FEBRUARY 13 — Last week on Twitter, my timeline was full of disgusting things disguised as food. I’m talking about the cheesy char kuey teow that went viral.
It was pretty amusing to see how animated Malaysians could get when it comes to food. Even when I was visiting my sister in the US, our conversation still revolved around food.
My sister’s husband to her: “Why do you get so emotional about food?”
Her answer: “How can you not be?”
My sister and I had the curse/blessing of being born with palates—we probably got it from our mother.
It makes us decent cooks and also the ones most likely to get random calls from friends, “Hey I’m in so-and-so area what’s good to eat-ah?”
These days I just tell my friends, “Can you just go read the Eat section of Malay Mail, can or not?”
Back to the cheesy kuey teow. Without the cheese, the pictured dish was a greasy mess that was more kuey teow basah than char kuey teow.
With the cheese? An abomination.
The main problem I have with the current cheese trend sweeping Malaysian stalls is they don’t even use real cheese. It’s just artificial cheese flavour, usually from a tube.
It’s also the stuff KFC likes to desecrate potato wedges with, and unfortunately is the standard these street stall owners have for cheese.
At the very least, if you must add cheese on everything for cheap, at least go for those processed cheese singles. It’s sometimes the only saving grace of the greasy mess we call roadside burgers.
I do like cheese teas, however. It’s actual cream cheese made into foam on top of a refreshing cup of tea.
Cream cheese is one of the things I love most in the world, even if my waistline hates it.
Mozarella, let’s face it, makes every pizza the least bit better. Without it, it’s just sauce on leavened bread.
There’s nothing wrong with experimentation. I’m not bothered by fusion food, or creative takes on traditional dishes.
I just think we can do better than squirting fake cheese sauce on everything and declaring et voila! Cheese abominations!
Just look over at Thailand and Taiwan where the street food scene is still vibrant. No fake cheese bottles in sight.
We’re an exciting smorgasbord of food with various cuisines and influences, with access to hundreds of spices and flavours. For the love of all that’s delicious, get rid of the damn fake cheese.
* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.