Le Sandwich, Pomme de Pain @ Bittersweet Paris

This reminded me of my days in Paris.

Only a few days, but with peace and chaos, romance and angst, bitter and sweet, all rolled into one giant ball of yarn, I must say Paris is something. I think it will be something for everyone, be it what it is that they experience to a degree somewhat.

It is just because Paris has character. You may see it. You may hear it. Or you may feel it. Someone almost always leave Paris a little bit changed by it. At least I did.

You cannot help being fazed by the chaotic way the rues (streets) are structured (though I must say the new looking signs on every street are really helpful when one is staring at the ready to fall apart tourist map), and the crowd that are a mix of local and tourists, mostly tourists, and the same proportion of people who are there to solely earn from the tourists, which kind of anger you especially if they provoke or shows some sort of threat. if you have been there you would know what i mean. This is where Paris can be chaos and angst.

But you also cannot help being overwhelmed by the romance of the city. The feel of things being the way they are, just so. Paris has a sort of foreboding force not to be ignored. River seine. Oh how can one not be almost swept away by it, even though there are no big current. In fact it is the serenity that pulls you along. It brings you to places you always wanted to go, or almost did, and possibly someday will. River seine shows you it is possible. This where Paris can be peace and romance.

And so while I was walking along, almost aimlessly, although I am sort of looking at the map, I am also sort of bumming around, just because I like it that way. I like the random way of things during my travels, yet I could not help wanting to go some of the places that I heard or read beforehand, thus the need for the map to route me once in a while. Suddenly I walked pass this sandwich place that has a long line of queue outside.

I am pretty guilty of the mantra “I want to eat where the locals eat”

My hands shot up to my eyes, I look at the watch, great lunch time! Almost that is, 11.37am, oh well, who knows what is lunch time in this part of the world, for me I say it is. So I happily join in the long queue.

While waiting the line, I was fascinated by everything around me, there are a mixture of students and young working adults. I love the details of their fashion. Their clever layering in the not too cold weather. The working crowd is sort of posh in the way they carry themselves while the youngsters show vibrancy and youth. The incessant chatters between the youths in contrast to the deep in concentration i-want-my-sandwich-fast-so-i-can-go-back-to-work adults.

With all that and I have have yet to even look at the long list of how you can have your sandwich. Ham? Cheese? Plain? Toasted? I can’t remember most of the fanciful stuff but in the end, I chose the most basic of le sandwich I can find. Yes just stick slices of smoke sausages into my baguette and I am good to go. So they did and off I walk with the precious prize in my hand.

Le Sandwich @ Pomme de Pain, Paris
Le Sandwich @ Pomme de Pain, Paris

I pondered a bit at that time. Is it lunch time yet? Should I eat now? Later? Oh well better when it’s hot. But just an excuse of course, for who in the right mind could walk around with a toasty wonderful smelling sandwich in their hands and not eat it? What more this is THE parisian sandwich I am talking about. Yes, le sandwich. So yes, I ate it while walking along the street towards Arc de Triomphe.

When I sank my teeth into it, I moan in ecstasy. Yes it is that good. How can something so simple can be so good boggles my mind. And how I know no such simplicity goodness to be found back where I came from tightens my heart. The baguette is absolutely the way a good baguette should be. It has just the right warmth, toasty with outer crust that crunches and inner bread that is soft and sweet. Ah and the sausages. Slightly salty that cuts through the bread very well, literarily or non literarily.

While enjoying le sandwich, I think to myself “How can I eat another sandwich normally again?” And this is where Paris can be bittersweet.

Pomme de Pain
All over Paris if you keep your eyes open (or nose for that matter)

Indian Roadside Stall’s Tosai @ Malaysian Warmth

Lovely Malaysia. How can I almost forget it. It’s been a while since I have this feeling. The feeling of peace, relax and of no rush whatsoever, in a nondescript roadside Indian stall, eating my favourite tosai for breakfast and having an exceptionally Malaysian kind of warmth service. How else can we start a day in Malaysia better? Maybe with a new generation touch which is having my netbook with me along with Internet connection.

