Jalan Jalan Cari Makan
Hi everyone! My name is Valerie and I’m guest writing in Bonding Tool today. Mom has been bugging me to guest write for her for quite some time but I’ve always managed to wiggle away, saying I haven’t eaten anything really worth writing about lately. Unfortunately that statement lost its validity the moment I took a bite (ok a “bite” sounds deceptively dainty, it was more of a “chomp!”) of THE MOST AWESOME NASI LEMAK IN THE WORLD!
Now, it really shouldn’t be a big surprise that your favourite food-blogging and recipe-hunting mom has two foodie daughters. Vanny and I have been well-trained in the art of searching out the best food places from birth. From wok-hei-infused street food to Michelin-standard morsels; from Paris to KL to Melbourne or Singapore; we have been sniffing the wind, squinty-eyed and determined, with a critic’s tongue and a foodie’s heart, we have roamed alleys, galleries, laneways and lorongs… ok, but seriously, melodrama aside, Vanny recently started work, Seong just expanded his school, Kyung (Seong’s younger brother) has not had a break since he ORD-ed and Sam just finished his stint at MBS. The long hours and hard work was taking a toll on us all so to cut the long story short, the five of us decided to take a short trip to KL over the Vesak Day long weekend.
We courageously (though my dad would use the word recklessly) decided to take a leap of faith regarding our driving skills and brave the notorious KL roads via rented car. We each slept 45mins each the night before our flight (last minute packing, I know, I know, we deserve it) and were not exactly in the best of moods when we touched down. It took us three hours to grab the car from Avis and loop around Petaling Jaya, Damansara and KL before finally finding Uptown (sidenote: really, what is it with guys not wanting to ask for directions btw?). The endeavor resulted in the two “dongseng” (which means “younger sibling” in Korean) completely KO-ed (knocked-out) at the back of the car and the three older folks in serious contemplation about whether or not to just smash the GPS. Now, the point of all this is to give you a glimpse into our gloomy/sleepy/destructive state of minds right before we reached Nasi Lemak heaven. Five hot, sweaty Singaporeans, trudged in the Malaysian sun from the only parking lot we could find (which was of course wayyy too far from the restaurant), to the meal we had begun resenting even even before the first mouthful.
We could see the restaurant about a hundred meters before we reached. There was a huge happy sweaty crowd, fold-out tables along the road, at least ten fans blowing in all directions and those weird machines they use in clubs to blow mist at people. The cooling mist and sedap smell wafting through the big bright morning should have brightened our moods. But really, what kind of sulky “me” generation youngsters would we be without more of a being resentful for a little while longer? (Sorry, had to pause right there to ask sis about whether we’re still legitimate “youngsters” given that we’re all in our twenties. She gave the green light, so… anyway, where was I? Oh yes…) Despite being considerably cooled by the life-saving mist fans, we fought against our more optimistic inner selves and continued to wear a slight frown and moped around the front of the restaurant looking for tables. Of course, some started faltering before others. As we searched for a seat in paradise, I caught glimpses of *ahem* (won’t name names) longingly staring after waiters carrying around big beautiful plates of Nasi Lemak laden banana leaves. But by the first bite, we were all more than happy to give ourselves up to the strange and boundlessly happy state of love. As people do, each approached love, and food, in their own way. My mind was blank as I enjoyed the pure, delicious, exqusite taste of the only Nasi Lemak I’ve ever really appreciated. On the other hand, the more analytical Seong, and connoisseur Sam were engaged in intense discussion regarding the aromatic rice that had the perfect bite, was slightly moist but still grainy, infused with coconut goodness but did not try too hard with outright sweetness. The sambal put up a good fight for the title “star of the show”. It was chunky and spicy, slightly sweet, as Nasi Lemak sambal should be, and with a gorgeous tang that cut through the slight heaviness of the coconut favour. For me, what really sold it was the chicken. Unlike the sad little drumlet or wing they usually plonk on the side of the plate arguing (or giving the excuse?) that Nasi Lemak is all about the rice and chilli, this Nasi Lemak did not neglect the only piece of meat on the plate (which I, being the carnivore that I am, totally appreciated it). Flawlessly seasoned and fried, it was also lightly smashed, giving it the “ayam penyet” quality that just made it all the more enticing. Sam the chef spent some time trying to work out what was used in the seasoning and we managed to get turmeric, ginger, and … oh that’s right, I wasn’t really listening because I was too busy eating! The chicken was also accompanied with those little bits (I believe they are fried desiccated coconut, serondeng?) which to me is really just the final hurrah.
Needless to say, we took time out of our busy Foodie schedule to revisit the place on our last day in KL. For a week after we returned to Singapore we would randomly look at each other and mouth “nasi lemak!” because that was just how love-sick we were. There were many other mouth-watering treats we tried during our KL trip. But the Nasi Lemak really stood out as the singular pivot point that turned a sullen holiday to the best weekend getaway I’ve ever experienced. After the first meal, our group’s mood totally sky-rocketed and back, I could be politically correct and say the trip became awesome because of the company, and because it was a long-awaited break from work…. Or, I could just be honest and say it was because of the Nasi Lemak!
Happy food hunting 🙂
Village Park Restaurant
5, Jalan SS21/37,
Damansara Utama (Uptown),
47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
(The row of shophouses facing directly opposite of BHP Petrol Station).
Tel: +6 03 77107860
Opens daily from 7am till 8pm.
Sunday/Public Holiday opens from 7am to 6pm.
Text credit Valerie.
Photo credit: ( except for the 2yr old pic) Vanessa.
P.S. My daughter Valerie decided to guest write on my blog as a gift because on 16th June 2013 (that’s tomorrow), Bonding Tool Facebook turned ONE!
Please visit my page www.facebook.com/bondingtool and “like” it if you do. Thank you 🙂