Hunting for Food – NOT.

Also guest blogging at Backseat Radio: Here comes a regular.

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Event: Klang Valley Food Hunt 2009
Date: October 3, 2009 (Saturday)
Venue: Around Klang Valley

We have been trying to go on a food hunt for the longest time now, but it always never seems to fall through. So, when we caught wind of the Klang Valley Food Hunt, organised by Time Out Solutions and Rasa Rasa, we thought this was a good excuse to skip a working Saturday and take part in a long day of chow time.

Initially, I thought it was going to be an Amazing Race kind of food hunt, where we go around town in search of restaurants where we would be doing a series of food challenges like eating nasty food or making hard to make dishes or maybe chow down some food at some obscure restaurant we never knew of.

Boy, was I wrong.

Two days before the hunt, there was a briefing going on in Taman Tun and we got some goodies, as well as a quick low down on what the food hunt was all about.

A decorative leaf pot, which is not a car freshener and does not move, a torchlight-screwdrivers kit, a Man Utd player figurine, which Vincent immediately chucked aside because of his animosity towards the football team, some free samples of instant coffee and oatmeal, Nagomi food vouchers and KVFH bumper stickers for the participating cars.

The one thing everyone moaned about was the need to gather at the start off point at 6ish in the morning. The night before, some of us were out partying and allegedly, one of us came straight for the hunt after clubbing. I, for one, puked at the club, so yeah. And the need to down a can of bad coffee just to stay awake throughout the hunt was equally as nauseous. Bah.

In total, there were about 140 cars participating for the hunt, which is safe to say there were approximately 500 participants. There were two teams of four for us. At the very last minute, one from each team had to back out, one of whom had to tend to his very sick ferret, so that evened us out to three per car.

We were #89 – Edward, Ariel and Nicholas, and #90 – Vincent, Thomas and me. We also honoured Billy’s ferret by calling our team ‘The Dead Ferret’. Heh.

Because the day before everyone was busy with work and some could not come in to the office, thus, they did not get to have a glimpse of the briefing notes till that morning. As we huddled together waiting for the final briefing for that morning, it felt as if we were back in high school, doing the usual last minute cramming before an exam. Heh.

We were also encouraged to dress to impress to win the best dressed team. Some came as chefs, some came as Santa Rina’s, while some came in cowboy hats and wearing sarungs. Heh.

Minutes leading up to the flag off time at 7.30AM, there was a final briefing session before they set us off for our hunt.

Basically, there were two legs.

The first leg involved four locations, Sri Hartamas, Kota Damansara, Damansara Uptown and SS2.

We were handed a bunch of questions that we need to solve when we reached said locations. Now, these questions, are real messed up questions. They were riddles, and half of the time we need to actually rack our brain juice – which was impossible considering it was way early in the morning to do such a thing – to break down anagrams and solve charades. Some were simple, some were just plain mean.

Some questions went like this: “Orang dengar, kami tidak dibenarkan”, “Backcurrent? Park to eat here”, “Turn page, stay alive, go here to be satisfied”, “Mungkin cari makan di sini” or something like that. It was crazy.

And you could not really sit down beforehand over a laidback breakfast to figure out the questions. You had to actually go to the said locations, have a look at what the clues are to pinpoint the answers.

The frustrating thing was that you knew the answers were right in front of you, but you just did not know how to crack the code to find out which one it was. And also when you have gotten the answer right the first time, but because you were iffy so you switched to a wrong answer instead. And also the fact that you were staring at the answer the whole time, and it was so obvious, only you were a little stupid to find out. Meh.

We took quite a lot of time and mental energy for the first leg, and could not really solve some of the questions because we were running out of time.

We were to hand in our answers for the first leg at the mid-leg pit stop – Nagomi at Jaya 33, and over there, we were to take part in a challenge. I was expecting a challenge to down some wasabi-infused sushi, or cook our sukiyaki in the quickest possible way. But, no.

