Sunday 23 August 2009

See Kee Curry Puff

In my life, all 63 years of it, in London, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Bombay, Penang and Kuala Lumpur, very rarely have any of these places been able to generate any excitement in me – for whatever reason. The Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House did manage to register a flicker of interest in me when I saw then for the very first time. The Gateway of India on the ocean edge in Bombay was okay. The Taj Mahal at Agra was magnificent. I love to spend weekends at Speakers Corner in Hyde Park and the Portebello Markets gave me many enjoyable moments finding bargains and looking at people looking at other people. Perth, anyway you want to look at is a refreshingly wonderful place to live. What can I say about Bangsar that will not put me in strife with those still living there – except that I will only say this. What a wonderful place for food, people and morning markets in Lucky Gardens.
In my life there is only one place and one place only where, as I near it, it will cause my taste bud to tingle in anticipation of what is to come. If I have not been there for a long time all my senses, sight, taste, feel…all of it will be on edge waiting to be sated by what is to come.
I am driving along Jalan Bukit Bintang.  I turn left into Jalan Imbi…drive about 300 yards and turn left again into Jalan Barat and then immediately left again into Jalan Jati and as I turn into Jalan Jati – there on my right is the object of my passion See Kee Curry Puff. 
Even as I roll to a stop in front of the stall he is ready for my order. “Lapan Kambing”. If there is no car behind me I wait in my car in front of the stall. If there are cars behind me I do the right thing and find a parking space nearby. I can finish four of the Puffs at the first immediate sitting in the car and the rest I take home to have at my leisure in the evening in lieu of dinner. Sometimes when the Kambing Puff is sold out I will reluctantly get the Ayam – but only if I must.
I have been eating See Kee Curry Puff for over 30 years. From the time there were about 50 cents each. From the time when I was younger and See Kee much younger. I have been kept informed by him of the progress of his children that he had sent overseas for studies. From the time he was selling his curry puff from his tricycle – from the time he was selling them from the parking lot in front of the stall he now has. As the global economy expanded so has See Kee’s prices to what they are now – but the exquisite taste of his curry puff – the kambing variety especially (for me) has not varied. You still get chunks of meat and taste the curry as you bite into the crunchy pastry. He let me into a secret last year. He does not use real meat – vegetarian meat –so no Halal problems for his Malay clients.
See Kee is still there but he moves in a more measured pace. His son is there to assist him and at times there are others there behind the counter who I do not know. He still asks about my wife my children and sometimes when time permits he will ask why does he not see me as often as he used to. I tell him that I now live elsewhere and that I have been advised by some people in the medical profession that ‘kambing’ is not good for me. That was when he let me into his secret about the meat.   
I have not seen See Kee for over a year now. It is sad not to see an old friend for so long. But methinks I miss the curry puff more then I miss him…one of life great pleasures. And of course the other one is Nasi Dagang in Kampong Baru...this can wait for another day.
(With thanks to the Gastronomic Diary for those images of See Kee and his stall).

1 comment:

  1. Well written article on See Kee. Muz agree that his puffs are great, especially the kambings which is differentiate from the ayams by a littlle red dot on it. I've been a regular fan for more than 24 years now. He's still in good shape but the set back is he no longer prepare his puffs at his stall anymore, hence the "straight from the wok" crisp and the steam that come out of it the minute you have your first bite feeling is gone. The puffs are prepared elsewhere and is transported over if not mistaken. Nevertheless, I still think his is the best around!