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“This place used to be better, when the old man was doing the cooking, but now already jatuh standard.”

How many times have we heard about something like the preceding line? A particular restaurant or hawker stall that used to produce gastronomically perfect food, but had just been in decline since the “good old years”. If I get 50 sen for every time that I hear someone saying that, I’d be a very rich man now.

On the contrary, I have almost never heard praises that a certain dining place has improved in the taste; there might be better decorations, improved services, but never taste. Tasting department has somehow always been in decline, why is that?

char kueh teow

I believe there are two factors working in tandem, life style and biology. The rise of our sophistication in food, and the decline of our taste buds.

Mantis shrimp used to be the best thing, and then you have fresh Maine lobster; chicken liver was great, but it is all different after the foie gras experience. When we revisit the old favorites, it just seems to be not as good as we remembered, and that has got to do with the new taste we acquired. It’s akin to cars in a way, the Proton Wira is never the same once you’ve driven the fancy BMW.

In the biological side, it is very simple. As we grow older, our sense of taste and smell simply goes into decline. There are fewer taste buds, and hence the strength of flavor gets diluted over the years. Instead of the food lacking the taste of yesteryear’s standard, it is our tongue that we should blame.

I don’t take it for granted that the heir of a great hawker stall owner will never be able to replicate the father’s ability. He could very well be better than the old man. For otherwise I could only envy of the great food our ancestors must have enjoyed, and pity on the generations to come as everything else must taste horrible after we are gone if the perceived trend is true.

Throw away the misconception, have an open mind and enjoy your food, bon appetit!

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Discuss : KY ponders – it used to taste better!

  1. kimberlycun

    one way to ignite those tastebuds… eat in spore for a few months.

  2. hahahah, I’m sure that will work.

  3. i’m sure you put that photo just to tempt me.
    I KILL YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

  4. Oh, but that still looks delicious!!

  5. penang char kueh teow, stim. 😀

  6. Char Kuey Teow from Little Penang Cafe?

    I KILL YEWWWWWWWWWWW !!!!

  7. Still looks really good leh..! wait till you come canada.. then you know.. how horrid food is here.

  8. Best Penang Char Kuey Teow has got to be the one at Tmn Inderawasih near Chai Leng Park (not many people from the island knows that)

  9. Kuzco,
    From actual Penang. 😀

    michaelooi,
    you must be from the mainland. hehe

  10. Just look at the size of the prawn!!11! Nearly half the picture 😛

  11. hmm~ this post suddenly reminds me of a not so related incident… well.. i wonder if u guys been to Bandar Utama Centre Point’s coffee shop to eat… ONCE… they had this SUPER SUPER NICE Fried Kueh teoh by a Chinese uncle… then this SUPER NICE noodle soup by 1 fine Aunty… NOW… There’s foreign workers standing by that 2 stalls… so…. where have the aunty & uncle been? there’s a RUMOR saying the owner of the coffee shop increases their rent after they got their fame & chased them out with that way…. is that wut’s happening to the coffee shop near u????

  12. shit lah the CRAVING -___- see lah ky look what u did

  13. Any nice place to recommend for char kuey teow?

  14. Kuzco,

    PJ State nearby Saito College and Asia Cafe at SS15 are both quite good!

  15. lotsofcravings

    thats very true..its the expectations..hav to manage that properly

  16. i’m from the island. but i work at the mainland.

  17. aeroplane1234

    i so agree with u . we only hear people say restaurant food standard dropped. NEVER EVER NOT EVEN ONCE someone say “BETTER TODAY!”

    the fact is the fella who say that may just say it for the sake of it. as if he knows what is good food.

  18. Hmm, I notice that most of the chefs have a bad habit that i hate most—–SMOKING! Smoking can reduce the sense of taste buds, thay y some of the chef unable to maintain or improve the taste of the dishes…

    Between, quite sometime not been here, so just noticed that ur blog has a new look…well, much much tidy & presentative than the previous one…gambate!

  19. Amei79,
    Thanks thanks. 😀

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