And, then I looked down and across the sun-drenched plaza and got very, very thirsty...
Oh, yes. This is how coconut water was meant to be had. No bottles needed here. Just the real stuff, straight from the source.
And, later visiting one of the city's bustling wet markets, it was clear that a great deal of gorgeous Malaysian produce is at-the-ready.
Coconuts and pineapples are plentiful. I even spotted dragonfruit at a local supermarket. Yet, I couldn't help but notice that the locals were obsessed with one fruit alone - the stinkiest fruit on the planet.
We're talking about durian. I have friends who rhapsodize about this custardy, pungent fruit. They're not alone. I saw durian candies, durian coffee, durian cookies, and durian chips crowding Kuala Lumpur market shelves. Elsewhere I spied durian tea, durian cakes, durian mochi, and durian ice cream. And, that's just scratching the surface of the country's durian fixation.
I just can't do it. I've tried. I've really tried. But, it's just too freakin' noxious for me. (Let's remember, that many local hotels - including the one I stayed at - forbid guests to bring durian to their rooms, lest the stench pervade the premises.)
So, I stuck with the coconut in all its many delicious forms. I not only rejoiced in drinking its water and spooning out its tender white flesh, but also enjoyed its milky essence in the beloved national dish - Nasi Lemak.
This stupendous plate of rice, chicken, sambal chili, hard-boiled egg, cucumbers, peanuts, and dried anchovies is the product of Village Park, a place celebrated for its genius Nasi Lemak. I've already found a recipe which is reported to replicate their shatteringly crisp and spicy fried chicken, but I need to figure out how to make the dish's signature coconut and Pandan-scented rice at home. I think freshly squeezed coconut milk is one of the primary ingredients.
So, we're back to coconut once again. I realize that I'm outnumbered by durian lovers when it comes to Malaysia. Even so, I'll stick with the preferred tastes of this particular Malaysian...
I really think he's got something there. Mind you, he's also got something caught in his teeth. But at least that "something" is a bit of coconut goodness. No durian in sight.
I'm with the wild monkey on this one.