Well, that’s what I personally feel! When it’s frying in the kitchen and the fragrance fills the whole house, you can hear your tummy rumbling…and you just can’t wait to sit down and eat. Nope, I’m not talking about belacan (dried fermented prawn paste) here but instead, I’m talking about what we call long kiam hu…
In Hokkien kiam means salty and hu is fish, so kiam hu is salted fish. I do not know what long means but the whole thing together, long kiam hu, refers to a special type of salted fish that is not dry and hard.
I was told once that the fishermen would clean the fish at sea the moment it is caught and stuff salt inside it unlike the normal process where they just salt it on the outside. I don’t know how true that is but the end product is definitely different from the usual. It is softer and moist…
…and goes absolutely well with porridge. You can top it with thinly-sliced chilies and a squeeze of lime to enhance the taste even further.
We use it for cooking too. Sometimes, we mix slices of it (instead of cincaluk or fermented shrimps) and ginger with pork belly, add a little msg and steam. We can also place slices of it on top of soft white tofu and steam to get another very delightful dish. Sprinkle some chopped spring onions (and chili) and serve.
I got this one from my cousin who was in town – she got it from Sarikei and she said it was ngor hu, whatever that is but that is supposed to be very good quality fish. We can also get the bay ka or tenggiri (mackerel) ones from the market but they must be fresh or quite new…or else the on-going fermenting process may end up doing more harm than good – the long kiam hu would become somewhat mushy and not so palatable.
Of course, this is not very healthy especially for those with hypertension or high blood pressure…but then, one usually does not eat very much of it since it is too salty and has to go with rice or porridge but then again, I’ve heard people saying that, normally, they would eat one plate of rice but if there’s long kiam hu, they will definitely have seconds. I guess that is where the danger lies. LOL!!!