Tuesday, December 11, 2007

It Crawled Out Of an Indian Kitchen

"What's this disgusting slimy blob?"

Calvin


Bring him back, Mr Watterson! Please!


Last Friday, I paid a visit to Guzzler's Inn located at the outer rim of the backwoods cow village we refer to affectionately as "our beloved university town, Manipal" - and while tactfully staying out of earshot of the schools' Nazis admins as "that bloody hellhole". It's been more than a year since I've last seen the dinner joint, and I could barely recognize it anymore with all its brand new refurbishments and posh trappings and... stuff?

Note to self: Get my vocab up to speed on interior design lingo.

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Oooh, classy.

Oh yeah, and third block exam's binned finally. And in less than a month, it's the fourth block grind. And the big, scary Year Two University Examination almost immediately afterwards. I am closer than ever to accepting God as my Lord and Saviour. Maybe this "power of prayer" thing can like, do some good shit for me, y'know.

Anyway, I always prided myself as someone who can always pick the best eats out of a menu. It's like a inborn talent thing - like how some people can touch their nose with their tongue or predict the result of Malaysia's next general election. I always try to pick the stuff written at the top of a list (because naturally, restaurant owners tend to write their top hole stuff down first), remember to ask the waiter for their specialties, and employ a heavy-handed use of pure dumb luck.

But that night, my powerz of psycho-menu-pathy has failed me utterly. That's because,
  1. The items in the menu were arranged in the order of the cheapest to the highway-robbery-est.
  2. The waiter speaka da Inglis like some of our politicians a la Malaysia.
  3. The exams have used up all my reserve emergency dumb luck.
Here's what we had for starters, Goop of Doom Chemical X Cream of Spinach,

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Ick.

I mean, just how often do you find green soup, I ask you? And no - you may NOT crack Dr Seuss jokes here. It is forbidden. You instantly forfeit 20 cool points from your cred in my eyes if you succumb.

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Phoebe braving a brand new world. Her last words were reported to be "Oh heck, who wants to live forever anyway?"

Okay, to be fair, the algae goop wasn't bad at all - mainly because Phoebe had sampled it before on her previous visits and recommended it to me. I don't know what they put in it but I'm sure it wasn't spinach. And it's not as gooey as the picture suggests. No, seriously.

Next on the table was This,


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This.

Yes, it's This with the first letter capitalised and italicised. I'd bold it too but I don't wanna overkill. It's not your regular 'this' at all, no - it's This, as in "What. The. Fuck. Is. This?!" said in dramatic staccato with your nosed screwed up right in the middle of an expression of utter incredulity. You are flabbergasted. Gobsmacked, really. You toyed with the notion of trying to prod it with a fork but you thought better of it - because you know a tendril of slime is going to pop out, grab your cutlery, and stab you in the hand with it if you pull anything like that.

Your best bet is to laugh nervously, then look at your dining partner and make a nondescript comment like "That's... interesting," about the dish while carefully keeping one eye on it in case it tries anything funny. Of course, be a gentleman and say, "You first."

The sewage surprise was, I think, a rather commonplace Indian dish called Palak Paneer - which sounds suspiciously like an Outer Rim alien species from a Star Wars flick. It literally means 'spinach (and) cottage cheese' and I said 'commonplace' because I ordered it once before from elsewhere. It's exactly as I remembered it; cubes of tofu-ey cottage cheese in triple-blended spinach purée (if the blender was rigged up to a jet engine, naturally). I was duped into ordering it again because the waiter insisted that it has "leafy veggie". I've seen less mangled "leafy veggie" coming out of my nether chute, I can tell you.

What India has against greens anyway? They are always either mushed, juiced or deep-fried to hell and back again. And my grandmother was surprised why I attacked the kailan and kangkung when I went back to Malaysia for my vacation. One nation constipation, that's India's culinary motto. It probably evens out the diarrhoea epidemic here that afflicts us innocent foreign types. Please don't kill me Dr Vishaal Bhat! I am just kidding! Honest!

It's a so-so dish, in my opinion. It's hard to enjoy something that looks like it came out of a hippo's anus.

And like just Fear Factor, there's always a third course. Here's the main,

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Harmless looking, eh?

