Monday, 8 October 2007

Giles Coren - You don't know much about char koay teow lah!

Sometime I read the foreign newspaper to try and imrpove my English. I usually read online. I like reading the UK newspaper with the same name as our Malaysian one - so I read the Times, the Sun and hte Mail. Since I start writing this flog, I read the food page of all those newspaper.

I read the column by the Times writer, Giles Coren. He is writing something like my style of writing hwich is copying the Jeremy Clarkson style. He usually also start his article talking cock about something else not related to food, then after 5-6 paragraphs only start to talk about food.

Usually I like to read about what he write. He is quite funny but he always sound like he think he know a lot about everything. I usually believe that he know a lot of thing because he write for the famous newspaper. But I realise that many gwailoh don't really know what they are talking about, but they can sound like they know a lot. Very pandai to talk! It is the same thing as if you watch on tv the cooking and travel show by Keith Floyd. He talk like he know very much and he can cook very well in so many country! So I believe until I see the episode he film in Malaysia. And he cooking so-called Malaysian food on tv. Then I know that he is also talking rubbish. I cannot imagine the taste of the food that he make! In the first place, not like Malaysian food, and in the 2nd place, even if he make his own recipe, the food is sure to taste very weird because of the way he cook and the ingredient that he combine in the food.

So I was talking about Giles Coren. You must read his article on a Malaysian restaurant in London, the so-called "Kiasu". Already when I read this, I know something is wrong. Everyone know that Kiasu is a word which is more Singaporean than Malaysian. If I am not mistake, there is a cartoon book on "Kiasu" which is definitely Singaporean.

Anyway, the article is talking partly about his visit to KL where he is taken to see some prostitute and after that, he go and eat char koay teow. At first I think - "Wah! This gwailoh also like the same food as me." But then after reading his article, actually I don't know what kind of char koay teow he is eating. I show you the main part here :

"Mostly, though, the marathon eating sessions came at char kuay teow stalls dotted across the city, many of which we rushed to in a fleet of cabs straight from the previous joint, if we heard word that it had something special to offer.

They’re not clean and they’re not pretty. They’re all about
side-alley canyons pocked with air-con units pumping legionnaires’ disease into the foetid night
, rats, plastic crockery in dirty washbowls, young men looking old, standing at giant, sparking, charcoal-fired woks cooking as long as they can before their eyeballs melt, chunky slimy noodles, crunchy pork crackling, egg, shrimp, little bowls of fiery chopped chilli in soy sauce on the side, the taste of fire and earth, your own sweat in your eyes and nose, and cool Tiger beer in your throat. So much scarier than a cheap hooker with bad tatts, you’d think, and yet we lapped it up."

Of course I know that talking about eating char koay teow is not really interesting, so he must make like it is an adventure. He never tell his reader that char koay teow is so easily found in many coffee shop or cafe or even hotel restaurant that he doesn't need to go to the side alley to find the stall. And then, for everyone who eat char koay teow before, when have you see it serve with "little bowls of firey chopped chilli in soy sauce on the side"? Actually the only place I see it serve like that is in hotel restaurant. That is so Malaysian style, NOT! Which make me think that actually the Giles Coren only eat char koay teow in hotel restaurant, so he must make a side alley story to make it more intersting.

Either that or actually he don't really know how to eat char koay teow, so he always eat it with the chop chillies with soy sauce. Because you can read in his restaurant review later that that is what he is doing in the Kiasu restaurant too.

If anyone know Mr Giles Coren, you can please tell him that that is not the way to eat char koay teow. If he want it spicy, the chilli paste is add into the char koay teow from the beginning. If he eat it the way he write about it, most Malaysian will know that he is eating it in a hotel restaurant or a Malaysian restaurant with a Singapore name which also serve ngoh hiang (which we hardly get in Malaysian restaurant, but easily find in Singapore). It is so Keith Floyd.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am an English cook, just read your excellent column about Giles Coren, I don't know him but from what I've heard he is arrogant, unpleasant and rude. I hope somebody draws his attention to your blog! Thank you