Sanuki Udon, Taman Bukit Desa: In the Mood for Udon

I am so excited and relieved to collaborate with Kenny Mah of Life for Beginners as my guest blogger today! As you know work has really taken a toll on my time and it’ll be as such until the end of April. Anyway, if you don’t already, you absolutely must add his blog to your list of daily reads – he often provides over-the-top dramatic stories that would make any of Wagner’s opera sound boring. I reckon he is the Wong Kar-Wai (ahem) of our generation with all that intensity and intricacy in his writings, like the piece he is sharing with us here today. Take it away, Kenny!


Dedicated to Lyrical Lemongrass, whose lips slurp udon like no other woman can

The cello moans, deep and tremulously.

She walks past the kopitiam, past the neighbourhood dai chow. She walks slowly, each step a memory, a callus of time. Her high heels go klick, klack on the concrete pavement, the cracks spreading like a web to capture lost dreams, the weeds and the waste water in the longkangs simmering stagnated desires. She is hungry. Life hasn’t much meaning these days, but one must eat. There is a small Japanese diner, the flaps of the noren curtains hiding a mystery behind them. There is a solitary chochin lantern illuminating the way in. There isn’t much light left in this world, she thinks, but there is light still. She enters. Inside, she sits at a low long table, on a supple little stool. It is enough to seat all one’s troubles; it might bend like bamboo, but it won’t break. It can’t. She can’t afford breaking at a time like this. She needs to dine, to fill her empty tummy. She can fill that at least, even if her heart can’t manage it.

Can I help you?

Strong, masculine voice. Japanese accented English. Her thirst is slaked.

He offers her a simple menu, four, six variations on the same dish — good, old fashioned udon. He bends over her, a healthy sheen simmering on his muscular arms. It is a hot summer night. One can’t wear that much on a night like this. A short, thin T-shirt would do. She thanks God for hot summer nights and short, thin T-shirts.

Sanuki Udon_1.jpg

She asks for the Wakame Udon, green seaweed to calm her nerves. She wonders if he has a woman, a wife or a girlfriend, she envies terribly. It feels good to envy and to want, to crave and covet. She has not had that feeling in awhile.

He brings her the bowl of cold udon, gently placing it before her like an offering. She cups the bowl with both her hands, touching ceramic touched by his hands only a moment ago. She catches a lingering whiff of solemn satisfaction, if she could have it.

She finishes her udon in silence, leaves money and departs.

Sanuki Udon_2.jpg

She doesn’t return for awhile, but four days pass and she finds herself walking to the udon diner again. He greets her (”Welcome, can I help you?”), again with the warm smile. She sits at the same table, her buttocks resting on the same seat. She imagines he keeps this table, this seat just for her, that no other patron gets to sit there.

She orders the Kakiage Udon, a fiery orange-red of the carrot tempura igniting her cause and her campaign. She wants more than udon. She wants some feeding. She takes it hot, the udon, that is, this time. She burns her tongue slightly. She licks it softly against her lips. He looks at her, he smiles.

She slurps down her udon, swallows the last drop of miso soup, pays and walks home.

They know the routine now. She walks slowly to his diner, sashays in every night, he asks her what she would like, she orders, eats, and leave without ever saying a word.

Sanuki Udon_3.jpg

Today, somehow today is different. She orders a simple udon, cold, with a raw egg on top. Some things are better this simple. You can taste the burst of life in each bite, in each coating of your senses. Life tastes good.

Today, today is different. He sits down opposite her. He looks at her. She remains silent. He asks her

Why do you eat here? Every night?

I like udon.”

And she looks up at him.

And I don’t like eating alone. If I am not here, I will be at home alone, making a salad, eating it by myself.”

A woman should never have to eat salads. Not a woman like you.”

He gets up, smiles and goes back to the kitchen. She starts weeping into her udon, feeling happy for the first time in years. She pays, leaves and never comes back.

Sanuki Udon_4.jpg

At the back of the kitchen, there is a hole in the wall, near the yakitori grill. He presses his face against the cold white tiles. He leans towards the hole, cupping his hands over his mouth and whispers. Maybe it’s the secret recipe to his amazing udon which can bring tears to the eyes of silent women, maybe not.

He wonders what she’d look like in a cheongsam.


If Kenny’s writing here has left you craving for more, head over to his blog where he has simultaneously posted the deliciously dark post entitled EAT DRINK MAN UDON on Life For Beginnerstoday.


Sanuki Udon
No.9, Jalan Bukit Desa 5
Taman Bukit Desa
58100 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: +603-7980 3704

a. Additional pictures used in the comics were taken from Wong Kar-Wai’s film IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE (2000). All rights reserved. 
b. Additional text used in comics extracted from the song I’M IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE. Music by Jimmy McHugh, lyrics by Dorothy Fields and first published in 1935. 

22 Responses to Sanuki Udon, Taman Bukit Desa: In the Mood for Udon
  1. CUMI & CIKI
    March 21, 2010 | 11:36 pm

    Lyrical Lemongrass, whose lips slurp udon like no other woman can ..The cello moans, deep and tremulously.. ?! LOL, oh bravo lil munkey and LFB.. love it – so well written and photographed..

    LL, if u ever weep into the udon whilst im eating with you, i swear i will RUN N HIDE! mwuahaha


  2. Chaokar
    March 22, 2010 | 12:29 am

    Hahahaha, i like this post !
    Well done.

    You just make eating udon is the new sexayyyyyy thing to do.

