Friday, January 21, 2005

Of Pleasures Gustatory

Mamy's Bar, Lake Lugano
Originally uploaded by gailontheweb.
I had dinner with my friend Vicky at Banana Leaf on Denman Street last night. Malaysian cuisine: all I can say is m-m-m-m-m-m..... we had roti, calamari with chili sauce, and I had a curry chicken. It brought me back to my time in Malaysia and eating at street vendors, waiting until after 4pm to eat murtabak. (I don't know why they made us wait until then, but it was worth it.)

I'd travelled with two Germans, a guy from Richmond, and a Dutch girl to Malaka from Mersing to celebrate Chinese New Year's, and afterwards the Dutch girl and I hitch hiked to Kuala Lumpur. What an interesting experience... but another post, I think. Marjke was the one who put me onto murtabak, but how to describe it? I've not had it since, but the roti I'd had at Banana Leaf was pretty close. This was a long time ago, but I recall roti pastry, with a (tumeric? tamarind?)-based curry sauce and potatoes. Not overbearingly spicy, but a sauce that begs to be eaten with great gusto, leaving warm tingles in your belly.

Speaking of things gustatorial, I uploaded a few of my favourite Swiss photos from a trip in 2002, one of which was the blue-lit bar at Mamy's in Lake Lugano. My friend Berit had taken the train from Munich, where she'd been at a business meeting, and I drove north to Zurich so she could join me on my road trip. We'd just driven all day through the mountains from Saas Fee (Alps) and were ready for some liquid comfort. We decided to stay at Lake Lugano, and Mamy's Bar was across the street from our hotel. I loved the blue lighting under the bar and took out my camera to shoot it, eliciting a hissed "put that away!!" from Berit (who has never quite understood my compulsive desire to photograph).