My last post on Marrakech. But more Morocco to come!
A man was selling mint from giant sack, right on the street.
mint for sale
Fried fish. Mark, our guide, said that it wasn’t worth eating seafood here and that it would be better on the coast. Also, notice the Activia sign. I had no idea that stuff was so far reaching!
fish and yogurt sign
Lots and lots and lots of colourful tagines for sale.
Garlic and spices for sale on the side of the street.
garlic and spices
More images from Borough Market, with a bit of commentary for you!
Gotta love their version of a “you are here” map.
Borough Market map
Indoor shot of the permanent part of the market. Saturdays, as you can tell, are pretty busy. And this was at about 3 p.m., so who knows how many there were earlier that day!
Borough Market architecture
Outdoor sections of the market.
Borough Market - outdoors
You can get cheese at more places in Borough Market than just Neal’s Yard Dairy! Mmm gouda.
The variety available at this market is just outstanding. Look at all the sausages!
I recently stopped at Tropika for a meal, and picked a few things off their menu to share.
Unlike in Malaysia, these portions are quite large. An order of Singapore laksa (made with what looks like a red curry as opposed to a yellow curry) can feed 2-4 people. The flavour of it was good but it was disappointing to find that the majority of the bowl was made up of noodles. It would have been nice to have more sliced of fish cake, tofu puffs, shrimp and bean sprouts.
Their roti canai is light and fluffy; I would say lighter and fluffier than the ones I ate in Malaysia. The accompanying curry sauce is, like their laksa, more of a red curry than yellow. Their satays (chicken and lamb pictured here) are seasoned well and come with a dish of spicy peanut sauce, pineapple and cucumber. The peanut sauce is probably the best part of this dish.
roti canai and satay
Tropika is pretty much the only Malaysian restaurant in Edmonton. I wish there were more choices, but you make due with what you’ve got! I tend to stick to a few specific dishes such as the ones I ordered, or perhaps picking up some mee goreng instead of a laksa. Their pineapple fried rice, served in half of a pineapple, is a great dish for kids or for adults who are looking for something without heat. If you want to try Malaysian food, I would suggest going to Tropika (and staying away from the Thai dishes as there are better places to have Thai food in Edmonton), or try the handful of Malaysian dishes over at Matahari on 124 st.
14921 Stony Plain Road
Fish and chips
I think one of the most unknown eateries in Edmonton must be Captain Scott’s Fish and Chips. Every time you talk to someone about fish and chips, they talk about places like Back Home or Brits, but hardly ever have I heard anyone mention Captain Scott’s.
Hidden in a strip mall next to the Circle Square building in the west end, the place is unassuming and even a little old. The decor inside is a strange mishmash of 80’s nautical style (complete with a fake giant swordfish on the wall) and a grandmother’s flowered living room. I’ve been coming here since the late 1980s or early 1990s, but they’ve apparently been around since 1963. The current owners are an Asian family but they’ve kept the same menu and serve English-style fish and chips, mushy peas, fried oysters, etc. Choose your fish from haddock, salmon, halibut or cod. They even have an all-you-can-eat special on Tuesdays, for those who want to cram their stomachs full of fish and chips.
Laksa, popiah and ais kacang with durian ice cream oh my! Just a warning, this is going to be a long post. Kek Seng Kopitiam (coffee shop) is an institution in Penang. It’s been around for years and years, and frankly the atmosphere is a little dingy (although all the tables, plates, bowls, etc. were clean). The food is a little more old fashioned too; unlike at someplace like New World, the food is pretty much how it was served 30+ years ago (found something online that says Kek Seng opened in 1906). When we were there it was quite busy but we managed to snag a table.
One thing I miss dearly about Malaysia was the easy access to laksa. And by laksa, I mean Penang assam laksa. I talked about curry mee (curry laksa) a little while ago. That one is a coconut-based curry broth. Penang-style assam laksa is a sour, mackerel-based soup that is flavoured with tamarind, lemongrass, galangal, chilli, ginger flower buds, mint, pineapple and onion. You also usually get a soup spoon filled with a thick, sweet prawn paste called Hae Ko, and the whole thing is served with rice noodles (either thick or vermicelli).
The assam laksa at Kek Seng was one of my favourites that I had throughout the trip. A strong fish broth with all those spices and a slight sourness; my mouth is watering as I type this. This first photo is of the hawker stall; those pink things are the ginger flowers. When I’ve shown that photo to other people, the reaction I’ve gotten has been “you mean they actually use flowers and not ginger root?!”
Penang assam laksa hawker stall
Ever so slowly, I am trying all the “good” restaurants around the city. It’s kind of an expensive hobby though, so most of the time these visits are regulated to special occasion events.
With this in mind, I made a special request to my mother. Instead of buying expensive Christmas presents that sit around and gather dust, I asked to be taken out for dinner at The Blue Pear. This is a somewhat unique restaurant in Edmonton. The menu is seasonal and changes every month or two. They have a small dining room and reservations fill up quickly. The menu is a five-course set dinner at $85 per person (not including tax, tip, or drinks), where you can choose your meal from a limited number of appetizers, entrees and desserts. You also order a side dish of Atlantic lobster tail or seared grade A foie gras for an extra charge.
Exterior of The Blue Pear, with snow covering the name and a fuzzy shot of the neon pear above the door.