INSIDE A RED PLASTIC BUCKET AND 2 GIANT ROARING WOKS BY THE HUSTLE AND BUSTLE ROADSIDE OF KUALA LUMPUR… NIRVANA
The best moment on a travel, for me at least, is when you’re already being in a place where you know you’d be drowned in delicious foods, standing at an unnamed corner in a lost moment, you still find yourself pleasantly overwhelmed. If that’s kinda your thing as well, then Malaysia is your kinda place, specifically, Kuala Lumpur and Penang.
I have been longing to return for quite some time now. But since I’m currently under some sorta physical lock-down, you can tell evidently from my effort since – a full-blown laksa, a slack-off laksa, and these bag-loads of banana donuts – that this is not my first mental prison-break. I want to remind you now that none of them were actually the climatic screaming food-gasm of that trip, but you already knew that. I mean of course, naturally, one does not jump hastily to food-gasm at hello. How rude. Because one induces foreplay first. A little bit of teaser here, and a little bit of appetizer there. In a slow and respectful courtship, 2 whole damn years after we left the streets of Kuala Lumpur, one says, OK. I think I’m ready to re-create the best damn fried chicken I’ve ever lay my tongue on in my entire life.
The yo mamak’s fried chicken.
WE, THE POT-HEADS, NOW ALL DO THIS…
THIS IS HOW, THROUGH NUMBING PAIN, THAT WE GIVE THANKS.
Do you know that the Chinese applies an ancient wisdom originated along the Yellow River, to an age-old question that has long plagued the minds of all mankind? It’s the monthly family gathering next weekend… It’s the awkward dinner with newly-made friends/colleagues… It’s the unavoidable meal with the in-laws… Hell, It’s the freaking birthday of Confucious! No matter what the occasions really, we all found ourselves asking: What should we eat for that? True, it’s no easy question but the ancient wisdom has answers. Yes. Yes, we have an answer to that. All of that. As a matter of fact, it’s a one single answer, a last minute answer if need be, a one-pot-fix-all solution to any gatherings large or small, where no one, truly, wants to bear the responsibility of putting the foods on the table. To that we say…
Let’s do hot pot!
It’s not overstating to call it a wisdom. Hot pot is the perfect answer to any large dinner parties, especially where there’s equal importance to being well-fed, as well as simultaneously, feeling well-entertained. First of all, instead of conjuring a meal of a dozen courses, there’s only one cooking to be done. Then instead of being splattered into small groups, every guests gravitates from a feasting table with a dramatic pot of boiling stock in the center, and everyone cooks what they like -from an array of offerings such paper-thinly sliced meats, dumplings, meatballs, vegetables, even starches like noodles and fried doughs (yes!) – and how they like it, all from and in the mothership of a pot that just gets better and better throughout the meal. Perhaps there’s something to the theatrics, or to having a “center piece” so lively and fluid… but what I can tell you is this, that strangely, the conversations around a hot pot table, is never cold.
IF THERE’S ANY SHOT AT PRE-DETERMINED HAPPINESS IN LIFE,
IT WOULD BE TO ACQUIRE A TASTE FOR SPICY FOODS… EARLY IN THE WOMBS
OH relax, it’s not for me. This is for Jessica.
Some 2.5 years ago, voluntarily jobless and air-dropped to a place where I found mostly disagreements, I fled into the universe of food-blogosphere shielded behind self-loathing, desperation, and above all, in an impenetrable armour of cynicism. In the mist of not knowing what to expect, I kindly assured myself that there’d be absolutely nothing, not a cunning whiff of hope, don’t you dare, that could pull me out of the comfort of negativity. I was going to cook, record, and wither anonymously into early menopause.
Some 2.5 years later, this universe has turned out to be more unpredictable than I thought. Not fame, not money, not even a humble sense of accomplishment that came, but from this most unexpected of places, I found… a group of friends.
