Among the Chinese/Foochow community here, when a woman has given birth, she is confined to her room/her house to recuperate and revitalise for 30 days during which she will be fed with all kinds of nutritious foods and tonics to ensure her well-being.
During this time, all the friends and relatives may drop by to visit and to see the new born and traditionally, they will bring along a live chicken and a tray of eggs…or a box of Brands’ essence of chicken or even a bottle of Wincarnis or D.O.M. Benedictine. In Foochow, this is called “seng ngang” and during the visit, they will be invited to eat mee sua (longevity thread noodles) in chicken soup cooked with lots of ginger and traditional Foochow red wine.
As they leave, they would be given a few hardboiled eggs which, in the past, would be coloured red if the baby was a boy. These days, with all the warnings about the dangers of artificial colouring, they do not do that anymore. In fact, they do not even cook the eggs – so you do not have to eat eggs that have been boiled the day before or something like that and can cook them yourself and eat them fresh in any way you want.
Now, if you can remember, I mentioned in a post sometime ago that a friend of mine was learning how to cook kacang ma chicken in preparation for his wife’s confinement. Being originally from Kuching, the wife would want to eat that sometimes for a change. Well, she has delivered on the 20th of October – a girl, so now they have two daughters and the son, as you can see, is quite delighted that he is still THE prince…
Last weekend, they invited me and my missus to their house for this seng ngang customary practice…and of course, there was the kacang ma chicken…
…and I must say my friend has indeed mastered the skill of cooking very well – it was absolutely perfect! Very very nice indeed!
And I also loved the black vinegar pork leg that the confinement lady cooked…
As if all that was not enough, there was also this fried chicken marinated with tau-ju (fermented bean curd)…
…this Sibu Foochow-style sio bee…
…and this dish of mixed vegetables…
Oops!!! In my enthusiasm and enjoyment of the delicious array of food, I forgot to take any photograph of the traditional mee sua and hardboiled eggs. LOL!!! Well, if anyone wants to see those, they can click here or here or here to have a look.
Congratulations to my friend and his missus on their new arrival. They have given their three children names beginning with A, B and C in that particular order and I wonder if they are actually planning to make up all the 26 letters of the alphabet! Good grief! Hahahahahaha!!!
44 thoughts on “When a child is born…”
oh yums yums yums !! Traditional food ! I remember mum used to make all these confinement dishes just for fun. No complaints because they taste so so so good !! Hmm, now I’m hungry. If only the parents will wake up quick so I can puppy-eye them into taking me out for Ang Chow ( Chinese Glutinous Rice Wine ) Mee Suah for breakfast … slurp slurps !
Hi, Jo…welcome back. Haven’t seen you around for a while… Anyway, congrats once again. Yup, these confinement dishes – we cook them for enjoyment and self-indulgence quite regularly…even though I may look as if I’m a number of years overdue. LOL!!! 😀 I’ve seen the VERY red ang chao mee sua from your area or the kawasan2 yang sewaktu dengannya…and I really would love to try. I wonder if it’s anything like our Foochow mee sua or not…
Yeap, haven’t been commenting for some time but I’ve been reading though 🙂 Seeing that I’m subscribed and all to your blog. Hehe. You MUST try the super red ang chow the next time you every come to Perak / Ipoh. Especially the ones from Setiawan. It’s just heavenly !
Sitiawan – Sibu’s twin town…all the Foochows there. Would love to give it a try. 🙂
Kacang Ma…must bring next year a packet! Of course will buy the pandan paste so that I can make kek seri muka…I’m craving both that things. Planning to make kerisik udang for this coming winter.
No pandan where you are? I hear they can get those screwpine leaves at the supermarkets in Oz and NZ – my friend in Adelaide makes lovely serimuka, extra lemak…but I’ve yet to try. Only seen the photos. Sobs!!! 😦 Kerisik udang? I guess that’s what we call (fried) sambal udang like what I have here: https://suituapui.wordpress.com/2009/03/29/follow-me/ Ooooo…no need for anything else – just eat with rice. Yum! Yum! 😉
26……pengsan…..Horrified. Hope not.
