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Hidden away…

Sigh!!! How many of you would agree that women are very good at hiding things? Wait a minute! Let me correct myself. They’re good at putting away things but they do it so very well. More often than not, they would be so well-hidden away that they themselves cannot find them and would have to turn the whole house upside down to find them. What do the rest of you think about this? Hehehehehe!!!!

Well, that always seems to be the case with the things in our fridge. Very often, I would discover things that I can hardly remember when we had them or where they came from and some would have grown moldy already but moldy or not, I would just throw them all away. Well, that day, there were already two tubs of leftover rice in the fridge and yes, this is going to be another fried rice post again. While looking through the fridge in search of something that I could fry it with, I found another tub, “hidden” in the compartment where we would usually keep out chocolates and stuff. That being much older than the other two tubs, I decided to fry it first and save the most recent one for another day.

That morning, I decided to use the fermented/salted dabai that I had kept in a bottle in the fridge. I have blogged about that here but this time around, I decided that I would remove the skin so the end product would not have that unpleasant-looking bits of black and besides, if the skin is thick, it does not taste very nice – siap-siap, they say in Hokkien, whatever that is in English. Other than that, I thought I would use the air budu I got from my friends from Trengganu and also some leftover calamansi lime juice plus sugar and chili dip that I had made the day before for my fried fish balls…

Ingredients

…and of course, I had my usual sliced shallots and garlic and I also got some of the skinny stalks of serai (lemon grass) from my garden.

After frying the shallots and garlic in a bit of oil till brown, I added the dabai

Steps 1 & 2

…followed by the rice and after mixing everything together well, I fried that for a while before adding the air budu and the lime/sugar/chili dip…and half an ikan bilis (anchovies) stock cube…

Step 3

…and finally, I added some eggs…

Step 4

…and once I felt everything had been sufficiently fried, I dished it all out…

Dabai fried rice 1

Yes, it was very nice with the flavours of all the ingredients used and it sure looked much better than I last time I cooked this, without the bits of dabai skin…

Dabai fried rice 2

…all over but I would prefer it if I had added a handful of ikan bilis (dried anchovies) and maybe some thinly-sliced long beans or french beans to give more bite to it and perhaps, our own local stronger-smelling/more fragrant air budu aur would bring the taste to a whole new level. I think I will try that next time…

Thinking of me…

Melissa went shopping with her mum the other day – I didn’t go…and I have this feeling that the two do not like me to tag along when they go shopping as I would get bored and tired very quickly and would want to go back home. Hehehehehe!!!!

Anyway, they went to this supermarket in town that stocks up on all the imported stuff from all over the world and when they got home, she passed me these…

Korean cookies 1

I can’t only read a few words on the box but judging from the glyphs, I guess it must have been made in Korea.

Well, obviously it’s organic as stated and I guess that’s also what they mean in their reference to being green…

Korean cookies 2

I don’t think it has anything to do with being environment-friendly, what with the box plus the individual packaging of each cookie inside…

Korean cookies 3

Actually, I quite like it when they do this as it would ensure that the contents would not go limp if not kept properly in an air-tight container.

These cookies aren’t all that cheap – RM2.99 for a box and even though they’re quite big, that would work out to over 35 sen each…

Korean cookies 4

Maybe it’s because it’s supposed to be healthy so it was kind of bland to me – not sweet, not much taste…but my missus loved them and went back to grab some more! Ah well…like I always say, one man’s meat is another man’s poison. To each his own.

Other than those, my girl also got me these…

Dutch biscuits 1

…and likewise, I can’t read most of what’s printed on the pack. In cases such as this, I guess all that talk about having to read labels carefully before buying anything would just come to nought.

Well, at least, I know these are made in Holland…or the Netherlands…

Dutch biscuits 2

…and I did see the word “Dutch” somewhere as well.

Between the two, I thought these…

Dutch biscuits 3

…had a bit more taste and were a little sweeter and even though they were going at over RM6.00 a pack, it would work out to around 40 sen a piece only as there were 16 altogether though comparatively, these were a bit smaller.

For one thing, I think I’ve lost my sweet tooth and these days, I am more into things savoury rather than sweet but whatever it is, even though they did not get me jumping with delight, it is always the thought that counts…and it certainly was so sweet of my girl to be thinking of me when out shopping (and having fun) and to get them for me to enjoy. Thank you so much, girl.

