Unfortunately the flip-side is that when you're in a place unused to foreign visitors, it can bring a host of other difficulties - all of which we've found in the past three days. You may have trouble reading the menu (if there is one) because it's in Bahasa Melayu, Cantonese, Hakka or Hokkien, you don't know how to order and the staff all seem to just ignore you or simply that when your dish comes it's... Revolting/not what you ordered/different from what you expect.
On our first night when we'd literally just touched down on Malaysian soil, we (plus Mark, Richard and Kate whom we'd met travelling from Thailand) headed into little India for a curry. There wasn't much open but we settled for a brightly-lit place with a number of meat curries of varying degrees of spiciness on the menu. Maybe alarm bells should have started ringing when all the chicken curries looked the same, although everyone ordered something different. Maybe it was just a case of crushed expectations. We'd all heard about great Malaysian curries but none of us enjoyed the meal. The chicken curries were all cold (Hmmm.. could they have been the same thing?) and all of them (even my mutton korma) was too spicy for the person eating it. Something neither naan, rice or pepsi could cure...
Jody's since tried stir-fried frogs legs (not at the same place) and he can confirm that they do taste like chicken. Last night we had an excellent indian meal that was all served up, not on plates, but on giant banana leaves. Well, I guess it saves on washing up.
But for revolting foods in Malaysia, tonight's desert took the biscuit... We ate in an outdoor food court run by malay muslims. I had a Pad Thai-type noodle dish and Jody got a strange mix of battered prawns and batter with nothing in it topped with spicy tomato sauce. Throughout our main meal, we saw staff bringing out loads of these fantastic-looking, huge colourful deserts and decided to try one. It goes by the name of 'Ais Kacang', a huge ball of shaved ice coloured with brown and luminous pink syrup, with icecream on the top. Underneath the enormous, edible snowball was a mix of jelly, sweetcorn and beans. I had about two mouthfuls and felt sick. The pink side of the ice tasted like fish sauce. Jody was determined to eat his way through to discover what was at the bottom, an action which he now sorely regrets.