Musings while eating at the King…
Not too long ago; when I was schooling… no not that swimmer guy. That Singapore guy, Joseph; dethroned the legendary Michael Phelps from the 2016 Olympics 100 meter Butterfly event. While he was at it, he thought he’d take two other swimmers down with Michael, too. He did. So, 3 swimmers, including Michael Phelps; came in second (getting Silver) and he, got gold.
As I was saying, not too long ago, when I was still at school in my Standard Six to Form Three years, in La Salle School, Klang; (1) there was a guy who sold “meehoon siam”. He was around in his 30s – looked his age. He used to park his tricycle just outside of the school’s front gate. That was his regular spot, every school day. If you were coming into the school from the front, his tricycle was just before the front gate. If you were coming from the school grounds, he would be just outside the gate on the left. That area in the vicinity of La Salle School were three other schools – Hin Hua School, Tengku Ampuan Rahimah (STAR) School and Simpang Lima School. He was never short of customers, that was for sure. The first thing or two that comes to your mind when you hear “tricycle” is either it is one the kiddies play with, or, one that can be found at the circus. Neither of that. This guy’s was a full-size business tricycle.
He was always very cheery, serving this meal from this sort of greenish wooden box-like, container.
His “meehoon Siam” was the best in the world at that time. “At that time” was the period from 1968 to 1973. It was so long ago, that I can’t seem to recollect his name. So, I will refer to “he” as Benson instead of refering to “he, he and he.”
Benson was always very cheery, serving this meal from a sort of greenish wooden box-like, container. His meehoon Siam was stringy, yet soft, very light whitish, orangish-brown in and dotted with chili sauce. The chili sauce was mixed with the meehoon. It was simple, with a few condiments, unlike what is offered today. The cost of this out-of-this-world, literally; medium-size plated meal – 20 cents.
At that time it was dollars and cents, not ringgit and sen. And at that time, we never used fancy words like protein, carbohydrates and nutrients. Food was described just as it was – food. “At that time”, also; we never used so many “at that time” in one article. 😉😂
Nearly 50 years have gone by. I have eaten meehoon prepared by so many people and restaurants, but none can even come close to matching this guy’ specialty. I have yet to eat meehoon Siam as delicious and as good as Benson’s. It was the bestest. I am nor stretching my imagination. It is a fact. If any former students from La Salle School or the other three neighboring schools is reading this article; you will know Benson for his famous meehoon siam.
The mee hoon siam offered today comes in so many and sometimes, complex variations. The meal is usually swamped with over-sized, specifically unrelated condiments. There are so many add-on condiments that you almost cannot recognize this dish for what it truly is.
There were many times Benson would tell us schoolboys and schoolgirls, that he did not need to work. He came from a wealthy family and lived in a 3-storey bungalow in Teluk Pulai, in Klang.
I don’t really know what became of Benson. Did he move to another location or stopped selling meehoon siam altogether? Or retire to his 3-storey bungalow, whiling his days yum cha? (2) Anyone’s guess.
The term gourmet can refer to a person with refined or discriminating taste who is knowledgeable in the craft and art of food and food preparation. Gourmand carries additional connotations of one who enjoys food in great quantities. Wikipedia.
- Klang – a city of the state of Selangor, Malaysia.
- “Yum Cha” in its literal understood context of today is “to drink tea”.