Not being a food blogger or a foodie or anything – I have no plans to resurrect a dead and decaying food blog that I maintain – means that I can do a few things that would be no-no’s to consummate foodies/foodistas/food bloggers within six degrees of separation. “Reviewing food” would be one thing. Or use adjectives I hate; while I used the word “idiot” in 19 entries in this blog, the word “succulent” was only used twice. Or take good pictures of food. For example:
Above is the Malaysian national dish, nasi lemak. Me, my girlfriend Jam, and her cousin Chill had dinner at a restaurant called Nasi Lemak in Robinson’s Galleria (no, the meal was not free, and yes, it’s ethical to say that), apparently ran by Chef Gene Gonzalez. While Jam and Chill had… succulent… plates of Hainanese Chicken Rice to go with the delectable tom yum goong and the exceptional Malaysian chicken curry, I chose the nasi lemak. “A complete meal,” I justified to myself, anticipating the fun I would have mixing coconut cream rice with chicken, fish, egg, peanuts, and dried anchovies. That, or I was preparing myself for philosophizing in the comfort of my own toilet bowl.
Suffice to say the dinner affair between me and a plate full of food became a battle of brawn, appetite, and shredded bits of chicken.
Now before this all gets lost and misinterpreted in a river of “revenge blogs” and posts on terrible food experiences, Nasi Lemak is a fine, fine restaurant. It’s perhaps the closest you’ll get to Singaporean food if you’re in a mall. Yet when faced with the ravenous appetite of a guy whose idea of a balanced diet is crispy pata and kare-kare, disasters of aesthetics and the appetite can and do happen.
It looked exactly like that. Chill would make remarks about how gross the plate looked like, and Jam would pat my back and convince me that I could let the plate go if I wanted to. Being a stubborn guy, I decided to shred the chicken a little more, leave the fish alone, and just have a go at it; never mind if I add a couple of inches to my waistline. Or completely ignore table manners and etiquette and just take the food on like a pig to the feeding trough. Two Cokes and 30 minutes later, trying to wolf down a perfectly good dish that would look at home in a dog’s feeding bowl, I gave up. I tapped out – literally – and admitted that my culinary handiwork would be right in place with cadaver dissections or exhibits on the macabre and downright disgusting.
The waiter handed the bill over and I asked, “Boss, is this the serving for one?”
“Yes sir,” he quietly and thoughtfully replied. Maybe this is not the first time he saw this happen.
I guess in the battle of Man vs. Big Hunking Serving of Food That’s a Steal at A Couple of Hundred Pesos, the latter wins. Beats the diner handily by submission. The psychological effect of “Eat Me” forever etched in the back of his mind, just like a Chic-Boy dinner at the last stage of overtime-induced hunger.
Leaving the restaurant with a half-eaten (it’s not a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty thing) I am reminded of the many visions Dante conjured up to punish the gluttons of the heathen earth: hellhounds, the worms that feed off its waste, a cesspool of fetid viscera and human waste, and the first literal allusion to the shitstorm. Mom always told me I’m going to Hell for leaving a plate of perfectly good food go to waste…
I’d definitely go back, but maybe this time I’m having the healthful plate of Hainanese.