Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Thank You, Father, at Pudu of all places

"How about that Pudu Hakka Mee place?" was the response from my dear Father on Father's Day, when asked what he wanted for breakfast. Wrapped up in reckless, unwarranted grief over an unexpected disappointment, I had turned up at the start of the day of my parents' rare visit to KL sullen and unyielding, completely oblivious to the blessings for which I was so fortunate.

The established Hakka Mee institution of Chun Kee in Pudu set the pace for the major mind methamorphosis for Father's Day. Dapu is part of Meizhou City, located in Guangdong Province and where the standard Hakka dialect congregates. It also happens to be where Dad was born and raised through rough and tough means. Made perfect sense that the mention of Dapu resonated loud and proud with him.



Jalan Sayur where the stall was located was packed to the brim and we engaged in some friendly jostling and waiting to secure a table and the attention of the stall owners.

We finally landed a VIP table after a bout of waiting and Dad bowled me over with his giddy excitement of tasting the flavours of his childhood. His fever rubbed off on all of us, including my very beautiful, sceptical mother and some random boy they decided to adopt along the way.

We were in for a long wait so I sauntered over to neighbouring Yong Tau Foo stall, which looked like they knew what they were doing.

And they did. The bowl of stuffed goodies arrived a few minutes later to hearty reception. Flavour-packed and gratifying!

After about 25 minutes of waiting time, the first bowl of Da Pu Mian arrived to cheer and commotion. The dish was simple enough - egg noodles, topped with minced pork and char siew, wrapped lovingly in juices of staple Hakka - lard, lard and lard.

Father was disappointed. He suspected the noodles were finished with a machine and that just wasn't the Dapu way. I was disappointed that it didn't live up to his expectations, much the same what I didn't live up to but we live and learn.

And I learnt that whatever your roots and who you are, nothing, not the disappointments nor the failures life serve up, dictate how you move on. The lessons from my Father are precious, as is the realisation of how blessed I am.

21 comments:

J2Kfm said...

Oh, machine-made?
I still rmbr in that Taste with Jason episode, when the man himself proudly proclaimed that if it's machine-made, one can taste the difference. And theirs is man-made, the most authentic way.

Life for Beginners said...

Good moral at the end of the story. Life's not about disappointments, but how we overcome them. :)

qwazymonkey said...

Its true, the lessons from our fathers are what matters in the end of the day. Be thankful for our good upbringing. We would be in a different place without these lessons.

qwazymonkey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sean said...

i absolutely love your mom's smile. joyously radiant. the smile of angel, really :D
yeah, it's easy to lose sight of how (relatively) fortunate we are, particularly when people and circumstances kick us around, and we feel like a worn-out football (to borrow a metaphor from the world cup craze).
what's hard for me is trying to prevent my disappointment in other people from clouding my judgment. but in the end, i remind myself that we're all hugely imperfect, that we all disappoint each other regularly, and that it seems better to forgive each other (and ourselves) and to be content.

J said...

"... some random boy they decided to adopt along the way"??

Oh, and pity about the noodles though... but such a sweet post! :) :) :)

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

oh well but look how happy your father is..surely the thought of the daughter taking him out is worth something.

CUMI & CIKI said...

yay! agree. lovely post, and u r a lovely child:)

Big Boys Oven said...

wow this Hakka looks good! I saw someone giving a thumbs up! :)

reanaclaire said...

oh..that looks not like hakka mee.. i think hakka mee is a bit broader? at least ipoh one is.. :p
anyway, i love this type of thin mee too... fine mee...

reanaclaire.com

vialentino said...

wow...nice celebration...doesnt need to celebrate at high class restaurant...as long ur dad love the food

thenomadGourmand said...

I'm glad that yr parents' trip cheered u up somewhat ;)
And yes, we should alws count our blessings. I have been majorly disappointed as well the past 2 wks, but moving on, I take it as lesson learnt.

Happy Father's Day to your dad & I hope he had some good food be4 he left for home?

I feel sad everytime I read of comments abt "places" that was "better" before. I wonder how it woud be like 5 more yrs dwn the road?

FoOd PaRaDiSe said...

wow... I want a bowl of this please. Saw this in Taste with Jason episode too! yum! yum! ^.^

babe_kl said...

I loved the noodles here and so glad its available till 10pm now. This shop is owned by my ex-colik's family, he told us the noodles are hand made just like J2Kfm and I watched on A Taste of Jason. They uses a bamboo pole to knead the dough.

minchow said...

J2Kfm, I honestly couldn't tell any better but I'm going to go with Dad's native tongue! Although, to be fair, he can be fairly set in his ways once his mind's made up, right or wrong!

LFB, true true! Once you get past the bump, things look so ridiculously simple you can't help but wonder why all that heartache in the first place?!

Qwazymonkey, I am forever indebted to my father. I would've been so much lesser a person had he not taught me whatever he did.

Sean, well-said. Takes a real ego shedding process to recognise that we screw up ourselves and not just finger point others who've wronged us.

J, I thought the noodles were a-OK actually! But I do tend to be heavily influenced by my dad's blatant disappointment. Random boy's too!

Joe, I don't do enough of it period. I resolve again and again that I need to spend more time with them in Penang but get caught up with other immaterial and irrelevant things here.

minchow said...

Ciki, awww... that's so nice to say! But I'm sooo far from lovely I couldn't possibly accept that as truth! Will work on it though! :-P

BBO, yeah unfortunately the thumbs up kinda dropped off the radar once my dad bit into the first mouthful. Very hard to please, that man!

Reanaclaire, thanks for dropping by! I actually prefer the broader type of Hakka noodles too.. and this is the first time I've seen it served this skinny.

Vialentino, yup! Despite our best laid plans to take him fine dining or some grand Chinese restaurant, the outings that usually make him smile are to holes like these.

TNG, I don't necessarily think this place used to be "better" - Dad had pretty unrealistic expectations, comparing it to the taste of his childhood. You know those are always pretty impossible to beat!

Food Paradise, wow, do I need to watch this Jason show or what? He keeps getting name-checked by my dad too!

Babe KL, ah it must be true then! I think Dad expected it to be even springier than how the noodles turned out. The perpetual crowd can't be wrong!

HairyBerry said...

Your story's really heartwarming, Minchow. Thanks for sharing! :) I offered Dad an expensive meal and he wanted nothing special. We ended up having dinner at our usual dai chow stall. Filling, cheap and not having to push through the Father's Day crowd, we were one happy family that evening.

洪筱婷 said...

來幫你衝一下人氣,幫你推推推......................................................................

worldwindows said...

Some of the nice things I learned from my dad was resilience, hardwork, never covet another man's property and to be practical. I am indeed fortunately to have a hero in my father.

CUMI & CIKI said...

i agree with kenny and munkey! Fathers are full of wisdom.. and so are moms actually! great write up - love the moral at the end:)

siung said...

some random boy they decided to adopt along the way LOL found your blog only tonight, and i spent hours reading it n now i am starving !