Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunday Lunch Delights

Went for lunch on Sunday with the wife and a Malay friend. One of our favorite restaurants is what they call a Mamak stall, meaning that it is run by Indian Muslims. This shop uses a tandoor to prepare some of their food items (barbecued chicken, baked flat bread), thus the items are called ayam tandoori (tandoor chicken) and such. Normally, the waiters use the term roti naan, which combines both the Malay and Indian words for bread, but today my waiter called it tandoori naan, meaning that the flat bread is baked on the inside wall of the tandoor.

Tandoori chicken in Malaysia is usually served with limes (kasturi or nipis lime) and onion slices. Naan comes in different flavours (e.g., plain, cheese, onion, garlic) and one is usually offered a variety of dipping sauces. The typical are mint sauce, dal (lentil paste) and at least one kind of curry.

Although one sees both Malays and Chinese eating at the tandoori restaurant, not all of the colleagues that I have taken there have been keen on the place. I took a couple of female Malay colleagues once, and although they seemingly liked the food, I realised later that they were put off by the group of South Asian men -who frequent the restaurant- staring at us. There are many Bangladeshi, Pakistani, and Nepalese labourers in Malaysia these days, and Mamak stalls are focal points for the one day a week that they have free.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Mr. Toad-in-the-Wall revealed...

A cursory search on the internet has shown Mr. Toad-in-the-Wall to be a Malaysian Painted Toad (Kaloula pulchra), and also known as both the Banded Bull Frog and the Chubby Frog. So many names!

Many images are available in a google search. Also, another expat in Malaysia has also posted comments and photos about this specie of toad in their backyard. Apparently, some people keep these toad/frogs as pets! No need in our case, since he is already well situated in the back wall.

I waited outside one evening, right after sundown, and caught my buddy crawling out of his meter-high hole-in-the-wall. He was able to suck in his gut enough to get out, and then turned around and crawled down the wall backwards, like a mountain climber who has decided to go down, not up. Half-way down, he dropped to the concrete and proceeded to search for dinner.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Critters in the Backyard

When we remodeled our house right after purchase, we added a concrete slab and roof in the back so my wife could have a covered area for laundry. She has prettied the space up with hanging potted plants and a hedge border. The space tends to be cooler than the surroundings, thus, it attracts critters, not the least being The Cat.

While checking for termites this weekend (present), I discovered a toad peeking out from inside a hole. The brick-and-mortar wall was built by the neighbor behind, and he only finished his side with cement facing, which means somehow this toad is able to climb up the wall on our side to a height of around one meter, and pull inside a hole which appears to be smaller than he (or she) is. Toad-in-the-Wall.

Another critter, rarely seen, is this iguana or member of the iguana family. He was extremely fast and nimble during the heat of the day, but I was able to get one shot off with the little camera that I carry in my fanny pack.