Friday, October 31, 2014

The Banana Leaf Restaurant

31 October 2014

Richard and I have eaten at the Indian restaurant across the street from our hotel - they have great chicken biryani, which I enjoy, and Richard likes the lamb murtabak, sort of a cross between a flat wrap and an omelette.  Anyway, good food.  But often, the restaurant is rather smoky since they allow people to smoke in there.

We found out that upstairs, they have a non-smoking section, with AC.  Same menu, although they feature what apparently is the more traditional way of serving food - on a banana leaf.

Yes, we sat down.  We ordered what we wanted, my chicken biryani and Richard's lamb murtabak.  Someone comes over and puts down a cut piece of banana leaf in front of me, and a cup.  Gives us a pitcher of cold water.  Then, someone else walks over with a tray and spoons out the lovely aromatic and spicy rice biryani, with a big chunk of red roasted chicken in the middle.  Next thing we know, the waiter is back with a divided tray and spoons out some spiced roasted potatoes, curried vegs, and pickled cauliflower.  And it goes on and on - we're given chapati, those lovely crispy chickpea flour and spice rounds.  Eventually, I've ended up with soup, two sauces, and a small plate of mutton - and that's all for just me!  

Richard gets his plate of murtabak, with his chapatis (plus a fork and spoon), and I've got this huge spread of food in front of me, way too much to eat.  I look around, and everyone in the restaurant is eating with their hands - or rather, their right hands.  I'm fine with eating with my hand, but rice isn't the easiest thing to scoop up and eat daintily.  Plus I carry a spoon in my purse for these situations, so I whip out my spoon and enjoy the biryani.  I did eat the chicken with my hands, and fortunately there was a sink strategically placed at the front of the restaurant for clean up before paying the bill.

The food was good, just as we remembered - but the banana leaf plate was rather a novelty.  I left quite a bit of food, such as the entire bowl of lamb that I never ordered.  We watched other people's techniques: one man took napkins to dry off his banana leaf, another made little balls of rice to eat more easily.

It was definitely an experience!

We have a great view of the KL Tower from our hotel room, and a partial view of the Petronas Towers.  Some building in front of the towers has an ever-changing colorful banner running around the top, so I had fun trying to catch all the colors and patterns.  

Richard has had a few more dental visits, and I've been working on art projects as well as writing a few articles for a travel fashion blog.  (And getting paid to do so, which is amazing!)  As soon as they're published, I'll let everyone know and attach links so you can read all about what to wear when you travel to Japan, and other exciting news.

So that's our excitement - we travel around KL, seeing new buildings and eating from banana leaves.  And we find things to do while it rains - lots of reading, playing on the internet, and watching really bad movies on the one English language channel on the TV.  (They're having a series of horror movies for Halloween, but most of them are so bad they're laughable!)

I know, exciting times in KL!

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