杜甫 (唐詩三百首, 卷216)
Circa 6th century AD
Gazing Mount Dai
O’ great Mount Dai...
...green across ancient Shandong.
Luring with your mystical beauty...
...as the antitheses break the day from night.
Embracing the clouds with your chest...
...alas, homecoming birds sore your sight.
I will reach your peak one day...
...and below, shall I see the smallest of your kingdoms.
Du Fu (300 Tang Dynasty Poems, Scroll 216)
The crowd was modern and chic. Legs crossed and spoke in the language of the Tang people. The strokes forming the ideograms were vaguely familiar, like those 3 words that form my name. Neo-classic interior in pink. Artifacts in colourful plastics. A celebration of a golden era that lasted 300 years.
Yes, I’ve arrived.
Ascending DianTi Hill was no great feat. In fact, only 6 storeys high. 7 minutes, if you use the escalator.
But we almost suffocated. Drowned in the culture that was so familiar to us, gasping as we questioned our understanding of an epoch as glorious as the Renaissance. My climbing mate can be forgiven for she was only half Tang. I had no excuse for myself.
But we were ready to learn. To embrace the calligraphic choreographies of Li Bai, Du Fu, and other great Tang poets, in contemporary fashion. And to open up to a taste of Tang in which the ignorant us assumed as nothing more than avant garde dai chow (stir-fries). And dumplings.
Spicy pork rice (RM18)
Was curry available back in those days? Perhaps the Silk Road flourished and attracted many traders from the subcontinent during the Tang period. Resembling the typical RM3.00 curry rice (or RM4.50 circa Oct 2008) one gets from the mixed rice stall, the curry was mildly spiced and turmeric yellow-hued, in true Chinese fashion. The rice, however summed up the luxuriousness of the dish as the pearl (glutinous) type was used. Served in a hotpot as well, to keep warm and aromatic.
Dragon fruit and prawn salad (RM15)
The name itself was everything auspicious. Dragon (fruit) for strength and power. Prawns for laughters, figuratively. A simple construction zinged with a touch of mango juice.
Potato pumpkin salad (RM9)
杜甫 (唐詩三百首, 卷225)
After The Rain
Autumn rain has fallen, thin clouds are moving westward.
The land remains safe, as the clear sky prevails this morning.
Willows green while pears blush.
Aubergines fruit while a goose fly high.
Du Fu (300 Tang Dynasty Poems, Scroll 225)
A smooth, flavourful mousse.
Baked rice roll (RM28)
It was meant to be stuffed with crab meat, pork floss, avocado, papaya, honeydew and topped with tobikos, mustard sauce and mayonnaise. I only knew it was more than a mouthful. Not to be confused with Japanese sushi, this was a rice roll which technically meant it was generally Tang. Again, I only knew it was more than a mouthful. A signature dish with a signature topping of mustard-yellow deliciousness.
Ice Blended peanut (RM12)
Wandering to the House of Xie,
Along swaying corridors with wavering arcs,
Yearning is spring’s moon,
Reflecting fallen flowers on the departed.
Zhang Bi (300 Tang Dynasty Poems, Scroll 742)
Nice desserts do that to people. Make them (sugar) high and self-indulged, I mean.
Rich, creamy, aromatic peanut butter blend. This.
Ice Blended Mango (RM10) The End (末端)
Except for the regal yellow and cubes of mangoes, there was nothing recital about it.
I came in hungry, searching for food,
No Tang significance but 1-2 were good.
But the poets/poems were real darn cool,
I almost fell off my stool.
And that’s no bull.
毛果 (HairyBerry, 2008)
The End (末端)
DainTi Hill (代官山)
Pavilion KL Shopping Mall
Lot 6.01.05, Level 6
168, Jalan Bukit Bintang
Tel: (+603) 21456628
* By the way, appreciation towards the poems started after checking out DainTi Hill's concept on their website. Not during the meal.
Check out these sites for a taste of the 300 Tang Poems: