Nice Food, Shame About The Fizz.

This fuss I have made of the food in Malaysia is all very well – and yes, doan worry, I have finished my rave – but out there I hear a bustling in the hedgerow, and I know it ain’t the May Queen spring cleaning. Awright already, we’ve got it about the food, I hear yas say, then comes that Voice From Behind…BUT WHAT ABOUT THE BEER?

Could the gentleman at the back please resume his seat and pop a blood pressure pill. Thank you.

Well, whaddaya want first – the good news or the bad? Right then…

The good news is that there is a reasonable choice of beers and they sit quite well on the palate after a good nosh-up of spicy vittles. Quite well indeed. Tiger and Carlsberg are the drops you’ll find everywhere. Respectable beers, both, though certainly not special.

More good news: most of the time they are served cold, in ice buckets. Bewdy.

And if you really want yer Fosters, VB, Crownies etc, they are readily available at the supermarkets in the main population centres (and yes, it’s no accident that I include Crownies in such ordinary company – the smart collar label may be gold, but it’s fool’s gold).

The bad news is that prices are high compared with most SE Asian countries (though not as high as Singapore). But let’s keep this in perspective. Beer prices for the local drops like Tiger and Carlsberg are about the same as Oz. Yet I’ve actually come across Aussies who have cited the price of beer as a major reason to give Malaysia a miss!

It beats me why, but people here seem to weight the price of beer/alcohol heavily when assessing holiday destinations in Asia. I recently heard a bloke enthusing in tones of rapture about the price of beer in Vietnam. It was so cheap, he proclaimed, that he spent most of his time in Saigon in bars, scoffing down the bargain brews. Bugger the sights – one Asian city’s the same as another. Tours? Seen one paddy field, you’ve seen ’em all. Cultcha? Only customs that matter are the ones you pass through with yer duty free. History? That was us after 8 hours sinkin’ piss in that bar, mate! Cheap? Shit YEAH!

Here’s a logic check, boys. If beers are your main priority, stay home for your hols with 2 weeks’ worth of your favourite amber. You’ll cut yer plane fare and accomodation expenses to zero. Order some Asian takeaways for atmosphere. Helluva bargain – beats the crap outta Vietnam.

Now that I’ve had my fun, here are the Malaysian supermarket prices of the beers most commonly available:

Tiger 660ml: 11RM ($3.80AUD)
Tiger 325ml: 5.6RM ($1.95AUD)
Tiger 320ml can: 5RM ($1.75AUD)
Crown Lager 375ml: 12RM ($4.15AUD)
Heineken 320ml can: 6.6RM ($2.30AUD)
Guinness 320ml can: 5.69RM ($2.00AUD)

Australian and other wines are available in supermarkets, also, but you’ll pay a premium for them. At home, I drink wine nightly with dinner, but I didn’t miss it at all while in Malaysia. Frankly, I don’t think wine is particularly compatible with tropical heat and humidity. A good cold lager goes better with Indian and other spicy food, anyway. So, doing without wine was really not much of a sacrifice.

It’s a different story back here. Deny me a red with a pasta at your own very substantial risk. And there’s something about wine and winter…I do declare there is a glass on the desk beside me. Nothing like a quiet sip to lubricate the flow. In fact it’s time for a top-up, which makes this as good a place as any to stop.

4 thoughts on “Nice Food, Shame About The Fizz.”

  1. Just stumbled on your blog. And have been devouring your posts on Msian food. Arrgh arrgh arghh, how I miss Msian food. Getting the munchies at 3am and driving to the nearest 24 hr mamak/hawker restaurant for some roti!

    Glad you’re enjoying your food trip!

  2. Hi Jamie

    Not enjoying, unfortunately – enjoyed! Been back for over a month, now. So I’m in your boat…and don’t mention “roti”! What I wouldn’t give for a banana and honey roti and teh tarik for breakfast tomorrow. And a curry with roti and/or naan for lunch. And some kwai teow kak for dinner, then some…


    Are you Malaysian? Where are you living? Malaysians living abroad must feel a yawning gap in their lives when they think about the food back home. Commiserations!

  3. A whole month?! Actually yes, I think you mentioned it on one of your previous entries. I must’ve been too distracted by all the food mentioned, lol!

    Yep, I’m Malaysian. I live in Perth at Curtin Uni (yes, oncampus. The joy of attending class in pjs). And yes, ask any Msian living overseas what they miss most about home, and I can almost guarantee that all of them will mention the food! To make matters worse, I can’t cook to save my life! So it’s frozen dinners and instant pasta for me, ohnoez!

    It’s not all bad tho, there are a few alright M’sian restaurants around. But nothing can beat a fresh, steaming plate of fried kway teow full of hot, oily goodness from a noisy, greasy hawker restaurant!

    If you’re missing roti, there’s a place in Vic Park along Albany Highway called Makan2. The rotis there are pretty ok, and they do GREAT teh tarik! And I kid you not, they do VEGEMITE roti. How’s THAT for a slice of fried gold, eh?

  4. Frozen dinners and instant pasta?! This is a circumstance so dire that it may be worth learning to cook!

    “Full of hot oily goodness” – oh YES! You said it!

    Ta for the tip on the Makan2 – seriously noted! But mention vegemite and you’re now in my territory! It MUST be thinly spread on hot buttered toast – not adulterating a roti (or the other way around – take your pick!).

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