I was very excited on my travels to stumble upon the best Malaysian cuisine I have ever had. The funny thing is, it was not during one of my trips to Kuala Lumpur, but on one to Hong Kong. Yes you read that right. It was in Hong Kong where I found the best Malaysian food.
To my surprise, they have a Malaysian restaurant called Cafe Malacca. Now most hotels have the obvious Italian or French restaurant so this was not why I expected.
But no it’s no wonder that Cafe Malacca has a huge following in Hong Kong and can be hard, especially at lunchtime to get a table.
How is this one of the best Malaysian restaurants in the middle of Hong Kong?
Well it’s all down to Mrs. Poon.
Mrs. Poon is a wonderful lady, full of passion and knowledge of the cuisine from her home town in Penang. She married her husband from Hong Kong but missed the food she knew so well so she ventured into creating truly authentic Malaysian food with a passion.
Mrs. Poon is meticulous on details. She flies in stingray from Australia and spices from Malaysia to get every dish done to perfection.
She has a secret to almost every recipe. Mrs. Poon also has a loyal employee base. She makes sure her chefs not only know Malaysian cuisine but also travel with her frequently to see how it’s cooked in different regions of Malaysia.
I had the best satay I have ever had. I tried very hard to steal the recipe and every time I thought I had it, Mrs. Poon changed the subject and went on the next dish. The stingray wrapped in banana leaves and coated with a spicy sweet glaze was amazing. I had never eaten stingray before and it was the most succulent fish I have every eaten. It was almost like a Chilean sea bass.
Next was my favorite.
Chili crab and pepper crab. They were both so good, I would have a hard time choosing which one on my next visit. But I did find out why Cafe Malacca does it so well. Mrs. Poon told me that she discovered the crab needs to be alive before cooking it. A little like the way we choose lobster from the tank. The meat shrinks up if the crab has been dead for a while or chilled.
Laksa was so light compared to what I have eaten and then a specialty – huge tiger prawns deep fried and coated in oats.
This truly was an eating experience I could not have achieved anywhere else.
The passion behind this restaurant is the reason for its success. I have always believed in life, when you find a passion in your work, you will do it better than anything else you can do. Mrs. Poon was destined to cook and share her dishes with others.
Thank you Mrs.Poon. It was a pleasure to meet you and this was one meal that I will never forget.
Daniel Green, the Model Cook is a Celebrity Chef known for his healthy approach to food and living well. With TV, books, magazines and live appearances, Daniel spends his time helping fans to cook better, feel better and live better. He’s also an avid traveler and a self-confessed Foodie.