Food, life, and fun in my "kampung,"(village), KL (Kuala Lumpur). Did I mention "food?"


By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

Do you feel that people in Malaysia tend to fear competition?

I used to work with this gentleman in the US and he taught me a very useful idea of seeing competition. He used to say that "competition should focus you. You shouldn't be afraid of it. It's a fact of life. It's only what you choose to do that sets you apart."

We live in an open society (well sort of). And competition of any sort in business especially is a fact of life. I think people are always quite surprised that we make friends with other people who are in our industry.

And why not?

I have friends who come to me to buy cakes. And they also buy cakes from other bakers. And why not? I'm glad they do. There's some stuff we do very well and there's some stuff that other bakers do very well.

Besides, we've found that business comes from the most unlikely of sources. We've had business passed on to us from our so called "competitors." And sometimes we pass business on to them.

But most importantly of all is that we enjoy the passion that they bring to the industry. The love for what they do. That passion is infectious. It makes us want to be better people and better in what we do.

Pork Pies from Bristol

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

IMG_2601"So, is there anything that I can get you from here?" (Pic on the left is as delivered from Si, with the calculations of how much it cost written in pencil on the bag)

As the words appeared accross the screen on gmail chat, I knew there was only one thing I wanted. Well, two actually, but we won't go there. This is an, umm, PG rated blog you know.

"Pork Pies. YUM! With a nice wodge of cheddar and some Branston Pickle."

'Wodge' mind you. Not 'wedge.'IMG_2602

I actually just meant that I wanted the Pork Pie and that I could have it with some cheddar and Branston. But Si was sweet enough to bring me some farmhouse cheddar from his local deli in Bristol. And boy, was I glad he did.

Si's our diving buddy from Bristol, UK. He makes his annual pilgrimage to this part of the world, suffers our predilections with his easy blushes and brings us Pork Pies.

I abso-bloody-lutely adore Pork Pies from the more reputable manufacturers like Marks and Spencers or Waitrose. But I must admit, Si's Deli version was very uppercrust. And I use the pun deliberately. The Hot Water Pastry was short and tender, the sausage meat a little coarser and more rustic and the aspic, a little thinner but in terms of flavour it won by a long pig's snout!
And the Cheddar. Omigod. Grassy (I'd always wondered what they'd meant before but I could truly taste a herbaceous note), earthy, salty, nutty, and roasted garlic overtones. Sigh. How am I going to ever go back to President Cheddar again?!

Now, don't get me wrong.

Some of you who might be going to the UK (LFB and Prada) or who have been or lived there might be wondering why I blather on about Pork Pies because I've noticed that some people don't take to it like I do. But for me, it's an English Ploughman's Lunch. And you have it at a Pub, in the back garden, when the sun is out, and you're enjoying that minute of glorious British Sunshine, knowing that, if you don't live in the moment, in the next, you're liable to be clouded over for the next few months or so. IMG_2608

Did I mention the pint of bitter that usually accompanies the Ploughman's Lunch?

OK, I'm exaggerating but you get the idea.

So here we have it. A boiled egg, a dollop of home-made mayonnaise, a green salad with grape tomatos tossed in a simple balsamic vinaigrette, the Pork Pie, a WODGE of cheddar and thou.

The perfect Sunday lunch.IMG_2609