KL foodie camper brings love of cooking Malaysian food outdoors, says it helps him de-stress and relax

·3-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

PETALING JAYA, June 3 — KL camper Derick Wee enjoys the tedious process of cooking Malaysian food while camping outdoor, even if it means longer preparation and cooking time.

Dishes that he has cooked while camping include char kuey teow, loh shi fun and even his own twist to masala chicken.

Earlier this week, the camper known as derickthecamper on Instagram, headed to Selangor’s Kem The Woods Ulu Yam camping site and showed off his preparation for claypot Hainanese Chicken rice dish using firewood and pestle and mortar.

He also had ingredients such as garlic, ginger, spring onions, rice, sesame oil and onions.

“I don’t usually bring my pestle and mortar outdoors — but somehow I’ve realised that by blending ingredients such as ginger, garlic and spring onions for the marinated chicken — the taste is better.

“I’ve always wanted to try making Hainanese chicken rice while camping — and that was why I decided to attempt making it outdoors this time,” he told Malay Mail.

The chicken rice that was cooked in the claypot with firewood turned out delicious, according to Wee, whose hometown is in Melaka.

Wee, who is a partner in a fruit business located in Petaling Jaya and Shah Alam, added that the Covid-19 lockdowns had given him ample time to experiment.

But the experienced camper said he needed to be constantly watchful of the fire as the flames can be inconsistent at times and this can disrupt the cooking process.

“I can’t just leave my chicken to cook outdoors while doing something else as I need to be there watching it all the time or else it might just get burnt.

“It’s not as easy as cooking at home where everything follows a fixed process such as cooking time — as there are other factors such as the wind and fire that can vary while being outdoors.

“Most times, it’s a long process to wait for the food to cook — sometimes it would take about an hour or more to cook each meal depending on its complexity.

“Other times, I can’t estimate the amount of ingredients needed for a particular meal so there have been times where I had to tweak the recipe and make do with the outcome of it.”

Wee enjoys camping out and cooking alone and finds the experience relaxing.

“When I’m alone, I can just think of my future plans and it gives me clarity to think of my goals.

“Plus, no one is with me. I would just take a swim in the river and take my time cooking with the wind blowing on my face and hearing the sweet chirping of the birds.

“It’s truly an experience to just have your own ‘me time’ and just take a break.”

His go-to camping spot is anything that has a river nearby as he loves taking a dip in the cool waters or star-gazing if he plans to camp overnight.

Most times, his camping spots would be those that are accessible by car so that he can easily transport his cooking utensils and food to the campsite.

“I like the idea of taking my own time to cook — I would cook one main meal and probably pack some light food for my morning breakfast and dinner.

“I also enjoy my cup of coffee while having the scenery to myself. It’s just a lovely experience,” he said.

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