Woks of Life

Blending craft and food together, “Woks of Life” unravels the stories of food and living when craftsmen of various trades come to seek out the food that fuels their daily lives.


Restoran Ayam Penyet Binjai

What’s in a plate of authentic ayam penyet? For Indonesian restaurant Restoran De Binjai in Johor, a lot is in the chili. Well, that paste is a blend of strong aromatics of garlic, galangal and lemongrass and more, seasoned with salt and cooked for two hours! And the chefs say, it’s what makes the dish so great. For the chicken, it’s expertly fried and smashed to fall-off-bone tender and crisp all at once. A favorite haunt of those in Muar, the restaurant also makes a creamy and cooling avocado smoothie that makes a perfect pair with the fiery chili.

Ah Du Hokkien Mee

Prawn-based hokkien mee may be a common thing in Malaysia, but one stall in Kedah is standing out for its salty pork finish. It starts typically at Ah Du Hokkien Mee, with hot bowls brewed with prawn shells, and topped with rice noodles and beansprouts. Then, they are swirled in with something unusual - crunchy small cubes of salted pork – which tastes a bit like fried lard. And there’s quite a process to it. But it’s not all salty too, there’s sweetness from the vegetables, and bounce from strips of pig intestines (which are optional). The whole thing is then cooked over charcoal fire, adding another complex whiff of smokiness to the bowl.

Old Farm Minumam Susu Lembeng

What are your comfort foods? If you’re in Penang, many flock to Old Farm Minuman Susu Lembu Segar at night, for a cup of warm honey-stirred milk and grilled toast, laid with soft-boiled eggs. But if you’re feeling a little hungrier, order a plate of coconut-steamed nasi lemak too. Some say though, hungry or not, these three things are must-orders.

Nonya Laksa Empire

If you’ve never tried a bowl of nyonya laksa while in Malacca, then be sure to try it on your next trip - at Nyonya Laksa Empire. The small hawker stall selling hot bowls of the classic Peranakan dish is run by a bona fide Nyonya Baba (Peranakan man), and just what one local recommends. The laksa is a gorgeous layered shade of glossy yellow and orange, with spritey lifting aromatics like lemongrass, ginger, tauhu pok (beancurd skin puffs), sweet-spicy shrimp-pounded sambal, and coconut milk – which the owner-chef says is the most important thing.

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