Ann invited me for a bak kut teh (BKT) dinner tonight. Then, she recalled that I had to go on a diet. However, she dismissed the thought of MY dieting coz she was craving for it. Selfish thoughts, eh? Ha ha. Kidding!! I am a prisoner of my taste buds as well.
I had a few BKT all over Kuala Lumpur. I know the famous BKT is in Telok Pulai, Klang but its counterparts in Kuala Lumpur aren’t that bad either.
There is a nice BKT shop in Selayang, called Bing Bing BKT, which I had with a few friends before, usually after a long walk at FRIM – yes, again, there goes my effort. There is also another kick-ass BKT in Jalan Horley near Imbi.
There were a few BKT shops in the whole stretch of Jalan Ipoh, I think approximately, 5 to 6 shops and I had tried all of them. (Not at one go though! In a span of a few years, when I was still working in Jalan Ipoh). The particular one which I like is the one next to Dynasty Hotel, where you would see a row of cars parking illegally by the roadside, Ban Lee Coffee Shop.
At times, you would see DBKL coming with tow trucks to tow away the cars. The patrons who happened to park at the roadside would always be on the look out. Whenever they see the DBKL coming, they would leave their tables and frantically move their cars. Talk about sacrificing for a meal... or maybe this is their trick to avoid paying after eating??
You can say that I am a seasoned BKT connoisseur – but I hardly eat the innards till recently, I started to acquire the taste of a pig’s intestine.
Whenever I had my BKT, yao char kuai, kam cham ku (straw mushrooms), tau foo pok, yau choi and lotsa garlic with black sauce is a ritual, or else my BKT meal would be incomplete. I prefer my BKT with thick dong guai smell, and taste slightly bitter, not too salty or sweet.
After the scrumptious dinner, we walked past the famous Goddess of Mercy temple on the shoulder of the road, facing the traffic lights. I remembered I once made a wish there and it was fulfilled, i.e. to pass my exams – my last paper which took me two years to complete.
I did everything I could due to desperation – I studied hard, but the paper was unpredictable. So, I decided to seek divine intervention. I went to church, I offerred joss sticks to the Goddess of Mercy of this temple almost everyday in the morning, before I go to work, I bought a crystal for myself while getting one for a friend’s birthday, and even promised the crystal fella to buy him chicken rice if I passed my exams with flying colors (which I eventually did and he was just glad that I made it).
I was at the verge of giving up, if not for my insurance boss. She told me to buy rokok daun, tobacco, sirih and pinang from the Indian shop, and offering them to the Na Tok Kong (the deity with long white beard wearing a songkok). I did just that.
That year, I passed my Corporate Finance paper with merit.
I quickly ushered Ann to the temple and told her to pray to the Goddess of Mercy and the Na Toh Kong in the temple. Geezz.. kids nowadays don't really know how to go about putting joss sticks and burning joss papers. A beggar there, assisted and instructed Ann on how to go about it, as I could not enter the temple with ta pao BKT in my hands. Ha ha! Kindly silly considering we just had BKT and we were not that pure either.. we are supposed to go vegetarian as today's the 15th day of the Lunar month. I hope that lady luck would smile at Ann, for her exams.
I heard stories that, if you wish to have something badly but didn’t manage to get it, you could try to seek help from this Goddess of Mercy or other deities in this temple in Jalan Ipoh. Just be sincere when you seek help, I am sure she/he would answer your prayer... Goddess of Mercy was actually a man, but that is another story altogether.