Oops! Edited liao, thanks… 😉 My, my…what you are doing – up so early? The book sale’s today? I bought the terung Dayak already – not really in season, so don’t look so nice.
Ya…I wonder if there’s anyone with that many children? Some perhaps…but from more than one wife. LOL!!! 😀
ya lo Book sales lo.Makan buku
Thanks for the terung 😀
Welcome… Actually, two – can cook a big pot already. Can bring back to KT and cook for your in-laws to eat… 😉
Cham… terung oso terbang!
This terung round ones…not the long one. Muahahahahaha!!! 😀
Confinement ah? The old ppl will drop dead if they knew what I makan-ed for confinement. =.= Orange juice on the first few hours after giving birth, McD Big Mac and porridge on first day, KFC and Pizza on third… den loads of pasta on first wik… (my logic: as long as I makan, I’ll have the energy that I need to recuperate)and I was practically running about on the fourth day doing groceries and the brat’s laundry… tarak main la confine confine, nobody jaga me except for my husband oso. LOL… I din drink DOM and whatnot… cuz at that time… u kno la… nobody knew I gave birth oso… but I drank red wine instead. My hubby bought me chicken essence… threw it back to his face and told him to buy me KFC instead. *pengsan* Thinking back…it was an amazing confinement. I din have maternity leave… gave birth on semester break… and took final exam 1 mth later. LOL… God is great. I passed with flying colours even with all the stress of being a new mum. LOL! Now, who the hell says it’s not possible? God made it possible for me to be a student and a mum at the same time! And I was best student too! LOLOL!
Good for you. Many young mothers today also do not give two hoots about all these…but the older ones keep insisting that they will suffer when they grow old – pain here, there and everywhere…and they would not be as durable and strong as the women in the old days. Dunno if it was due to the confinement or whether women in the past were more sturdy and strong – anything a man could do, they could do…and perhaps even better – like chopping trees, carrying heavy stuff and all that. Women in the past memang ol-lo-fort (old Ford), women today – pho-thong sa-kua (ordinary fool/Proton Saga). LOL!!! 😀
Hahaha…I had to be tough. was practically all alone with my hubby. Not pampered by those confinement aunties… and everything was trial and terror… my hubby very cool oso… can bathe the boy when he’s just a little thing… the boy was so tiny… like a small cat, in fact! So very small! I din dare to bathe the boy til he’s 5 days old. When he’s 5 days old oni I dare to try and bathe the boy. Sked man! I guess… it’s mind over matters… if you believe you can do everything… den u can, God willing. 😀 I’m very blessed… my health improve a lot after giving birth… din get sick so often like before. LOL… I guess God is really fair, and been looking after me and my family. LOL!
Good, good…must always count our blessings!
Yes, yes… count our blessings. 😀 You taught me that. 😀
Good girl…pat…pat on the head! LOL!!! 😀
LOL!!! You like that, eh? 😉
I have a friend who named his children with names beginning with A. C, E and S. Not sure if the last “S” is an accident! But how excellent!
Then I have another friend who named her children with names beginning with J. But she regretted that later because when the children went to UK for education, all the children are J Ho – who is who?
LOL! Aces go places! Ya, they use initials overseas – like in my daughter’s bank account. Gosh…J Ho…later becomes Jai Ho, the theme song from that Oscar award winning movie – Slumdog Millionaire… 😀
Oh! Slumdog Millionaire. I’m reading that one right now. Borrowed it from the mamakucing! Aiya… must finish it tonight and return her tomorrow!
Didn’t see the movie? Neither did I…nor read the book! LOL!!! 😀
Movies ah? I’m not quite into movies… half way… I will zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz… dono why…
Me…haven’t watched a movie for a long, long time liao – can’t stand sitting for so long. 🙂
Congratulation to your your friend and his spouse for their new arrival! Wow… I missed all the confinement food already, it’s simply delicious!!!
Have a nice day!
