We left the Bangsar Ramadan bazaar dripping sweat and toting a load of prepared food (well, I was toting a load of prepared food -- Dave has his photo equipment to look after). That said, the load would have been much larger if we hadn't only a couple of hours before polished off large bowls of exquisite seafood curry noodles. But that's for another post.
Back at home we got things rolling with a couple of pulut pangang udang (sticky rice roll filled with dried shrimp, wrapped in a banana leaf, and grilled) and otak-otak (right). The latter I described in my last post as little fish sausage-y nubbins -- perfectly delicious with an evening cocktail. The pulut panggang .... well, all I can say is that while it was tasty enough, my heart still belongs to the zippier, more assertively flavored version I fell in love with in Kuala Selangor.
Piece de resistance of our evening feed was the ikan terubuk bakar (grilled tilapia, Sarawak-style).
A delicious specimen that, even at room temperature and a couple of hours off the barbecue, evinced deep smoky flavor skin through to flesh, complemented by an aromatic (and greasy) turmeric rub; this fish just might be another reason to catch the next flight to Kuching. A dipping sauce so fiery and belacan (Malaysian shrimp paste) fishy it nearly blew my head off accompanied. The downside: this is one bony fish. I'm not talking large, distinct bones that you can locate and remove from the fish before it reaches your mouth, or even medium, thinner bones that will find their way to the front of your tongue for easy ejection. I'm talking lots and lots and lots of skinny, tiny bones that elude all attempts at capture. Despite its wonderful flavor I'm not sure that I would have this fish to dinner again.
To go with the fish, a green mango salad quite similar in taste to the classic Thai somtam (green papaya salad). The vendor we bought this salad from had nearly sold out of this one item; recognizing that as a good sign, we nabbed the last plastic bagful.
This homely dish consists of unripe and slightly ripe (read: sour and crunchy and sweet/sour and a bit soft) mangos cut into thick and uneven matchsticks, plenty of red onion and chile, kalamansi juice and a big hit of belacan. Right up there on the heat scale to match the hottest somtam I've ever sampled in Thailand, it offered no respite from the dipping sauce accompanying the ikan bakar. But it was delicious, and we polished off the bowl with little effort.
Wing beans with coconut were a cooling counterpoint to the mango salad.
I dont' know the name of this dish in Malaysian, but in Balinese it's known as urab -- vegetables (usually cooked, though these wing beans weren't) mixed with grated fresh coconut, palm sugar, and spices such as turmeric and galangal. This item proved to be deliciously crunchy and surprisingly -- for a primarily vegetable dish -- rich, something akin to drinking half a glass of coconut milk straight up. I'm ashamed to admit we couldn't finish it, despite its high yum factor.
Urab of various kind were were gracing the tables of almost every Bangsar bazaar vendor selling rice and dishes. The one below is made with cooked water spinach instead of wing beans.
To finish our feast of Ramadan bazaar carry-out delights, a plate of sweet and savory treats.
Clockwise from top left, a rice cake rolled in fish floss, kole kole (a coconut-based sweet with nuts),
cheras cara berlauk (cuminy cooked jicama-filleed puffy flour roll), and a pao (steamed dumpling) filled with grated coconut and palm sugar. The latter was my favorite -- soft, supple dough and a rich, sweet filling of my two favorite dessert ingredients.
All in all, quite a good score. The Bangsar Ramadan bazaar is behind Bangsar Village Shopping Center, and some items are on sale as early as 3:30pm.