A Malaysian Blog about Food, Family and Friends – by Lyrical Lemongrass
It’s a little too late by the Holiday Rulebook, but I turned off my Christmas lights today, and I shall probably stop listening to Christmas carols tomorrow. With a flick of a switch, I am assailed by an overwhelming sense of wistfulness that the merriment’s come to an end and the reality of 2011 is setting in together with the multitude of deadlines and expectations. I suppose I should embrace the challenges that will inevitably come my way, be prepared to whatever extent I can, and occasionally focus on the more pleasurable things in life.
The concept of secret supper clubs is relatively new to Malaysia although it has become increasingly popular in certain countries. Huck’s Cafe is designed in such a fashion, where people gather around good food, not in a restaurant but at a residence. Every night, different groups of people, approximately 15 to 20 in number, congregate at a particular house in Petaling Jaya to enjoy the lovingly cooked food prepared by Huck Seng, a self-trained cook. He started off by cooking for his children and posting delectable pictures on Facebook, and soon, friends showed interest and asked if they could sample his cooking. Eventually, with the steady stream of customers, Huck’s Cafe emerged.
While there are secret supper clubs where the location is kept a mystery until the very last minute, the location of Huck’s Cafe is publicly available on Facebook. All one has to do is be a “fan” on Facebook, then leave the proprietor a message to find out if a particular date is available.
We ordered a variety of dishes for our group of 16 that night – a combination of local and Western dishes to suit our diverse palate. The lemon roast chicken ala Jamie Oliver was a hit with everyone. What initially looked like charred skin turned out to be some sort of caramelisation, and the flesh was flavourful and tender and juicy, literally falling off the bones. Also good were the local dishes – sambal udang petai which was sufficiently spicy and sweet, green chicken curry and a fluffy and tasty kerabu rice with a beautiful herbaceous scent from the various types of ulam used to prepare this dish. Desserts were equally enjoyable – the creme brulee was well prepared with a lovely crisp caramelised surface, the chocolate mud pie ice cream satisfied those who loved nuts, and the warm chocolate brownie’s soft texture contributed by the use of bananas and raisins was good enough to satisfy the chocolate lovers in our group. With a large group such as ours, preferences are bound to be debatable. I found the cottage lamb stew pie too sweet for my liking, the base flavour of the meat masked by too many other ingredients, but to another member of the group, it was her favourite dish. Nevertheless, it didn’t matter as it didn’t detract from the meal’s overall worth.
It is simple, home cooked fare. The one factor which gives Huck’s Cafe an edge over the mass of restaurants that proliferate in the Klang Valley is this – Huck Seng cooks from the heart.
It’s the same reason why when I cook and accidentally put too much salt in my curry, Bald Eagle still devours every little bit. And asks for seconds.
Huck’s Cafe on Facebook.
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.