On Friday, Lee and I went out to eat Malaysian food at Penang in Bethesda. Penang is actually a small chain, and I’ve eaten at their restaurants in Chicago and New York. One of my favorite Malaysian dishes, which I first sampled at Penang in Chicago, is hollow vegetable (also known as water convolvulus) stirfried with chilies and shrimp paste (kang kung blachan). After some coaxing, Lee agreed to forgo beef in favor of this unknown vegetable.
However, when we attempted to order it, the waiter informed us that they didn’t have any hollow vegetable. We would have been satisfied with that answer, but the waiter went on to explain that kang kung has actually been banned in the US, which is why they don’t serve it anymore. Banned?! How can this be??? We ordered the beef rendang instead, and it was good, but no substitute for my beloved hollow vegetable. After dinner, I hit up the Google to find out if our waiter had been telling us the truth. Read the rest of this entry �