Where did the good times go…

I’ve mentioned before this elderly lady who used to sell kuih bahulu in our neighbourhood during my childhood days…and there were others who would sell other local cakes and delicacies like the pulut panggang. They would go around shouting at the top of their voices to attract the attention of any potential buyer, “Pulut panggang! Pulut panggang!”

I can recall this little rhyme that we used to chant when we were small:
Pulut panggang kayu api
Orang bujang cari bini

That may be translated as: “Glutinous rice cooked with firewood, a bachelor’s looking for a wife.” Don’t ask me what it’s all about but if I’m not mistaken, it was recited to tease any young man at the time, who was eligible for marriage.

There would also be somebody selling putu mayam, all laid out nicely on a tray with grated coconut on top. Truth be told, all my life, I thought they were strands of mihun (rice vermicilli) and when I mentioned that to my dj-friends on radio, Pat & Mag, they had a good laugh over it. Seconds later, I received an sms from an Indian friend of mine, who was listening to the show at that point in time,…in Tamil. I guess she was scolding me and since I did not know a single word of what was in the message, as they say, what I didn’t know wouldn’t hurt me! LOL!!!

Well, just in case there are people as blur as I was, iddiyappam, or putu mayam in Malay, is a South Indian dish. To make putu mayam (also known as string hoppers in English), rice flour or idiyappam flour is mixed with water and/or coconut milk, and the dough is pressed through a sieve to make vermicelli-like noodles. These are steamed, and later served with grated coconut and sugar. In some cases, gula melaka (coconut palm sugar) is used instead

I don’t know how much they cost way back then – probably 5 sen or 10 sen piece and they were as big as the palm of my hand. These days, they are not even half the size…

Putu mayam 1

…and they’re so loose that I would have to put two of them together…

Putu mayam 2

…and put the grated coconut plus sugar on top…

Putu mayam 3

…before rolling it up and eating it.

They cost RM2.00 for 10 pieces at my regular Bandung kuih stall, 20 sen each…but since I always put two together to eat at one go, one of these would cost 40 sen…

Putu mayam 4

Pretty expensive, don’t you think? The only consolation would be the fact that they’re very nice – tasting exactly like what I used to have when I was a kid…and considering that it is virtually impossible to find any/any good one around, I should be thankful that I can still get to eat something that I used to love a long, long time ago.

Sigh! Those were the days indeed, the good old days. Now where did all the good times go?

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

25 thoughts on “Where did the good times go…”

  1. I remember those days well. The Malay boys who came on their bicycles calling out ‘pulut pangang, pulut pangang’. On the rare occasions when I actually had some spare change, I would call out to them to stop. The pangang would still be warm, wrapped in a piece of cloth, all laid out nicely in a basket. Actually I’m still enjoying the good old days, or maybe you can call them the good new days. When I’m home, I still buy my pangang, (among other delicacies). Only difference is, now I don’t have to hunt around for spare change anymore. So yeah, it’s the good new days for me. LOL

    Guess I’m the first commenter today. It’s 4.50 pm over here.

    Ya, you’re first. My posts are scheduled to appear daily around this time. These days, it is hard to find good pulut panggang – the ones that are really lemak and fragrant…and with mere spare change, you would not be able to get yourself any. The really good and big ones that I know cost 70sen each. There are some selling for 50-60sen but they are not really worth the calories… 😦

    1. I agree the 70sen ones are the best. I bought those 3 for RM1 at the pasar malam once. Went home and thought I would pull out the little stick at the end of the leaf before I ate it. Turned out to be a rusty nail! Needless to say, I didn’t have any pulut that day. BTW, found the pulut pangang at the Penang Cafe in Kanowit surprisingly good, very lemak.

      Oh? Either the old folks are still around or in small towns, they actually teach the young ones the skill…so that’s why the panggang there is as nice as before. Eventually here, there wouldn’t be anybody making really authentic nice ones anymore…. Really sad!

  2. Must be one of yr fav. sweets, u mentioned this a few times before. Haha,last time i tot the guy was calling out ‘ulut panggang’ n i never knew the right pronounciation for putu mayam till yr blog. always tot it is kutu miang.Lol! must be the foochow in me.

    Good grief! Ah well…as long as it isn’t “miang keladi…makin tua makin jadi”! Memang “ulut” you…..LOL!!! 😀

  3. never had this before. so its sweet?

