Near Durbar Square, a group of Nepalese men were warming up against the cold, winter night while feasting on momos, reportedly to resemble the Chinese Xiao Long Bao, complete with pork as filling.
A culinary treasure of interest.
The HQ (with its proclaimed 7 Mbps mainframe) has identified the location where the treasure can be found, without having to cross the Himalayan mountains via India. As the 40-seaters Mercedes Benz moved, the mission had begun.
Look for the Gurkha blade.
The name’s Khukri.
The street was busy on a Sunday afternoon. The brotherhood of foreign workers jostled about Jalan Tun Tan Siew Sin with calling cards enquiries as one of the main activities in place. An exotic ensemble of music blasted from all corners of the street. There was no need for the Beretta 418s or the Walther P99s, for the safety of M, whom had decided to join the mission. But this was before the shootout at Sienna. I scouted around for escape routes. Should anything happen, the Aston Martin would have not been much of a help as buses halted along the sideways, calling out for customers and caused a slight congestion along the way. The DB5 would have looked like a statuette instead, I imagined. But we knew it was safe and trust was all we had. We'll just have to die another day.
The stairs leading to the blade was bright, though narrow. Turning back, we saw several buildings layered with posters imprinted with what were assumed to be Nepalese characters. I asked M if she was ready to meet the blade. Her response was clear. You only live twice.
A friendly gentleman in traditional Nepalese costume and simple English ushered us to our table. With a view to a kill, we were confident of a fruitful exchange, sans the Saville Row suit, martinis and Pussy Galore.
And came the list of interests.
Filling up the well-spaced room were customers of Nepalese origin, jollying on visually interesting food and cold beer. Some decided to read the daily, catching up on the latest news back home. As we observed, we understood the Khukri as a quantum of solace, filling up the missing part called home. But for some, the missing parts can never be found again. Vesper Lynd.
The Mahi (RM3.00) was a welcoming drink that fulfilled its task as an appetizer, given its sourish base. This yoghurt drink can be served either plain or sweet (by adding sugar). Full-bodied, Camille Montes’ luscious lips came to mind.
If the name does not sexcite one, perhaps the ingredients will; lamb head and legs. Oily but well-spiced, the Khasi Ko Tauko/Khutta Ko (and we thought Wai Lin was the most sexotic name we’ve ever heard) soup was a milder version of a hot curry, yet retained the aroma of spices such as cardamom and star anise. The meat was slightly tough though. A big portion at RM7.50.
All the way from Bhutan, there was Andra Bhudi Buteko (RM6.00); fried intestines coated with Nepali spices. For your eyes only, it was beautifully red, thanks to the generous amount of paprika-like seasoning. The intestines were rather tough, unfortunately. Tomatoes, onions and a squeeze of lime to add some flavours to the dish.
It was the momo (RM7.50) that we eyed for. Simple and steamed, the filling tasted rather different from the usual Sino dumplings we had. There was a vague hint of nutmeg lingering within the tiniest of spaces between the minced, lean pork. Quantity sometimes plays a part and nobody does it better than an Octopussy. But when quantity is translated as thick folds of skin of the dumpling, it’s not the least appealing. But there’s the sweet, sour and hot dipping to turn the wrongs back into the rights.
Possessing the license to kill time, M and I ordered the Chili Kukhura (RM8.50); a deep fried chicken dish dressed in Nepalese sauce. Sweet and sour sauce dressing bite-sized pieces of soft, fried chicken, it attracts all. Remember Jinx? We all loved her
bikini, didn’t we?
If Christmas Jones meets Strawberry Fields (if ever), one can only come to the sweetest of desserts. A warm, milky rice pudding called Kheer (RM6.00) in one hand, a semolina-based Haluwa custard in another. If live and let die was to be decided between the desserts these hands hold, let them wrists bleed.
As we closed on the edge of the blade, M said of another mission to uncover the culinary treasures in the land of blue sapphires and pigeon blood rubies.
Gladly, I said, for the world is not enough.
No. 26, First Floor
Jalan Tun Tan Siew Sin (Jalan Silang)
50050 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: (+603) 2072 0663
Lyrical Lemongrass (M)
Cumi & Ciki