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Saturday, May 4, 2013

A Malaysian-Indian Bridge Building Meeting

Some years ago, I had attended a big fat Indian wedding at KotaKinaBalu, a beach resort in Malaysia. The bride and groom arrived in an helicopter; we waited at the helipad to greet the couple and then walked slowly behind a (Orchids decorated) golf car (in which couple sat) to arrive at the beautiful stage of bamboos and exotic flowers. It was a lovely wedding by the beach. The pundit read his mantras in Sanskrit and then translated in English for those sitting by the beach listening to him. We sat there, dressed in finery but barefoot, with feet dug deep into the sand. The sea breeze caressed our blow-dried hair. The sun behind the Mandap went down slowly, playing with our eyes. With every blink, the color of the sky changed, from light blue to pink to dark red and finely to dark blue.

One of the occasions was on another island about thirty minutes away by sea. We took a boat to reach another island, enjoyed the typical Malaysian cuisine and were back at the hotel to attend next ritual. Wedding was a good excuse to explore the city. In between the main events, we stole time to visit the shopping areas and few points of interest. Those who were too lazy to venture out spend their free time at the spas.

Malaysia’s position as a top spa destination is increasingly acknowledged worldwide. They offer wide varieties of spas like day spas, medical spas, destination spas, etc. using mainly ‘home grown’ herbs and locally produced ingredients. Many spas offer spa packages that include full body massage, hair treatment, pedicure, manicure, facial, sauna and steam body wraps, mud baths and body scrubs. Whenever we got time, we stole few moments at the spa.

The memories of that memorable trip resurfaced this weekend when my friend invited me to accompany her for a ‘bridge building’ meeting at VongWong with the director of Malaysian tourism, Mr. Manoharan Periasamy.

 Eating the pomelo salad brought back many food memories.

I am planning to make this as soon as I can find pomelo in the market (Or grape fruit). Just have to combine lime-juice, garlic, soy sauce, sugar, fresh chili, sliced onions, then add pomelo, bean sprouts, peanuts and coriander leaves.

Malaysian food  is actually the blend of Indian, Chinese and Indonesian cuisine. There was a great variety of food during different occasions. On my vegetarian day, Tuesday, I sat with the group of vegetarian family and enjoyed the specially prepared greens with them. One by one, the dishes arrived, each specially prepared for the Vegetarians. The food was so tasty that it disappeared within two minutes. I still remember that exotic taste.

Sshh! I am not supposed to eat sweets, but this is too delicious, the scoop of vanilla ice cream, sliced mango pieces and the coconut rice.

 Okay maybe I should make this coconut rice too since mango is in season. No?

Just dump a can of coconut milk in a pot and boil until water content is reduced, it is a slow process of stirring and toasting until they are a deep, crunchy golden brown, then add the steamed rice, sugar and salt to it.

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