Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Tastebud Evangelists.

Does KL food Suck?

Yes says a local member of the parliament. Bernama reported that Mohamad Abdul Aziz, MP for Sri Gading saying that he was disappointed with the quality and price of food in the federal capital, besides the taste not being authentic.

"If we eat nasi biryani, asam pedas, mee mamak or tomyam, we know how it should really taste,” the report quoted him.

"But I'm sorry to say that KLites have no discerning taste. They'll eat anything...even iron and stones...that's why the eatery operators take advantage of their poor taste buds," he said.

Haha! Before you guys rush over to the parliament and protest, let me assure you of something: He could have been the victim of The Tastebud Evangelists (TTE).

What or who are TTE, you may ask?

I have the right answer for you, pal (and gals). Its YOU! Yes, all of you, and me, and that cat that came to my dream (I cannot name it). We are all TTEs, and we have one time or another become the victim of TTEs.

This is how it normally begins. You having a casual conversation, and after discussing your favourite stars, your favourite gossip and your favourite insect (rhino beetle is cool), the conversation would then directly centre on favourite food.

And you’d say, “I am crazy about Asam Laksa. I always think about it. I dream about it. I lust for Assam Laksa all the time. I make my boyfriend go cuckoo and once almost killed him because he bought for me Laksa Johore which gives me depression”.

Despite the fact that you are a murderous person and the fact that you pals should avoid you like a plague, one of them would say, “You know what? I know the best one. One day I bring you to Kepong. It has the best Laksa in the country”.

Never mind the fact that that helpful pal probably only been to three states in the country, not counting Perlis which is basically a patch of padi field, some hills and a school with a squash court. He has become a TTE.

So, what would you do? You will heed to the suggestion and venture into the wilderness of Kepong and try the Laksa. Honestly, it would taste just like any other Laksa, and not any better than one from your own favourite Laksa joint and worst, it might even taste like sample taken from Klang River.

And your pal will look at you expectantly, and ask “So, what do you think?”

If you say, “well, its normal”, your pal may avoid you the rest of your life. If you say, “no it’s terrible”, chances of finding your body the next day may be remote. So, you will say, “Yes, I love it. Give me more. Give me, give me, give me…”

I used Kepong as an example due to tragedy that befallen me of late. I am going to marry a girl from there (no, that is not the tragedy); though she claims she is from Segambut. Also, it should be noted that area also borders Jinjang*.

One day, we went to her favourite hawker centre there, and I noticed a long queue stretching to the road in one of the makeshift stalls.

“That’s the famous Nasi Lemak. They say it’s very nice, just look at the queue,” Linda, my fiancée, said. I was tempted. But I should also have remembered that Linda does not eat Nasi Lemak. Come on, its evangelism from someone who does not even believe in it.

Like a moron, I ta-pau-ed (takeaway-ed) a pack of simple Nasi Lemak. (This as opposed to complex Nasi Lemak, which is served with Rendang, Sambal Sotong, fried chicken, caviar, pâté de foie gras or anything you fancy).

Back at home, I tried it. Needless to say, it tastes like many other Nasi Lemak I have tried in KL that has made me strike off Nasi Lemak temporarily from my favourite food list. I said temporarily because there is one place in Kampung Attap that could restore my confidence in Nasi Lemak and world peace.

To her credit, though, I actually stumbled into an excellent Assam Laksa in Kepung. She brought me there for different reason, but I saw this old lady in a small shabby store and somehow there seems something authentic about the prepared stuff for the dish. I tried it and it was great!

I will not divulge where this place is. Because, if I do, I’d become TTE and one of the worst thing happens when TTE-ism takes place is making the place popular. What’s wrong with that you may ask. When it gets popular, the owners will have to mass-produce their dish. And when they mass produce their dish, the original taste goes down the drain.

So, I implore you. Stop evangelising on places to get good food. Keep it to yourself. It should be a secret. Bring your pals there, if they compliment it, keep that pride to yourself. If they complain, call the gangsters from Jinjang.

Having said that, I urge you to try the Char Kuey Tiaw in SS2. Awesome!

*Remember Jinjang Joes? That makes her Jinjang Joey, I suppose.


balan said...

There is a psycological twist to this as well.
The main problem is that, we have lost memory of how the original food tasted way back in our home town.

Example, we have not had the Nasi Ayam from our home town for quite some time, and now when we are recommended by someone to try the Nasi Ayam, say from Petaling Street.

We we try it and psycologically, we are bound feel good before we eat and agree that it was good, although the taste are nothing extraordinary when compared to other places in KL.

Rakesh Kumar said...

Are you talking about the Metro Market chicken rice? Well, they are at the new food court and I have tried it, and it was nice, not as great as we remember.

If you say psychology, I say evolution.

Our tastebud has been exposed to variety of food and some of them could be better than what we had. So, it changed. What was great once could now be nothing or ordinary.

But you can't beat Kluang coffee, I tell ya. Nobody!!!!

Shubash JB said...

I agree with balan & rakesh. We cant get most of the good type of food like in our home town. The Metro market chicken rice has moved to Jln Liang Seng near to the market. During our school days the chicken rice shop was managed by an old Chinese "Ah Pek" and now the son continued the business. Although it taste far better than any place but it has lost the original taste.

Well i can bet with anyone. No one can beat Kluang Railway coffee. I went to one of its franchise in Kota Raya, JB and surprisingly it tastes exactly the same.

Raikkonen aka Siva said...

Actually we all should be lucky that almost all kind of food are available in KL. Especially in Sri Hartamas (cheap plug). That's a heaven, seriously.

Nice to hear your fiancee is from Kepong. I lived there for 14 years before shifting to Hartamas. Sg.Buloh is even worse than Kepong i would say. There are lot of food-paradises in Kepong now like Wangsa Permai/Tmn Usaha Jaya (Selangor Bus is famous for that locations). You can always try that place. Really nice at evenings.