Thanks. So? Any more on the way? 😉
Neah, I’m a not a really tough lady… currently my energy, time and mental already drained by the 2 horrifying rascals! Needless to mention the money matters, having children are ‘not cheap’!;p
This is just the beginning… Have to really scrimp and save for their future – further education by then will cost a bomb, I’m sure…even if it’s locally. Overseas, now already quite unaffordable – some courses…one semester, one house.
wow, all look so yummy!
Yup…all so nice – and that was for lunch. I ate so much that I was full even by dinner time, had to skip.
I love the pregnancy and the confinement stage.. maybe i can wallop like mad during the time of pregnancy and during the confinement, the food is simply marvellous! only fear is the birth! that is what i called PAIN…
Kesian! But it was all worth it. I’m sure looking at your lovely loving children now you would not mind if you had to go through it all over again.
That is one life experience we men luckily don’t have to go through. My mother always says, “There’s nothing more painful than childbirth except perhaps carrying a sedan chair up a mountain (with maybe a STP inside).” All that postbirth feasting is a reward for putting up with the pain.
Hah!!! If I were in the sedan, there would be no way anybody could carry it up the mountain. Muahahahahaha!!!! I think it is more for health reasons, recuperating from the ordeal. The ethnic women, I saw once…would tie a piece of cloth around the body to keep the legs closed…and move around like a mermaid…
Interesting. Where did you see these ethnic women? The missus know about this? Will be out of commission for a few days. Looking forward to culinary reports from KL. If you’re in the megamall area, try the Penang Cafe. Have a great trip!
My next-door neighbour years ago at my old house – either an Iban or Bidayuh. I saw her all wrapped up like a mummy, so I asked my mother why and she said the women of those races would do that after childbirth…all tied up for one month, just fancy that. I’ve heard of the cafe at Mid Valley – don’t think I’m going that way. My missus dined there before – seems popular among the doctors…
Post-natal feasting? Is that what they call? No wonder ppl put on weight after give birth… it must be becoz of being pampered and all the makan makan, plus not having to move so much!!! Ohhhh! Now I know!
In a way…, I guess but many pre-natal already fat as they believe in eating for two! 😉
@Claire Chamzz… Claire kena C-sec. But it’s okay la… ur anak all guai guai and pandai pandai. Giving birth was a breeze to me. Not that much pain. Only 45mins in labour that it shocked me the boy came to the world so fast. My only complain is that the stitches are much more pain than the freaking contractions. #!@#!@#!#! bloody sakai punya doctor, tarak kasi me painkillers while stitching me up! Babi hutan…. how come stitches more pain than the actual birth? !@#!#@!!# That’s just plain stupid. It is a good thing I went on my PMS monster mode in the labour room. Memang worth maki hamun the doctor for that!
I think nobody would dare accompany me in the labour room too after this. LOL… I could still remember how impatient and how pissed off I got when people reminded me to breathe. I believe my exact words were ” Shuddup and dun u f***ing dare tell me how to breath… I’ve been breathing since my lungs expanded!” *PENGSAN*
Thought you gave birth in the UK? People say hospitals overseas are the best not like our hospitals here – understaffed, all the nurses so fierce…can cubit your backside one if you make too much noise. LOL!!! 😀
aww fried chicken with tao-cheo… That’s one of the last home cooked dish I had in Malaysia 😦
Eh? Missing home, are you? There! Long holiday – don’t wanna come home… Going travelling – and the heat is mounting. Everyone’s grumbling that it’s so hot even down south in Dunedin…and everyone’s romping around the house naked! And Oz…the flies, the bushfires… Eyewwwwww!!!!!!
Congrats to your friend!! I think women in confinement are really lucky! They get to eat good food without feeling guilty, AND they get to sleep as much as they want without doing any housework! BLISS!! HAHA
Thanks. So!!! When are you going to have your turn? Wink! Wink! LOL!!! 😀
what i miss most confinement food is the chicken wine and vinegar pork! Altho, this we still can cook it on normal day.
Lucky, today my house also got one big pot vinegar pork! Can’t wait to go home tonight and savour it. hahahhahahhah
You know i got my confinement lady from Sibu? My confinement food everyday was just foochow red wine chicken soup and mee suah but this is also i requested la, eat a lot also make me boring. The confinement lady not “creative” enough. My mil cook vinegar pork and some different dish for me at least make a change.
