Ramadan is a time for reflection. So today we shall be reflecting on one of the bountiful sustenance which we are blessed with – food glorious food.
Anthony Bourdain calls bone marrow as “God’s butter.” Arguably the way to enjoy marrow is one in sup tulang (lit. bone soup).
Go to Beach Road hawker center (that’s Golden Mile Food Court for ye tourists) and get yourself a plate of sup tulang from any of the established stalls in the basement. What you will obtain is an almost meatless piece of lamb bone in vivid red gravy – deceivingly bloody to some. But trust me, it is cooked to perfection.
First things first, get the marrow out. To do so, knock the bone ever way you can. If the place is packed, look around you for inspiration. Sup tulang should be the one of the more commonly requested items there, so you should find no excuse for lacking inspiration. If your hand-eye coordination let you down at the moment when it really counts, use a straw.
Success comes in the form of a cylindrical piece of wobbly jelly-like substance. Don’t consume it all at once as the distinct taste may overwhelm you. It is bone marrow after all. Connoisseurs revel at the opportunity to complement it with the rest of the meal; take the piece of bread, press it against the marrow so that a small chunk of it sticks to the pastry, and then dip the whole thing in the scintillating red gravy.
By now you should have in front of you a bite-sized scarlet piece of heaven. Do not place it in your mouth yet; enjoy the aroma while allowing the bread fully soaks the gravy goodness that actually makes you crave clogged arteries.
Then put it in your mouth.
Instantly your tongue will be caressed by the delicately-balanced red sauce. It is sufficiently spicy, and wonderfully savory. Yet almost teasing your senses with the perfect equilibrium of sweetness. By now, the gravy would have enveloped your mouth, spreading itself thin. You may have thought the taste sensation is over, but at that moment the the marrow will almost instantaneously melt and suddenly reawaken your tastebuds, only this time more emphatically multiplying the aftertaste of the sublime gravy, this round with a distinct creamy sensation.
In just a moment, you will suddenly find that only the the initial container of it all – the bread – is left in your mouth. Its momentary presence between your teeth is mocking at best, merely so you have something tangible to react to; the pathetic act of chewing to physically register your pleasure while the material sensation dissipates as quickly as it began.
God’s butter. Appreciated more in Ramadan.