crafts for eating, and the kitchen

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Photo taken from Wikimedia; I apparently did not think of taking a photo of the complex itself 

Update: my lovely friend Rita informs me that the treat being deep-fried by the lady below is called kuih karas.  Thanks, Rita!

Last week I visited the Malaysian Craft Complex for Hari Kraf Kebansaan 2010 (try saying that three times fast).  The craft complex is a center that houses all of the different types of handicrafts made in Malaysia, and during most parts of the year the complex is a relatively sleepy place with a few stalls of batik (painted fabric), basket weaving, and local artwork.  For the past 3 weeks, though, the craft complex exploded into five tents of handicraft artisans from all over the country, and so my friends and I went to peruse the goods up for sale.

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Above: a pandan and sesame kuih with the consistency of a custardy pound cake

It didn’t take long for us to stumble upon some snacks, which automatically made this little shindig worth my time.  Near the entrance, a tent was set up with tables of sweets, and every single stall had a tray out for sampling.  Free samples don’t come very easily from street vendors.  With prices hovering around $0.30 to $0.60 US, how can you blame them?  Why not just buy the whole cake for sampling purposes?  That’s what I usually do.

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We watched the vendors work their magic, such as this lady making a roti jala-style cake (I forgot to write down the name, sadly).  By pouring a thin, sweet coconut batter into a sieve, and then swirling the sieve over a hot wok filled with oil, she produced the most delicious crunchy treats.

I bought two sacks of delicious kuih, and filled with a little sustenance, my friends and I took in the hundreds of stalls with crafts ranging from ceramics to metalwork to furniture.  When I came home, though, my loot was two handmade cookie cutters (from this man, pictured above), a clay pot for making curries, a rojak plate, and two baskets — one for holding fruit, and the other for covering food when eating outside.  Unintentionally, I’d only purchased items for the kitchen, which I guess means some things never change.

Hari Kraf Kebangsaan Festival Kraf 2010 | Craft Complex Annual Festival | March of every year | Jalan Conlay | Kuala Lumpur