Congrats to your friend.
Thanks. My friend got their confinement lady from Bintulu – all the good ones in Sibu fully booked till well into next year. Hakka…so that’s why she can cook black vinegar pork leg – her specialty! The Foochow mee sua – ok, not bad…but I think I can do better. LOL!!! 😉 Ooooo…so nice, one pot waiting at home! *envy*
may i know who your friends confinement lady in bintulu was? currently looking for one here in bintulu… edd is 5/6/2010. Thanks
I can find out from my friend, if you want…but I must tell you that she is really no good. Heard all the horror stories about her and what she did – my friend did not have a choice as all the good ones were fully booked. I would suggest that you choose somebody else instead.
Hi, Annie, may i have the Contact Number for the confinement lady from Bintulu?
I wonder if she’ll see this at all – such a very old post.
Everytime when we go back to Bintulu. My MIL sure will cook the misua and the sio bee that you mentioned. I thought that Foochow don’t eat the black vinegar pork leg?
Yup…my friends from Kuching – they’re not Foochow but they’ve picked up a bit of the Foochow traditional practices like this “seng ngang” thingy – they said they never did that in Kuching.
Is something wrong with me?…I hate confinement food.My late mom say like suruh me to eat poison.Being a Nyonya, so many pantang-larang.Cannot drink plain water..and I was thirsty all the time,must drink longan drink and that also can drink sikit-sikit only…can die,man.I think the whole confiment period,I managed to eat half a chicken only,no pork and the fish I ignore.I eat mainly plain rice with gravy only.So hot and sweating like pig and yet kena force to eat lots of ginger.Dah la tu,cannot kena angin,even the head have to be covered,Not only that,even sit also cannot terkangkang(18xs blog,right?).Luckily,only went through it once…Men have it easy!!!!
Count your blessings! Last time, they had to stay all cooped up in the room, windows all closed – could not take a bath…so you can imagine the stench…and thank goodness they did not tie you up like an Egyptian mummy. Yup…all the taboos – nothing cold but in all sincerity, they did believe that it was all for your own good. These days, nobody bothers so much – just a week, already gone out shopping. Dunno how true but they believe the ailments will come when old…
Just read Sheereen’s experience…. oh, thank God, Hallelujah! I got to do as I pleased during MY confinement… kakakaka… I summore dun care the angin and whatnot. After give birth, body feel very heaty leh… so I walked around in shorts and spaghetti straps so that I wun be overheated and gets nasty fever. Ppl say after give birth kenot bathe… =.= I beh tahan… first day oredi went and mandi, summore made my husband shampoo my hair… my logic: I have to be clean so that I can jaga the boy. =.= If tarak mandi, how to breastfeed? Ish… hear so many horror confinement story, now I really thank God lerr I din have to go thru all those. They say illness will come if never take care during the confinement… maybe true la… I dunno… but my specialist told me that after I gave birth, my hormones all balanced up… and made me a tougher chicken! LOL!
You’re still young…and I don’t know how true those old wives’ tales are regarding all sorts of ailments, come old age. Ah well…in some places, the women would be up and about on their feet, working…in a couple of days like in China or Africa…unlike many women here. So frail, so lethargic…and could not even hold their own babies. It’s the policy in the hospitals for babies to be with the mums but no way! They’re all like half-dead…and when the nurses insist, they will go round saying that the nurses are very bad!
OMG!!.. if they are gonna make up 26… geeeeeezzzzz… :S
LOL!!! I don’t think so… Looks like this one will be the last one – stop at three! 😉
Wahaha! You enjoyed eating so much mee sua that you forgot the picture. ^_^
Too bad, we can’t see them. 😛
LOL!!! You can always click the links to see…if you want. I’ve posted on mee sua so many times…I would think everybody’s tired of looking at it already. 😀
LOL…I have eaten so many mee sua and I’ve seen lot of mee sua. ^_^
Oh…wait. It has been a long time since I last eaten mee sua.
Oh dear, you don’t cook your own? Very easy to do, very simple… 😉
I know where is William Bryan Dr…it’s about 4km away or 7 minutes drive from my place.It’s actually in Half Moon Bay/Farm Cove (I love both that name).
