Sunday, November 2, 2008

Kuala Lumpur Eats - A Wok & a Smile

Eating in a foreign city can be intimidating and confusing - is the food going to be good? Am I going to be disappointed? Will I get the runs from eating at this joint? But sometimes... you just know its going to be good.

This was the case with Shun Kei - a little hawker stall off Jalan Negasari. I stumbled upon this almost nondescript eatery because I noticed the chef owner who just sat with almost zen like calm next to his wok - with a smile. The humidity and sweltering Malaysian heat was almost unbearable but this beaming elderly man seemed to be completely comfortable with where he was - right in that moment.

I was compelled to order a plate of his char kway teow - just because I wanted some of what he had. And was I rewarded for letting him take my order of faith. The rice and egg noodles were perfectly charred with unmistakeable "wok hei". The simple ingredients of egg, fish cake, shrimp, beansprouts and green vegetables cooked just right - and the sambal chilli that was added - simply fantastic. You get a slight numbing sensation in your lips after your first bite that doesn't linger - just the right amount of heat that brings everything in this simple dish together.

I loved this plate of char kway teow - and I really enjoyed watching the old man prepare it. He was full of smiles and you can actually taste the joy in his cooking. Perhaps it was the pleasure of finding a great meal in the most unexpected of places - but I was suddenly completely content with where I was... right in that moment.


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