Bangus and Nasi Lemak (Part 1)

Consider this to be a prequel of sorts. A prequel that has been split in two parts. A prequel that has snuck in just in the nick of time, just as the pre-movie trailers have ended.

I realized this blog hasn't had any proper introductions save from the compulsory about page. So I shall write one. A proper but maybe not so formal introduction. A prequel served with bangus and nasi lemak. 

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The bangus - or milkfish in English - is the Philippine national fish. We have a lot of national symbols - a national tree, a national flower, a national house, a national dance - a national everything. Well, I ate our national fish as last night's dinner. Grilled, left over from the 25th's Christmas buffet, cooked Pinoy style.

And served with Malay sambal and nasi lemak.

Nasi Lemak - rich, literally "fatty" rice - is Malaysia's national dish. It's also one of my favourite delicacies. It consists of rice boiled using coconut milk, a teaspoon of roasted peanuts, a dash of fried anchovies, a piece of hardboiled (sometimes sunnyside) egg, a slice of cucumber, and chicken - fried or cooked masak merah or rendang style. Topped with a bit of sambal - red, spicy, chilli-based sauce.

My dinner was proof of the way the Pinoy and Malay way of lives have collided.

I came to Malaysia in 2009 to take up my Master's in IT. Schools in Malaysia offer good research grants and I wanted to explore a different land. My feet were itching to go somewhere new. Since I knew a couple of people in My - and since the Lord simply told me to do so (pardon me for sounding overly spiritual, but yeah, that's the way it happened) - I found myself here. Studying IT.

I graduated last year and found work in an international school. No, I'm not a lecturer. I am a web developer, but that's another story.

Really. And along with that story are a whole lot of other stories as well.

I've been living here for three-point-five years. I eat anything included in the wide array of local dishes. I sort of speak and sort of understand Bahasa Melayu, tapi sikit-sikit sahaja. I've been to a couple of notable Malaysian towns and cities and am planning to visit more. I also own several pairs of baju kurungs.

And yet I still get homesick a lot.

My aunt (who lives in Iowa) says getting homesick is normal. I miss my family. I miss friends. I miss certain someones. I miss Filipino weather (err maybe not so much) and I miss Filipino food (that, I miss a lot).

You may find yourself enjoying their nasi lemak but there's nothing like a good helping of grilled bangus.

(to be continued)