by Kenny Mah
Sundays used to mean getting up at the break of dawn, for running up the steps at Batu Caves or hiking in the green-canopied hills of Bukit Gasing, and then the wonderfully greasy roti pisang and a cup or two of the most fragrant teh halia tarik in the world, which we lucky fellows can find right here, in our neighbourhood. And all this accomplished before ten in the a.m.
I used to be mad, of course.
I have seen the light, or rather, I no longer see the complete darkness of not-yet-dawn when I awake during the weekends. If it can believed, this Energizer Bunny now sleeps in. In fact, by the time we awoke this Sunday morning, it was barely morning anymore. And we almost didn’t get out of bed, the bed being so warm and enveloping, and the chill from the overnight air-conditioner so slumber-inducing.
But. My tummy was grumbling. Well, growling, rather. I am not called Zhu Bajie (Pigsy from ‘Journey to the West’, infamous for his gluttony, sloth and lust) without good reason. Last count saw me eating EIGHT times a day on average. And besides my less-than-lovely love handles, I’m all skin and bones. Sighs.
My apologies; I digress.
With the threat of the day switching fast to the wrong side of noon pretty soon, we dragged ourselves out of bed (well, you forced me, rather) and freshened up quickly with the promise of a hearty brunch on our lips. The Lady Lemongrass had rhapsodised about this particular corner of Bangsar with prime meat for big appetites and away we went, to The Daily Grind. (Which was oddly named for this instance of us being as far from the daily grind of work as we could imagine. Little did I know the labour that would follow for poor ol’ me.)
Fresh and friendly faces welcomed us into the dark corners of the restaurant, so soothing after the beating of the stark, unfiltered sun outside. We melted into the soft leather seats and proceeded to order our coffees and our burgers. Ah yes. The burgers. Freshly made each day; even the chili sauce and ketchup were home-made.
(Friends and foes would know the story of how I used to consume tomato ketchup by the truckloads as a kid and avoid anything spicy like the plague; and then, upon hitting puberty, switched things around. Now I distance myself from all things ketchupy and worship the Spicy and the Pedas.)
I had this Japanese Yodel burger — a freshly-made beef burger (did I hear a plaintive moo! from the kitchen? oh dear, was that what they meant by a Japanese yodel?) with lush porcini mushrooms and portobello tempura, all lovingly layered with a creamy fondue sauce. Yours was Norwegian salmon delicately folded upon a mound of grilled chicken and lots-of-cravings-satisfying pickles. And the crispy, buttery buns! I could munch on the stuff all day, they were that good.
And you know what? I even had my fries with some of that ketchup. Who says my tastes never change, eh?
Of course, now I know I shall never attempt another bout of food-reviewing. I simply do not have what it takes, my friends. All I managed was a smörgåsbord of floury adjectives and cheesy clichés. I best leave this to the experts then. I shall stick, instead, to what I’m good at — a banquet of flowery adjectives and clichéd cheese. (Yes, there is a difference. Hmmph.)
Still, the day isn’t over. So I may redeem myself yet for this dismal mockery of food-blogging. See, while I enjoyed the day like a verifiable tai-tai, there was still dinner to be reckoned with. Who would have known that I would transform into a househusband in the evening?
Helping you to clean up the apartment? Check. A back massage with a soothing and relaxing concoction of essential oils? Check. Putting you to sleep, snuggly-wuggly? Check. Cooking dinner from scratch, something I have not done since my student days in Germany, when I hosted dinner parties of fifteen pax? Wha..?
Relax. I have everything under control. How difficult could this be? (Famous last words, eh?)
Let’s begin with a poor man’s version of the wonderful Tigerfish‘s Soba Noodles in Tahini Sesame, Nori and Pork Floss. Poor man’s version for I couldn’t find any pork floss in Bangsar. (They must not have a chapter of Babitarians Anonymous. Pakcik Nik should do something about this, ahem.) And then my world-famous (well, in Munich and Milano, anyway) Enoki Chicken with Red Peppers and Dried Peppercorn. And to finish the meal on a sweet note, tong yun (sweet dumplings with peanut-filling) in a light ginger broth. (Which, to be honest, you made, but I did do most of the meal…)
To be honest, I could have been a little less generous with the tahini butter and I should have used more peppercorns to spice things up since we do like it, uhm, hot. Yet, the look in your eyes as we supped together, and the happy roundness of my never-again-flat belly, well, what more could we ask for from a quiet, slow Sunday spent together?
Baby, it was perfect.
Maybe there is something to this househusband gig after all… ;)