Going West by Mark Powers

Friday, August 29, 2008

I am really here

Irfans Eating Place MenuI was sitting at Irfan's Eating Corner, not from my apartment, waiting for my Murtaba. Irfan's Eating Corner is the name of a open-air restaurant that serves various ethnic food. The sign says you can even order

Onion Thosai
Egg Thosai
Masala Thosai
Butter Thosai....

and some other Thosai varieties. But I don't even know what Thosai is. The logo for Irfan's is a big half moon, with a star next to it. Everytime I go into Irfan's, the waiter/owner wants to shake my hand.

He recommends the Murtaba, which I have no clue what that is. His English is about as good as my Hindu (if that is what he speaks), but a least he tells me I have a choice of Chicken or Mutton Murtaba. I choose Chicken.

Its about 5:30 PM, the overcast sky makes me think its later in the day. There is a good crowd of people at Irfan's. Sitting to my left is a old dark-skinned man, maybe Indian or Malay. He wears a beanie, loose fitting clothes and sandles. His skin is weathered, his nose turns downward at the end. He sips a dark orange colored drink.

Then I realize, I am in Singapore. Look at me, here I am sitting outside waiting for Chicken Murtaba, with people around me who don't share much similar culture with me, listening to music that sounds fine, but means nothing to me.

Chicken MurtabaWell, at least I see my Chicken Murtaba arrive. Wow, its delicious! Its fried bread stuffed with chicken, egg, onions, and spices, and comes with curry to dip it in! Yummy!
The waiter gives me a fork and spoon, curiously no knife. I see other guys hold the food down with the spoon and cut with the edge of the knife. I do the same. Pouring helpings of curry over my Murtaba. Wow, its really good. As I concentrate on this delicious meal, cutting away pieces and covering it with curry before stuffing myself and swigging it down with water....where am I now?



Blogger susan said...

hey marcus, I looked up singapore recipes on the internet and Murtabak is a malasian recipe of flat bread with onions and minced meat either chicken or mutton. The web site says Malasians don't eat pork and of course the indians don't eat beef so it is a good thing you like chicken and fish. Love mom

September 4, 2008 8:39 AM  

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