I just realised how Malaysian(ised) I’ve become — I now drink air suam (warm water) with my meals, despite the sweltering heat and high humidity that characterises typical Malaysian weather.
It’s a very Malaysian thing, you see. Warm water, that is. You can actually order it from any restaurant, hotel or roadside food stall. It’s such a standard item that it’s not even in the drinks menu and yet you can order it without batting an eyelash or feeling shy about it.
I never really understood why Malaysians have a penchant for it. But now I realise that:-
- Warm water makes me feel fuller faster. (Great news for dieters out there!)
- Warm water lasts longer than a cold drink does — i.e. it can last you for the entire meal, as compared to a cold drink that you can slurp down long before the appetiser arrives — especially since air suam in many places is close to boiling hot rather than on the tepid side so you end up sipping it slowly and carefully so as not to scald your tongue.
- Warm water does wonders for wind in your tummy. Enough said :)
- When your tongue is on fire due to a chili overdose, warm water actually works better than cold water at giving you relief from the chili’s capsaicin, the chemical in chili that’s responsible for that burning sensation. Initially, your tongue will scream in protest upon contact with the warm water. But before long, the burning sensation from the chili slowly dies out.
- Warm water is good for these tough times because it’s cheap; sometimes it can be had for free.
The funny thing is, it took me some 14 years to actually like drinking warm water. And I thought it was bad enough for me to take 2 years to get used to air sirap!