The Quest For That Perfectly Grilled Stick

It’s terrible to be disappointed. And it’s worse to disappoint your friends, especially when they’ve built up this humongous anticipation of what you told them.
A few nights ago, Nic and I took a friend for a meal of satay. We’d brought other friends to this place and they had all loved it.
Granted, it was at its original ‘birthplace’ – this little quaint kampung house smack dab in the midst of a bustling suburb. Sure, the satay was on the pricey side – but the good taste quite made up for it and made us quite forget the price. But the satay was freshly grilled over a charcoal fire. The original way satay is supposed to be made, right?
I’ve never tasted Haji Samuri’s satay kajang so I cannot compare.
But my ideal stick of satay is one that’s a bit burnt or ‘hangus’ with slivers of fat interspersed with lean meat dipped into a gritty kuah kacang with lots of kacang bits. I don’t quite care for Batu Maung satay which is a very Penang style satay where the sauce is on the satay and the satay is grilled with the sauce so you don’t get a dipping sauce. Not very exciting, I must say! It’s like eating a dry stick of grilled meat!
And so when we drove to this place a few nights ago, we were surprised that the satay people had moved to a more hip and urban area.
Fine, I thought. Moving is always happening for businesses anyway. They must be expanding since the old place could not accommodate so many people who’d heard of this expensive satay.
We finally landed at the new place. It looked more like a fastfood joint than a satay place. You walked up to the counter, ordered and paid first. Then you take your seat and the satay will be served.
I didn’t see anyone fanning or grilling satay. I did smell the satay though.
When the satay arrived, we dug in hungrily but unfortunately, the satay was cold. Not piping hot, not warm. Just cold. Like it had been sitting around for a while.
Out of curiosity, we hailed one of the young waitresses over and asked if the satay was grilled in an oven or done by hand. She said it’d been grilled in an oven but the oven used charcoal. She looked a bit worried so we didn’t want to intimidate her any more.
I don’t know about you but authentic satay is truly hard to find. Especially satay that’s grilled to perfection with little burnt bits and a taste that is all about being homemade. I don’t know if the mcdonalisation of satay will be the way of the future. The other problem I had is that the cordial drinks were expensive. Cordial drinks (and one that’s extremely sweet) for three people cost us almost RM15. Imagine that. Our satay outing came to RM70 for 3 people for 25 sticks of satay, 2 plates of rice cubes, 3 cordial drinks and a plate of tomato rice.
Right about now, I just want to try Haji Samuri’s satay kajang and see if that’s a winner. I also heard there’s an Indonesian man selling satay kambing at Chowrasta market in the evenings. Hopefully these two won’t disappoint!