I always love to see the gleam in Bob’s eyes every time we go for lunch at the daun pisang restaurant. (Is it not strange that a lot of generously proportioned individuals in KL are call BOB?) He goes to wash his hands then take his place at the table…sleeves rolled up and unable to make conversation in anticipation of the feast to come and as he impatiently waits for service. The daun pisang is placed in front of him .The rice is plonked on to the daun pisang and now comes the ‘oh so sweet’ moment for Bob as the waiter approaches the table with the tray of dishes to go with the rice. With a flourish of his hands, the wrist making a half turn with fingers outstretch and pointing into his plate…he tells the waiter cum cook cum cashier…"semua tarok!!!!". The waiter (who is almost a chef too–he does the fried mee when not serving the customers) dishes out ‘semua tarok’ and moves gracefully around the table until we are all served, then moves on to do his work as God has intended him to do, serving the other customers. Following closely behind is the guy with the papadoms – stored in a huge tin – the ‘piece de résistance’ that adds that zing to the meal.
It is an unwritten rule amongst us that the first few minutes of a daun pisang meal must be in total silence as we give each other time to enjoy the joys of tasting that wonderful aromatic and spicy meal. Then with a glazed look in his eyes Bob will look east–towards Brickfields where his favourite Daun Pisang restaurant is located, take a sip of the ice water by his side (only ice water will do so that it will not deter one from tasting fully the joys of having a daun pisang meal) signalling that “yes we can talk now” session can begin
We do not do much conversing during these meals because the chatter of the lunch crowd floats around and above your head discouraging any attempts to catch up with what is happening. Najib, Anwar or Mahathir seems irrelevant when you are eating such scrumptious meals. Aaaaahhhh KL, truly magic.