Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Preserve Your Cuisine At Least

This is a food blog, so I have to find a way to put a food spin onto this particular article that was in our papers yesterday. With March 8th coming up, there is so much in the media that makes me roll eyes, so much so, I've resorted to buying Eye Mo by the barrel to keep them eyeballs constantly lubricated.

But THIS article takes the cake. Basically it was a call from the Indian Muslim Youths demanding that they be called Malays.

"I am a second generation Malaysian and I can safely say that from wedding rituals to the food we eat and the language we speak, we conform to Malay customs all the way.
"As such, Gepima is appealing to the government to streamline the laws and recognise Muslims born after independence as Malays in their birth certificate.
"We feel uncomfortable to be known as Indians, because people automatically think we are Hindus when we are actually Muslim."
Kader added that Muslims of Indian origin suffered an inferiority complex by being regarded as Indians.
"Our children do not even know how to speak Tamil.
"They only converse in Malay and our wives wear baju kurung or kebaya nowadays, no more the saree."

With all due respect, my kids don't speak Chinese, but I'm hardly appealing to the Queen to make me English. Anyway, the fact that FOOD was in the equation, made me feel it is my duty as a food blogger to rally against any people willing to turn their backs on their ancestral cuisine!!!! Oh the outrage!!! With one fell swoop, they are turning their backs on centuries of rich peratal, paneer, tandoori, dhal . Papa Damn!!! Outrageous. I mean, I respect the Malay culture etc with all my heart, but for a particular race to want to be recognised as another race, ....hmmmm....where's my Eye Mo extra moist

Speaking of ancestral cuisine, we leeched onto my inlaws last Sunday for a good dose of homely cooked hakka inspired (I think) at this nondescript restaurant called Soon Kee in Prima Kajang. After one of the tolls on the SILK highway, take the turn off to Semenyih, and its somewhere in the shophouses on the left. Can find?

The char yoke, fatty pork deep fried in 5 spice and then braised in a rich sauce with wood ears, was very good, and very reminiscent of the late grandmother inlaw's version. My own grandmother's version of course, is the best, and is vaguely replicated by one of the maids, and possibly my uncle. (mental note to self: go and write down all these recipes for posterity, before the last bastion of knowledge kicks the bucket).

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Egg foo yong, but I didn't get to try this coz it was for the kid's table. Like a locust swarm, the kids polished this in under 3 minutes. It can be quite cheap to feed kids.... just give them rice and egg, and let the mothers breastfeed them till puberty. (have you see the price of milk lately?)

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Beancurd with mince meat. Looked delicious, but again, the locusts got to it first.

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Ah, one of my all time favourite comfort foods. Seng Kwa (Ketola, or is it Petola) with Bean Curd. Ah, screw the newspaper articles that say any bean curd with browned skin, including foo choke, is artificially colored, and therefore are a health hazard. Afterall, margarine was "healthier than butter" until that awful myth was debunked recently.

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I think this is another signature hakka dish, vinegared pork trotters. Well, either hakka or hokkien la. Now, I am ambivalent about this dish, as it's not one of my growing up staples, and is largely associated with pregnant women. While I might have the shape of one, I do not crave this dish per se, but having said that, over the years, it has grown on me, (the dish, not the fat, though that also has grown on me), and I found this version particularly delectable. The sauce was thick, apparently made so by gula melaka, and it wasn't overly sour, and the meat was tender and falling off the bone. [thanks to Girl from Abu Dhabi for mentioning pork trotters, I completely forgot to put this para in]

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The star dish of the night had to be this steamed fish in ginger sauce. Absolutely divine. Not a big fan of ginger per se, I found myself literally scooping up the ginger sauce and eating it just like that. The ginger, infused with the sauces that steamed the fish, and presumably the taste from the fish itself, gave a lovely tingling feel to the palate.

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Steamed fish in yet another way. Apparently there are bits of deep fried pork lard within that gloriously rich red sauce, but I couldn't really tell. The problem is, all these dishes go very well with RICE.

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And just when I thought, okay, finally a sensibly portioned dinner, not overly full, the FIL orders a plate of Hokkien Mee. Argh, talk about the proverbial Achilles Heel in the Body of Resolve. Even the kids came scurrying over, with mine going in that Oliver Twist manner, "can i have some more" after hurriedly finishing his first helping. The mee was well fried, the sauces caramelised in a wok with enough wok hei, and an adequate helping of deep fried lard. A bit more wouldn't have gone amiss.

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Overall, a simple but delicious dinner. And that is why I was still at my fattest. Though after a day of sensible eating, and exercise, I have dipped below the all time high. But only just.


Jason said...

I think it's petola. Can't find anything called ketola though. :P

kennymah said...

I'm one of those locusts still, despite my age. And Mr. FBB, sir, why worry so much about being at your fattest? You exercise quite regularly what, prolly more than me, it's being fit and healthy that matters.

A lil bit of fat never hurt no one... (and if anyone decides to point out it's easy for a skinny spareribs like me to say so, let me say I used to be obese and well-taunted, so a lil bit of belly fat is something I can well handle.)

Didn't Jack Nicholson say "This flat belly nonsense is ruining the country" or words to that effect?

Listen to Jack, man.

(Sorry for this pointless ramble. All I really wanted to say was: DROOLSSS.)

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

I speak Malay, look Malay, have a name that sounds Malay, wear the saree once in two years (and only when I'm forced to by MIL), but never has it crossed my mind to change the colour of my backside. Black is black is black la.