    The mihun-look alike thingy has a fresh, slightly fermented taste…but not sweet. Normally, they will give the grated coconut and you sprinkle sugar/brown sugar on top…and eat. It’s the sugar that makes it sweet. But these, I think they’ve already blended the syrup with the grated coconut, so there is no need to add any more sugar.

  4. * cupping hands furiously over mouth struggling not to laugh out loud at stella’s ‘kutu miang’ but the attempt is growing tougher by the second and am pulling willpower from all directions not to wake the sleeping husband and babies up *

    *bursting at the seams*

    Goodness! 8.13 already and your hubby is still sleeping? Gee! Some people have all the luck in the world… LOL!!! 😀 Ya…I’m sure since you came to Sibu, you had had your share of laughing at the ways the Chinese/Foochows here call certain things – like buah kedundong or midin.

  5. Ehh we have putu mayam in Kampar too!used to love it for bfast when my grandma bought it from the market. I think it’s sold at rm1 per packet of maybe 4 or 5 pcs now. I prefer to have it with brown sugar!

    These are RM2.00 for 10…but each piece would hardly qualify as one – so loose and so small. Tsk! Tsk!!! Yup…I’ve eaten with brown sugar elsewhere – very nice…but not here, not even when I was small.

  6. Humans face osteoporosis so money is not spared its called ~ “ringgiteoporosis”. Either the putu mayam shrank in size or our ringgit losteoporosis its sen$e of sen or both at the same time. Inflasi haha..Why Sibu’s putu mayam is so ‘fat’ one or was it due to close up view that made ’em looked fat? Over here they are ‘thin’ like mihun~;). tQ

    Must be the photos then – they’re the same size as mihun. I wonder how much they sell those over at your side….

  7. You’re right.Mom’s Sibu Foochow but I’ve never heard very ‘funny’ things from her like what I get from the Siburians. Kedongdong sounds kinda obscene ( ding-dong…..hahahhahahaha ) and worm in Foochow sounds so funny and cute = turnturn hahaahahhahaha. anak bongsu or lil boy – ah nong ! cute ! *starts calling baby son ah nong ah nong come drink milk ah nong*

    Your mum’s mixed…like me or my mum, not pure Foochow. Hah! I don’t even know what’s worm in Foochow! Bet you’ve heard the students asking if they could “khang nging” (come in…and in Foochow, khang nging means to see)…and they want to tell you “san ting” (their surname is “Ting” – actually, they want to tell you something). Quite a task trying to correct them…;(

    1. Students do take the liberty to assume you’re Foochow and go, Sinang ( teacher ) then *rattle in Foochow*. I can understand but if I open my mouth to speak, half of Sibu would probably die laughing so, I’m keeping my mouth shut !

      Yes, it’s like a tug war game trying to get the accent out of the way when you try to get them to speak proper English haha

      Not me. I will not speak to them in any other language but English and liked it or not, they had to speak to me in English…and from the start, I would insist that they called me “sir” (not teacher, cikgu or sing nang, that last one sounds almost like lizard in Hokkien). It seemed that they jumped to the conclusion that I could not speak any other language – a banana, true and true – yellow on the outside and white on the inside.

  8. I thought it’s bihun also . LOL Not only you. Here i think it’s taken with gula melaka or brown sugar with coconut.

    My hubi love pulut panggang but very expensive now adays. RM1.20 a piece 😦 and not much “liu” inside of it

    LOL!!! And I thought I was the only one so very blur! Here, we prefer the plain pulut panggang, without the sambal inside – but it must be lemak…and it must be fragrant. Many try…and many fail – their pulut panggang is a disgrace. Some people like to eat it like that – plain…but I will eat it with kaya or condensed milk…or if nothing else, sugar.

  9. oh i love this stuff…but back to a few years ago we would order a lot of this from somebody for open house…they’re great with curries and any left over you just mush them tog and fry just like you do beehoon……yea come to think of it, i kind of miss this …dont know where i can buy this ..

    I ate some with curry yesterday… Didn’t really work for me. It has to go with the grated coconut and sugar, that’s the best!

  10. hmm..yummy..just like puttumayam here.

    Yup, of course they’re the same – but some may be greenish due to added pandan and they add brown sugar or gula melaka. All nice!

