Sunday, March 18, 2012

aku stim

There were times when I agreed that we must be different. Our vision must be different, our fashion - a bit different than others, and our goals in life - well, that might not necessarily match others.

There were moments when I felt that our ibadah might also different than others. Competition - in this area, was a must. Still is. But there were several moments when I regretted feeling that way since I encountered, for countless of times, people who thought that they were better than others because they learned from a more glamorous ustaz or they managed to catch Duha.

I concluded that all these sentiments came from the culture - who thought that the sky has no boundaries and everything was reachable - without even considering the element of rezeki and fate. Indeed we had to strive for the best but sometimes how best was the best?

That was the reason why we have religion - a mental note that I made several times when people like Mak Cik Bok made comparisons after comparisons between me and others or between me and her daughters. Nobody said that fat and thin are equals - since fat people always have more - more flesh, yards of fabric to wrap the whole body, and definitely...more people talking about them. Well, at least, in a negative way. If we sum up the amount of people who Tweet about fat people - then we'll agree that it would be more than the amount of Tweets for Gwyneth Paltrow.

But there is an area - a stupid one yet so important which I think might not necessarily have to be different:
The menu that we order when we're traveling.

Last month, my activity to celebrate my pay day was to travel to Malacca. I was thinking of a whole day of going through museums and evening of taking boat ride and going cross the town for bazaars.

Well, I was wrong. We managed to do certain things but not the other. Jonkers Walk was impossible with the high volume of traffic and people. Beca ride was not done because some people were just not financially ready for it...

...hmmm...

So, I thought of have food as a redemption...
...warmed capati at Capati Corner...
...coconut shake near the beach...
...ikan and seafood bakar at Medan Ikan Bakar, Umbai...
...asam pedas and fish head curry near a Malay Restaurant in Semabok..
...cendol at an old Cendol stall near Rembau...

Well, how many times have you heard about food traveling? Bourdain ended up with Gulai Nangka in Negeri Sembilan. Andrew Zimmens (the stupid ugly guy of Bizarre Food) traveled across the world to talk bad about durian. Gordon Ramsay insisted that his traveling was to serve the purpose of learning to cook a native food - so he ended up struggling with the rice cooker when he cooked the awfully complicated Nasi Lemak. (might be for him, but not for me, said the comparative me).

You should go for a signature dish each time you're traveling. If you travel across the same country, you would go for something rare and different - something special only at the place that you went to.

But there was a friend of mine, who chose to be different in a totally awkward situation. When we were complimenting the warmed capati at a capati stall, she ordered roti canai. Then she ordered a coconut to drink coconut water instead of going for the infamous coconut shake. I desperately wanted to remind her that there was a coconut stall in front of our office for her to drink coconut water but I simply assumed that she just didn't want ice cream in her drinks at the moment of time. But what surprised me the most was...

...when we were given the chance to order for seafood at Medan Ikan Bakar, Umbai, she chose Siakap Stim Halia - something which was totally never near to the word BAKAR.

There we were - eating siakap stim, sotong goreng tepung and kupang goreng sambal. Fortunately, I was into sting ray - so at least we had something bakar to eat at a Medan Ikan Bakar. Pari Bakar Sambal. It has nice ring to it.

Mmmmmhmmmm...not to mention that she made statement like,

"Udang tu besar sangat. Takut tak manis," when I asked her whether we should ask for udang pengantin near the jetty at Malacca. I was looking at her peculiarly, knowing that was what Malacca was all about! If not, there won't be any Sungai Udang in that state!!!

As we were eating nasi lemak with our fish (which was normal in Malacca), she asked for nasi putih. It explained a lot - she ordered steamed fish instead of grilled fish so the nasi lemak was not fit for the package. Damn, clearly she has not done her study!

