[Penang, Malaysia] Home-cooking during the COVID-19 Lockdown

Thanks. I made it again last week with haddock fillet. Will show you the photo next time.

These days I hardly go food shopping and the salted/preserved vegs come in handy and they keep well.

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BTW, Penang is one of the 6 Malaysian states (together with Kuala Lumpur, Malacca, Selangor, Johore and Sabah) will go into another one-month-long lockdown starting this Wednesday due to the recent rise in COVID cases. Penang is reporting over 200 cases daily.

So, it’ll be back to more home-cooking for me here as all restaurants, cafes and hawker/food centres can only offer take-outs during the lockdown period.


Same here. Current 5 week lockdown has been extended to Feb 9.

Look forward to seeing your home-cooked food again.

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Same in all four nations of the UK. My borough currently has about 150 new infections per day (population about 300k) and we are one of the lowest in the metro area. Things now appear to be worse than in the first wave in the spring - yet our lockdown is unfathomably less restrictive than then.


This is an economic consideration, like the lockdown in France in November vs the very strict lockdown in spring. I believe the English has more faith in vaccination, the situation will be getting better after spring. Here, survey shows more than 60% of French refused to be vaccinated. A journalist asked why the president or the minsters didn’t vaccinate in front of the camera, the health minister said he feared that would create a even larger resistance. :rofl:

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How much population in Penang?

In France, daily cases about ± 20 000 everyday, population 67 million. 1/3 of the country has a 6 pm curfew, in the Parisian region, the curfew is at 8 pm. Restaurants are closed since end of October, the original plan was to reopen on 20 January. On Sunday, I got a phone call from a restaurant saying my mid February reservation was cancelled and postponed to 1 May! Honestly, no idea when we can eat out again, I hope earlier than that.

Stay safe and happy cooking!

Yes, I saw that survey the other day. Very worrying. I think the UK figure is more than 70% have said they will get the vaccine - and those figures are generally going up.

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1.7 million.

How disappointing! But I guess we all have to sit tight till this pandemic is over. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

Everyone in the world - including the Chinese - are COVID-fatigued. They know the virus is still out there, but they can’t be bothered to observe the precautions anymore.

The difference in China is that the Communist Party there still can use brute force and intimidation to force their populace into strict lockdowns, something which very few other governments in other countries can afford to do.

Not Covid related but we get quite a lot of coverage of the ongoing situation in Hong Kong. Worrying times.

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Penang is back in Lockdown again, with the recent spike in COVID cases - we had 194 cases yesterday, ugh, and Malaysia has 3,211 cases overall.

Restaurants are allowed to do deliveries or take-outs, though.

Day Three of the lockdown and I decided to make Shakshouka for breakfast with whatever I have in my fridge.

Yesterday, I did a breakfast takeout from my favourite neighbourhood eatery, Warisan Bonda - their lacy, eggy roti jala crepes with beef-and-potato curry never disappoints. Best on the island.

Lunch yesterday was wantan noodles from the famous Genting Cafe in Island Glades. Typical Malaysian-style wantan noodles with dark soy sauce dressing, but to which I added a fried egg (yup, fried egg on wantan noodles is ALL THE RAGE in Singapore right now!!) and a piece of Spam.
Probably works for the Singaporean palate, but not for me. :joy: :-1: :-1:

Dinner yesterday evening consisted of some fruits I got from the morning market in my neighbourhood: pitahaya and sapodilla.


Interesting about the spam rage in Singapore. We have real meat now.

They still use it in home-style cooking in Okinawa. The partner ate it all for me.


Spam and fish :joy:


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People simply acquired a taste for it! :joy:
Remember Hawaiian musubi? Essentially norimaki-sushi made using Spam. I first had it at L&L Hawaiian Barbecue in Honolulu many years back.

These ones from Aloha Poke back in Singapore.

Okinawans really love their bitter gourd, don’t they? We have a few Okinawan restaurants in Singapore, and we’d inadvertently see bitter gourd dishes on their menu, which we won’t see in any other Japanese restaurants.

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Vile thing. Got the nori parcel for the partner. We had a little picnic on the beach on Taetomi island.

