I was at One Utama for lunch break a few days ago when I walked pass Secret Recipe. The sinful image of a piece of cake for desert suddenly smeared my thoughts and I found myself seated at a table with the entrance view. How weak!
As I waited for the menu I checked out their Pocket Savers offer; a good deal I believe.
And then came the menu. I quickly browsed through the list and to my surprise, Sarawak Laksa was in at RM16.90. Pricey but I guess that's their price range for such dish; noodles in soups.
As a curious Sarawakian, I opted to pay an extra RM6.90 just to sample their version of Sarawak Laksa. Who knows, it could be the real deal. On the other hand, it could also be a once in a lifetime experience, meaning I'll never order it ever again.
It took a while for my laksa to get to my table so I played around with my Olympus mju840. The only thing that caught my attention were the packs of sugar, which reminded me of a story about shit. Curious? Read the story here.
When my laksa finally arrived, the first impression was really dull, save for a familiar laksa aroma. I was expecting a reddish gravy but all I could see was bee hoon masak lemak with bean sprouts and coriander leaves.
And where are my prawns? Oh well, so much for high expectations. Or maybe they're hidden underneath that creamy soup. Note to those who wish to serve Sarawak Laksa; DO NOT HIDE your prawns if you have any because your guests will know that you screwed up the serving sequence. Seriously, life is more than just bean sprouts, my dear tow keh.
I tasted the sambal belachan and it was quite okay; tasted a bit like sambal nasi lemak because it's kinda sweet and sour. But I was disapointed with the lime given to me. It's tiny! I sadly dumped all the sambal in my bowl and squeezed every ounce of lime juice out of the poor S.O.A.B. and started mixing my bowl. Guess what, even the sambal couldn't bring cheer to my bowl. Dull.
As I dug around my meal I discovered that the chicken meat didn't come in shreds but julienne; like chicken sticks the size of shoe string fries. Bummer! And since when does a bowl of Sarawak Laksa has half sliced deep fried tofu? I'll tell you when; ever since Laksa Shack thought it'd be easier to standardize the condiments in their menu. Even the gravy has the same consistency; thick as home made mushroom soup (not Campbell's) but without much coconut milk aroma. They probably used thick cream for the texture.
I guess Secret Recipe's menu developers decided to introduce Sarawak Laksa based on Laksa Shack's product. Ask any Sarawakian and they'll tell you Shack's laksa is an utter disgrace to Sarawak Laksa.
Anyway, I finally found my prawns. All three of them. I sank my teeth into one of the fat and firm prawn meat and felt the crunch, but where's the prawn taste? Dammit! I kept missing something. First were the prawns, then when I finally found them, the taste was missing...! WTF!
Okay, stay calm... Let's eat already. The rice vermicelli looks like the thick type, which is normally used back home. But the texture just wasn't right. It felt like the noodle used in Assam Laksa, only smaller.
Man, this is just wrong, I told myself but kept eating. Can't let that sixteen ninety go to waste. Food is still food.
The only thing that kept me going was the thought of a sinful desert. A chocolate mud pie to be exact. Now that's compensation at it's best.
As I smeared the chocolate mud in my mouth cavity, I thought long and deep about my lunch catastrophe. This absolute failure by Secret Recipe should remain forever as a secret entity.