What’s in your head…

So what’s in your head and mine? A brain, hopefully…and I do know that in Malay, it is called an otak. However, I do not know why they call this fish delicacy otak-otak. Is it because of its resemblance to that particular part of the human anatomy?

I cannot remember the first time I ate it but I do recall that there was a bakery at the corner of the block of shops at Peranakan Place along Orchard Road in Singapore that sold buns wrapped in those leaves and stuffed with otak-otak. Oooo…they were so delicious but on a more recent trip, the bakery was no longer there. Since then, I had otak-otak bought from a stall in the vicinity of Pearl Point (Jalan Kelang Lama) and those from the Ramadhan stalls in town but they were really the pits. I love the very nice modified version of it at this cafe in Sibu

Payung otak-otak
*recycled pic*

…and also the Penang Peranakan version of it that I had here, here and here

New World otak-otak
*recycled pic*

…but these were different – not exactly otak-otak like I’ve always known it to be.

They say the ones from Muar are the best in the country but I’ve never been there – the closest would be that time when I went to the restaurant with the same name in KL, reputed to serve the best otak-otak in town. It was nice but I would want my otak-otak wrapped in leaves with evidence of it having been panggang-ed and not served in one big piece on a plate…and it certainly did not make me go, “Wow!!” No, it didn’t.

Anyway, my missus went and bought these from the frozen section in one of the supermarkets in town…

Frozen otak-otak 1

…and she had them baked/heated up in the oven…

Frozen otak-otak 2

I opened one and tried…

Frozen otak-otak 3

…and to my delight, it was really very nice!

My only complaint is that the size of the leaf-wrapped packet is so very misleading as the otak-otak inside is extremely small – maybe around 2 inches in length only…which makes me wonder why they cannot make it bigger and have fewer packets in a pack instead.

Anyway, I am quite wary about eating factory-made  frozen stuff so even though it is very much to my satisfaction, I don’t think I will be eating that very often… Sigh!!!

Author: suituapui

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

26 thoughts on “What’s in your head…”

  1. I personally like the baked ones. Don’t really fancy the steamed ones coz they’re kinda soft and resembles the brain a lot and that kinda freaks me out.

    Yup! I know many people who would not touch the wet ones…but the die-hard Penang people would come up in arms against your opinion. LOL!!! 😀

  2. Otak otak is my all time fav dish, mom used to cook it the best, too bad,she does not want to dish it out anymore, but the funny part is, i have never come across any otak otak which is hot and spicy one

    just last friday, went dinner with family, ordered one thai styled otak otak, still no hot and spicy, how come leh?

    How come you did not learn how to make from your mother leh? Tahu makan only! Want hot and spicy, have to make your own lor…tambah cili padi, sure hot one. LOL!!! 😉 So far I have noteaten any that’s hot and spicy either…just very fragrant with all the herbal leaves and spices.

  3. you’re right, frozen food type must not eat too often. Between the otak otaks i can find in KL (drier type) and the Penang Peranakan (wet type) I still prefer the wet type. More taste to it. 🙂 Sometimes if its too dry it doesnt taste like otak otak anymore, instead its like dried cake or something.

    on a lighter note, I would prefer a wet otak (brain) too, if its too dry, then it would be a problem 🙂

    You’re not talking about me, are you? My old brain all dried up and shrivelled? Tsk! Tsk! LOL!!! 😀 You, of course lah…orang Penang, must support Penang peranakan otak2. People not used to it actually find it geli2 because of the curdled egg inside…but not me. I like!!!! Ya…the dried one is actually like fish cake but with a whole lot of spices and herbs.

  4. can u believe that we always drive down to Muar from Melaka, on weekly basis to get this?? I grow up loving Muar Otak-otak and good that we can get similar now at the frozen area (not they taste very very different la from the original one in Muar)

    Then later on after I knew hubby (from Kuantan), he introduced me to Otak-otak and Satah from the east Msia. Taste completely different from those in Muar, I kinda like them because there are so much fish used (you can even bite into the fish flakes). I posted details here http://www.demoments.net/blog/2011/03/kuantan-local-delicacies/

    Ok…so the Muar ones are the same as the frozen ones then? Yes, we have the otak2 with the fish flakes inside here- so VERY nice…but quite expensive at the cafe – cannot go to eat too often. 😦

  5. besides otak-otak, i have this song in my head..
    what’s in your head~~ in your head~~ ad-ad-ad~~ z-om-bie~~ z-om-bie~~ z-om-bie eh ya eh ya eh ya eh ya eh oh oh~~ hahahah

    Ya…the Cranberries! I like that song! Rock on, brudder!!! LOL!!!

  6. the fresh otak-otak in the restaurant also very small piece..
    hmmm.. but it doesn’t look like the fresh otak-otak i usually see in the operation room.. hahaha.. :p

    Hahahahaha!!!! The Penang ones would have a closer resemblance to those that you see in OT, doc… Ummmm…small piece, order 2nd helping lor. LOL!!!