10 pictures were given to us and another competing team, and within 90 seconds, we were to figure out what herbs and spices they were. Real simple, but the time constraint was the pressuring part, and pictures were colourless so it was a little hard in figuring out whether they were mint leaves or parsley leaves, ginger or tumeric or gallangal.

Before we knew it, time was up, and we had to hand in our answers for our questions for the second leg.

This leg, to me, seemed easier than the first. It involved two main locations – behind Jaya 33, Bangsar and Solaris Mont Kiara. And we were given a set of ‘tulips’, which basically were directions to the locations. Initially, I thought ‘tulips’ were stops we had to go through for a series of challenges. Meh.

We did not need much help with the tulips because we kind of knew our way round those locations, so we just needed to know where we should be next to figure out our questions, and we just went there using the quickest route we know of.

There was a congestion in the Jalan Telawi area in Bangsar, and a few teams actually got down from the car to go on foot, figuring out the questions. Thomas and I went on foot as Vincent worked his car out of the traffic to meet us where we would head off next.

Things were quite easy over at Bangsar and Mont Kiara. Bangsar, being like a home turf for Thomas – and also the fact that he seemed to be figuring out most of the questions anyway, heh – and Mont Kiara because Solaris only have so many roads and occupied shops there.

We breezed through these leg and was off in no time.

However, besides doing these, there was a Food Challenge and a Treasure Hunt.

Food Challenge involved the usage of Finder 301, which is a Maxis-based SMS service that offers the closest food outlets or amenities where you shot out the text message. It offers at least three options, each comes with the venue’s address, contact number, as well as a link to a GPS map.

We had to use Finder 301 to look up eight venues – 6 eateries (one of which we had to dine in), 1 ATM/bank and 1 police station along the route of the first and/or second leg. As proof, we had to snap a picture of our search results (to prove that we used the service), and another of our team members posing in front of the venues with our team number – preferably in creative poses.

Oh, and we also needed to develop all 16 photos and hand them in at the finish line. Something Edward, Ariel and Nicholas’ team failed to do so because they could not find the nearest photo developing shop. Darn.

There were quite some complaints on using Finder 301 because the SMS  failed to show results on the locations they were in, and I think Maxis was congested for a while so results came back a little slow.

For the Treasure Hunt, there were three sets of riddles, which were like the leg questions only ten times harder. They were clues to find out what we should get to gain more points.

After spending so much time with the leg questions, we barely had time to finish up the Food Challenge and Treasure Hunt. We only managed 5 venues for the former, and one for the latter, which was wrong anyway. Heh.

We arrived at the finish line in Solaris Dutamas a few minutes after our given time frame. After that, we had to take part in a second challenge, whereby we had to flip a roti canai, spread it out as wide as possible. That was sort of fun.

It was around 2 in the afternoon when everything was done.

They announced the winners during the award dinner that night at 3K Complex in Subang Jaya. They also revealed all the answers for the questions that morning, and there were a lot of forehead smacking and dawning ohhhhh‘s for unfigured questions, and cheers and applause for teams that got the answers right.

Too bad we did not win anything. Meh.

I guess it was something different to do on a weekend, though not something most people would opt to do. But it would be more fun if the ‘food hunt’ actually involved food, instead of things just related or not related at all to food.

Like in 60 seconds, stuff your face with as many sushi as you can, or see how many bean sprouts we can pick out from a bowl of char kuey teow, skewer and grill as many satays as you can, tie up ketupat pouches – I know this one is a toughie because I tried it once and failed majestically – things like that.

But their questions were real refreshing and mind-boggling, I’d give them that. It is quite evident that they have spent an immense amount of time coming up with them, and making sure some are not too tough for beginners, while others are not too piece of  a cake for rookies. So, well done anyway, guys.

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2 Responses to “Hunting for Food – NOT.”

  1. J2Kfm Says:

    nice one.
    though no stuffing your face, as you’d mentioned earlier.
    least the restaurants (i assume they’re the sponsors?) got some pretty good publicity.

  2. Vivien Says:

    care sharing all the riddles? hehe

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