  11. Everything seems to taste nicer in the good old days! LOL!

    These are o.k. tastewise…but small and the strands are few and far between, plus they’re not cheap either. 😦

  12. Putu mayam!!! Ohhh… I love putu mayam and putu piring… I remember my late grandma used to buy them for us kids when we’re still small from an Indian man on his bicycle… but these days… can’t get nice ones liao… and it costs a bomb too. 😦

    So it’s the same over there lah? I’m only thankful that I can still buy them and enjoy…even though they are expensive. The young ones are not interested to learn to make and are more interested in burgers, pizzas and such…very soon, all these things will be gone. 😦

    1. Yes, it’s the same over here… but den, very hard to get good ones. I like putu piring and putu buluh more than putu mayam…

      Hey… I’m pretty young, and I know how to make putu piring… but den again… I can’t make it without the utensils. 😦 They’re all in my parent’s place in SP… my late grandmother passed it down to my mother. I was told that the utensils from it were given to her by an Indian friend in the kampung.

      Yes… the young people these days are more interested in those junks… me included, but I do appreciate traditional goodies too. Kekekeke… it’s just too bad that I din manage to learn how to make most of them when my grandmother was still alive. 😦

      You do? But I guess like most young people today, you lack the passion… Would prefer to just go out and buy than to make you own nicer and better (and cheaper) ones. So many other more exciting things to do. Young people today are not as “domesticated” as those in the past – I think that’s the main problem…

  13. “Where are the good times?” I can also relate to that feeling of yours. I am missing so many good food when I was still a kid and many of them are gone now.

    Seems you are lucky to still have that good tasting food that you have here. ^_^

    Seems like I want to taste this.

    Real sad, isn’t it? The old folks worked hard, making all these nice stuff to put their kids through school and university…and eventually, all their skills would be gone as they would die with them once they’re gone. The young ones are all high-class professionals, not in the least interested in making such things…

  14. over here we have something like this but with coconut and brown sugar.. what it is called, suddenly i cannot remember.. RM1 for 4… when i can recall the name, i tell u.. really cannot deny i m getting on with age…

    You ARE getting old! The name’s in the post and almost everybody else has mentioned it…including kutu miang! LOL!!!

    1. Hahahaha… cham… dun worry, Claire… I’m younger than you, but I am pretty forgetful too. 😀

      Birds of the same feather… And she was looking for the name that I had mentioned in the post and was mentioned by almost everybody else. Good grief! Must have had a busy weekend, children all home, didn’t go online so much…and now, had to go to so many blogs to leave comments.

  15. *self pity* why i never eat that stuff? it is good?
    ah nvm, not really fond of sweet thing. *comforting myself* lol

    Ok…good for you, no danger of getting diabetes! But I thought you love cakes, Secret Recipe and all…??? 😉

    1. o i particularly didnt like putu mayam sweet thing. hahaha. comforting need some lying oso ma sumtime:P

      Well, as they say, one man’s meat is another man’s poison… To each his own! 😉

  16. but the putu mayam in your pic is quite thick yeah? the ones we had here are very thin. I missed that. I love it when it’s served with the gula melaka and sugar. hehe

    Dunno. Have always been like that here… Never really noticed those over at your side, whether they’re thinner or not. As a matter of fact, I can’t remember eating these over there….

  17. UH-OH! never eat this one or any putu yet. @.@

    Kesian… Many things, you haven’t tried… I guess it’s because you’re on a controlled diet, for health reasons… 😦

  18. o yes, sometimes we somehow miss our old days. I am 50 yrs. Just yesterday I talked to a fren I met when I first joined service in Nov 1982 and is going to retire soon. Wah, both of us love our old days – full of fun, happiness. We worked harmoniously together, willing to accept responsibilities. Rajin, rajin. The new generations now are different. They are graduates, but oh God.. their English, primary 6 kids’ English is better. Their BM just okay. When given assignments, they complain not their duties, etc, etc. They want money, bonus, anjakan, sick leave, gossipings..

    That’s why I always say there is nothing wrong with our education system proper…just the teachers – the selection, the training…and the mental attitude. I am not a graduate, just a college certificate – but all that I achieved over the years was through hard work and experience…and a willingness to do! So sad to see teachers these days – looking at them, I would think that home school may not be such a bad idea actually…..😦

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own. For food and other reviews, you may email me at sibutuapui@yahoo.com

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