What is it about food that evokes love, lust, passion, emotion, memories, happiness, sadness, longing, curiosity? Triggers that activate with your sense of taste and smell, firing neurons in your brain, opening up little doors to reel a 3D movie – happy times, sad times, laughter, rejection, pain, loss, celebration…
It is more than just spices ground in a pounding mortar, fish wrapped in banana leaf baking in an oven, a visit to a wet market and the circus of sounds and sights associated with it. Each nerve, a sensory synapse coming alive, communicating zealously with generations of DNA passed to you through blood, genes, cell and karma. Suddenly all of it comes rushing like a bursting flood gate searching for its banks. You have no control over a tsunami except to ride with it, submit to it and let it take you where it will.
This is also a story of how I met these amazing food entrepreneurs in Malaysia, and why we are here together on this page.
LAPAR BY HAUS:
Erik Mohd is one big giant gentle soul. An instant connect when a buddy from Ireland, Franky Murray introduced us over FB Messenger. Within 24 hours, Erik was on The Stiletto Foodie Show (Episode 3) sharing how his own life had turned on its head as a consequence of the pandemic.
Former Beverage Manager at Suzy Wong and The Vault KL, Erik was forced to re-discover himself, re-think his future, and re-invent. He birthed LAPAR by Haus two months ago. Food that he knew best, closest to his heart, and resonating with his Soul. His authenticity and simplicity instantly drawing a response from his own community. Orders punching. Like I thought when we first met – Rock and Roll meets home hero. His long hair and musician charisma instantly endearing him to me.
Having worked years in the F&B industry, Erik’s insights into restaurant mechanics holding him good. Precision, expertise combined with common sense. A small concise Halal friendly menu, mocktails that explore his experimentation with liquid and ingredients, his personality adding to the flavour and mood. What’s not to like, I thought. A perfect balance. His fans loved him.
When I landed back from Labuan to Kuala Lumpur, Erik was quick to send me a `welcome back’ package bringing the feast to me himself. I was right about him. A warm Smoked Duck Kantan Aglio (smoked duck breast with bunga kantan and coriander pasta), a massive Red White Yellow Bleu Burger with Fries (home beef patty, chef’s signature tangy sauce and blue cheese), and two delicious mocktails – Ambio (home made sparkling guava, lime, kafir lime leaf, mango puree and asam boi) and Mister Cookies (fizzy mixture of banana, cookie syrup, citrus and homemade citrus sparkling). A Queen’s Treat, I smiled. He definitely knows how to treat his. As I big into the giant for a mouthful Burger – juicy, delicious, wholesome. The beef patty generously cooked to taste its flavour, retaining moisture, texture and the sizzle of the hot pan. The Smoked Duck Kantan Aglio – youthful, fresh and worthy of an encore. The chilled mocktails – a diversity of what Malaysia truly is. A paradise of exotic local ingredients, unpretentious and healthy.
The food is an extension of who Erik really is – a lovable young man grounded to the soil of his land, a deep love for his roots and values of his spirit. A spirited wholesome meal reflecting unadulterated joy for self and family. It reminded me of my young college days when a jam session was like attending a concert, dancing to piped music and guzzling on lemonade. The innocence of youth.
LAPAR by Haus has rapidly expanded its delivery network across Kuala Lumpur, keeping its menu tight, close to the heart with a strong focused on quality. I like it. I am #vocalforlocal proving that mates like Erik, who are passionate about identity and soul, are here to stay. May there be many rock jams in this kitchen.
For now home deliveries only. Dine-in to begin soon with COOX
For Orders: 017-553 4039
What is an NGO doing in a food review? But everything you would do with its organic products sourced from organic producers, giving them a livelihood, and enabling experimental non-kitchen people like me to dabble in home cooked meals. Like I did, and loved it. My experiments with BETU Malaysia products a 5/5 success encouraging me to invent accidental recipes, look at my kitchen cabinet with revitalised gusto, and discovering that yup, I too can cook. Even if it’s a meal for one, and I have to critic my own creations 😊
Lilly Wong’s Organic Noodles (carrot, beetroot, corn, pumpkin, spinach are free from colouring, flavouring, sugar and preservatives); the delightful Chilli Garlic dip or spread on Toast for my evening snacks (perfectly accompanying me on movie binges, or, poetry nights); hot cups of Chao Ji Cha to clear my head and heart whilst boosting my immunity (4in1 super tea with turmeric, bentong ginger, lemongrass and mint); Rose Tea to compliment my spiritual sessions with Sadhguru’s discourses; big bowls of salad and dry nuts drizzled with lemon and tangy Tulang Honey (sourced from the mighty Apis Dorsata – Giant Asian bees who collect nectar from the Malaysian rainforests); chilled Chocolate White Coffee that can turn a boring conversation into an engaging debate; and strong as a rock to wake up the dead, black Hainanese Coffee (nope, don’t add milk).
