With my current home-take, I would love to eat at road stalls or the gerai. But that is not the case.
I did however tag along with some friends who enjoyed eating at these stalls. I have no punitive intention on those who enjoy themselves eating at these places and forgive me if this posting may sound too cocky or snobbish.
My main problem is the tummy that I have. It wont tolerate much of the nasty bacterium found in the food that being cooked in a place that lacks of cleanliness. For the record, I had to be admitted three times during my secondary school due to a serious case of diarrhea and food poisoning. I was once took a ride in an ambulance due to a massive allergy to a certain food and was on the drips for almost a week. And today, whomever closest to me could assert the fact that I need toilet as I need food for a living.
However, I do not live in a sterile kind of environment to ensure my tummy wont get infected by bugs. I eat as I like but I had to choose kindly on where to eat. So, I have become a joke of sort among friends who getting amused at my antic of avoiding food stalls, roadside food courts etc.
The second problem with these places are of course the level of cleanliness and utensil that they used. The main plates and drinking glasses are filthy with cracked and blackened by what only God knows. The floor that we step onto kind of rubbery due to a very long accumulations of all sort of dirt if I may so politely to say the least. I do not look down on the operators or the makciks but I simply could not digest the fact that why on earth are we eating at these kind of places. By keep on patronizing them, we are actually failed to send a strong signal that they have done badly by conducting food business in such a way that could be considered disgusting. We should have silently boycotted them by not eating there anymore.
The typical Malays’(I don’t eat non-halal Chinese foods, so I do not know how their stalls are) stalls or food courts are usually having a long table or glass fitted cabinets and dishes are displayed buffet style. The patrons may choose what they like among the busy flies hovering over foods that being offered. I had many times
caught found foods that laced with flies’ larvae.
Sometimes, the things you do not see, do you no harm. I wish not to see the ugly ways on how some food operators conduct their businesses. At mamaks, they like to pick the chosen foods by a bare hand. You pointed a fried chicken and the guy just simply picks it up with his bare hand which we never knew where that hand has gone before.
I have a little phobia with cockroaches especially the flying ones. This creature seemingly everywhere on the floor at these kind of stalls I mentioned above. My nostrils specialty is picking up the pungent smell of lipas if any of them hiding somewhere near me. If I could smell it, I wont have the pleasure of eating anymore because I have tendency to jump my wits if I saw one later. I do not have to mention isn’t it on what these pests can do to our foods?
Another infamous creature lurking around at stalls are the rodents. Big ones usually dare to come out in the open. The ugly-looking rodents with warts and crooked tails are the most scary. Even the mighty cats found them to be very scary or unappetizing. The cat and mouse’s tales does not exist here at the stalls. The rodents are actually reign supreme here.
Another hick-up that I found it annoying at stalls are the lazy or the incompetent level of their wait staff. We have to repeat a dozen time before they manage to get it right and later we have to repeat all over when we call for a check. Why can’t they just punch-in those orders straight into their cash machines or registrars so that the check could be readied instantaneously instead of asking us to tell them again on what we had?
I had mentioned earlier that I need toilet as I need food for a living. Yes, it is true that I need to be near the toilets almost all the times especially after I had a meal. I do not know whether it is a habit that dies hard, a weak bowel or simply blame the tummy’s bugs. Most of the roadside stalls do not have this facility. Even if they do, hmmmm the sanitation of it, is kind of horrendous. I would rather suffer in silence but when there are goose-bumps, sweat starts perspiring, when it simply called “crowning”…then the man needs to do what man needs to do. That is the scenario I do not wish to endure.
But then again, most of the time I was too polite to say no when being invited to hang loose at the stalls.