Food in Malaysia is good. Very good. It’s cheap, plentiful and freely available freshly cooked on the street. Yet we often chose to eat in food courts in shopping malls. I’ll explain why.
We often visit shopping malls when travelling. I think they’re a good dip-test for cost of living and the style of living in a country. Oh, and they have air-conditioning, and protection from monsoon rains. And coffee shops. And internet.
In Melaka and KL we often ate in the malls as we are trying (but not managing) to keep our costs down. The food is excellent and there’s a huge variety and we can choose what we want to eat individually, yet sit together. But the clincher is….there are both PICTURES and PRICING on all stalls, for all to see. So I can work out what I’m ordering AND know how much I’m paying. Two things I don’t always achieve when buying street food.
If you’re still not convinced about dining in a shopping mall, allow me to put my case for the defence forward.
- You do pay a bit more than on the street but you don’t have scooters and cars whizzing by
- You can opt out of rice as you are often able to pick your food from a display and make up the plate of food you want. I often got looks of incredulity when I said, ‘No, no rice. Yes, no rice’ (probably because it’s a confusing sentence)
- We saw a group of people (possibly an extended family or work outing) having a full on feast in a mall in Melaka, so it must be a good thing
- Did I mention the air-conditioning?
For the prosecution: The food is often a bit tepid if you’re making up your own plate from the vast display of pre-cooked food.