The old ways…

Life certainly is a lot easier these days with all kinds of appliances and gadgets that one can use but of course, easier does not necessarily mean better. Many will attest to the fact that more often than not, things are much better if done the old-fashioned way but unfortunately, not many are willing to go through the chore and would rather take the easy way out and settle for less.

In the case of cooking, for instance, everyone will admit that it is so much easier and faster just to use a blender compared to pounding everything half dead using a lesung batu (mortar and pestle) even though they know that it will not taste as great. I guess I am old and I am old-fashioned so I would go pounding everything manually as and when the need arises.

The other day, my missus came home with some tapioca (casava) leaves…

Daun Bandong

…that she had plucked in some piece of vacant land behind her mother’s house. These are very easy to grow – sometimes, people, after harvesting the tubers, will just throw the rest of the plants somewhere and lo and behold! After some time, you will see them growing all by themselves like nobody’s business. Yes, these leaves are edible but they must not be eaten raw owing to the cyanide content. This is stated very clearly in this website but they also say that you may derive a number of health benefits from eating the leaves.

We call them daun bandong here and that is probably in the local Malay dialect or in Melanau for the Ibans would call them differently. The latter refer to them as daun jabang but those around Kanowit call them daun empasa but they’re all the one and the same thing. You can buy these leaves very easily at the jungle produce section of the Sibu Central Market at only RM1.00 for one big bundle. I do wish they would sell them in smaller bundles, maybe half that much at 50 sen each for usually, I would not cook all of it and would just throw the rest away. The ladies selling these leaves would sometimes pound them for you – they would do that while sitting there, waiting for someone to buy their stuff. Then, they would display what they have pounded in plates for sale. My missus would never buy those as she insists they’re not very clean – I would not think that is a problem as we could take it home and soak in water and rinse thoroughly before cooking but I have never bought the pounded leaves from them as there did not seem to be a lot in one plate and I would need to buy at least two or three and that might cost quite a bit.

My missus would use a blender but it would be a bit too fine and would not be as nice. I, on the other hand, would pound them, paying extra attention to this part of the leaves…

Pounding daun bandong 1

- the “veins” joining the leaves to the stalks. These are rather hard and would be difficult to chew and that would spoil your eating pleasure. That is why there are places where they cook this and sell but they do not pound (nor blend) the leaves and instead, they would just rub them (like how one would scrub one’s laundry, they say) and I do not really like eating them that way.

You will have to pound the leaves till they are quite crushed…

Pounding daun bandong 2

…but there is no need to do it as fine as when using a blender and that would ensure that you will have something to chew when eating them.

Once the leaves were done that day…

Pounding daun bandong 3

…I pounded the ginger (one whole chunk of it – if you want it to have a stronger ginger taste, then you can pound more) and I also got ready the other ingredients needed – a handful of ikan bilis (dried anchovies) and some chilies, sliced…

Ingredients

…plus one-third of an ikan bilis stock cube.

First, I fried the ikan bilis till golden brown and then pushed them aside to fry the pounded ginger…

Ikan bilis & ginger

…till brown as well. As you can see, I used quite a lot of oil – that would be necessary as the ginger and the leaves would absorb the oil but still, I would not use too much and would rather resort to using water instead. More about this later.

Oops!!! I had forgotten all about the serai (lemon grass)! Actually, I grow my own in my garden but it completely slipped my mind. When I shared the photograph of this dish on Facebook, somebody also suggested adding bunga kantan (torch ginger flower) petals. Of course, adding these, the fragrance would help enhance the taste and you can also add baby corn or sweet potatoes or pumpkin to it as well. There are people who would cook it with pork skin or kasam babi hutan (preserved wild boar) even and the soupy versions of the leaves are very nice too like what I did here. In fact, if you cook it with chicken and a lot of ginger, it would come across a bit like kacang ma, minus the wine.

Anyway, to get back to my cooking that day,  in went the chilies…

Chilies

…and the pounded leaves next…

Pounded leaves

…and after mixing everything together thoroughly…

Almost done

…I added water, a little at a time, just enough to let it sizzle once in contact the hot wok, and kept repeating that till the leaves were sufficiently cooked. In the absence of a lot of oil, stir-frying it till cooked may be a bit difficult but too much water would make it soggy and it would not be very nice – neither here not there, not a soup and not fried dry either…so do remember to go slow with the water and use it sparingly. You can add salt and msg at this point but I think there was enough salt already in the ikan bilis so I just added a bit of the ikan bilis stock cube instead…and once it was done, I dished it out and served…

Fried daun bandung with ginger, ikan bilis & chilies 1

Needless to say, it was very nice…even without the serai. This website says that the leaves are bitter…but no, you will not feel it at all eating it cooked this way with the fragrance of the ginger and the saltiness and taste of the ikan bilis. Somebody asked me if it was like cangkuk manis/mani cai – well, the answer is no. The taste and texture are different, it does not have the sweetness…but it is nice in its own right. Comparing the two would be something like comparing say, kangkong and sweet potato leaves…or paku and midin. They are just…not the same, end of story.

