After such great food in Georgetown I had to lower my expectations for Cenang, it’s a tourist location with limited numbers of dining locals. People don’t come here for the food, they come here for the duty free stores and the tropical setting.
My culinary experiences in Langkawi brought me back to the sandy white beaches with a disappointing thump. Rather than disappointing meals being the exception to the rule they became the rule. Still fairly cheap, the food was not terrible, it just was lack lustre, I even made sure I ate at venues serving local dishes in an attempt to eat dishes locals eat, and in turn know how to cook.
There are days when you win some… the following dishes are the best I had in Cenang, I’d rather not tarnish Langkawi, as I only ate in Cenang.
Nasi goring – Simply translated as “rice fried” this example, studded with vegetables had a wonderful wok smoke flavour, flecks of egg and concentrations of kecap manis, the thick sweet soy sticking clumps of rice together. It was really good.
Kaeng som – This prawn dish had fire, quite a lot of fire, it was so hot the insides of my ears tingled for quite some time after each delicious mouthful, and delicious it was despite the tingling sensation that slowly crept over my face. The Kaeng som I was served is thin heavily spiced broth made from pineapple juice, flavoured with lemongrass, shrimp paste, sweetened with palm sugar and soured with tamarind.
Teh tarik ice cream – Teh tarik is the Malaysian sweet pulled tea, quite distinctive in flavour thanks to sweetened condensed milk that deliver a sugar hit. Tarik usually refers to the process of “pulling” the tea when the tea is poured scalding-ly hot between vessels at increasing heights. This process serves two purposes, the first to cool the tea, the second to create a temporary foam on the surface of the tea that is a joy to breathe in and savour the flavour.