72 Malaysia“s National Dish
Most vehicles had the capabilities of handling the twenty minutes flight over the Straits of Johor, and my car was no exception. Halfway through my flight, the Immigration Department of Malaysia sent a message to my cybernetics informing that I had been cleared to enter Malaysia. Although both countries were part of the SEAL, Singapore and Malaysia were two different countries, so immigration checks still had to be done. However, these checks were no more than procedural as thousands of people fly between the two countries every day, and both countries shared the databases for citizens within the SEAL. It's so much easier to go cross countries within the SEAL when you didn't have to export a battlesuit.
Once I got the message from the immigration department, I hit the autopilot. Nor had given me the location of the meeting, but it was a location I had never been to. I may have some pride as a driver, but I wasn't going to take a chance on being late. This meeting was worth billions!
I keyed in the location to my vehicle's AI and allowed it to do it's job. The AI drove me to a township called Horizon Hills. Located outside Klang Valley, the area was filled with parks, gardens and dominated by a massive golf and country club. Our meeting was to be held at the country club. Guess being a high-ranking member of the mage council comes with some perks.
My car landed in the club's carpark, I got out and took a quick look around. Coming from densely packed Singapore, the open space around me was a marvel. There was a nice breeze blowing, and even the air smell fresher. I wondered how much a club membership here cost. I'm not poor by any means, but I figured a club membership was an unnecessary expense at this point of time. Once we introduced mana energy to the world, a club membership or two would mean nothing to me.
I walked into the brown building that serves as the clubhouse and my cybernetics received a message. The club informed me I had a restaurant reservation. It even helpfully showed me a map of how to get to the restaurant! This was the service of a rich man's club.
I noticed the time, and I realized I was early. I followed the directions and was glad to see that the council member hadn't arrived yet. The restaurant was empty, and I wondered if this country club was under the control of the council. There had to be a reason why they picked this place as the meeting spot right? Since I was going to a restaurant, a light lunch would hardly be improper. As there were no waiters or servers around, I accessed the club's AI with my cybernetics and order a plate of nasi lemak.
Widely considered to be the national dish of Malaysia, nasi lemak was a deceivingly simple looking dish. At first glance, it was nothing but a rice dish served with various garnishes like fresh cucumber slices, ikan bilis, and a fried egg. However, the main draw of nasi lemak it's rice. Cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaves, good nasi lemak had fat creamy rice that would leave an oily after-taste. The restaurant had a variety of nasi lemak dishes on the menu, and I ordered one that served the dish with rendang chicken. Within minutes of my order, a drone arrived with my meal. It looked good.
The rice was fragrant, and the rendang chicken looked soft and inviting. Unlike fried chicken that had to be crunchy, rendang chicken was soft and tender. Slowly cooked over low heat, the chicken was then left simmering in coconut milk. The low heat tenderized and add flavor to the meat. As my cooking skills was almost non-existent, I didn't know how true that was, but the result could not be argued with. A properly cooked rendang chicken would literally melts in your mouth!
The nasi lemak served by the restaurant came with fresh cucumber slices, icon bilis, and a hefty amount of sambal. There was even a glass of plain water. I poured the sambal into the rice and began mixing it. Once the rice had a coat of sambal over it, I began eating. I immediately realized my mistake. As a Singaporean, I was more used to the sweeter and less spicy version of sambal. Malaysians and Indonesians considered us wimps.
The Malaysian version of sambal was hot and spicy, and this version was on the higher end of the Scoville scale. I quickly drank a mouthful of the water. After a short while, and a few deep breaths, I slowly recovered. I looked at my nasi lemak, and saw the remaining sambal covered rice. Mixing the sambal with the rice was a mistake, but I was a foodie and I wasn't about to let some chilli sauce get in my way of lunch! Manfully, I dug in.
The things I do for good food!
Even though the restaurant had air-conditioning, sweat began pouring down my face. The rice was still spicy as hell, but it was good. The rendang chicken was properly cooked, and the cucumber slices and ikan bilis were crunchy. If not for my mistake with the sambal, I might have enjoyed the meal.
Just as I was about to finish, Nor entered the restaurant along with a Caucasian man. I quickly masked my surprise. When Nor told me a senior member of the council wanted to see me, I was expecting some old man. This guy looks to be in his thirties. As the duo walked over, I sent a signal to the restaurant AI. As Nor and the Caucasian man made themselves comfortable at the table, a drone took my meal away. Nor made the introductions.
The man was called Mike Tanner. Not only was he a senior member of the council, he was also the Chief Executive Officer of a multinational technology company called "Waterfall Technology". I recognized the name. It was the front company the council was using when they signed the contract with me.
We greeted each other and the two magicians ordered some tea. As they waited for the tea, I engaged Tanner in some small talk. I found him to be calm, polite, and inquisitive. He asked about my health, and my workshop. Nice simple small talk to pass the time before we got to the big stuff. The drone soon came with the tea. Nor took the teapot and pour a cup for Tanner. The senior magician picked up his cup and had a sip of the tea. He begun to talk.