Johan lived with his grandparents in the kampong in Kelantan when he was young. He and his grandpa always had a unique bond with each other. Johan adores his grandpa and would spend much time listening to his lifetime stories.
On one particular day, Johan woke up to a familiar aromatic scent of pandan and sambal. He excitedly rushed to the dining area to find that his grandpa is making nasi lemak! He quickly grabbed a plate, and proceeded to eat together with his grandparents.
In between mouthful of heavenly rice, sambal and chicken pieces, Johan enthusiastically asked his grandpa “Atuk, why your nasi lemak is green in colour, oooh….and it comes with crushed nuts, acar and omelette…taste so good and different from other nasi lemak out there…I can eat this every day for the rest of my life!”
His grandpa began in a tone much like how he would start one of his lifetime stories “Johan, I only cook this nasi lemak on a special day every year”. He then turned to gaze at Johan’s grandma who was smiling sheepishly.
“Before I met your grandma, I was working only as a kitchen hand in the Istana. Back then life was simple and I was poor. I met your grandma at the market where she was helping in the family’s vegetables’ stall.” She was a very beautiful and kind girl, and I immediately fall in love with her on first sight.
“I began courting her by convincing her to help me in the development of a special nasi lemak dish. I would bring my nasi lemak to her for her feedback. And every day, I would cook and improve upon the nasi lemak for her to try.”
Nenek : Why is the nasi lemak green in colour? And it is so fragrant.
Atuk : Because you are so special and you smell just as nice!
Nenek : Why is the sambal sweet and spicy, yet taste so irresistible at the same time?
Atuk : Because it reminds me of you. Sweet on the inside, fierce when necessary and I just can’t have enough of it!
Nenek : Okay, then why the crushed nuts?
Atuk : Because I could have more to spread around…so you may taste my love in each bite!
Nenek : Then why serve it with acar?
Atuk : Because life is as such, full of sweet and sour moments…but come what may, I will always be by your side to go through it together!
Nenek : And why the omelette?
Atuk : Because I will wrap you around and protect you so you may have a fluffy and fulfilling life!
Nenek : Lastly, why the ayam goreng berempah?
Atuk : It is the final piece of jigsaw in the meal…because it completes the dish just like how you complete me!
That….Johan, was how I courted your grandma and the rest is history.