  7. Otak? Similar here eh? Brain is utak if translated to Tagalog. We don’t have that kind of delicacy here and I wonder what it taste like. Is it sour or bitter?

    Like fish cake but with tumeric, lemon grass…and stuff added…so the taste is simply out of this world. Very nice! Yum!

  8. You are korek and smart with your first comment else the Penang G-dfather would gunned you down. Bananaz loves the wet ones than the dry..bo pian sudah die-hard haha

    Yalor…must be wet baru sedap, dry2 tak syiok lah…and hey! I’m talking about otak2 lah! The dry ones like deep fried fish cake (fishball texture, that one) but with the daun2 fragrance – that’s the only difference.

  9. *hinting, hinting* anyone from Muar? please give a comment here! hehehe… Yes, i remember last time an ICQ chatmate brought me a lot of otak otak from Muar… I couldn’t even finished them all… that was in 2003 then… now no more in contact liow… so… sorry la… cannot send from Ipoh…

    I’ve heard or read somewhere that Muar’s the best and that Muar Restaurant in KL serves that as one of their signature dishes. I ate…but it did not drive me off my feet. Nothing really great… The version we have here is A LOT nicer…though not really like otak2 as we know it – come, come to Sibu and try. You’ll love it!

    1. OK OK..coming .. coming… in another few months.. lets wait for 2012! First..find cheap tickets in 2012.. secondly, find me a companion to go… small kucing ke, fairy ke… mandy ke…. any others?

      Chesh! This fella harap that fella…sure will never come one. You just come lah! What are you afraid of? But better bring your sons…and daughter too. Wink! Wink! Hehehehehe!!!!

  10. oh i remember that pic…
    i’m really intrigued by this dish.. wonder how it tastes like
    it looks like Mexican Tamales
    oh and we have Tamales verison too so love it

    Don’t think so… It’s fish, minced and pounded/blended till it has the fish ball texture…with a local Asian taste – all the tumeric and the leaves,the lemon grass…and wrapped in leaves, it’s usually cooked over an open fire. Nice! I love it!

  11. Arthur,
    I too love the otak-otak Muar style and don’t quite fancy the Nyonya’s style ones.For your information, almost all otak-otak yang serupa with the Muar ones, sama rasa…be it frozen or fresh, beli kat Muar kah, Melaka kah or mana-mana in the world…taste the same.Those Nyonya otak-otak will sometimes rasa tak sama as different family will have different recipes and also ingredients.I just bought some frozen otak-otak here to make otak-otak buns for hubby..but now cold…nanti my roti tak boleh naik!!

    Roti apa tak naik? Hahahahahaha!!!! So sejuk kah? 😉 I know Wellington already snowing… This is so exciting. At least, Melissa gets to experience snow before she comes home. Ok…so they’re all the same – more or less. Nothing to get so excited about then. I must bring you to eat the Sibu Payung Cafe ones when you’re here. Different and I really love it… Best, I tell you! Not long to go, eh? 🙂

  12. I dun really makan otak otak… somehow, the texture turns me off. 😦

    You don’t eat fish balls and fish cake slices? They’re the same what…except that otak-otak has all the extra exotic fragrances…and I love fish balls and fishcakes too- the fresh local-made ones, not those frozen ones sold in the supermarts.

    1. Ohh… fishball and fishcakes are fine… but not those frozen ones… ada smell… I dun like. Everytime kena those frozen ones, i will sumbat my anak makan… he will baham all for me. LOL!

      You’re like me then. My daughter loves them if deep fried gently and my missus liked buying to use as ingredients when cooking veg or soup…until I told her not to. Somehow she does not seem to find the “smell” repulsive. I do…like those imitation crab sticks too. Ewekkkk!!!! And all the preservatives! Tsk! Tsk!

  13. otak2 is one of my fave food… i love the spices used to make this dish. turmeric, chillis, santan, and dunno what else – all these r my fave ingredients! very very yummy and satisfying! 🙂

    Aha!!! You’ve got great taste…just like me! Hehehehehe!!!! I love it too – provided it’s good, well-made, top quality…not like some of the horrible ones that I’ve bought before.

  14. well…at least its edible.

    The frozen ones? They’re more than edible – quite nice really…except that with frozen stuff, they tend to put a lot of preservatives so it’s better not to eat too much nor too frequently. Somebody was saying that one can eat a lot of those so that when one dies, one can save money – no need to embalm the body…will be well preserved. LOL!!! 😀

  15. I agree Muar’s otak otak are very tasty, jst can’t hv enough of it, lol!!!! Salivating now…

    Saw on AFC this morning…and got me salivating too. Drool! 😦

  16. yeah maybe when i eat more otak-otak, I’ll be smarter!!!

    I’m sure you would. After all, they say fish is brain food…all that cod liver oil and what not. 😉

  17. When i just came here, i don’t know what is this otak otak, never dare to try, it look alien to me. There was once, someone into this biz, and ask me to try, from there i love otak otak. Not all otak otak are nice, some has very strong fish smell and some even got small bone.

    Ya…I can take you to try the one at Payung here – I’m sure you will love it! My favourite.

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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