(That Thing I Do)

Wild Soup Chase

When it comes to food, I’m mostly a creature of habit, despite popular belief. One look at my photographs and blog (and belly), and the immediate assumption is that I’m always going to random places looking for interesting new food to enjoy, photograph, and write about.

Not entirely true. What usually happens in my day-to-day life, is that I find something that I am comfortable eating on a regular basis, and I stick with it. My standard criteria would be affordability, waiting time, accessibility, and quality. I’m not much on taking risks on my routine meals – lousy meals leave me in a horrible mood.

When I do write a food review, it’s usually a conscious decision to find something that’s worth eating, taking pictures of, and sharing with as many people as I can. Other times, I just stumble upon something by accident, or just got a gut feeling (no pun intended) that something good is lurking.

Today, I decided to open my list of food to review and hunt down the next item on my list; and so I ventured out into the blistering Saturday heat, fully expecting a gem of a meal and a star-photos, and a golden review.

First destination: Bigfatbird . One of the people behind this extremely hidden place is one of the same people behind the extremely vanished Zuup Soup Bar (originally located in One Utama). Upon finding out this piece of information (from Boolicious – thanks, I officially love you forever now!), I decided I had to hunt it down immediately. And so I did – only to discover that they are closed for renovation. Alas, my itch for Irish Beef Hotpot will have to go unscratched until they reopen. In the meantime, my tummy was still unfilled and, hunt or no hunt, I had to eat.

The next item on my list was 10 kilometers away. The distance, the weather, and the failed first attempt at my hunt failed to discourage me. Ten clicks soon became considerably more as the pestering hunger distracted me into more than a few missed turns. Eventually, I arrived at my second destination: Jaring. I heard about it from a friend, saying it has good Malay food – something relatively hard to find around these parts. I had my hopes up. At first glance, it looked like your typical neighbourhood mamak stall, but upon closer inspection, it revealed its Malayness. Approaching the pre-prepared dishes, I was disappointed that most of the trays were empty. I must’ve come too late. It would seem that they served at least 30 different dishes – I was too hungry to count. At the corner of my eye, I caught a glance of a huge piece of roasted chicken quarter, which quickly flipped my discouragement  into hasty-greedy excitement. I grabbed a plate, served myself some rice, grabbed that huge piece of meat that wouldn’t seem out of place at Kenny Roger’s Roaster, and some of what little vegetable scraps they had left. I was more excited about the prospect of filling my belly than with reviewing the food at that point, because clearly there wasn’t enough material for me to go with, so I left my camera in my bag and proceeding to wipe my plate with my appetite. I thought perhaps I could revisit another day during lunch hour, when they’d have all their dishes ready and abundant. Then I noticed the no-photography signs at the serving counters. There went my idea of shooting their entire selection of dishes. That didn’t rule out me snapping pictures of my own selection at the table (or at home, with a packet of take-away, if the villagers decide to shoo me out), but that would mean either multiple visits or a group of friends who pick different dishes. Either way, I was not to get my review on this day.

This would not be the end of my attempts. Scanning through my list, I noticed another treasure I had been wanting to hunt. The inconvenient location and distance had hitherto discouraged me from seeking it out. But this day I was nearby and still on a rampage for a review. So I sought out this nondescript, inconspicuous Malay dessert stall in Taman Dato’ Harun (where?!). I had located it, and it was open. Joy! I asked for the bubur durianwhich I had tried a few times at the last Pasar Ramadhan .

Durians were (apparently) out of season. Gasp! No! Horror!

But wait, I could still salvage this, the next best thing would be their pengat pisang . Or, it would’ve been, if they didn’t just run out Feeling dejected and empty, I just ordered one container of black glutinous rice porridge, which cost far less than the toll I had to pay to get there, and proceed to eat it alone in my car like a heart-broken man. It was actually very good. But no, I did not feel preparing a review in the absence of my durian superstar.

I was beaten, but not defeated. I will return again for all the food that I had not gotten a proper chance to share. Because I love food, and love knows no bounds.