Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday Lunch, Kelate Style

Today, I went to a Malay restaurant for lunch. And I'm pretty sure it was, more specifically, a Kelantanese-style restaurant.

If you don't know, Kelantan is one of the 13 states of Malaysia, and the home state of most of my Malaysian friends. Because of its distinctive culture, unique dialect and isolated geography, the Kelantanese have a special identity among Malaysians, and it's a source of much pride. In a country that loves its food, Kelatanese cooking has a reputation for being the best of the best. I've eaten it a few times since I've been here,and I'm learning to recognize the essential qualities of Kelate cuisine.

So while I can't be completely sure, I did gather some telltale evidence that this was indeed Kelantanese food. Here are the clues:

^ First, along the edge of the restaurant's roofline, I saw a certain style of decorative wooden trim. Hmm. I've seen this in Thailand-style restaurants too, but it speaks of Kelate to me.

^ Inside, the food was served buffet style. And there were a LOT of choices.

^ And some of the serving containers were big,. Like insanely big. Kelate-style big.

^ The next clue was fairly definitive. Blue rice. Bright blue rice. This color, I'm fairly sure, is a hallmark of Kelantanese rice. I am in awe of it.

^ The final clue was simple. I filled my plate and ate it all.

And it was delicious. Case closed.

P.S. My dining partner agreed with me. And then he demanded seconds.

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