Sunday, March 22, 2009

Day 2 of hedonistic gastronomic adventure:

First stop of the day: Wanton mee at a coffeeshop.

We ordered a small plate of wanton mee, and when the food came, we saw that the plate was about the same size as the saucer holding my cup of teh-c. No, really.

This is my teh-c.

This is the small plate of wanton mee; I couldn't bring out its size in the photo no matter how I tried. So you will just have to believe me when I tell you it's small.


Pit stop #2: Chicken rice balls

We were actually half-hearted about eating chicken rice balls because we had heard too many blase reviews about them. But then, we decided to just give it a try anyway, the rice balls being a a very Melaka thing. It was a move that we did not regret. In a poll taken later, we unanimously voted the chicken rice balls our top favourite food in the entire trip.

The chicken was really only so-so, but the rice balls were super fantastic. While you don't get an explosion of flavour when you bite into the balls, the taste will slowly wash over you until you think you will die. While I would like to postulate a conspiracy theory about some illegal substance being used to induce the delirious taste, I think it is just chicken fat.

I forgot to take a photo of the chill sauce, but the sauce was so good, it nearly stole the show too.

Remember this shop: Chop Chung Wah at Jalan Hang Jebat, opposite the OCBC.


Stop #3: Baba Charlie for nyonya kueh.

When we went to the locals' pasar malam the night before, we wanted to buy some famous nyonya kueh that was being sold there, but it had run out. So when we found out we could go to the kueh maker's house the next morning to watch the kueh-making and buy kueh, we were happy.

So here we were, at Baba Charlie (72C Jalan Tengkera Pantai 2). All the kueh for sale were placed on a big table in a small room inside the house; the table was so big and the room so small, there was enough space only to walk around the table in a single file.

Baba Charlie (the man in blue) is a kueh nazi. When we stood around doing nothing, he saw us and ordered us to pick up a basket and place our selections in there and to bag up the kuehs that are already not in plastic bags. Then he proceeded to tout his own otah by waving them around and proclaming how good they are.

When Ms M, who was actually not very interested in the otah, asked Charlie whether the otahs needed to be grilled again if she took them home, he dropped the otah right into her basket in response to her question. That's pro-activeness for you. Shove the otah into your customer's face and someone is bound to buy them. The otah was absolutely delicious though, so Ms M didn't get a bad deal even if it was forced on her.

Initially, when we stepped into the room, we were feeling rather lackadaisical about all the kueh displayed in front of us. As we stood there surveying the scene, a whole group of aunties and some uncles came in and started dumping kueh in their baskets. Someone said, in a near panic tone: "There are a lot of aunties! We better faster buy or else the kueh will run out!"

And we were suddenly spurred into sweeping the kueh off the table and into our baskets, to beat those aunties. The whole thing was a blur to me because it happened so fast, but Ms M recounted the incident to us later: "The Resident Bureaucrat was picking at the kueh while his wife was busy taking photos. After someone said that the kueh was going to run out, I heard the Resident Bureaucrat ask his wife, do you want this kueh?"

"And the wife shouts: 'Take! Take take take!'

"And the Resident Bureaucrat was scared he would buy the wrong kueh and kena scolding from his wife, so he holds up another kueh, and asks his wife whether she wants that kueh too.

"And his wife shouts: 'Everything also want! Just take! Just take!'"

Which is how the Resident Bureaucrat and I ended up with a basket this full. Later, we found out the person who had incited the panic was none other than my twin, who, in the meanwhile, had developed hyperventilating fits because the room was too crowded, and had to be brought to one small corner of the room and ordered to breathe.

Later on, speculation became rife that my twin was planted among us by Baba Charlie to make us panic buy. Another point of suspicion: My twin, who sparked off the kueh-grabbing frenzy, bought only RM5 worth of kueh herself. And, it was also she who had taken us to the kueh stall at the pasar malam the previous night to buy kueh.

Gratuitous food porn shot.

More gratuitous food porn.

Yet more gratuitous food porn. (I'm fascinated by the colours of the kueh, but honestly, some of them looked better than they tasted, especially the pineapple tarts, which smell of nail varnish remover. Except for the otah, and the dodol, which were really good.)

There was supposedly a tray of the most delicious ondeh-ondeh sitting in little banana leaf cups by the cashier, but the Resident Bureaucrat was too busy grabbing kueh, and I was too busy shouting at him to grab kueh, to notice the ondeh-ondeh. And then it was gone, grabbed up by all the aunties whom I was trying to beat.

Some of us in our group managed to buy some though, and they swore the gula melaka just exploded in your mouth when you bit into the ondeh-ondeh, which also carried a tinge of sesame - most unusual. Ms M, who also missed out on the ondeh-ondeh, was so convinced by the rave reviews that she was talked into exchanging something really important for two of the ondeh-ondeh. I can't tell you what was the important thing she traded for food, but just think Esau selling his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of red lentil stew.

The Resident bureaucrat carrying our loot from the kueh raid.


Stop #4: Extinct dessert

This stuff is really called Tai Bak, a nyonya dessert that has been described as "almost extinct", so of course we had to try it. We found the stall selling Tai Bak at Jalan Tengkera (opposite ACS / Wesley Church). Everything happens on Jalan Tengkera.

It tasted like bee tai bak in a sweet, light syrup. That's it.

At the same stall, my twin spotted these curry puff-lookalike things which were stuffed with beansprouts, so we had to try it too. I don't know what they're called, but they tasted like deep fried popiah.


Finally, we ended up at Teo Soon Loong Chan Teochew Seafood Restaurant (55 Jalan Hang Kasturi) for lunch. The food here was so good, the service, so nazi-istic, this really deserves a post on its own. To be continued...


suan said...

ooh.. the anticipation!

crummb said...

my dear, i hardly ever laugh when i read blogs. but i was heaving and tearing when i read your commands to TAKE TAKE TAKE. i woulda done the same! :)

peanut butter wolf said...

Crummb: After four days of eating kueh that has been dried out from being refrigerated, I regret my actions.

jo said...

i spotted pineapple tarts. Where is my tart? i want it!!!

peanut butter wolf said...

Jo: i forgot to add that the pineapple tarts are really bad!