Drawing its core philosophy from Ayurveda and ancient Chinese medicine where food is treated as the medicine your food needs, BETU Malaysia taught me that every good act begins with an act of Self. Love begets Love. Reinstating my belief that my body is my temple, and how I treat it is my sole responsibility in how it serves back. I am truly what I eat. So, let’s eat healthy and save livelihoods as well. Since BETU came home, I have been hitting local vegetable stores sourcing fresh greens with cleanse and detox checklists. Thank you, Lilly, for your generosity.
For Orders: 017-213 0425
By honest admission, I am a happy `rojak.’
Born and raised in the Middle East, brought back to Goa, nurtured as a global citizen, assimilated into India, and travelling the world since I found my own feet and felt the wind in my wings. At 16, I knew exactly what I wanted and who I wanted to be. Unapologetically myself. At a time when everybody told me that putting yourself first meant being selfish. Today, it is celebrated as Self Care. Pftt!!
Irrespective of the naysayers, I set out. Come hail, storm, wind, stones, sunshine and rain. Forked paths and untrodden roads, hanging on to my wits, goals, and definitely many, many prayers my mother dedicated for my wellbeing 😉 Moving from home at 16 to a hostel. Away from all that is familiar, to embracing all that is new.
It was a very emotional reunion with Memorie Café’s Pastéis de Nata (Portuguese egg tarts). For a true blue Portuguese (from my mother’s side), it was a tearful, nostalgic rewind of every single emotion my brain had stored for this moment. Followed by a good, long cry session. Yes, even Queens cry, an overseas buddy consoled me.
If you’ve ever been to Portugal’s Lisbon, or Goa, you know that one of the greatest pastries to binge-eat there is the Portuguese egg tart. Crisp, flaky crust holding a creamy custard center, blistered on top from the high heat of an oven. Tough on the outside, moist in the inside. I told Audrey Lai, Co-Founder of Memorie Café along with James Thum, `not everybody gets this right.’ She had nailed it. On an average day, over 1000 tarts fly off the kitchen (on pre-orders), perfectly complimenting my experience with a hot Cham (coffee + tea blend) and tissues (as was in my case).
Recently launching the `Hero Set,’ their bestseller lunch meal – Devil Curry Bun, Portuguese Tart, Coconut/Mango Shake, Cham Ice (or hot) at RM 59 – I also had the pleasure to dig into a divine Ikan Bakar Portuguese Stingray that made me miss my mother in Goa dearly. Between bites and pausing for air, I sobbed into my bath towel at home shamelessly. Remembering all the meals she cooked selflessly, slaving over heat day after day, hot oil burns, putting lunches and dinners together for us. Blend of spices ground on stone, wood fire crackling over hot pans and fresh fish (the taste of wood mingling with the skin of the fish), delicious rechado masala ground with red chillies, tangy coconut vinegar and tamarind, chewing the crispy burnt fish head and tail, and how I lingered slowly enjoying my meals at our home dinner table. Always the last to finish eating. Do we take our moms for granted? We are all guilty doing that.
With a bowl of rice and warm Ikan Bakar on a banana leaf, I wished my mom was sitting with me, eating together. Yes, a fiery Cashew Feni or a chilled Urak for company (like we did it in Goa) basking in the mellow twilight on my home terrace. In between bites, I reached out to my girlfriend for a good sob. Her big Italian heart offering me a virtual shoulder. Thank you, my dearest Federica.
Audrey elaborated, “Memorie Cafe is not only my story, but also the story of Malaysia’s history. In particular, the Malaysian Eurasian heritage brought into the country by the Portuguese. The local Kristang style of cooking is reminiscent of a revival of the authentic golden days of Malacca. My late father loved Portuguese food. One of our reasons for keeping the brand and food culture stronger than ever,” she shared emotionally.
If you know your history well, Malaysia’s tryst with the Portuguese, Dutch, Indian, Chinese and Eurasian cuisines begins with Malacca, which has given Malaysian cuisine a symphony of flavours, and elevating its food history into a diverse and complex tapestry. It is what excites me the most.
As I further dug into the menu -The Devil Curry Bun (Curry Debal) a hot seller Portuguese Eurasian special with chicken flavoured in vinegar and baked in a bun, I remembered what a healer in Mumbai told me. Malaysia has brought you home to give her all of your pain and transmute it into an abundance of unconditional love. May our tribe blossom.
Memorie Café is open for Dine-In for those fully vaccinated.
Memorie Cafe – B1-1-G, Midfields Square West, Jalan 11/108c, Taman Sungai Besi, 57100 Kuala Lumpur.
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/memoriecafe
Operating Hours: 10am- 8pm (Everyday)
For Orders: Whatsapp https://wa.me/60192749313
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