THE pop music’s throbbingly loud and there’s no let-up from the thick fug of cigarette smoke as the bus chugs along somewhere in Java .
Still I shouldn’t complain; the driver hadn’t had a break in 10 hours and the music was probably the only thing keeping him awake – and us from imminent death.
It all came back to me as my lunch companion’s nasi lemak arrived at Sama Sama.
Stops on that long, long bus ride to Bali were usually at warungs, small family-run eateries offering local dishes at local prices, and the simple chicken dish was a staple.
This one ($12.50) was as authentic as it gets; a quarter of chicken, with rice, a hot and spicy chili paste, salty dried anchovies, boiled egg, cucumber and fried peanuts.
My mate tucked in, but found the anchovies a tad overpowering: “[It’s] the usual Asian on the bone style, with nice crispy skin,” she said.
We’d kicked off with a serve of Thai fish cakes ($7.50) and deep fried calamari ($8.50).
Both were fantastic, the smell of lemon grass and coriander in the fish cakes hitting the nose before the first bite and the tender calamari, encased in a perfectly light and delicious, batter was so good it was almost fisticuffs over the last morsel.
My mate also ordered a beef rendang ($13.50), figuring what she couldn’t eat she’d take home.
“The sauce was runnier than usual, but it’s lovely, and the beef tender,” she reported.
Sama Sama is a mix of Thai and Malay dishes, so I was on the horns of a dilemma. My Thai favourite pad Thai, or my other favourite Penang kuay teow ($12.50)?
Malaysia won out, for which I was truly happy; the flat noodle dish, fresh and steaming, came with plump prawns and thin slices of fish cakes, well and truly living up to expectations.
The crew from Acton Real Estate rocked up mid way through our meal, saying it’s become a regular lunch haunt since opening a few weeks ago.
And I can see why, the food and service was excellent and the prices everyday affordable.
by JENNY D’ANGER
672 Beaufort St, Mt Lawley