Malaysia is one of my favorite places in the world. Why? It is a melting pot of cuisines. The people are amazing. The variety of fresh tasty fruit there is incredible: pomelo, jackfruit, rambai, langsat, snake fruit, rambutan and of course durian. But I digress, my favorite dish in Malaysia is crab. For me, any trip to KL means I have to go to…
Fatty Crab Restaurant is in Petaling Jaya, a suburb of KL. It is a local institution and represents the Malaysian eating experience. Food is a communal experience. Sitting outdoors on the veranda or upstairs in the hustle and bustle of hungry patrons is good for the soul. It’s loud and energetic.
You can hear the stoves pumping out the BTU’s as the chefs make their classic birds eye chili crab sauce. You can smell the grilling of chicken wings and crabs being braised. The Aunties there waiting the tables are no nonsense but happily suggest menu times that suit a hungry traveller like me.
Fatty Crab Restaurant has a simple menu: Chili Crab, Fried Chicken Wings, Steam Crab, Teow Chew Style fish, and Garlic Prawns. Is there a wait? Perhaps on the weekend, but then that when I decided what I am going to order. It is a must visit place in KL. Go with friends, go with family, go with kids its good.
As my friends in Malaysia always say, “Don’t think about it, just go la!”
One final note, the story behind birds eye chili and how to cook them…
Birds eye chili is also known as piri piri in the US and Europe. It is a fruity and fragrant chili pepper from the species capsicum annum, found in SouthEast Asia and throughout Africa. It is extensively used in Thai, Malay, Lao, and Vietnamese cuisine. Even South Africa’s Nando’s Restaurant used it in their sauces.
These chilies are perfect for sauces like the one photographed above. You can also eat them raw as a condiment. Are they spicy? The heat is a bit delayed but has a long finish. Depending on the cultivar, they can rate up to 100,000 Scoville units. So spicier than jalapeño but less than a habanero. If you want the fragrance but limit the heat, just remove the seeds. The dried variety are easy to find in your local Ranch 99 if you are on the west coast. Or you can get them here on Amazon.
As a strategic consultant, I manage chaos for a living. So travel is easy for me. Heh. I travel to understand people and culture more deeply than a newspaper or tv show could ever tell me. I break bread to build bridges across political and social boundaries. Travel inspires me, teaches me and humbles me such that I appreciate my part of the world more deeply.