My first day to explore KL.. A friend recommended bangsarvillage..and he had visited KL a year or two back..but was someone who shared sorta similar tastes in food n hangout..so I went down the hotel asked for a cab..while waiting I started chatting the usher guy..he was from India and was here past 26 years..which is not unusual considering the third largest population in Malaysia was Indians..but the surprising part was he was from my very own kolkata..learning that I too was from there he got emotional and started speaking..khidderpore said Suleiman “janen aj Eid”and looked at me..I could see the moistness in his eyes and feel the longing in his soul..the familiar images of pujo swept through my mind (…aah also not this year )
Bangsar was a huge mall..I and II the cabbie informed me..I walked through..I was hungry and wanted some food..in my mind I was thinking..a thai curry with rice, mixed noodles maybe, aah wait there’s a nando’s, wow these pizza’s look great too..but somehow couldnt make up my mind..as I was walking through a skywalk connecting Bangsar I and II noticed a mosque in the distance..suleiman ..Eid..do they also have biriyani here? I decided to chuck the mall and stepped outside..there was a long winding way alongside the parking which headed towards the street with shops..dusk was falling. The moment I was outside..two things struck me ..the warmth in the air..and the birds returning home..quite a cacophony they created.. suddenly azan started from the distant mosque..as I headed towards the street my mind was occupied absorbing the beautiful hues of the sky..the birds chirping..the azan in the background..and the warm wind caressing and blowing my hair..
I found a muslim “restoran” announcing biriyani..now let me tell u – we kolkatan are very particular about our biriyanis..the color of the rice, the softness of the meat, the aroma, all these need to be perfect to lure us – the restoran had a buffet laid out at the entrance..and ppl were siiting in tables in the open air just beside it..so that u can walk up, topup your plate and eat..so I assumed this will be a “eat all u can” kinda joint..I asked a waiter..biriyani..he said something in Malay and started walking..hesitating a second I started following him..he took me to a huge haaNri ..and started taking out yellow rice from it..as I peered in, saw that it was almost empty ..(so good business!) But no meat! I said chicken? ..he said wait and with the heaped plate started walking again..took me to a corner on the kitchen counter where there was a mound of fried chicken in all shapes and forms..asked me which one? I cant eat this ..this is not biriyani – I wanted to say but on the outside being embarrased only mumbled incoherently..looking at me I guess he realized there was something not right..he asked me “..u want??”.This time with some courage I said “no sorry” fearing he will say no not possible.. But he was quite ok..”OKK” he said and dismissed me..dissapointed I walked out..so no biriyani on eid..started walking..the next restoran was balasbananaleaf..
I thought dosa for dinner..umm ok..maybe ..was hungry too..as I walked past..there seemed to be fresh fry counter..some fresh fish, shrimps, calamari..marinated with this aromatic spiced red paste..this seemed oh so lovely..I quickly chose a large piece of fish..reminding me of my mumbai days of rava fried surmayi..
I chose a seat outside where I could hear the din of ppl.. a young couple in front..speaking in Malay so couldnt really understand what was happenning with them..two guys behind me who were speaking in english..they seemed to be talking about some insurance and finance stuff so quickly I lost interest.. The TV was playing ‘the martian’ and Matt Damon was struggling with his first days on Mars ..menu card.. Tandoori ayam (chicken for the uninitiated), garlic naan..just what the doctor prescribed !!..browsing through the drinks ..beer..no too hot..cola..no..lassi..no too heavy..wait a minute .. coconut water..oh wow..its not that I love coconut water but just the novelty of it made me feel..yes! Now wait a minute coconut water with tandoori chicken? Dont bother.. Just eat! The fish arrived..as fresh as I had imagined..the spices were just right with some curry leaves to enhance the flavors..the chicken n naan were also good but somehow a little too much for me to finish..
as I went up to wash my hands after the feast..caught this foreigner guy having dinne, seemed american.. eating from a banana leaf with rice, a nice curry of fish and some yellow colored thick liquid – I presumed dal..with a fork and knife! never mind seemed quite tasty..so I already know what I will have tomorrow...as I paid my bill glanced upon a cafe on the opposite pavement..very much like cafe coffee day back in India..a few steps further and a classic chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream later my first day of exploring malay food felt positive.. quite fulfilling and satisfying..