A Malaysian Blog about Food, Family and Friends – by Lyrical Lemongrass
One song has been playing in my head repeatedly:
I can’t believe I’m taking lessons from puppets.
But the fact is, when one professes that one is not racist, one should ask one’s self if that policy applies across the board or just to the Chinese-Indian-Malay formula. (And that itself is sometimes a feat.) Try walking along Jalan Silang on a Sunday afternoon and after that, think hard about what you profess. I failed the test. From the moment I stepped out of my car, I felt a certain uneasiness at being surrounded by so many foreign faces. Strange smells, strange looks, don’t touch me please. Ultimately, my discomfort stemmed from my ignorance about the growing number of migrant workers to our shores.
As I think about it a bit more, I realise that I do not have the right to view them as threats. My ancestors were considered foreigners in this land at one time, and while I am not too confident of my full acceptance of being a Malaysian other than what is stated on my passport, the superiority that I assume is most certainly displaced.
Things are never going to be like how they were 30 years ago. And maybe this globalisation is a good thing if we look at it with Pollyanna eyes. Sure there will be black sheep, but there are black sheep among us already as has been clearly demonstrated in the newspapers daily.
Gotta hand it to them puppets.
The route was one that I had plied regularly. The Khukri, despite it’s location above a shoplot, attracted my attention as I was able to see it at the Jalan Yap Ah Loy/Jalan Silang crossroad. “We must visit this restaurant someday,” I mumbled to my passenger. It was always the same mantra, but with different passengers.
I finally made it last Sunday for lunch after months of procrastination.
The Khukri was packed when we arrived, mostly with Nepalese folk. I felt like we were invading their space, their only refuge away from the strange-looking, funny-speaking people whom they had to deal with 6 days a week. I gave an apologetic smile. “Only a couple of hours,” my eyes spoke to them.
Thankfully, the menu was in english. “So, have you done your research?” the Weekend B^*ch© asked me. “Not quite,” I replied sheepishly. This won’t do, I thought. I decided to take the offensive. ”Have you done your research?” my eyes gleamed. He had.
“The mahi‘s supposed to be good,” he said. Tasting very much like lassi, but watered down and unflavoured, it reminded me of my favourite moru drink which I grew up on, a beverage made with yoghurt, cumin, chopped onions, chillies and a pinch of salt. Plain water was also available on each table, presented in brass pots. Faith is what keeps us going, and we drank the water in faith, despite the oxidated spout that had seen better days.
At first glance, the steamed momo resembled xiao long bao, those shanghainese dumplings that had taken over KL. But after taking a bite, the differences were quickly apparent. We chose pork (over lamb and chicken), and the meat was flavoured with spices then wrapped in an interesting fashion where the opening was at the bottom. And unlike the xiao long bao, these dumplings did not contain any soup within.
I loved the flavour of the momo, rich and spicy but without the searing heat of chillies, and when paired with a minty chutney type dip, it was divine. The accompanying soup was nothing like our clear chinese type soup but was more meaty in flavour. I thought it was a steal at RM7.50 for 10 pieces. Fried momo is also available.
The khasi ko tauko/khutta ko soup (RM7.50), a soup made with mutton head and legs, reminded me very much of sup kambing. This soup had a thick layer of oil on top which I couldn’t bear drinking. It had a lovely rich flavour and yet, lightly floated down the throat, caressing my tastebuds along the way. The meat was more chewy that I would have liked.
But if the mutton in the soup was chewy, the delicious, spicy andre bhudi buteko (bhutan) pork intestines fried in nepali spices (RM6) put Wrigley’s chewing gum to shame. The Nepalese sure have strong jaws. I think I lost 5 pounds from all that chewing.
And almost as if He heard my prayers for relief, the tender, soft, almost boneless chilli chicken appeared before us. The sauce was tomato-ey, like koe loe yok (sweet and sour pork) and was refreshing with the slight sourish taste of the lime.
Two types of desserts were available – kheer and halva (RM6 each). The halva had the grainy texture of semolina and was not overly sweet. I was bowled over by the kheer, a rice pudding that was not mushy and which exuded a rich milky fragrance. The kheer was cooked with cloves, cardamom and raisins. Both were freshly prepared, and each spoonful was steaming hot. If there ever was a perfect dessert, this would be it.
The Khukri amazed me with its cuisine; the flavours were familiar, resembling a number of our malay, indian and chinese dishes, but were yet distinctive.
Walking back to my car with a better understanding of many things, brushing past the strange faces didn’t seem as disconcerting as before. We are all, in many ways, alike. We try to make a better world for ourselves and for the ones we leave behind. Some veer off the path, while others stay in clear view of their goals. If we learn to recognise this, Jalan Silang wouldn’t be any different from Jalan Sultan Ismail.
To quote my favourite puppets:
For more reviews on The Khukri, do visit the following blogs:-
No. 26, First Floor
Jalan Tun Tan Siew Sin (Jalan Silang)
50050 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2072 0663
Open daily, lunch and dinner.
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.