This is the simplest version of the dish, cooked with minimal ingredients and except for the pounding part, it is very easy to come out with your own plus other than the fact that it tastes great,  it is VERY cheap too…

Fried daun bandong with ginger, ikan bilis & chilies 2

One thing’s for sure, you will not be able to find it at a lot of eating places, even here in Sarawak, except perhaps at the ethnic stalls like the ones here or here…or those special restaurants here or here.

Our very own…

Bak kut teh literally means “meat bone tea” but I would think a more accurate name for it would be meat or pork bone herbal soup. You will not find this in China as it is a Malaysian dish, claimed to have originated in (Port) Klang and believed to have been consumed by the coolies or labourers at the port to boost their strength and health.

I have cooked this many times before using those packets of spices and herbs from the peninsula but the other day, I decided to use this…

Sarawak white pepper root bkt 1

My missus must have bought it sometime ago and I had seen it lying around in the house for a while now so I thought I might as well give it a try.

This is packed in Kuching…

Sarawak white pepper root bkt 2

 …and clear instructions as to how to cook the dish are given at the back…

Instructions

Add 3 litres of water, it said but I thought that would be a little bit too much for the two of us in the house – my missus and I, so I reduced that to 2 litres. I reckoned that at worst, it would be stronger in its herbal taste and we wouldn’t mind that very much actually. I could not understand what “4 bits of garlic bulbs” meant…and since I had reduced the water, I just threw two bulbs in. Not one to follow recipes/instructions to the letter, I also put in a handful of goji or wolf berries and a few dried Shitake mushrooms together with the two pouches that came in that one packet…

Step 1

…and brought that to boil.

Nope, I did not let it boil for 30 minutes – after around 15 minutes, I decided it was time to put in the meat and I brought it back to boil once again and when the meat was cooked…

Step 2

…I lowered the heat and let it simmer for about 30 minutes.

The instructions said, “…add 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, dark soya sauce and oyster sauce…” and I could not, for the dear life of me, figure out the difference between soy sauce and dark soya sauce…so I just added two tablespoons of the mushroom soy that we always use in the house plus another two tablespoons of oyster sauce…

Step 3

Finally, add salt and monosodium glutamate powder to taste,” it said. What? More msg??? No, thank you. In my opinion, there would be enough msg already in the oyster sauce and I would not want any more salt either – the soy sauce would be salty enough.

I let it simmer for a long time, 30 minutes, at least and then it was ready to be served…

Bak kut teh 1

…with a sprinkling of chopped daun sup (Chinese celery) on top.

Yes, it was just right – the meat was nice and tender…

Bak kut teh 2

…and it was not too strong in its herbal taste, not too salty and no overload of msg.

However, the next time I use this particular brand of spices and herbs, I would go ahead and add 4 bulbs of garlic instead of just 2 as I would prefer the garlicky fragrance to be a little stronger…

Bak kut teh 3

…but on the whole, it was good enough. Perhaps a dash or two or more of pepper would be nice as well seeing that, despite the name – “Sarawak wild pepper root”, it was not peppery at all, not even the slightest hint of it and I would have liked a bit of that.

We had it with rice, of course, and for our vegetable dish, I fried some Chinese cabbage with young baby corn…

Vegetable dish

…together with some sotong (squid) and sliced fish cake. I’m afraid there wasn’t much colour in it and I did not bother with the presentation since it was just for the two of us at home to eat and enjoy.

Well, the weekend’s here! Anybody thinking of cooking some bak kut teh? Perhaps you can give this brand a try. It’s available at most, if not all, of the supermarkets in town and many of the grocery stores as well.

Call it what you want…

Back to that narrow alley where I bought the rechargeable fan/light that day, if you are walking from Market Road to the Sibu Central Market (Channel Road), the first turning to the left in that back lane would take you to these popular kompia shops in town, this one and this one. But if you turn right instead, you will come to a little shop on your right a short distance away selling ma ngee (horse’s ears)…

Ma ngee

People have given all sorts of names to this Foochow delicacy – in English, I call them scrotums! In Hokkien, that would be lampha kueh and many call them that…or worse, gu lampha (bull’s scrotum)! When I shared a photograph of these on Facebook, my Malay and Iban friends commented and it seems that they call them pelir kambing (goat’s testicles).

