Friday, July 13, 2012

City of Cutlery

The canteen is a place of moderated chaos – students walking, moving, laughing, munching, chomping, grabbing, laughing, shouting.

The bell rings. The buzz dies down gradually, crowds, heading like sharks to blood to the end of the hall.

Students push, pull, squeeze, walk, shuffle. A bottleneck towards their destination. There is a presence, tension rising as it awaits in anticipation.

Plates are thrown, unfinished food is dumped, forks and spoons clang against yolk yellow plastic trays. There is a blur spot in the background.

Spaghetti sauce splatters, drops of curry ooze into bins, bones with bits of meat slide down from plate to tray,  an oily surface acting like a slime ski. The entity is now actively reaching in, turning the messy into the orderly.

Cities begin to form – metal foundations of clanging cutlery, towers of plates, built on the soil of meat and rice, interspersed with rivers of tom yam. The architect, the builder, and demolisher are at work.

A rogue plate is thrown instead of placed. The character shouts an undignified ‘Oi!’. The perpetrator walks away, hands stained with the curry of his crime, continues laughing, chatting, talking, sparing one thought for the presence: Bitch.

The city has crumbled. And the pieces have to be picked up.

I walk toward the ruins. And I pick up the plates. I look up, and hand them to her. She smiles for the first time that day.

‘Terima kasih, adik.’

Walking away, I half whisper, ‘No, thank you mak cik.’

Santa's Chapati

Santa's in town!

Type of food: Indian

Signature dish: Chapati, sambal sardine
Location: 15, Jalan Sarikei, 53000 Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours: All days except Sunday, Mon-Fri 6.30am-6.30pm; Sat 6.30am-3pm
Contact:  0169958819 ( Kulwant Singh)
Other: Halal

No, this is not Mr. Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas Santa! However, I can guarantee you that Santa Singh certainly does not lack for delectable gifts and culinary delights! Santa is a very famous chapati stall- he's been featured in many a paper and I've been an avid fan of his chapati for years now. All the chapatis I've tried have thus far paled in comparison to his. Read on and find out why!

Fuyoh, motion blur man!
The chapathi at Santa's is always piping hot from the pan, with the skillful hands of his workers always flipping the delicate dough back and forth. The sight of the chapati being done right there and then, the subtle but mmmm so good smell of the dough, and finally the slight burn you get on your fingers as you juggle the hot chapati onto your plate- all make for a full sensory adventure.

Don't underestimate the power of a fluffy chapati.
The chapati itself is fluffy, with a good bite- sufficiently chewy and doughy without being rubbery; it's got a fresh feel where you can actually taste the dough itself; and is just the right thickness. Overall, a GREAT chapati. But of course, one usually does not eat chapati plain ( though I could eat this one plain!), one usually has some condiments with the chapati to complement the flavours.

Sambal sardine..mmmm
This is where the chapati becomes surprisingly addictive. Santa's all time favourite condiment is his sambal sardine- an extremely tasty, slightly spicy blend of sardine fish bits, onion pieces that provide a good bite and fragrance, and a sauce that just brings everything together. The sambal sardine is a mighty fine concoction- Santa has his own special blend, it tastes nothing like sambal sardine from a can or from any other restaurant I've been to. The sauce goes fantastically well with the chapati, and I can easily chomp down three chapatis in one sitting with the sambal sardine. The other condiments are really quite good as well.

Mutton keema
The mutton keema has a good bite to it, very nice flavours that blend well with the chapati. If you like mutton, I suggest you take bucket loads of this! 

A bit like bitter gourd chips!
The deep fried bitter gourd is a must try for vege lovers- it's crunchy, rich with spice and with a good hint of bitter!

The dhal is very decent as well, but when fresh ( around 8-9 am), it is GREAT. You've never really tasted dhal till you've tasted it fresh.

Makes you feel like going MOOOOOO.
Of course, what is a Malaysian breakfast without the ol' cuppa Teh Tarik? This is another aspect where Santa shines, with a Teh Susu Lembu* that is oh so frothy, with a nice natural rich milky taste! I don't know about you, but I'm a Teh Tarik junkie, and this is one of the best in town!

Restoran Santa
Taste: 8.5/10- Best chapati in town.
Value: 8.5/10- It's mamak prices, a meal for one with condiments should cost no more than RM8
Health: 8.5/10- Chapati is a really healthy bread!
Overall: 4.5 durians!

*Susu lembu- cow's milk- when fresh, has a really strong, milky smell and taste, perfect for a cuppa!