  3. Life for Beginners
    March 22, 2010 | 12:37 am

    Gorgeous, simply gorgeous.

    I'm not talking about my own guest-post lah, but your impeccably timed wit and visual wonders in your one-of-a-kind, trademarked A Lil Fat Monkey comic strips.

    Udon never looked this good, or sexy, even. Seriously. ;)

  4. J
    March 22, 2010 | 1:14 am

    Only one shot of Seiji-san?? Booooo….. :P

    Haha… Great comical post as always witty monkey. :)

    And such a beautiful story by Kenny! – "… and never comes back"? Such a bittersweet ending though. *wipes away tear*

  5. eiling lim
    March 22, 2010 | 2:19 am

    This is such a beautiful yet seductive post. Makes me yearn for the udon & the sweaty hunk! Very dramatic – I like! Haha… good write up Kenny!

  6. thule a.k.a leo
    March 22, 2010 | 3:55 am

    alright… Monday blues have gone away!!! your comic strip cured it

  7. Sean
    March 22, 2010 | 3:55 am

    i'm not a fan of udon, but i want some of what she's having! :D
    heard from the lyrical lady that sanuki has a second outlet at wisma cosway now. that's a lot closer to my office, so i have no excuse not to check it out =)

  8. qwazymonkey
    March 22, 2010 | 4:25 am

    C&C: Why you run away? How often does one see the queen weep?

    Chaokar: Udon is sexay! Those skinny soba has nothing on the udons!

    LFB: Don't let me start singing your praises. Cause it'll never end. Thanks for sharing

    J: U gotta visit him to see all, i meant more, of him

    Eiling: Are you flushing already? :P

    Sean: Yeah I heard that from Seiji too. But he's only gonna show off his muscles in Desa! :P

    Thule: Glad to be of service!

  9. minchow
    March 22, 2010 | 5:18 am

    So his marital status remains undisclosed?!! I guess I'll have to get my hands dirty to find out myself! Gorgeous post, udon and Tmn Desa never oozed such neo-noir charm!

  10. FBB
    March 22, 2010 | 6:50 am

    oh, so this is why the chicks are twittering like birds on heat…on twitter. rolllllllllll eyes.

  11. Lyrical Lemongrass
    March 22, 2010 | 8:45 am

    I burst out laughing at this:

    “A woman should never have to eat salads. Not a woman like you.”

    LOL! If only! Chis, Kenny.

    Btw, I thought Kenny's writing was amazing, but your pictures…wow….so appetising. *ahem*

    Thanks, guys!!!

  12. thenomadGourmand
    March 22, 2010 | 10:27 am

    Hardly a fan of udon..but will try just to chk that hunk out! LOL

  13. Life for Beginners
    March 22, 2010 | 11:20 am

    @J: Can't have a tragic ending if the heroine returns, rite? It'd be like Jack returning from the depths of the ocean to find Rose. More like horror movie, liddat… :P

    @Lyrical Lemongrass: Haiya, it's meant to indicate that a woman should always have her meat, wink wink. :P

  14. sc
    March 22, 2010 | 1:44 pm

    *claps, claps*.. sizzling hot one kenny….

  15. chiselstone
    March 22, 2010 | 3:30 pm

    Gosh. This post is so delicious I find myself hungry for udon. And then some…

  16. qwazymonkey
    March 22, 2010 | 4:05 pm

    Minchow: Trust our dear Kenny to churn out a story like that. Bow bow. As to Seiji's status, why not you try spying for us.

    Ah Pa: This girls I tell you. All they do is chirp and chirp. So noisy I tell you.

    LL: Hope you weren't slurping some noodles when you read that. Aiya you know my pic are shit compared to yours. You know that *ahem*

    TNG: I wasn't a fan of Udon til now. Nak balik to try to curry udon now.

    LFB: Jack returning to find rose make a good sequel! Titanic: Love from the Depths of the Ocean. His heart sure goes on and on and on and on and on….

    SC: Yeah *clap clap* to KM

    Chiselstone: Come let's go berudon this weekend!

  17. msiagirl
    March 22, 2010 | 7:05 pm

    Ohh I had such a nice laugh, what a tale and super illustrations. hahahaha!

  18. Life for Beginners
    March 23, 2010 | 12:31 am

    "His heart sure goes on and on and on and on and on…."

    Eeks. I wonder if Ms. Dion would return to sing that?

    P.S. I kinda like their curry udon. It was the last udon of theirs I tried having tasted the rest before. But you know, Maggi curry flavour lah.

  19. qwazymonkey
    March 23, 2010 | 12:59 am

    @Msiagirl: You mean it's a funny story? Geez, I've been punked!

    @LFB: Celine singing a sequel? That'll definitely make it a horror flick!

  20. Lyrical Lemongrass
    March 23, 2010 | 11:20 am

    Yay, so much fun doing lunch with you at Sanuki Udon today. Almost like you were Maggie Cheung, and me, that Tony guy. LOL.

  21. Nic (KHKL)
    March 24, 2010 | 1:00 am

    Before this, there were already dozens of ITMFL parodies in hong kong but this, this is one of the best! Great job with the comic, qwazymonkey! I lol every time I try to read your ITMFL comics in cantonese (cos ITMFL is in cantonese mah). *clap clap*
    Kenny, wow, you even remembered to include that Angkor Wat bit! Brilliant. You are truly a WKW fan.

  22. Wandernut
    March 28, 2010 | 1:36 am

    Hubba hubba!