Friends whom I have never met, never actually talked to, whom I don’t know a lot or any personal details of, but more genuine, generous and sincere than most I’ve actually met in real life. Stranger friends, like Jessica.
Jessica is, for the lack of better words, an odd number by normal standards. Nowadays when the mere act of holding the door for the people behind you can feel troublesome, it takes more than cultivating social relationships to offer compliments or helps to total strangers. But Jessica is kind of girl who, out of the mere kindness to inform, would write you an email, a full email, to offer encouragement and support. This is for her and many other dear strangers, whom I would never have the pleasure to call friends, if I hadn’t started this url.
So when I was invited to join Jessica’s awesome cyber baby shower, it wasn’t excitement or party-fever that I felt. Instead, I felt touched. Touched, in an unconventional yet familiar kind of way, that I’m considered part of an awesome community. More than an assignment, this is the first time actually, that I wanted to contribute to a party.
But enough about me. Let’s trash up this party real good.
IF YOU CAN POUR YOURSELF A HOT SALT BATH, THEN MOVE INTO SAUNA TO SIT STILL,
YOU CAN ROAST THIS DUCK
TODAY, I’m here to answer the question that has long infected the everyday-home-kitchens, with unending fatigue and boredom. The underlining puzzle that, as a result, has put the other undeserved, pale and bland poultry, onto the seat of power in the dinner-menu arena for far too long. The question that we, if we say we love foods at all, should all ask ourselves…
Why are we so scared of ducks?
I mean yes, they are physically slightly larger than the other poultry – chickens – which has enjoyed unchallenged dominance in the everyday kitchen-politics, for reasons that are insufficient at best. For one, the only difference made by the small increase in size, is an increase in cooking-time that requires no additional effort from you. Second, that effort-that-you-didn’t-really-have-to-make, will buy you incomparable rewards in flavours, succulency, and rest assured, rock-star-level wow-factors. So despite the many… almost universal disagreement I hold with this happiness-forsaken country, I got to admit that they do, do one thing right. They know how to do their ducks.READ MOREContinue Reading
IF YOU DON’T DO IT, SOMEBODY WILL
EVEN though, for quite a while now, you and I have been sort of sitting inside a semi-private room, staring at each other and talking about what I ate yesterday… when it comes to predicting what you would actually like to eat, sadly, I’ve got very little clues. As a matter of fact, for the sake of honesty and sanity, I spent a great deal of obsessive and compulsive effort not to think too much about that. Instead I try to say, or at least most of the times, that hey look, if it hasn’t already, this is the kind of stuff that will make your world a much more exciting and tastier place.
I can’t say I’ve been completely frank… I was too afraid that this rom would look like a swimming pool inside a Pig’s soft parts, but on the other hand, striking the balance has proven to be tricky. After all, convincing people to watch someone downing a tripe stew on TV, vs to make it themselves at home, is two completely different things.
But lately, I came across a recipe that, I believe, could be the great missing link.
You’re probably thinking, what in the world is this? Or at least the 90% of you who has never traveled/lived in New York plus the 8% who has (completely made-up statistics..), but stuck disciplinarily to mother’s rule of never putting anything questionable from the street into your mouth, wouldn’t have the slightest clue what the hell this is. But then… then there’s the rest of the 2% you.
Well, hello there, my friend. You know you’ve been bad.Continue Reading
Oh you thought I was kidding about the what-my-ailing-dog-wouldn’t-eat-but-you-might series?
Uhem, no sir, no ma’am… I was dead serious. You see, the following story is either gonna provide clarity or forever put you off from reading another word in this post, but I’m gonna say it anyways. In the past weeks of my bumpy journey on coming up with nourishments that my heartbroken dog-son might be willing to sniff or perhaps take a bite, I found myself embarrassingly wanting… salivating really… over these supposedly “dog foods” that I kept for him in a tupperware… And for awhile it took some considerable amount of trembling self-respect not to, until finally I decided silly was just silly. That I shall eat them myself.
No, again, I’m not kidding.Continue Reading