Thanks to the burgeoning so called upper class kopitiams around Malaysia, many of us youths had start to forget how nice it is actually to go back to basics. The old times. The sitting near the roadside, having other locals buzzing around you, some chit-chatting, some flipping their newspapers and some just plainly stare around (like me but without the netbook ha-ha). The stall people walking around taking orders, serving, laughing, sometimes kacau (a Malay term for disturbs) and treating everyone as if they are long time friends.

So yeah, sometimes we forgot what makes something tick, something that stand the test of time. Sometimes we forgot how wonderful it is to be Malaysian. Now I would hope to relive more of these simple joys in life. Like good ol’ Malaysian warmth and good ol’ healthy tosai to start the day.

Tosai @ Malaysia's Indian roadside stall
Tosai @ Malaysia's Indian roadside stall

Indian roadside stall
Between Jalan 33/70A and 19/70A,
Sri Hartamas,
50480 Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia

Teo Chew Restaurant @ Damansara Jaya, PJ : My Third Place

There is three place that I spent the most time in when I am in KL. First would obviously be my home in KL. Second, being in the rat race itself, would be my workplace. The first two places are typical for normal rat racers. The third place though, which I believe would differ from people to people, and as for me is actually the communal house. What?? In my own definition:

Communal house – “a place where like-minded people hang out and mostly bum around doing nothing much other than enjoying each other’s company and presence”

For me, my communal house is strategically located near to me and at the same time conveniently sheltering few of my bestest of friends – Y, L and E, which is actually why the place is the communal place anyway. So if you don’t find me at home sleeping/doing the usual things at home or at work earning my dough, you would most likely find me at the communal house bumming around. The thing with bumming around is, there is nothing you wanna do other than nothing. Not even when your stomach starts making sounds. Sometimes we would be bad enough to just order food in and continue bumming, but sometimes when the lure of food is strong enough and the delivered food are no longer satisfying, we would drag ourselves out of the house to the nearest comfort food place – Teochew Noodles.

My good friend L once say her comfort food is just a bowl of Chinese noodle soup, I must say it has its good reasons. Imagine a big bowl of soupy goodness, with fresh juicy meats (fish/chicken/pork) and rice noodles so soft it slides down your throat. That is what I call simple food at its best.

Fishball Noodle @ Teo Chew Restaurant, Damansara Jaya, PJ

This hidden place, with the shop in a inner road of Damansara Jaya, facing the Atria supermarket, which may not seem so hidden after all as every time as we go there, it seems to be almost pack with people. Most of them are families, having their meal together, so us a bunch of boisterous girls are a bit of a stand out, but still it did not deter us or anyone there in enjoying their meal.

Here you first pick your choice of noodle, flat rice noodles, vermicelli, yellow noodles or mee sua, to go with your soup and fishballs. Then if you are feeling ravenous you can actually add on with extra ‘liu’ (ingredients) such as fish maw (one of my favourite), seaweed, various yong tau fu usual suspects like fish paste stuff in tofu, brinjal, chili, bittergourd and the lots, to up the goodness in taste and nutrition for your bowl of noodles.

Yong Tau Fu @ Teo Chew Restaurant, Damansara Jaya, PJ

Y and L like to order the noodle kon-lou (dry tossed in light and dark soy sauce) and have the soup with the fishballs and whatever else in another bowl. As for me I always go for the soupy goodness for somehow nothing beats the comfort in a bowl of piping hot noodle soup. Also another must order here is the freshly made fish cake that is fried to almost perfection – for me which is void of excess oil.

Fried Fish Cake @ Teo Chew Restaurant, Damansara Jaya, PJ

No matter which way you enjoy your bowl of noodles and your soup of simple luxuries, you will be guarantee to have a full good meal with a satisfied smile at the end of it. On top of that, the young Shaolin-look-alike owner, who is ever so friendly, chatting us up most of the time with his good English, does make the overall experience much better. As for us the girls, we will then rub our tummies and then slowly move back to the communal house for further bumming around.

Teo Chew Restaurant
10, Jalan SS22/21,
Damansara Jaya
03 7725 9139

Marufuku @ Jaya One, PJ : You, Karaage, Me, Udon

Marufuku @ Jaya One, PJ
Marufuku @ Jaya One, PJ

“I must take you to try this place near Old Klang Road, got this good Japanese noodle?”

“You mean Taman Desa? “

“Eh how you know this place?”