We stayed overnight and on the next day we went to Semabok where from what I've heard, was famous with Malay Fish Head Curry. I wanted to go to Kota Laksamana for asam pedas but since we knew that there would be asam pedas at the restaurant as well, we settled for Haji Senin's place. It was quite frustrating when it came to pricing but it was more frustrating when the choice of food was made entirely different.

The same friend of mine chose to eat Masak Lemak Cili Api which left me a bit unsettled. In normal circumstances, asam pedas - regardless the varieties should be the first option especially the food was "makan berhidang" instead of ala carte. Furthermore, I was from Negri Sembilan. Why the heck would I want to eat gulai like that in Malacca?!!!

On the way back, I drove passed Pantai Klebang for a journey near the beach and across the woods. That was for us to enjoy the last moments near Malacca and Negri Sembilan border, where we could shop for fish, Molluscan like siput sedut and kupang or even belacan and cincaluk for souvenirs.

My gracious friend was sleeping throughout the journey. Maybe she was not comfortable traveling in my small Suzuki Swift instead of traveling in her Saga elegance. So, when I heard that she was complaining that her head was knocked because of the bumpy jalan kampung, I made a wish in my heart of not going to ask her to ride in my car again. (speak of kecik hati, well, this was the ultimate). I didn't say a word about, "Hey, I heard your car has just been serviced, why didn't we traveled in your car???"

Since we traveled passed the border via jalan kampung, we decided to drink cendol at one of the nice places in Rembau. Well, for some reason the cendol was not that nice that day. BUT, since it was a kedai in kampung, where the Atuk was selling cendol as a specialty for ages (ever since my late...late grandfathers era), we could not expect ABC or air batu campur to be served.

But that friend of mine asked, even after being told, "ABC ada?"

...and made a sour face when we told her no. When the cendol arrived, she put all the greeny cendol into someone else' bowl; muttering that she didn't like cendol. The look on her face was as if the cendol would drank her alive. Adoi. Not to mention that she complained that she didn't buy anything for her mum during our short outing when all she did was sleeping in the car!

Our journey was fun. But the ridiculous part was a bit like David Rocco asking for pasta in Tumpat :D

I guessed that left her satisfied. I was not sure about the others but I knew where I stood at that moment. Otherwise, I wouldn't travel to Malacca again a week after that just to eat the real range of Medan Ikan Bakar specialty. My dear father, thanks for his understanding, brought me to Alai the other week. I ate like nobody's business - butter prawn, udang goreng tepung, kupang, with two types of ikan bakar! I even chewed the eyeballs!

You might be wondering what was happening to her. Well, she is still a friend of mine. With lots of red marks on her forehead saying that she should watch Asian Food Channel or Travel and Living (maybe I should give her Astro remote control with only 707 and 703 buttons!). Not to mention that she is invisibly wearing a "don't sit beside me" mark when we're eating together.

Last Friday, we went to Burger Bakar Kaw Kaw at Seksyen 2, Wangsa Maju. The ads were showing beef, so I went for the beef. My great friend went for the chicken for I-don't-know-what-reason. I just didn't care.

As we ate together, I didn't offer her a bite, remembering the time when she looked at the cendol as something yucky. I just couldn't bear any comments on the juicy burger that I ate. Well, she complained about hers and said that she could just order the beef. I just ignored her.

Well, some things just need some time to learn.

Let her be.

Maybe until her future mother in law is going to comment about her car when they want to balik kampung or when she force her to eat anything that she doesn't like?

2 comments:

izan said...

sha,

bila teringat cicahan penambah rasa membangkitkan selera ni .. baru nak bayang kan aje dah keluar ayaq lior ... apa lagi la kalau bercicahan ... bole jadi tak berenti makan ...

kak ijan said...

Owh Sha, you made me laugh reading this entry. One thing that kak ijan always want to do, is to try different foods at different places cooked by different cultures. When you were mentioning about ikan bakar and ais cendol and such, my tummy cried... cried for food! ohoho... sha sha. We should have gone to Malacca together. :D