Thursday, May 15, 2014

Simplicity at its Best

I hail from a small town in the northern part of Johor (the most southerly state in Peninsular Malaysia) called Segamat. With a population of roughly 200,000, it is about 172 kilometres from Johor Bahru, the capital of Johor State. Away from the hustle and bustle of the big cities, the pace of life there is generally quite relaxed. People there can generally wake up at around 8 in the morning, and go for a leisurely breakfast at one the many eating establishments. Though development had brought around the likes of Western cafes and MacDonald's, Segamatians tend to find comfort in more traditional eating places.

One of my favourite breakfast haunts is a noodle stall opposite Shell along the main road of Segamat (Jalan Genuang) - Approximate coordinates 2.495486, 102.835965. No, it does not have any name. How the stall started was that the owner used to peddle the noodles on a trishaw. My dad and uncle basically grew up eating the noodles. As the owner gets older, he decided to pass the recipe to his daughter, and set up stall in front of his house. A few tables and chairs and we can start doing business. That is the beauty of Malaysia.

Trishaw in front of the House

The noodles in question are basically blanched in water and then tossed in dark soy sauce, some lard and then garnished with slices of roast pork (char siew). Simplicity at it's best.

Curry Tofu

Bean Curd skin stuffed with Fish Paste
 The noodles are usually accompanied with a bowl of condiments in soup and also a bowl of curry tofu. My favourite are the bean curd skins stuffed with fish paste and tapioca leaves. The tapioca leaves are fresh produce from our lawn. Besides the tapioca leaves, we sometimes bring some freshly harvested lettuce to complete the meal.

Lettuce fresh of the Lawn

The Trio

This noodles stall, in my opinion, typifies that sometimes, the best does not need to be in a Michelin star restaurant. I once watched a movie about cooking and what the protagonist said is indeed very true - Memories are the best seasoning you can ever find.

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