Well, call it what you want, the sad fact is that it is very difficult to get any these days that are like what they were originally, the truly authentic ones. You may find some here and there and it is not so bad that they’ve shrunk to a very miserable puny size but the texture is all wrong even though the taste may still be there. Some do not even taste the same and come across like doughnuts with that same dense texture. Ma ngee would have lots of air spaces/holes inside…

Ma ngee - inside

…and would be a little hard and crusty on the outside.

The two on the left in the above photograph were from the aforementioned shop in that narrow alley and yes, they would be quite like the ones we enjoyed so much those years when we were much younger…but they’re much smaller now – maybe just one-third or half of the old size and they’re 50 sen each! There used to be another very popular shop making these – back to back with that kompia shop at the other end of the alley but according to the lady here, that one has closed shop for good – they are not making them, anymore. It is really sad that many are forced to wind up their business as the young ones these days are not interested in carrying on the trade.

The smaller one on the right in the photograph is one of those that my missus buys quite frequently from a stall in front of a shop round the corner in my neighbourhood. They are 40 sen each and this is one of those that would have the taste but the texture is not quite the same.

Well, some of you may know something similar that you call butterfly fritters but believe you me, they’re similar, no doubt but no, they’re not exactly the same. We do have those here too…

WeCare ma ngee

…at this bakery. Goodness gracious me! These are so popular that they will only put them out for sale at 1.30 p.m. and by 2.00 p.m., they would all be sold out. They used to cost RM1.00 each but I hear the price has gone up to RM1.10 or RM1.20, I’m not too sure as I have not gone to buy for quite a while now. I certainly have no intention of joining in that mad scramble! Honestly, since they are selling so well, I wonder why they can’t make a bit more and make them available throughout the day. Yes, they are very very nice – BIG and nice but if it is the authentic ma ngee you’re looking for, this is not it! However, this is better for those who do not have very strong teeth or none at all though as they are not as hard on the outside.

It is the same with yew char koi or yeu thiao, as some of you would call it (crullers)…

Yew char koi

It is so hard to find any like those in the past these days and yes, there are many Malay stalls sprouting out here, there and everywhere like mushrooms after the rain and yes, as a few people have told me, some are very nice and some would even give you curry gravy to dip them in and eat…but no, they’re nothing like the real thing.

I also got these from that shop in the narrow alley, also 50 sen each, and yes, the texture is just right…

yew char koi - inside

…but they’re a lot shorter now, maybe only two-thirds of the length we used to get in the past.

Incidentally, I bought RM2.00 of each, totalling RM4.00 but I paid RM5.00 instead – five of those new RM1 notes that are so slippery and not so easy to handle and count and if you’re not careful, you may end up paying more. Thankfully, the nice lady is very honest and she told me that I had paid too much and returned me RM1.00. It sure is comforting to know that at this present day and age, there are some very decent and honest people around…still.

Moving on from these local delights, I did mention in a previous post that my niece was home for the recent long weekend and she did bring us a lot of stuff as usual. One would be these made-in-Singapore sausages…

Singapore-made sausages

…and just like the ones I bought recently, they sure make it look like it’s some imported stuff as well, don’t you think?

My daughter grilled some for breakfast…

Singapore-made sausages and egg

…when she was home last weekend and she cooked one extra for me to try.

The texture was almost like those luncheon meat-like local-made ones…

Luncheon meat-like texture

…that we can find in abundance in the supermarkets in town but they really tasted a whole lot nicer and were absolutely yummy! All things considered, I think those very expensive Malaysian-made ones that I bought were very much nicer but thank you all the same to my niece. Your thoughtfulness in always bringing back something for us everytime you come home is truly very much appreciated.

In the meantime, my sister-in-law in Kuching came home to spend sometime with the mum here and she remembered what she had seen on Facebook – the very nice butter cake that my ex-student, Xavier, gave to me not too long ago and she went and got me that…

Mita, Kuching cheese butter cake

…as well. Thank you so much, Hoon – that was so very sweet of you indeed but you shouldn’t have troubled yourself, really. Of course, I kept it till the weekend when Melissa came back and we really enjoyed it a lot! I also cut a portion of it for her to take back to her school to enjoy in the course of the week.

Hey! It’s Friday again!!! Gee! I can hardly feel time creeping past so quickly. Have a lovely weekend ahead, folks! Cheers!