I smile secretively. “Good Japanese udon right?”

“Yes, yes! But what I like is the fried chicken though”

“Oh you mean karaage

“Er, I think so, the fried chicken lah! How you know this place one?”

“I ate there once with a friend

“Yes, we must go! I miss the fried chicken!”

“and I miss the udon! Ok let’s go on weekend”

But being us the pj-lites, who seldom get to go out of  our comfort zone, call us busy, call us lazy or just call us snobs, we always move around the confine of PJ area with some exceptions of bangsar, we end up not going there weekend after weekend .

Fast forward few weeks later, Y message me online.  “What’s for dinner?”

Looking at the time, it was almost quite late for dinner as I am still in Cyberjaya, the concrete jungle.

“If only we can go for the Japanese fried chicken”

Suddenly a light bulb appear on top of my head (hey it’s been a while eh)

“I heard  that it has a sister restaurant in Jaya One”

“What??!? Really?”

“Wait let me check if they have your favourite chicken”

Marufuku Ambiance @ Jaya One, PJ

Couple of googles later and visiting my few favourite food blog (yes this place have been blog almost to death), I confirmed and so off we went there with anticipation. Once reaching, thanks to also directions from the blogs (they are always so handy, especially now with iPhone nation, we check in online at every whim on the palm of our hands). Once we sat down I promptly ordered my favourite udon soup with egg and seaweed, while she promptly ordered her karaage of course.

Udon in Fish Broth @ Marufuku, Jaya One, PJ
Udon in Fish Broth @ Marufuku, Jaya One, PJ

Unpretentious and fuss free fresh udon noodles served in a fish based broth carefully made. This is what we would call comfort in a bowl. The best udon I’ve ever eaten is in an outskirt town near Osaka, Japan, the next best udon is found here (or also the one at Taman Desa). This would make me happy enough as knowing it is almost impossible for me to return to the place in Japan for a quick fix. I love the fishy broth that are not too salty (and I have low tolerance for salt), and the springy fresh udons. Good food is just the clever play of throwing together few key natural tastes, nothing too fancy but something enough to leave an impression. Mmm, this is probably the criteria for a good man? Pardon me for going out of topic.

Niku Beef Udon @ Marufuku, Jaya One, PJ
Niku Beef Udon @ Marufuku, Jaya One, PJ

Now on to the other hand, Y ordered the dry version of Udon, which I must say is much more complex in taste and flavour. She does prefer something of such, with more saltiness, sweetness or even spiciness, she almost always go over the top for things, and almost like her choices in men? We start to see a pattern with men and udon here, what do you think?

Karaage @ Marufuku, Jaya One, PJ
Karaage @ Marufuku, Jaya One, PJ

But the main thing here for Y would be the karaage. She being her, rave and chomp and rave and chomp on her what she called fried chicken. Looking at her eat you would almost be convinced that she is eating some kind of happy drug. I would say that I have eaten better karaage, where it would be less oily and more crunchy when fried in the right temperature (yes I am quite a snob (again) when it comes to fried stuff), but the version here is quite alright, and Y obviously love the taste. If the dried udon for her is a marriage, then this would certainly be an affair.

Kakiage@ Marufuku, Jaya One, PJ
Kakiage@ Marufuku, Jaya One, PJ

There are also other types of noodles and fried stuff that you can pick from the menu, not extensively but just good enough not to overwhelm you. Some restaurants just have so many choices it baffles the mind and make one wonder which items are really good. Stick with good amount of variety and does it well, it will certainly keep the customers coming back happily. Though Marufuku does not have the same authentic ambience as its elder sister in taman desa, I would have to be contented with it for now as I think it might be a bit ironic to venture out of comfort zone just to get a dose of comfort food.

I would of course venture out if I to meet LFB, the friend who in the first place introduce me to this not-so-secret place anymore, also possibly thanks to him and his PR skills. So let me help to spread it further, try it at Taman Desa if it’s not out of your comfort zone, else head over to

Marufuku Udon
Blk L, Unit 18, Level G,
Phase 1, Jaya One
No 72-A, Jalan Universiti,
46000 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 603- 7957 6368

Sanuki Udon
No.9, Jalan Bukit Desa 5
Taman Bukit Desa
58100 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-7980 3704