It’s Saturday at 730 in the morning. Julia (my roommate) and I walk out of the apartment. The smell of clove cigarettes winds its way through the morning air. We nod good morning to the guard and scan the palm tree lined street for Ching Ching. I spot her sitting under one of the sleepy palm tress and think that her tiny frame looks even smaller against the healthy tress. She springs up and we walk briskly down the street until we arrive at “the hill.” The hill is already packed with Saturday morning pilgrims paying their weekly homage to fitness. The walk is brisk and I feel alive. Sweat beads on my neck and my heart works to pump blood to my legs. Our walk lasts for about an hour and a half and ends in our favorite Indian restaurant. We eat there every Saturday morning-sit at the same table, order the same thing from the same waiter. And every Saturday morning Ching Ching wavers her hands about and leaves the table several times to maker sure our order- 3 tosei and tea without sugar- is understood.
We don’t go for the service. We go for the chutney. There are three types -cocconut, papaya, and tomato. The coconut chutney is my favorite. Along with coconut, it has strong overtones of ginger and fresh chili. There are also hints of cinnamon and anise. It is the first time I have ever eaten coconut chutney, and I end up bargaining with the cashier to sell me some. The tomato chutney is even more spicy. It is a deep red and tastes something like salsa sans cilantro and with more chili. Finally, the papya chutney is a sweet compliment to its spicy sisters. I can see different spices floating among the small chunks of fruit. We dip tosei in the chutneys. Tosei is like a crepe only it is crispy. It comes served on a banana leaf. We put the chutney on the banana leaf and tear pieces of tosei to dip in the chutneys.
It’s a Saturday morning ritual that smoothes out all the bumps of the work week.
Posted By Mariko Scavone
Posted Jun 24th, 2007