So far I’ve written about mostly about how I, a Klang Valley guy am adjusting to my new life in Jeli, a rural area and apart from feeling a little lonely from time to time, I can safely say that I am doing okay. Not great, but could be a lot worse. However, today I want to tell you about one aspect of my new life that I am having troubles adjusting to; the food.
It’s not that their taste is too dissimilar to mine. Even before I moved to Kelantan I used to eat lunch at a nasi campur restaurant owned by a Kelantanese because the budu there was really good. Like pour-it-on-my-nasi-for-kuah good. And tomyam every other night. It’s just that there is very little variety here on account that there are not as many stalls and restaurants here as I’d like. And they tend to offer the same menu. Nasi campur, nasi kerabu, and tomyam. It’s not that I want fancy stuff that is easily available in the cities. Like I told you, I am a man with simple tastes. But there’s only so many times a man can subsist on tomyam in one week, don’t you think so? Even nasi ayam is hard to find here. And it took me three months to find roti canai (in the Jeli town).
When I was still living in my hometown, I rarely ate fast food. Maybe once a month, once a week was the most often I guess. And there is no fast food joint here in Jeli. You know the old cliché that you never know what you have till it’s gone? That’s how it is with me now. I’ll be sitting at home doing nothing, then I’d get hungry, and ask myself “What am I going to eat?” Then Bam! I’d get a hankering for some Jewish goodness and shed a single hungry, manly tear because the nearest fast food, a Pizza Hut and a KFC is in Tanah Merah. If I am really desperate I’ll hop into my car and drive all the way there, if not I’ll just find some nasi campur, and hum ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ to myself while eating.
At least I can still find fast food if I’m up for a long drive. If my stomach suddenly acts up by reminding me of Bubba Gump or Friday’s, maaaannnn it’s gonna be a long and lonely night. I’d have to literally placate it. “There, there, Papa’ll take you to dinner there when we go balik kampung, okay sweetie? Now finish up this nasi”. And when I do go back to my hometown, oh it’s balas dendam mode indeed. There was this time back home, I ate everything I saw, not necessarily out of hunger, but out of the idea that I didn’t want to miss them when I’m back in Jeli, and later I had to drive back to Jeli with a stomach ache. Whoops.
I am a picky eater in the way that I don’t like to eat the same things too often, I guess, and it got to a point where I only ate proper meals once a day, especially when I didn’t have a fridge to keep easy-to-cook perishable food items like patties and fries. It also got to a point where I lost a lot of weight, and I wasn’t a big guy in any way to begin with. Friends back home would ask why I was so thin when I saw them, even one of my aunts was so worried that she even called me on the phone once just to remind me to eat more regularly.
But if you are concerned about me, don’t. I appreciate it, but don’t rush to the post office with a care package just yet. I have a fridge now, so I can cook if I don’t feel like eating out, and I am eating more regularly.
That’s about it for now, I’ll write again sometime soon. I hope you guys are doing well, and also eating well. Think of me when you’re eating that steak and drinking that Long Island Tea. Cheers!