Don’t let me be misunderstood…

Now, don’t misunderstand – despite the name, this place…

Noodle House, Sibu

…is not all about noodles. Maybe they started out as that, a place selling noodles but I wouldn’t know as I was not familiar with it when it just opened.

My daughter was still in secondary school (and I did not even have a blog then) when I heard about it and somebody told me it was at Lai Chee Lane so I went looking around the shops along that lane but failed to find it. About a year later, I heard of it again…and went looking for it again and still, I could not find it. I cannot remember how I managed in the end but actually, if you come in via the aforementioned lane, you will have to turn left at the first turning into that lane going towards Hua Kiew Road (in fact, it is nearer to this road…than that lane) and you will find it on your right, one half of a small building on its own with private parking spaces all around so you will not need to worry about paying the fees. Actually, it is somewhere right behind the Sibu Central Police Station and if you come in from Hua Kiew Road, it is the second turning to the right and you will see it behind the block  of shophouses in front along that road, on your left.

They used to have a topic in the English Language syllabus in school on “Directions” and I could not understand why the students seemed to have so much problem telling people the way. They certainly did not seem to know their left from their right…and it seems that they ‘re not the only ones. People will give me directions and I would have a tough time trying to locate the place and in fact, when I do find it, it would not be quite like what they have told me.

Anyway, going back to this place we were talking about, I quite like their mee sua (Foochow longevity noodles), their kueh chap and also their sizzling kampua with black pepper beef. Others may like their other combinations of the latter but I have not tried all of them and those that I did try, I can’t say I’m a fan.  Their original/classic kampua isn’t all that great to me either and I can’t say their pian sip (wantons, they call them) would sweep me off my feet. I’m no fan of their lor mee, their Q-Q noodles and their beef noodles either…and while many are quite fond of their laksa, I did not think it was quite like the authentic thing though it does taste rather nice. If I’m not mistaken, those are about all the noodle dishes that they have here…so perhaps, they started with those and kept on adding to their menu bit by bit till what it is today – a whole lot of other delights, just that they’re not noodles.

One of the newest additions would be their peri peri chicken with potato gratin (RM25.90)…

Noodle House peri-peri chicken

…and I suggested going to give it a try last Saturday as my girl used to frequent that South African/Mozambique-Portuguese franchise when she was in Wellington, New Zealand, the one that is well-known for this peri-peri sauce…and she agreed. However, when we got there, she had a change of heart so her mum had that instead. We all tried and thought it was very good…and my missus loved it very much as it was somewhat spicy, just the way she would love it. I thought it had its own special unique taste but at that price, I don’t think this would be  enough to make me go back for more…though I would say it was quite reasonably-priced considering that they actually gave half a chicken. I wish they would make plain bowls of rice available (at a price, of course) so people would be able to order those to enjoy with the chicken on a sharing basis.

That was what happened the other day. I did not want to order their stewed/braised pork belly rice (not many pieces of the meat in this) but I wanted their stewed/braised pork belly (RM6.50)…

Noodle House braised pork belly

…so I ordered their nasi lemak (RM7.50)…

Noodle House nasi lemak 1

…to go with it and that came with a complimentary bowl of very nice soup.

Yes, the rice was very good – I could actually taste the lemak-ness, the santan or coconut milk in it…

Noodle House nasi lemak 2

…(though I would not mind a little bit more of it) and so was everything else that came with it.

So what did my girl order for herself in the end? She had this…

Noodle House sizzling honey pork ribs 1

…their sizzling roasted honey spare ribs (RM24.80) and for some reason or other, that too came with a bowl of potato gratin instead of the usual deep-fried potato wedges, not that we’re complaining. In fact, she liked it a lot and licked the bowl clean!

She could not manage the mammoth task of finishing that huge stack of ribs…

Noodle House sizzling pork ribs 2

…of course and no prize for guessing who had to help her with that. Hehehehehe!!!!

Personally, I prefer the ribs at this place to the ones here. Both are nice, very nice, but in the case of this one, the sauce does not go completely into the meat so one would be able to actually enjoy the taste of the meat…and other than that, the one here is tender enough but not so tender so there would still be some bite to it. This is a bit cheaper too unlike that other place where they started off at RM24.00…but the very next time I dropped by for more, they had jacked up the price to RM26.00, dunno how much it is now…plus theirs seem to keep shrinking on each consecutive visit. Tsk! Tsk!

