Marry me…

In the past, when somebody wanted to get married, he would have to send a representative – usually someone older, an uncle or an aunt, to visit the prospective in-laws and discuss the dowry and all the related matters.

Among other things, the parents of the bride-to-be would request for the number of packets of the engagement sweets or khong t’ng that they wanted. Each packet comprised a peanut cake (made from crushed peanuts) and a piece of whole peanuts in caramel – both wrapped in red (kite) paper and there would a card inside to officially announce the engagement of the couple.

Apart from that, they would request for the number of pikuls (or t’nar, these being the standard forms of measurement of the day) of lay peang that they would like to have…

Foochow lay peang 1

The lay peang would come in varying sizes – the largest as big as a plate and the smallest, probably the diameter of a mug. The pieces would be laid out one on top of the other from the biggest up to the smallest in the shape of a conical pyramid. Unlike the engagement sweets which would be distributed to any friend or acquaintance, these pieces of lay peang would be reserved exclusively for the most respected in the family. However, do not be too thrilled or happy if you are accorded the highest honour and given the biggest piece because that would mean that for the wedding, you would have to present the bride with the biggest gold chain, thankfully not necessarily equivalent to the weight of the lay peang in gold. LOL!!!

Today, these traditional practices have more or less died out, I think and more often than not, a couple would just announce on Facebook that they are engaged and their parents do not even know! Sigh!!!

Nevertheless, these lay peang are still available in some shops around Sibu and people would buy them to  eat for pleasure more than anything else. My cousin, Stella, in Melbourne, loves them and everytime, she comes back to this part of the world, I would buy here a few pieces to satiate her craving.

I used to go to Tiang Chuon (GPS: 2.288201,111.827924), an old school shop along Market Road…next to Hua Ing General Store to buy. I don’t know if those were any good because I never bothered to try them myself as I was not really a fan of the sweet and sticky stuff. The other day, however, I bought these at a shop near the Civic Centre (Dewan Suarah) here, GPS: 2.310858,111.831443, a couple of doors away from Grace Cafe, at RM1.70 a piece…

Foochow lay peang 2

…and when I tried a bit, to my delight, I found that they were actually very nice and not too sweet either…and no prize for guessing who ate them all up in the end. LOL!!! Now I know where to get them should Stella happen to come by this way again.

I also bought these chu nu miang, the sweeter and softer cousin of the Sibu kompia, from there (4 for RM1.00)…

Plain chu nu miang

…and these with sesame seeds (3 for RM1.00) as well from the same place…

Sesame chu nu miang

…but personally, I think there are nicer ones elsewhere.

Should I be going back there again, it would just be for the lay peang, that’s for sure. Anybody wants some?