Sexy Sandwich

I was being treated a big sandwich Alfred's Kitchen, which was suppose to exist since 1946. It was nice to see a humble business which existed for more than half a century remains a humble business after all these decades. It is probably not ran by a Singaporean, for there will be franchises all over the place by now. Or at least a much bigger outlet with nice renovations and decorations with a nicer price than before too. I said these first so you cannot throw the name Ya Kun at me.

Sure you can replicate taste. Any recipe can be perfectly replicated in any talented hands. But the magic of food isn't pertaining to taste alone, although most Singaporeans will disagree with me. Good food will go place, they say. That, they explain why they found themselves into strange nooks and crannies that no one knew existed to have a taste of that Level 14 Buffalo Wings at the ground which also housed steel wings, or that silky dou hua in the most inconvenient location, or that prata along the tiny street. As far as I know the magic is gone the moment it is replicated or moved. Our fathers would tell us they first held our mothers' hands at Satay Club. No one asked which satay club during those days. It was THE Satay Club.

Food connects the soul, body and mind at all once, not just merely filling the stomach really. That is strange coming from one of the least fussiest eaters you'll ever come across - me. For I have been eating the same lunch for months and whoever who came across what I have been eating will make a face or put in some clever comments like, "You are a cow, mooo." Perhaps that was the reason why I kept getting invitations to taste good home-cooked food. Because I take everything and anything, including food that I hate such as Lady's Fingers, Brinja, Bittergourd, Pumpkin and other yucky stuff, so long as it was prepared by my host. Consumption is not a one way process. By consuming food painstakingly prepared by the chef, you are returning the respect. A two-way process.

Alfred's Kitchen opens only in the evening. So whoever who chants, "No shops open at night in Perth," should get their butts to Guildford and shut up. They'll be surprised to find a long queue (yes they exist here) there made up of people from all walks of life, regardless of race, language or religion. They have only something in common, a growling stomach and the hunger to soak up the unique atmosphere in the restaurant. They call themselves a restaurant but the place deny all forms of definition of the word. It is a part kiosk, part toto/4D booth, part bus interchange, part campfire hybrid. Call that a restaurant if you want.

Right outside the shops were benches by the roadside surrounding a bricked pit where the operators will burn wood fire during all seasons to indicate they are open for business. I like the symbolism, on top of the practical side of the burning fire providing diners a much needed source of heat during Winter. Not so sure what good the heat will do during Summer though, unless it drives away flies.

Many backpackers found work in Alfred's Kitchen, according to those hand made cards pinned on the notice boards outside. Well, I would have offered those cute Taiwan Mei Meis a job as well if I run a restaurant. But that doesn't mean I would have received Thank You cards declaring their love for the restaurant they worked at, which Alfred's Kitchen did. I bet Alfred's Kitchen paid them A$3,000 a month to wash plates.

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