Friday, July 15, 2005

Sucking Marrow...What?!

These were my exact words when I was handed a straw with my soup! But let's back-track a little...

I was away for work in Gelang Patah, Johor. Gelang Patah is a tiny town near the Second Link Highway into Singapore and has a surpringly high number of Singapore visitors for its cheap food. We normally eat at one of the family-run Chinese restaurants there called "Come Again" which has relatively cheap, tasty and big portions of food. Next to it is another restaurant called "Tian Tian Lai" (Come Everday). Talk about imaginative names!

For a treat after a hard day's work, my boss and his wife took me down to the bright lights of Johor Bahru city. He promised me something different for dinner and different it definitely was! He drove through dark streets and right under a tunnel before we appeared at rustic-looking Malay restaurant. There were fairy lights sparkling in the trees and little individual seating booths with tatched roofs were dotted all over the large area. There were even "serambi" booths - booths with low tables where the guests could sit cross-legged to eat!

We started off with otak-otak which tasted strange to my Muarian tastebuds (Muar is famous for its otak-otak; spicy fish paste grilled between banana leaves) as it was brilliant red and too sweet to the taste with no hint of spiciness. Then came the main entree - "Sup tulang" (Ox-tail soup) which the place was famous for! It came with approximately 4 large bones in a spicy soup with a liberal sprinkling of fried onions. And standing to attention in the fragrant broth was a straw!

Apparently, the innovative owner noticed his customers banging the bones on the table to get at the bits of marrow and decided to include straws for them to suck it out instead! It was my first time tasting marrow and I'm afraid I didn't like it at all! It had a spongy texture and a rather raw, bloody taste. And if you're watching your cholestrol, one bowl is quite enough!

Other than that, the soup was okay, beefy and adequately spiced. Unfortunately, as I didn't enjoy marrow, I wasn't left with much to eat as the bones were mainly tendon and fat. It came with some slices of french bread which was a little stale. We had some satay too but it wasn't too great as the cook was too liberal with the spices in the marinated meat.

All in all, it's an interesting place with lots of newspaper literature on the innovative owner and his marrow-sucking straws but not really worth the drive there! Although it was really nice of my boss and his wife to do so!

1 comment:

boo_licious said...

There's this place that serves bones with marrow that you suck with a straw at Pudu. It was so-so, I thought but it was also in most of the Chinese papers since it was something new.