Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Hate-Turned-Love Story With Nando's Peri-Peri Chicken

First impressions last. But they're not necessarily accurate.

Such is the case with our first try of Nando's peri-peri chicken. That was in Mid Valley Megamall, Lingkaran Syed Putra, Kuala Lumpur. We were in search of a place to dine with one simple criterion — the food must not be available in Singapore. We can't remember exactly why it wasn't very pleasant — or more precisely, why we didn't like the chicken. Maybe they served it cold. Maybe the whole experience was something we'd rather forget.

Forget we did, but not entirely. Thanks to a faulty memory and the branch's proximity to the bus terminal, we found ourselves trying out Nando's peri-peri flame-grilled chicken once again in Puduraya, Kuala Lumpur. We were making another visit to the megacity then. Had we remembered that we've already sampled their food before, we may have chosen to dine some place else.

We realized the blunder only after the waitress had taken our orders. It was a little too late to walk out. I was saying peri-peri repeatedly like a chant while we went over the menu to learn more about the place and what they offered. The chant must have worked some kind of magic for we ended up asking the same question simultaneously, "Hey, haven't we been here before?"

We answered our own question by recounting the details of our previous visit. We wished it wouldn't be so bad on our second try. We might not have remembered the restaurant's name, but we certainly remembered what peri-peri meant.

It's easy enough to get the hint from the menu and the posters that the term peri-peri refers to chili. Wikipedia says:
Piri-piri, peri-peri or peli-peli is the name used in Mozambique and Angola to describe the African bird's-eye chili" and that "the variations in spelling derive from the various pronunciations of the word in parts of Africa, although 'piri-piri' is the correct spelling in Portuguese.
Nando's and the term peri-peri make a good pair indeed. Nando's is a Portuguese-themed chicken restaurant but has its origins in South Africa, where it's first restaurant was born in 1987.

It didn't take long for us to confront our fears. The waitress arrived with our orders shortly. I must say that whatever doubts we had about Nando's and our memories of a previously bad experience dissipated as soon as we had our first bite into the chicken. Our second try turned out to be a serendipitous blunder.

Since then, we've looked forward to dining at Nando's every time we go to KL. We make sure to visit the same branch at Puduraya though, just to be sure.

We've tried three out of the four flavors — garlic, medium and hot. Maybe next time we won't be so chicken and we'll try the extra hot.

Makes me wonder, will there ever be a Nando's Singapore?


More about Nando's on the Web:

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At August 4, 2009 at 1:17 PM , Blogger Kim said...

Nando's is coming to Singapore at the end of 2009. You can check out their Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/people/Nandos-Singapore/1765981562


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