As for being assumed to be Hindu, I'm trying to imagine how that's possible and how their solution fits in. For eg., SAY I'm Indian Muslim, and someone approaches me. SAY it's Deepavali, so he wishes me Happy Deepavali as he assumes, from my appearance, that I'm Indian, and from their justification, assumed to be Hindu. I think that even if I change my race (horrors!) to Malay, the dude is still gonna wish me Happy Deepavali based on my appearance if one doesn't deal with the root of the issue, i.e. educating the ignorant! Now in scenario No.2, say the dude knows I'm Indian Muslim. I presumably have a name with a "bin/binti", don't I? How in the goddamn world can the dude think I'm Hindu? If he did, I'd say this again - EDUCATE THE FCKING IGNORANT.

And inferiority complex my foot. We should be basking in the wealth of our heritage instead of whining about why we're downtrodden.

Wait...I got more comments wan, but I wanna go eat lunch first...CCF with har kow....aaaah...I feel better now.

kat said...

Wat.. you mean if you are muslim in msia, you can equate that to be being malay?? ie. muslim=malay=bumi??? Frankly speaking, if there is no special privilege/status, do you think they will be clamouring to be known as malays??

Race is race. Religion is religion. You can be Chinese and Muslim. You can angmoh and Buddhist. You can be Indian and Christian.

LL is right. The world is getting too homogeneous as it is already without people giving up their rich cultural traditions. And damn, I'm getting to be one of them!! Chinese yau em kau Chinese. Western yau em western! I feel as alienated in the East as in the West. That's probably why I'm straddled in the Middle!! hahahaha

look like an indian, sound like an indian, but not an indian... heehee..

kat said...

Ya man, preserve the cuisine. I'll be waiting for your char yoke, khau yoke, chee kiok suen and hakka yong tau foo recipe.. :D

Nic (KHKL) said...

what maketh weak a man? it's THAT hokkien mee, what...ok, i'm about to bust-a-rhyme here (handing you the eye-mo)...gotta restrain myself...love that pic!

you left me stunned there with that last para. i was expecting the ultimate punchline relating the two similarly different issues, knowing how wonderfully witty your lines can be. With such interesting issue somemore.

I’m fat and I fit a size L. But I think I’ll look good in an XS lar. (eye-moing myself). Sigh...Assimilation turned assassination…oppss, I couldn’t resist just one line…

fatboybakes said...

nic, burst into rhyme please, you havent graced these humble pages with your culinary odes yet. huh? you expected me to say more on the gepima issue at the epilogue? aiyo, as it is am putting my neck out. you fat? well, what camera u use, it seems to minus 10kg rather than add, in which case.

kat, how strange you mentioned chee kiok shuen!!! i had to edit my post cos i left that out, and your comment reminded me.

lemongrass, gasp, language, there are minors who read this blog, (i think). but i love your point. you look malay meh? really? and how is meenachi a malay name?

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

As for Soon Kee, is it the one just after the third longkang where the dog last shitted when he ate one char yoke too many? Ya ya the one after the SILK highway on the left of my grandfather's shop selling the veshti and the omapudi?

I love the pic of the hokkien mee. I also like how you've blamed your innocent pre-teens for walloping all the food. Those poor kids....sweet beautiful well-mannered kids. Shame on you.

fatboybakes said...

oops, i forgot to reply the earlier comments, as lemongrass eclipsed everything.

kennymah, how reassuring, coming from someone who'd make karen carpenter look like oprah winfrey on a bad day.... a lil bit of fat never hurt anyone...hahaha!!! okaylah, i shall take your word for it. dunno how fit i am though. was almost going to pass out when jogging in lake gardens a couple of weeks back...it was very hot though.

jason, gotcha, petola.

kennymah said...

"how reassuring, coming from someone who'd make karen carpenter look like oprah winfrey on a bad day"

That response alone was worth waiting for. Hehe. So (completely missing your point intentionally), how do I make a white woman look black?

(Did I just ignore the whole flow of comments here by that last remark? Ah well. LL knows my opinion on the matter is nearly as fiery as hers.)

And trust me, I've gone beyond you and actually passed out from jogging when I was younger and obese. Try 92kg on a kid? That was me.


wmw said...

Uh huh, thought I got a whiff of Hokkien Mee here. Now, I sad cos all I got is a pic rather that an actual plate in front of me...

fatboybakes said...

kennymah, omigod, 92kg? whats with you gym instructors? all living testimonies that jabba the hutt can become svelte like...princess leia? i haytche you....haytch haytch haytch...how do you make a white woman look black? well, as far as deceptive coloring is concerned, you should ask GEPIMA...

wmw, wow, your nose very the powderful hor, can sniff out hokkien mee through the blogospher

kennymah said...

*cracks up*

Now, I'm Jabba the Hutt? Brilliant. I'm not even gonna go near the Princess Leia bit. Hahahaha...

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

Hi there!just got to here from PreciousP.
Just goes to show what some ppl will do for money. I say if somebody renounces his own race, all the better bc his race don't need ppl like him.
But seriously, u ate some good food there.

Tummythoz said...

Poor Gepima. Looks like Bumi, sound like Bumi but no perks. Life is unfair.
*munching char-siu-pau*

fatboybakes said...

terri, yar, its amazing how some would readily sell their ancestry for some privilege.

tummythoz, haw haw...(munching long yoke)