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.
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.
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