A Malaysian Blog about Food, Family and Friends – by Lyrical Lemongrass
A blog reader left a comment recently expressing his outrage about the price of food in KL’s upscale restaurants. This brought me back to another online conversation about the price of fruitcakes on a friend’s facebook profile. To summarise that conversation, a 1kg fruitcake with alcohol was retailing at RM75 per kg here in KL. Two ladies in Singapore and Australia picked up on that thread and lambasted the friend, one asking if it was made of gold, and the other saying that it would be cheaper in Australia since one should compare “dollar for dollar”, i.e. a RM75 cake would be equivalent to AUD$75 in Australia. My friend (let’s call him FBB) and I were unable to comprehend the logic of her argument given that the price of raw ingredients was not comparable on a dollar to dollar basis. Taking it a step further, if the fruitcake (at her implied price) formed the “basket of goods” (the Fruitcake Index as opposed to the Big Mac Index hahaha) on which purchasing power parity were determined, then the Ringgit would be grossly undervalued. I guess my point is that a 1kg fruitcake with alcohol at RM75 is not expensive, BUT the blog reader who was unhappy about the price of food in KL’s upscale restaurants does have a valid point. When restaurants are importing raw ingredients because the quality of local produce is not consistent, this pushes up price levels. Food prices are not just determined by the cost of ingredients. Overheads, wages, etc are also relevant factors. But as long as the quality of service isn’t up to mark and wait staff blunder with delivery and dispensing of information, we still have the right to question the prices. Having said that, my boss likes to say, “Aiyah Meena, it’s a chicken and egg thing lah.” People are willing to pay, and restaurants thrive by that demand. So where does that leave us?
I didn’t have to deal with that dilemma several days back when I visited Marufuku Udon. I’d been eating at its sister restaurant, Sanuki Udon, for the past 10 months, almost on a weekly basis. There is a sense of comfort that I derive from slurping up a hot bowl of udon. Maybe it is the simplicity of it all. A bowl of udon, perfectly cooked with a clean and firm bite and modestly adorned with the ingredients of choice, be it a raw egg, wakame, kitsune, kakiage or ebi. How can it not provide happiness?
Marufuku is the fast food version of Sanuki. On weekdays, people place their orders at the counter and carry their meals to their table. Weekends are a bit more laid back and orders are taken at the table. The food is consistent with Sanuki but there are a few more options. Like the Salada Udon (RM8), guaranteed to be popular with the dieters. The udon is prepared al dente and served with a ton of julienned raw vegetables, bits of crunchy tofu and an addictive dipping sauce made of sesame. The Nabeyaki Udon (RM10) is softer than the other forms of preparation because the udon is boiled in stock before serving, giving it enough time to absorb all the flavours from the other ingredients. The raw egg, when stirred into the boiling soup, gives it a wonderful aromatic flavour.
Udon is made daily at Sanuki and sent over to Marufuku. I can’t think of any other place that prepares its own udon.
Prices start at RM6 for the House Special Udon (udon with raw egg). Extra toppings are at RM1 each. Side dishes are approximately RM3 each, my favourite being the kakiage available in 3 types, original, with prawns and with pumpkin. At night, yakitori is available at between RM2 and RM3 per stick. If the yakitori is anything like Sanuki’s, then you’re in for a treat.
How’s that for cheap AND satisfying?
L-18-G-1, Ground Floor,
Palm Square, Jaya One,
72A, Jalan Universiti, 46200 Petaling Jaya.
(located in between Frontera and Muse)
Open daily from 11am to 10pm
Also check out: I Heart Xen
Food, for me, is a means to an end and not an end in itself.
Food, for me, represents the love of family, the fellowship of friends, and the community and communality it brings.