ROTFLMAO!!! Now, now…don’t you start imagining that this is going to be an X-rated post because it is NOT going to be anything of the sort! It is just that I’m on a self-imposed home quarantine, so I am staying behind closed doors.
I came down with serious fever and violent coughing on Friday night and by the following day, the coughing had subsided a bit, it seemed…but I felt flushed with fever all day long. I had my missus to do some back-scapping on Saturday night and by Sunday, the fever was gone. However, the coughing came back and was pretty bad…and thankfully, I was feeling much better by Monday – yesterday except that I was nauseous and did not have any appetite to eat.
Then I had a call from Jo’s husband. Jo’s a Kuching teacher whom I met when she came to Sibu with Sophia the other day. She had sent me some things, so I had to put my quarantine on hold for a while to go out and collect the stuff from the husband. Well, she sent me this box…
…of the Kai Joo Lane char sio pao (barbecued meat bun) that I love so much…
Thanks a lot, Jo! You shouldn’t have gone through all the trouble.
Well, Kai Joo Lane is in Kuching, one of the side lanes branching from India Street – the one leading to somewhere around the Central Police Station. It is also known as “kua char hang” or “coffin lane” because in the past, the whole lane was lined with coffinmakers’ shops – producing the traditional Chinese ones with the top ends tilted upwards. I think there may be a couple that’s still around these days but I’m not really sure as it has been years since I last set foot round those parts since they closed India Street to traffic and the place is often jammed and parking can be a pain, plus driving down that narrow now-deadend lane right up to the shop is usually out of the question.
I can’t recall when this little shop started making the char sio pao but I can positively remember that way back in the 70s, I was already eating and enjoying them – at 50 sen each, if I’m not mistaken. It is definitely nothing like the very much overrated Seremban sio pao which burst into the scene sometime in the 80s. I remember there was a stall at Bukit Bintang and the smell drifted far and wide in the vicinity. Expecting something like the Kai Joo Lane char sio pao, I joined the mile-long queue to get some to sample. It was such a disappointment! The pastry was not too bad but just not as good…and the filling was nothing like it.
This Seremban sio pao (baked bun) was such a hit then that they opened up stalls everywhere. Here in Sibu, it was at the coffee shop next to the General Post Office and each day, you could see the crowd there…but gradually, it dwindled and eventually, the stall closed down. I haven’t seen or heard of the Seremban sio pao since, not that it mattered to me at all!
The filling inside the Kai Joo Lane char sio pao is something like what we normally have in our chicken pies…except that they have slices of char sio instead of the chicken…
The moment I got home, I heated up two in the oven and finished both of them in one sitting! What? Who?…Me nauseous, no appetite? Did I say that? Whatever gave you the idea…Hahahahahaha!!!!