Sunday 11 May 2014

Shitty times: Nasi goreng poisoning, $9.70 nasi padang & dry Rendang Burgers

Last week at home, I went to the toilet and read The Straits Times while taking a dump.

After I was done, I joined my teenage daughter at the dining table where she was having her lunch.

Although I had already eaten, I wanted to keep her company since she always complains about having to eat alone.

But instead of appreciating my thoughtfulness, she recoiled in horror as I sat next to her and continued reading the paper.

“What are you doing?” she asked. “I’m eating!”

“I thought you wanted me to sit with you,” I said.

“But you just went to the toilet,” she said.

“So?” I asked. “I washed my hands.”

“Your shit newspaper!”

I was confused at first by what she meant.

I know some people like to call The Straits Times “The Shitty Times”, but I think my daughter meant it more literally. She was not referring to what was in the paper, but what might be on it.

Apparently, just because I took the newspaper into the toilet with me, to her, it was as good as I had wiped my ass with it – which, I should make clear, I didn’t.

That was why I changed my mind about telling her about the faeces transplants at NUH that I had just read about in the paper while I was in the toilet. It might ruin her appetite even further. Shitty times indeed.

By the way my daughter over-reacted, it was like I had committed some sort of heinous food crime by joining her with my toilet-tainted newspaper at the dining table where she was eating the mixed vegetable rice I had bought for her.

You would think that I had tried to poison her with some over-spicy nasi goreng kampung.

Maybe she should go to Johor Baru and make a police report.

Just three months ago, the police chief of Johor assured Singaporeans that we are not specifically targeted by criminals in JB.

He said: “Crimes are committed when an opportunity arises regardless of (a victim’s) race, religion, sex and nationality.”

So what he was saying is that if you get scammed, robbed, kidnapped or murdered in JB, be reassured that it’s not because you’re Singaporean. It’s because you’re there.

The police chief also pointed out that last year, only 397 cases of crime were reported by Singaporeans, compared to 466 in 2012.

I wonder if any of those cases included poisoning by nasi goreng kampung.

This was what happened to a Singaporean in JB a week and a half ago.

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to Johor…

On April 30, retiree Lau Thiam Huat paid RM3.50 (S$1.35) for a plate of nasi goreng kampung in a coffee shop at Jalan Bukit Timbalan near City Square shopping centre.

It was not the first time he ate the dish there, but this time, it was different.

“My tongue was burning by the third mouthful,” Mr Lau told The New Paper last week. “It wasn’t the kind of burn you usually get from chilli.”

He stopped eating after that, but still felt the sting on his tongue the next day and decided to make a police report before seeing a doctor.

“I wanted to make sure I could nail them down easily if they really meant to poison me.”

But why would anyone want to poison a 60-year-old Singaporean retiree in JB?

It’s not like he’s King Joffrey at the Purple Wedding. (Uh… belated Game Of Thrones spoiler alert.)

“It’s just my gut feel,” said Mr Lau.

Gut feel? Or just acid indigestion?

The deputy police chief of South Johor Baru confirmed that the police had received the report, but said no action would be taken because there are no relevant laws about this matter.

What kind of cowboy town is this? How can there be no law against poisoning by nasi goreng kampung? That’s anarchy!

And you can spray-paint that on top of a Toa Payoh HDB block.

On second thought, don’t.

Of course, there is no lack of food crime in Singapore as well.

Just last month alone, posted two complaints from people claiming they were overcharged for nasi padang.

One woman paid $7 for rice, fried fish and mussels. Another guy paid $9.70 for rice, chicken, vegetable and stingray.

Mr Lau might have been poisoned by his $1.35 nasi goreng kampung, but at least he wasn’t overcharged for it.

More seriously, it seems that Burger King Singapore has been guilty of skimping on the rendang sauce in its Rendang Burger, which was reintroduced last month.

The fast food chain posted this mea culpa on Facebook on Thursday:
“Yes, BK fans. We hear you. We understand that the Rendang sauce is what makes the Rendang Burger so delicious. So from now on, you’ll get more yummy Rendang sauce in every Rendang Burger…

“Also, we’d like to ask for your help – if you still encounter dry Rendang Burgers, please send us a PM with your contact and date+time+location of your purchase!”

Regular readers of this column may recall that last year, Burger King also brought back the Rendang Burger for a limited time but added mayonnaise which I called “a crime against nature and all taste buds”.

Fortunately, this year, Burger King has ditched the mayo, so I don’t have to make a police report.

I’ll probably buy the Rendang Burger for my daughter for lunch tomorrow to make up for the newspaper incident.

The burger better not be dry.

Unfortunately, the rendang sauce looks a lot like… never mind.

Brings a whole new meaning to faeces transplant.

- Published in The New Paper, 11 May 2014