Ok…so if you bump into an Asian guy there, that’s probably my brother. 😉
Hi, thanks for dropping by while I was away. Yes, I went back to Sibu…for my dad’s eye operation. So sorry I didn’t manage to meet up with you. Thought about you before I went back, hopefully to be able to meet up with you and your family but then I was asked to babysit my parents. There was no internet there and I forgot how to drive around Sibu anymore 😦 Will be going back again next year. Will surely let you know early to meet up with you for yummy food and chat….promise!
Love all the food here….yum…especially the kacang ma. You are just soooo lucky to get invited for great food all the time! Take me along next time, ok? 😛
Hey, new blog layout….looks neat and nice.
Thanks. Aha! So you were back in Sibu. Hope your dad’s operation went well. My MIL had one a few months ago – took quite a while to recover but thankfully, she’s ok now. Oh dear! Perhaps if you had asked around the nurses in the hospital about this retired English teacher, they might know – my missus is a nurse too. Well, do let me know next time when you’re coming back – we’ll meet up then for some nice Sibu chow…and I can get my missus to cook kacang ma and whatever you want for you! No problem at all… 😉
Babi CUKA! I dun mind giving birth to the whole set of ABC’s in order to savour THAT! hahahahhaha.. my favourite wei!
Oh? When? When? But you already have an E, so now you will have to get to work on A, B, C and D… Muahahahahaha!!!! 😀
haha unlike in Europe, my colleague in amsterdam is on maternity leave from this dec to may 2011! I was like… (jealous)
6 months! They’re talking about 90 days here which I do not think is a good idea especially if you’re a teacher and some temporary teacher will be messing up everything in your absence…or if you are holding some very important position in a firm – they can’t do without you for that long, I’m sure!
I guess they are in favour of long maternity leaves these days to encourage breast feeding and mother-child bonding…but how many modern-day mums will stick around for that? Bet they will take off some place the moment they can get out of the house!
Ohhhh…your Sibu Foochow-style sio bee…looks ho liao…boo hoo…getting hungry & its about bedtime now so how???
11 only? Thought you’re in KL…the city that never sleeps. Can eat anything you want at anytime of day? 😉
foochow people got vinegar pork leg ar?poor me, i think i never eat that. my mum cooking never add vinegar, my house’s kitchen dun even hv vinegar. =_+
Not Foochow… Hakka! Our Foochow too kha – we add 5-spice powder, no vinegar…but you’ve taken black vinegar before lah…at the restaurants with sharks’ fins soup…
WEIIII!! dats one of my fav Black Vinegar Pork Legs!! sobs!
Mine too! And I also like the soy sauce plus five-spice powder style…
Laughing at your last line ! That’s a very creative idea to name a child. I had a friend who named her 3 princesses starting with the letter “V”. She called them “My 3 V”
LOL!!! 3 girls kah? Not trying for a girl? 😉
When I was in my confinement period after giving birth, I didn’t know how to enjoy all the delicious confinement food. I had a confinement lady who cooked up pretty good dishes but I was just not interested in food! She and my mom kept nagging me to eat, eat, drink, drink a LOT. But I just ate for the sake of not being hungry. Some of my friends said I was being silly for not “utilising” the confinement lady’s skills by requesting all sorts of nutritious food and tonic! Now, I really miss some of the dishes. I’ve since learn to cook the black vineger pig trotter and yellow rice wine chicken but the problem with the latter is difficulty in getting good yellow rice wine. Unless it is homemade and recommended by someone, the ones sold at the shops here are not so good. Btw, foochow people use red wine, rite? And I’ve never heard or eaten kacang ma chicken before (so ulu, ah)…
Yup…Foochows use red wine – and hard to get good, fragrant and not-sour ones too. I dunno how to cook black vinegar pork leg – must try one of these days…
Could you recommend a good confinement lady or a housekeeper please?
Sibu? Not that I know of but I’ve heard they’re booked months ahead…and they’re expensive…and they’re not good – bossy, insisting on doing things their own way!