During our second week in Malaysia, a large group of AIESECers and Exchange Participants (EPs) went out for dinner at V Garden Restoran, a Chinese restaurant in Klang.
We took up 2 huge round tables. At my table, we tried to teach each other how to eat with chopsticks.
It was also a great opportunity to get to know other AIESEC members. From one AIESECer, I learned that many Chinese people (including his family) immigrated to Malaysia from the south of China to escape the Japanese occupation during WWII. Unfortunately, this strategy did not work too well as Japan did eventually invade Malaya.
Back to the present day, we ordered several dishes and shared them with everyone at the table. This is when the lazy susan in the middle comes in handy!
One of the AIESECers ordered for both tables, so we ended up having the same food. The first dish that arrived was braised tofu with pork.
The tofu (probably) was deep-fried first. It had a thin, rough “skin” on the exterior which helped the sauce adhere to the tofu. The inside was very smooth and silky. The contrast between the inside and out was quite nice. The sauce had enough flavour to carry the otherwise bland tofu, and I enjoyed it very much.
Next up was green beans with salted duck egg sauce.
When I first took a bite, I noticed two things about the dish: it had a familiar saltiness that I could not quite identify, and the beans had an odd granular texture. After asking a local AIESECer, he told me it was salted duck egg. All of a sudden, it made sense! The duck egg was preserved with salt, so it is quite salty, and the egg yolk separates into small particles in the mouth. This was quite delicious and I’m tempted to attempt this dish at home!
I did not try the chicken, but I’m sure it was tasty!
Here’s a dish I did try: cabbage, okra, green beans, and eggplant with a spicy chili sauce. The stir-fried vegetables were a little greasy, but I enjoyed the chili sauce very much. Plus, I’m usually not one to complain about vegetables in a meal.
The grand finale arrived on a gold-coloured platter with lit burners underneath. It was a large whole fish covered with finely minced ginger lying in a light brown sauce. Its fins were spread out, making it seem even larger and very strange looking. I would guess the fish was steamed whole after it was seasoned. The meat was very tender, and the generous quantity of ginger gave the dish a warm and fresh fragrance.
In Asia, it’s not uncommon to eat the edible portions of the fish head. When I was younger, I always used to eat the eyes. This time, Vivian (our AIESEC project manager) and I each ate one of the fish eyes! If you’ve never tried them, it’s like eating little blobs of fish flavoured Jello. I know it probably doesn’t sound too appetizing, but for me, it’s a ritual that reminds me of my childhood.
By the end of the night, we were pleasantly full. A few group photos later, we were on our way out of the restaurant. The total cost of this meal came out to be ~20 RM per person (exchange rate is approx. 1 CND= 3 RM).
A big thank you to Winnie and Seto for driving us to and from the restaurant, and AIESEC Taylor’s University for organizing this dinner!