It wasn’t until I popped over to Bratislava for lunch that I finally had a chance to redeem my awful dumpling experience in Prague and try this mysteriously illusive food I had heard so much about.
As it turned out, it was all fairly overrated, as unlike delicious dumplings from far further east, the Eastern European version appears to simply be a ball of dough that has been boiled and then sliced up. Like a pork bun, but only the bun. As for the rest of the meal, it was a fairly tasty slow cooked lamb dish with a dill sauce, but it certainly didn’t seem to be the exciting new food experience I thought I was in for.
Before heading to Europe I had a firm resolution to not eat at McDonald’s or any other such internationally shit food chain, and instead if I were to pay for a meal, it would be a new, local food experience.
I had had a few hiccups, but still I had not handed any of my own hard earned cash over a McDonald’s counter. This all went down the drain, however, in some random suburb on the outskirts of Prague. We found ourselves in a food-court with a great selection of stodgy looking fast food, half of which I couldn’t even tell what it was; and a McDonald’s.
I bravely went for something exotic, and convinced another poor unsuspecting soul to join me on my quest. I’d heard great things about eastern European “dumplings” and had been meaning to try them out. Sure enough there was a stall offering a few varieties of what I was pretty sure were these famed dumplings. With great language barrier difficulty we ordered some of these dumplings and sat down to tuck in to what looked like it could pretty tasty, even with weird sprinklings of who knows what on top. As it turned out they were meant to be sweet, which was unexpected. They were sortof berry flavoured, with this weird buttery sugary stuff on top.
I must say, I’m not usually one to not finish a meal, but these I just could not get through. And so I hung my head in shame and joined the rest of the crew at McDonald’s for some universally tasty and reliable fries.
Presentation wasn’t the highest priority, but they were ah-mazing
You can guess how excited I was when I stepped off the plane to walk straight in to a dim sum food stall selling dumplings. It was literally the first thing I saw after going through security! I instantly forgot my flight had been delayed by four hours, instead of the 40 minute stopover I was meant to have, because I was so excited I would get a chance to eat dumplings in Asia. And they were RM$5.50 which was about NZ$2.30. The rest of the shops in the Airport were pretty exciting (translation: so many bargains) apart from the bar, but every airport has one retailer with the monopoly on alcohol. This one also had the monopoly on power plugs, so after some deliciously prawny dumplings and a 60c bottle of water I settled down with a glass of what I can only assume was chardonnay. At NZ$9.50 a glass you’d think they could tell you a bit more than ‘white.’ Also featured on the shelves:
Skin whitening cream at the pharmacy. Just a bit sickening that that even exists
Landing in Malaysia provided some quite interesting views. The vast majority of trees were all in perfect rows (on the flight path at least), and there were beachside resorts right next to big industrial plants and quarrys, with views obscured by oil rigs ( that’s what they looked like anyway – I’m no expert on these matters).
In order to beat the luggage limits, I was wearing all of my heaviest clothes: boots, jeans, 2 tops, cardigan, a wool jersey in my backpack and carrying my heavy wool coat. I’ve felt worse in shorts and a tshirt in Brisbane, but I definitely felt like I was in training for the Scandinavian Sauna Championships landing in 25 degree heat.