Can You Smell the Satay Grilling?

It was just about seven in the evening, Faisal and Cheng Guan were in the town looking for a place for dinner.

“What do you feel like having lah, Cheng Guan?” Faisal asked.

“Don’t know lah, can’t think of what to eat yet. Do you know what’s good around this area?” Cheng Guan replied.

The two young adults stared at each other, thinking hard where and what to eat for dinner. And out of nowhere, a cool gentle breeze blew towards their direction accompanied by the sweet aroma of juicy and marinaded meat over a charcoal fire.

“Eh, did you smell that?” Cheng Guan asked his hungry friend.

“Yes lah! It smells like satay!  Confirm, it is just satay lah! Smells so good!” Faisal replied.

“Are you thinking what I am thinking?” Cheng Guan asked.

“Of course lah, let’s have satay for dinner,” Faisal said as they both walked into a smaller lane where the satay stall was.

There, the two young men saw Pak Din, the satay stall owner, tending to his grill with a line-up of mouthwatering meat skewers.

“How many skewers do you think you can finish ah, Cheng Guan? Come I challenge you to see who can eat the most?” he poised a challenge to Cheng Guan.

“I sure can beat you lah. So hungry now!” he replied Faisal.

The two decided to order a mixture 30 skewers of meat – chicken, lamb and beef.

“Pak Cik, can we get 10 chicken, 10 lamb and 10 beef?” Cheng Guan said to Pak Din.

“Boleh boleh (yes, yes) wait 10 minutes, okay?” Pak Din replied.

Faisal and Cheng Guan sat with anticipation as they could not keep their eyes off Pak Din fanning the satay on his charcoal grill.

“I can’t wait!” said Cheng Guan as Pak Din’s assistant brought over two bowls of spicy ‘kuah kacang’ peanut sauce and a plate of sliced cucumbers and onions.

“Cheng Guan, if you lose, you pay ya!” Faisal teased Cheng Guan.

“Sure thing. If you lose, you have to pay!” he rebutted Faisal.

Can you recall how many satay skewers could you eat in one sitting? Easily one can eat about 10 to 20 skewers of these grilled meat. It could possibly be one of Malaysia’s most loved food – who would not enjoy tender meat grilled to perfection marinaded in lemongrass and turmeric accompanied with a bowl of spicy kuah kacang that would enhance its taste even more?

It is not an easy task to perfectly grill satay – do you remember seeing how the satay man had to furiously fan away at the fire to keep it going while not forgetting the constant flipping of the skewer to cook the meat thoroughly? In addition, the satay man would need to stay hydrated while ‘battling’ with the heat from the burning coals to prepare and serve you his delicious satay.

Let us appreciate one of our local heritage – satay and the art of grilling them while continuing to support our local satay man as he put his blood, sweat and tears in grilling the best satay skewers for us.