Janiqueel researches Simply Enak Food Tours in readiness for jaunts to Penang and Kuala Lumpur
I naturally played tour and food guide and explained the dish we ate and the area we were at. I thought to myself, I could do this for a living – to be paid to feed the hungry souls both appetite and mind!Pauline – founder of Simply Enak
More than just a food tour – although that is enticing enough to a dedicated foodie such as I – Simply Enak is based on food, of course, but also the sources of food, culture, and history represented in every plate plate. Simply enak has tours in both Kuala Lumpur (KL) and Penang. Let’s have a peek at each.
- SECRETS OF Kuala Lumpur – So brand new it’s not even on the website yet, this tour blends the sights, sounds, aromas, and flavors of multicultural KL. Covering the best Street snacks and signature cuisines of colorfully diverse areas of the capital, the tour also provides a large dollop of history and culture. Kwai Chai Hong – translated as “Ghost Lane or “Little Demon Alley (Yes, be slightly wary) – is the home of a project that has restored shoplots and lanes and transformed them into an appealing center for historical exploration. Along the lane six murals created by local artists, illustrate the history of the community area. Stops at Indian temples and drinks at a “speakeasy bespoke hidden cocktail bar” are topped off by a Clay Pot Chicken rice dinner. Some other taste temptations include: egg, durian tarts, apan (sweet peanut pancake), and curry puffs, satay, murtabak, pan mee and roti canai. I’m hungry!
- FLAVORS OF MALAYSIA (off the beaten track) – Chow Kit the largest and arguably the most famous of KL’s several wet markets. Sandwiched between Indonesian and Malay neighborhoods, the market is rife with fresh produce, meat and fish. Steps away from the brimming stalls, are vendors offering Malaysian, Chinese and Indian food prepared in time-honored methods and served with pride. One of the most sought after tours in the Simply Enak, Flavors of Malaysia is a sensory to tickle the taste buds and the other four senses, as well..
- KUALA LUMPUR STREET FOOD – Based on a stroll through the Heritage Zone of KL, this tour incorporates the sights, sounds, and – of course – tastes of modern Malaysia. Along the way, visitors will witness the making of hand-made Char Siew Pao ( steam buns) at one of the last remaining establishments still concocting the treats the old, old way. Sprinkled along the route,are traditional Chinese medicine shops. Simply Enak guides can explain the derivation and use of the various herbal remedies and tonics. Hawker food is everywhere. Durian puffs offer a unique challenge for the non-natives. Simply Enak donates RM 10 of each participant’s fee to the Pit Stop Community Cafe, serving the homeless for many years.
Introducing Jalan Panggung or Theatre Street is one of the oldest road in Kuala Lumpur. It used to be a Chinese Theatre built by Cheow Yeok in the 1880s. Kwai Chai Hong involved 10 old shop houses that has been restored for the current project. Little Demon Alley which its translated to bring the old environment to life by all the murals for the new generation to understand how the society had lived. Inside the lane way are six murals depicting the daily activities of early Chinese settlers in the area during the 1960s. This includes Chinese calligraphers who write auspicious sayings and help settlers write letters home.
Like Pauline in Kuala Lumpur, Mark in Penang is the host for the food tours in what is known as the food capital of Malaysia. Tradition and history are also important here in the city that was an early settlement born of trade and commerce along the Straits of Malacca. That history informs the eclectic ingredients and recipes of a worldly city still looking outward.
- PENANG STREET FOOD – Providing a backdrop to this walking tour, Chinese clan houses are an evocative reminder of a world gone but not forgotten. Not all of the history of Penang is particularly pleasant although it is colorful and dramatic. Secret societies made practiced their notorious trade in the hidden alleys and byways of the city. Finally outlawed by the British authorities, they eventually faded away, but there is still a ‘rough around the edges’ feel to Penang. Patrons of the food tour will feel it, and taste it, too! The savvy taster having done the KL tour will notice the difference. Hint: Char Kway Teow. Complementing the street food is street art along the tour route. Made for selfies and group shots, the art is as unique to Penang as the food.
- EAT DRINK GEORGETOWN – This is a smaller, more intimate tour especially good for smaller groups traipsing through the heritage zone and soaking up the stories of times past exemplified in the hawker stalls of various ethnicities. Providing a happy ending to the tour is cocktail hour(s) at a famous bar where the drinks, like the tastes on the street, are formulated from spices and ingredients that shall remain a secret.
Visits to Penang are pencilled in my travel plans. Writing this and seeing the vibrant photos of Penang have whetted my appetite, to say the least. I’m booked for Penang in November.
For more info: https://simplyenak.com/