One April morning on the Malaysian island of Langkawi, it was already 32 degrees at 10am in the morning. A perfectly sweaty day awaited on this relaxing beach island. We were walking along Jalan Pantai Cenang, the main road along Pantai Cenang beach on the way to the waterfront to begin a boat tour of some of the surrounding islands. This Malaysian island off the north west coast of the peninsula was a perfect getaway for domestic and foreign tourists.
But first it was time for breakfast. Scooters were weaving past the slow-moving cars, rumbling over the red and grey pavers of the sun-baked road. We passed a parked truck with a huge advertisement of Crocodile Adventureland, complete with hilariously average Photoshopping skills. Another truck, its side panel open, was selling coconuts with long drinking straws.
Hopping over a pothole of gravelly yellow sand, I thought about how much I love the obstacle course that can sometimes be walking down the road in Malaysia. While Cenang had good sidewalks with few problems, other places don’t – cracked pavers, parked motorbikes, wobbly sewer grates, random steps – Malaysian sidewalks offer an element of surprise.
Then it appeared – the perfect breakfast option that we were craving. A motorcycle vendor was set up with a colourful sun umbrella. The motorcycle was hitched up to a tray that carried a container packed with ice, and a plastic tub of hot food. The vendor lit a cigarette and sat on his bike seat in the shade.
We took a peek inside. On ice were rows of colourful fruit juices in plastic cups, and freshly cut melon and pineapple. We ordered pineapple, sprinkled with salt and chilli, and served with a wooden skewer. In the plastic container we chose a couple of deep fried curry puffs, crispy on the outside, and filled with potato and peas in curry spices. A few Ringgit changed hands, and we had our perfect Malaysian street food breakfast for the day.
The street food vendor went back to his cigarette, waiting for the next customer. That was our little transient moment exploring this beautiful island. Later, I drew the vendor’s motorcycle to capture that moment.