I saw her as she drove into the carpark, passing two parking lots that were in her view. She disappeared around the corner. I waited. Minutes passed by and she still had not appeared. I wondered if I should go and look for her. Then she appeared, walking slowly, with her umbrella that also doubled up as a walking stick.
This was our local youth haunt growing up. We would come here after school almost daily — way before Starbucks and Coffee Bean arrived on the scene, before McDonald’s almost took over the fastfood market, with KFC and Burger King coming in a close second. Today, it stands on the same spot that it has stood since 1965 as the area around it changed. If the walls could talk, the pages of tomes of books would have been filled with their gossip. My brother would bring his family here whenever the kids visited Gran and everyone would order the same thing — coney dog, root beer float and the occasional waffle. Gran’s standard order in the past few years has been the fish marina burger. It was easier for her to digest. We come here about two to three times a year.
A&W no longer has any outlets in Singapore and this is one of the few outlets in Malaysia. In 2010, many outlets were closed. By Malaysian standards, the food is not cheap. Local food is cheaper and nicer. But many people hang out here still. This place in this part of Malaysia has almost become a Malaysian institution. The familiar bear in orange has greeted its customers since day one, as the first fast-food joint in Malaysia.
We left when the rain stopped. Mum drove us back, oblivious to the humps and honks of other cars on the road. She has always moved quickly, and it is no different even at this age! Some things don’t change so quickly, like the food at A&W. Love you, Mum.
A&W Family Restaurants (PJ Drive-in), No 9 Lorong Sultan, Petaling Jaya 46000, Malaysia. Tel: 603-7957 6250. This is a 24-hour joint.