I was billed as Mutton Hyderabadi Biriyani in the menu. The waiter told us that it is very spicy but Phoebe and I just pooh-poohed his warning. Hey, we are Malaysians! We invented the sambal! We use fucking cili padi in our fried rice! And so far, all the stuff they consider to be spicy here turned out to be disappointing flops. Plus, I'm also a wasabi junkie and I chow down on Nando's Level 4 Peri-peri chicken on a regular basis. So bring it on, matey!

But damn, the rice was on fire!

I held my end up pretty good, I think. I didn't even break a sweat, but I admit that biriyani was pretty darn close to some of the hottest stuff I ever ate. I must remember to ask them what they marinate the mutton with the next time I visit. It was some seriously potent shit.

Phoebe, on the other hand,

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Pawned.

It was so freaking funny. Her face was completely flushed and her forehead, bridge of nose and cheeks were sweating profusely - in full air-conditioning! (especially in the other picture which she wouldn't let me post up). Her eyes were definitely a bit watery and her lower eyelids were puffed. She drank up a quarter of her glass of water after every bite, and the smirking waiter was practically standing by with the jug ready to dispense refills. And through all that, she kept insisting to me just how much she loves spicy food, totally refusing to throw in the towel and surrender.

I can't wait to challenge her to a wasabi eating contest back in Malaysia later. That promises to be one heckuva funny face-off.

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Vae victis!
k0k s3n w4i

15 comments:

bevE said...

first!

bevE said...

what happened to artistic reasons for stupid alignment? T^T

mrbherng said...

Capsinin overdose for your fellow friend there I suppose, but there's at least a few green leaves on the briyani as some consolation eh?

P.S. My firefox auto spell checker wanna change briyani in to cyanide. I wonder where did that come from.

lemon said...

i like spicy food! i do T^T

pinksterz said...

you really can tahan cili padi? *sceptical*

Jen said...

aw cmon!! i'm dying to toss a green joke your way!! =P

anyway, you brave brave people deserve a pat on the back. at least the alien green palak paneer thingy let you get out of there alive. i do hope it was kind to your bowels as well.

and if you were with me, you'd win the wasabi contest by default since i dont go near the stuff. ugh..

Dr.Vishaal Bhat said...

Ha ha.. Lol.. Wait till you get into Andhra food... You will forget the We invented the sambal! We use fucking cili padi in our fried rice! stuff ;). By the way you insulted my favorite food... Apologize or else :p)..

By the way .. Do you know that you are driving away all the Malaysian populace away from a good career choice in India? Just joking..

It was a nice article.

lemon said...

wht andhra food?! :D izit even spicier thn the one i ate? i wanna try! :D *jumps up n down*

michellesy said...

Lemony, is that you?

LOL - you look different from your sari photo!

But still very pretty, and flushed too from the spiciness! =P

k0k s3n w4i said...

@beve
Rearranged for tidy reasons -.-

@mrbherng
You mean capsaicin?
What they really need is a dipping bowl of bran on every table.
P.S. Cyanide xD It felt like it tho

@lemon
Suuuuuuure you do :D

@pinksterz
*gloveslap pinksterz* I challenge you, ma'am, to a duel to the death in defence of mah chili-guzzlin' honouh!

@jen
The green stuff came out practically unchanged =.="
About wasabi, we've already been thru that, din we? No raw fish. No wasabi. That ain't the Japanish way, sista!

@dr.vishaal bhat
This Andhra stuff sounds... like an ADVENTURE! Where can I get me some Andhra, m'man? Your fave food is palak paneer? I love paneer, but fluid spinach just doesn't fly with us orients xD
*kowtow in apology for insulting Dr.Vishaal's fave nosh*

@michellesy
The girl with a thousand faces!

lemon said...

yes its me michellesy :D *beams* thanx. eheh (:

Dr.Vishaal Bhat said...

Yep Palak paneer goes down well for me.. And no need of the apologies.. Everyone isn't perfect you know ;)

Dr.Vishaal Bhat said...

@lemon

Andhra food is the spiciest available in India. At least from what i have tasted. There are people who say that the Kashmiri's prepare spicier food, but i did not find it so..

Mutton Hyderabadi Biriyani which you ate is Andhra food.. but since it wasn't prepared in Andhra Pradesh (A state bordering Karnataka) i believe it was a slightly watered down version of the same.

lemon said...

watered down version eh T_T i gotta try it sumday! Jz so i can tel evry1 i can eat d spiciest food in India ^_^v yay me!

pinksterz said...

challenge accepted! hmph.