Best test to the quality of the sauce? Add it to some fresh chopped garlic and have it with some hot rice…YUM!! If u want to get some curry leaves home, pluck the leaves off the stalks and mix them in with local curry powder and put in a container. Don’t even have to put in the fridge. I highly any of Tean’s brand curry mixes and bak-kut-teh. I bring tons back whenever I am back.

  22. TasteHongKong

    Thank you for dropping by and sharing your valuable experience. Never mind the timing cause I always want to visit Penang again, and I do believe other readers who read this shall benefit from your advice too.

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