Having Chef Wan at the table was not only highly entertaining (he talks a mile a minute) but very informative - he really is an ambassador for Malaysian food, and as we ate he told us about ingredients and variations on each of the dishes we were trying.
For example, as we ate the cucur udang (prawn fritters) he told us that these are an everyday snack in Malaysia, and are treated as breakfast or perhaps as a teatime snack. Fillings can be varied, and apparently when made for children for breakfast anchovy is often used instead of prawn - I can't help imagining the reaction I would have given my mother if she'd tried to substitute fish for my cornflakes when I was a kid! ;-)
If you're dining at Kayu Manis and get to sit downstairs you can watch the roti being made. When the chef started on this our food-obsessed table all got up and swarmed around to watch - it's an impressive process, with a great deal of skill (sadly the really impressive bits are performed too quickly for me to capture without huge amounts of blurring, so you'll have to go see for yourself), and the resulting roti are amazingly fluffy and very authentic according to Chef Wan (who would know!).
While the bloggerati were busy snapping the roti action Chef Wan turned the tables on us and whipped out his camera - so I created an infinite loop by photographing him photographing me photographing him...
Once we were done snapping pictures of each other we returned to the table for the main part of our meal. The mains were all so very, very good - the fish sambal was full of huge pieces of crunchy fried fish and the sambal sauce was lovely, and the rendang (which I've had before) has a lovely rich flavour, though is a little dry for my liking. The star for me was the lamb kuzi - it's the unpretty dish in the middle above, but it well and truly made up for its looks with flavour. The sauce for this dish is made with raisins and milk or yoghurt, and the sauce was creamy and rich, with incredibly tender lamb - just fantastic!
In case you're wondering what a "munch" looks like, this is us, with Chef Wan hamming it up in our midst - such a friendly soul!
Chef Wan will be demonstrating at the night market tomorrow, and there'll be various stalls with food available for purchase. It's in Opera House Lane, so hopefully will be nicely sheltered from any crazy weather conditions Wellington chooses to throw at us, and sounds like a great afternoon/evening out - hopefully I might see you there!
What Wellington on a Plate events/restaurants have you been to? Are you using tomorrow as a final opportunity to squeeze some eating in?
The Malaysia Kitchen Night Market is tomorrow, Sunday 21st August, 4pm-7pm in Opera House Lane, Wellington. The event is free and food is available from $5. Mrs Cake dined at Kayu Manis as a guest of the Malaysia Kitchen programme.