Friday, 17 February 2012

The Cook and the Dishwasher

Visiting a local Chinese restaurant in the hinterlands of Malaysia, I stepped uninvited into the back room kitchen. 

They didn't seem to mind and just went on with their work as I snapped away. Mad gwai-low, (foreigner or white devil) I could hear them thinking. 

The food we'd just eaten was delicious but the kitchen was perhaps slightly horrendous to my Western eyes, but this is real cooking for this part of the world. Health and safety in the UK would have a fit as would Environmental Health. But this wasn't the UK. No side effects from the food, but I'm glad I didn't see this area before I'd eaten, even though I know it's pretty much par for the course. Thank God they cook everything at such high temperatures. This young woman was busy cleaning the dishes. 

This is the food preparation area, just to the side of the dishwasher-woman on the floor. The flies were so numerous they kept landing and walking over the front of my lens... Try and count them in this shot!

The cook was a very jolly fellow who had just got out of bed, and consequently was a little harassed and busy. Hot oil flying everywhere as he stir-fried the food, using the towel around his neck to wipe away the sweat. It was pretty hot in there, add the outside temperature of 36 degrees to the inside cooking area with all the burners at full blast and you'll have some idea. How he managed to avoid serious burns I don't know.

(Leica M9 with 35mmf2 Summicron)


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