Thursday, May 7, 2015

A birthday party hosted by a Persian lady 在伊朗人家裡慶祝生日


How do you throw a friend a surprise birthday party, when she's seen a thousand tricks in the world? Well, this is what we did for Szu- Yin Chan(aka Swing) this year.

Instead of a normal restaurant, I booked a dinner throughwww.plateculture.com.

Plate culture is sort of like a cultural exchange thing, where you can book a chef to cook for you, go to his/her home, and try a home cooked exotic cuisine.

I booked a Persian dinner from a lovely Iranian lady, Ainaz. (Thanks Ainaz for making it happen in such a short notice) Samuel arrived first to decorate the place. I drove Swing to the venue and I told her we were just going there to pick up Samuel from his friend's apartment.

So when we finally entered Ainaz apartment, da-duh, surprise! I think Swing was truely surprised and amazed. After all, who would have thought a party would be thrown on them in the apartment of a total stranger, right?

Ok, cut to the dinner. The appetizer was a mashed-pea thing made of potato, olive, carrot, onion, pea, etc, wrapped in thin bread. After that was a Shiraz salad. For main courses, we had rice with saffron and blue berries, curry chicken, stew beef with red bean and vege, and a crispy rice cake. The dessert was rice pudding in cinnamon and saffron. Ainaz also prepared a yogurt drink that tasted not sweet, but SALTY. While Swing and Samuel were dreaded by it, I was the only one gulping down the drink, and gladly swallowing down all dishes. I guess a guy like me wouldn't go hungry living any where on earth.

Persian food might look like Indian food a lot, but Indian food is spicier, the flavor and fragrance also much stronger, while Persian food is a bit bland to a Chinese taste bud.

But I think taste is something acquired and learned. To us, the taste of Persian food might be bland, but to an Iranian, these dishes must have very rich and delicate flavors. For example, the stew beef has to be boiled and cooked for more than 10 hours. And the curry chicken is mixed with many different kind of curry powder, some from Iran, some from local, to achieve that specific flavor. So yes, I think Persian food is exquisite, we're just not trained to taste it like they do. After all, it's a culture that mix 4 herbs in tea, how can they not know how to play with flavors.

Ainaz was happy to share with us her life in Iran and Malaysia, and we chatted a lot throughout the dinner. I am so fond of Iranian people ever since I visited Iran, and it's just nice to befriend with an Iranian back in Malaysia.

It's an enriching experience, I think I'll do it again soon. And I thank the people behind the website to make our society a more interesting place.


年復一年,每年生日都是上館子吃吃喝喝又一餐,太沒勁了吧?今年,我們決定給壽星婆Swing一個驚喜。我們不上餐廳,我們上www.plateculture.com 訂了一個廚師給Swing 慶祝生日!

Plate Culture是個鼓勵文化/美食交流的網站,概念類似私房菜,你可以上網預訂座位,到你選中的廚師家裡用餐,享用主人家精心烹調的充滿異國情調的住家菜。

我向一名伊朗美女Ainaz 訂了波斯晚餐。Samuel 先到她的公寓佈置一番。而我就接Swing下班,告訴她我們要去餐廳吃飯,但得先去Samuel朋友家接他。
到了Ainaz公寓後,噹噹噹噹,surprise! 我想Swing確實有驚喜吧,畢竟,誰會想到自己的生日晚宴會是在陌生人家裡,而且還是外國人。

閒話少說,進入正題。開胃菜是把馬鈴薯、數種豆子、橄欖、紅蘿蔔、洋蔥搗成泥狀,沾扁扁的麵包吃。接下來就是色拉茲沙拉(色拉茲是伊朗的一個地方)。主菜有蔬菜紅豆燉牛肉和咖哩雞,佐以藏紅花藍莓白飯。對了,還有一個像鍋巴的米糕(根本就是鍋巴好不好!)甜品是藏紅花肉桂口味的米飯布丁。Ainaz 也準備了優酪乳飲料給我們,但伊朗的優酪乳不是甜的,是咸的。Samuel 和 Swing 嫌飲料有怪味,不敢喝,我卻不覺有異,全程大口吃大口喝。像我這樣的人,大概去到地球任何角落都餓不死吧?

波斯料理和印度料理看起來雖然相似,卻清淡很多,遠遠沒有印度料理那種濃烈的味道。我之前在伊朗和其他中東地方,吃的食物也幾乎都不辣。看來,中東菜雖然愛用咖哩,但不辣才是其特色啊。

我想,口味是後天的養成,並且需要經過訓練。對我們華人來說,波斯菜略嫌清淡,而且吃起來味道似乎都差不多。但對伊朗人來說,他們的食物裡,應該有許多我們分辨不出,感受不到的層次。譬如,那道蔬菜紅豆燉牛肉,得經過幾道工序,還得花上超過十個小時燉煮。而那道咖哩雞,Ainaz其實特地從伊朗雜貨店買來咖哩粉,混合本地的咖哩粉,才終於做出了她想要的味道。這個民族連煮一壺紅茶,都要加入四種香料啊,怎麼可能會不懂吃?

Ainaz 也和我們分享了她在伊朗和馬來西亞的生活,相當坦率。自從到過伊朗後,我一直對伊朗人很有好感。很高興能在馬來西亞又交上一個伊朗朋友。

這是一次很棒的經驗。感謝這個網站背後的一群人,讓我們的社會變得更精彩。

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