They also eat goya/bitter gourd raw. It’s not so bitter at all, but then I have a high tolerance for bitter foods. Here I made a pile of salad for myself (Ishigaki island)

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COVID Lockdown 2021. Day 12, Sunday Jan 24: Chicken Chasseur for dinner at home.

This classic French country dish has been around since 1559! Basically a “Hunter’s Stew”, it involved cooking chicken in wine, shallots, tomatoes and mushrooms, sprinkled with fines herbes.

I first cooked Chicken Chasseur as a college student back in 1986. It was a near-disaster then, averted by the fact that my two dinner guests were my Polish and Finnish classmates - who both happened to love sweet-savory dishes!

Earlier that evening, as I was cooking, I realized that my Aussie flatmate had drunk the half-bottle of red wine I had in the fridge which I needed to cook this dish! No red wine, no Chicken Chasseur! I rummaged through my larder and could only find a bottle of sherry. Being the foolish, inexperienced young “cook” that I am, I emptied half a bottle of sherry into my stew.

Sherry, when cooked down, equates sugar, LOTS of it! The resultant Chicken Chasseur was, to me, practically inedible. Just as I was about to pour the whole pot away, the first of my guests arrived - my Finnish friend, Antti Siira. I apologized to him by saying I mucked up my Chicken Chasseur dish, and we should wait for Jan Kowalski to arrive before we set out to my neighborhood pizza joint for dinner, on me.

Antti said the stew smelt delicious and asked to have a taste of it. I was skeptical, but reluctantly let him have a try. His face brightened up and he pronounced it delicious! :scream:

Our Polish friend arrived a while later, and he also thought the stew was marvellous. I, on the other had, could NOT bring myself to eat one more forkful of the stew!

So, there we were at the dinner table, I was picking at the salad and bread whilst watching Antti and Jan polish off an entire pot of Chicken Chasseur like they had been starving the whole week!

They both pronounced it the BEST dish they’d ever tasted in a long while, and asked me to cook it for them again the next time! Thank God I didn’t invite any French classmates over!

This evening, I made Chicken Chasseur again - with red wine, of course. :joy:

Each time I cook this, I still recall that faux pas I made 35 years ago! I don’t remember which recipe I referred to back then, but this evening, I used BBC’s:(https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/one-pot-chicken-chasseur). I served it with pommes puree on the side.


Great story - thanks!


Back in the depths of time - 1972 to be precise - we celebrated our first Christmas together. Although we were very inexperienced cooks, this was to be a “proper” Christmas lunch. Turkey, all the classic trimmings, followed by Christmas pudding and white sauce. This was the days of “cooking easy and simple”, so we bought a packet of the traditional white sauce. It just needing adding to milk and being warmed through. All was fine - I remember we had eaten well on turkey, etc. Then to the pudding, which we’d bought and steamed for a couple of hours (this is in pre-microwave days). We helped ourselves to a bowlful and poured lashings of white sauce over. It had an off taste. No - not just odd but actively wrong and unpleasant. Couldnt eat it. Discovered the packet later in the kitchen. And who knew there was white sauce for pudding and white onion sauce. Some mistakes you don’t make twice.


OMG! :joy:
Well, it was 1972. Even Mary Berry would’ve just released her very first cookbook a couple of years earlier.

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It’s Thaipusam today - one of the largest Hindu festivals in Penang and a bank holiday. Usually, the religious procession takes on an almost carnival-like atmosphere, and up to 1.2 million Hindu devotees, including pilgrims from other states and overseas, would throng the streets of George Town. But because of the COVID lockdown, the Penang state government has banned any street processions this year - the first time in more than 150 years!

Just sharing some pics from previous Thaipusams which I attended - Indians constitute 9.4% of Penang’s population. This is one of the times when the community’s vibrant culture comes alive:

Usually, we’d grab an Indian vegetarian breakfast, e.g. paratha with dhal curry, from one of the many pop-up food kiosks along the route of the procession:

Well, no Indian vegetarian breakfast for this year, with all eateries not allowing dining-ins. Breakfast this morning was at home: Cumberland sausages with egg & beans.


Great story! Unless a bad one, wine seldom ruins a chicken dish. Although once I’ve tried with a Sauternes to substitue another white, it was simply too sweet and impossible to eat.

I haven’t cooked poulet chasseur, but chicken, wine, estragon and mushroom, yes! With white wine though, red is less common with chicken.

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