yes, back in malaysia, since we're both working late, weekend was the only time to peel, cut, chop - cook! on other days we eat out almost everyday after work - too late, too tired!
but in dubai, it's the other way around which is an extremely better deal since we save more money, eating out only on 1 or 2 of the 7 days, instead of 5 days previously. we also appreciate the eating out better because it's celebrating the weekend and mr. khairul's day off, rather than because of necessity.
so where did we go makan yesterday? the noodle bowl in satwa. slurp! we've been here few times, and i'll tell you why we love the place!
at first sight, it wasn't inviting to me from the outside. nothing too special about this place, unless you're really looking for a chinese restaurant in the middle of satwa. no lion statues, intricate eastern wood carvings or timber door with chinese writings embedded.
this place thrives from word of mouth, especially to malaysians for one of many good reasons - its chef. more on than later.
the outer wall is completely transparent waist up, so on second glance you can see the colourful pastel colors of the seats. cool and comfort are what they're offering.
low ceiling greets you upon entering, and you can see now that it does have the characteristic of a chinese restaurant. chinese decorations framed on the walls - table spread from china, a chinese traditional costume, the typical ceramic cat statues and even a mock statue of a terracotta horse.
the waitress wears a samfoo top, smiles sweetly and hands you the almost-tattered and obviously aged menu as you take a seat. (menu dia memang mcm belacan! nak koyak-koyak but still legible!)
there's a lot of chinese-style lauk to choose from, also fried rice dishes that they conveniently called 'nasi goreng' in the menu. 'mee goreng' pun ada listed! and of course, other noodle dishes - hence the name.
that day mr. khairul did not bother looking at the menu, and straight away ordered his favorite dish - black pepper beef with brocolli. then, he asked the waitress to recommend a delicious chicken dish, the spicier the better.
she suggested 'lai zhi chi ting' - which means 'spicy chicken' or 'chilli chicken' - the 'lai zhi' means spicy and 'chi ting' means chicken. correct me if i'm wrong!
this lauk is super-sedap! marinated chicken fried with dried chillies, bird-eye chilli and capsicum - along with some peanuts! the taste of chilli was awesome and it's not that spicy - just enough to pass the lembaga penapis syigim. take a bite of the chicken and feel the juicy, tender meat enveloping your tastebuds - right to your tummy and thigh!
khaleef was given his own small plate and kids' spoon and fork, complete with a paper cup! how thoughtful (and careful, too!).
kahfi gulped his milk in the comfort of his crib, then as usual merungut wanting to be taken out. and watched me eat. nyum nyum.
did i mention the chef earlier as this place's biggest attraction for us?
he's mr. zawawi, he's malaysian and he's from perak! he's been working in dubai as a chef for 5 years now and loving it. whenever we come here and he's off-duty, mr. khairul made a point to tanya khabar and have a chat with him.
when he spoke in that undeniable perghok slang, i was transported back to pulo tige (pulau tiga), kampung gajah and telok enson where i spent hari raya with abah's side in my younger days. endearing images of a loud perghok clan catching up, my abah's sisters and brothers; mak cho, mak yang, pak huri, pakcik kudus, mak nyah, mak cu... chatting in the heavy perghok accent - i miss home!
* * *
"ari tu ade jalan-jalan tengok abaya. ingat nak beli buat souvenir."
"ate tau ke deme tu makei' nye? heheh.."* * *
"pompuan ke laki?"
"laki. 2-2 laki."
"uih. jenuh le menjagenye... yang ni udoh beso kang, orghang perghok cakap, kang melompat le deme bedue.."* * *
sonok betui jumpe orghang kampung teman. udoh banyok asyik jumpe orghang utare ngan cek mek kelate je kat dubai ni, deme kalo jumpe ngan incik kerul tu cakap utare je le. teman idok le boleh walaupun mak teman lahir di kedah nun. ni le baru sonok besembang.
hah, kome ape lagi? ate idok ke nak cube lauk cine kat sini? moh la kite pegi skali!