Malaysian Cuisine is influenced by various cultures from all around the world. The Monkey Tales is a series of stories about a Mischievous Monkey’s journey into learning the gems of friendship and cooking. This is the tale of how the fusion of Malaysian cuisine was born.
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In a Malaysian rainforest, an impish Monkey swung from tree to tree, plucking all the coconuts loose and stowing them in a hidden cave. He did this again the next day, and the next. Other primates came looking for their coconut harvest but found nothing.
Monkey watched from his leafy perch and shook with silent laughter. It was the perfect prank. But as his stash of coconuts grew, the scurry of creatures faded from the forest. So Monkey set out to find some fresh fun. His journey took him across land and sea until finally, exhausted, he swung into a tree to sleep. Before he could close his eyes, a flicker of movement below caught his attention.
A Tiger, all burnt gold and black stripes, was settling into a leafy bed to sleep. By her side was a string of small red bundles with tiny green stems.
Remembering the coconuts, Monkey could not resist. He waited until Tiger’s breath rose and fell in a steady rhythm, then swung down to snatch up the colourful treats.
Filled with new energy, Monkey tiptoed past Tiger, stifling a giggle. He hurried all the way home with his bounty and by the time he reached the rainforest cave, his stomach was growling. Coconuts weren’t so appetising now that he had these bright treasures in hand.
Monkey tossed several into his mouth, and munched.
Immediately, his throat was on fire and tears streamed from his eyes. Monkey danced and choked, flapping his arms wildly.
It was then that Tiger appeared. She had followed him home at a stealthy distance and now stood watching.
‘A little chilli goes a long way,’ she laughed.
‘I’m sorry,’ Monkey gasped. ‘Will you accept these coconuts as my apology?’
Tiger nodded. ‘Watch,’ she said, as she swirled a pinch of chilli into a dollop of coconut milk to make a creamy sauce. She offered it to Monkey, who took a sip. ‘It’s delicious!’ he said with a grin.
Tiger nodded. ‘Stolen food never tastes good,’ she said. ‘But a meal shared with a friend? So much better.’