My missus and I had plain water with our orders while Melissa had her favourite – the mixed fruit soda (RM6.90)…

Noodle House mixed fruit soda

…and the total came up to RM72.60 for that delightful lunch. This time around, my girl insisted on picking up the tab and would not take no for an answer, thank you so much, darling!

We intended to have some of the nice desserts here but in the end, we were all too full and did not think we could manage so that would have to wait till our next visit to the place…but for one thing, I would avoid going during lunch hour as it was packed to the brim, full house, and many had to go away, disappointed and I told my girl this, “If my class were ever this noisy, I would have mengamuk-ed already!!!”

Lost and found…

We were schoolmates, 1970 to 1971, and we were even in a play together…

All the world's a stage

…for the 3rd Division Drama Festival for Schools. Here in Sarawak, we have divisions that are made up of several districts – there were only five then and they all went by numbers. Sibu was in the 3rd and today, it has been divided into the Sibu, Sarikei, Kapit and Mukah Divisions. Anyway, back to my long-lost friend, we managed to get in touch with each other after all these years via Facebook. Isn’t that nice? Something like that show on TV at one time, Jejak Kasih. LOL!!!

I found out that her hubby was in the Sarawak laksa paste business and she even offered to send me a packet to try. However, I told her that there wasn’t any need for her to go through all that trouble as I had seen it at a supermarket here and I could just go and grab a pack (RM10.90) myself…

MUSC Raja Laut Sarawak laksa paste

…and that was exactly what I did last Friday so I could cook for my girl who would be coming home that very afternoon.

Needless to say, it was a whole lot of work preparing everything…

Sarawak laksa ingredients

I had blogged about it here but anyway, to go through all that again, in case anyone would like to cook his or her own, first, I peeled and deveined the prawns (1 kg) and boiled them in 1 litre of water, keeping the stock and putting the crustaceans aside to be served with the laksa later…

STP's Sarawak laksa 1

When I went to the market that morning, I saw someone I knew filleting fish, the mother of one of ex-students – bay kar/ikan tenggiri (mackerel) no less and selling at only RM20 for one big bag of it. I grabbed one and my missus used it to make fish balls…

STP's Sarawak laksa 2

- and fish cakes, a whole lot of them. I added the water that she used to boil them to the aforementioned prawn stock as well.

I also boiled the heads and shell of the prawns in the stock for 10-15 minutes and then removed them. After that, I added another 2 litres of water to the stock and emptied the contents of the packet of laksa paste into it and brought it back to boil, leaving it to simmer for 30 minutes. In the meantime, my missus and I could cut the tofu pok (fried bean curd puffs) into thin strips – I bought RM1 of those and got 7 of them, chop the daun sup (Chinese celery), soak the bihun (rice vermicelli) to soften and blanch the taugeh (bean sprouts), RM2 of the ones sold with the tails removed. I am always too lazy to do that myself.

When the gravy was ready, I sieved it to remove the residue and added santan (coconut milk) to it, plus two cubes of ikan bilis (dried anchovies) stock, turning off the fire once I had brought it back to boil. Then, I fried some omelette and sliced it very very thinly and I also pounded some sambal belacan (dried prawn paste dip) to go with the laksa

STP's Sarawak laksa

It was very very nice and we certainly had a feast of our very own local Sarawak delight that day.

For one thing, one could cook so much using one packet of the paste – too much for a family of three but I gave some to my in-laws to enjoy as well. I wish they would make it available in smaller packs, half the size perhaps. My missus said that it was kind of different from the usual Sarawak laksa taste that we are more accustomed to…and I would agree. This is more like what one would get, eating Sarawak laksa at the Malay stalls, which is great too (if you go to the right stalls/shops). Originally, Sarawak laksa is quintessentially a local Chinese culinary specialty and it impressed Anthony Bourdain so much that it was given special mention in his book

Anthony Bourdain's book
*Archive photo*

…and it would be featured in the menu at his own street-food market in New York, no…not Penang asam laksa…nor the nyonya curry laksa, but our very own good ol’ Sarawak or Kuching laksa! If you have not heard or read about that, don’t just take my word for it – click the link and read all about it! Hehehehehehe!!!!

Going back to the laksa paste, these days, we have some certified halal ones like this one that I used and like the regular ones, there may be good ones and those that are not as great, which is the case with everything else including what you can get when you eat out at the stalls or shops outside, so one would need to know which brand(s) to buy and I would say this one is pretty good. Yes, I can say, with no reservations whatsoever, that I wouldn’t mind using it…if and when I would be in the mood to go through the whole process all over again.