Clockwise, from top left: a fresh mango lassi (yogurt drink); our lunch spread included aloo matter paneer (spiced peas and potatoes with Indian ricotta); a freshly baked piece of garlic naan; a sign on the front door reminds cricket players not to tread pitch into the cafeteria
Back in January, almost every restaurant on Jalan Damai (Damai Street) near our house was ordered closed by the Kuala Lumpur city government. Even though we’d heard lots of gossip in the days leading up to the shutdown, almost everyone in the neighborhood was dubious that it’d actually happen. Some of our favorite restaurants were located along that street, and when it finally did happen and Jalan Damai became a ghostland of culinary delights, it was a big blow to our regular rotation of go-to dinners out.
I’ve noticed in the months since our beloved restaurants closed down, the hubby and I still talk wistfully about them. “You know what I could really go for tonight?” one of us will say, which is quickly followed by a heartfelt rant about how much we used to love the fresh mango delicately sliced on a salmon roll at our favorite Japanese restaurant or the amazing honeydew/coconut milk/tapioca dessert from our regular Thai place.
A cricket match provides lunchtime entertainment, even though I have no idea what the rules are
One place that somehow escaped the iron hammer of KL’s zoning laws is Kelab Aman, a cricket club with a little cafeteria serving delicious Northern Indian food. During the day, the cafeteria is open to the public, and while the food isn’t anything fancy or revelatory, it’s comforting, hearty and delicious. When we’re lucky, we might even catch part of a cricket match to entertain us while we eat.
We’ve been visiting Kelab Aman for lunch for nearly the entire two years we’ve lived here, and yet I’ve never thought to mention it until now. I suppose it’s because it’s become so routine that it feels almost like I’d be mentioning that I brushed my teeth this morning (which I did, by the way). It’s also made me take a look at the other “everyday” things we do here and how much our life is going to change in just a few months now. What’s going to happen when I can’t find my neighborhood cricket club to serve me my freshly-baked naan bread and butter chicken in South Carolina? Are shrimp and grits and a flaky biscuit going to be an adequate substitute?
I guess only time will tell.
Kelab Aman } 4 Lorong Damai Lima } Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia