Expressions of Edible Perfection

By Mark Wiens 3 Comments

A crowd of people, mustered under a tree, mingling, confused like ants following a hint of a trail, and unworldly Malaysian food smells, filling the air, stunning my utmost nostril.  I had to be part of it.

Approaching closer, the people were revolved around a small table, filled with about 20 of some of the most exciting and inspiring delights known to man.  I became overjoyed and excited like a child becomes ecstatic about Christmas (same feeling I got eating the Boat Noodles in Bangkok).  I thought to myself, I could turn this into an obsession.

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Just outside the Moroccan embassy, a short distance across the street from the Petronas Towers, under a tree, at noon daily, lies a mobile take-out haven.  A man and his wife appear with a fold up table, a thermos full of rice, about 20 main dishes, and banana leaf wrappers.   This is not a cart, where like many street food stands, the owner cooks the food on site.   This food had been cooked prior in the home of the owner, intricately prepared, as if every fish, piece of chicken, or vegetable was cared for like the cooks own child, and then transported street side.

After receiving my rice in the banana leaf, I was forced to make a positive taste bud altering life decision, what dish, or combination of dishes to smoother the rice in.  Though it only took a few minutes, in my mind time  was in slow motion.  Everything seemed to get quiet, and for a moment or two, it was all between me and the food.  Nothing else really mattered.

As I filled my mouth for the first bite, immediately a bond, a connection of man to food was formed, my mouth had found Utopia.  I wanted to wad a piece of the fish and sauce and tuck it away in my lower lip, like chewing tobacco, except without ever spitting, forbid I ever lose any of the flavors.

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There’s no excuse to go to Kuala Lumpur and not eat at this no name fabulous foodery.  Without the slightest hint of hesitation in my mind, and though the owners had no idea, I mumbled to myself, “this makes the top 10 list of greatest dining establishments in the world.”

-Mark Wiens

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