Those little things…

We call them bubuk here…and when I mentioned it on Facebook yesterday, somebody asked, “What’s bubuk?” Well, they are those very tiny little shrimps that seem to be seasonal. At certain times in a year, they may be found in abundance in the sea off the beaches of places like Bintulu in Sarawak…and the bountiful harvest would enable to locals to make belacan (fermented prawn paste) and cincaluk (fermented shrimps). If I’m not mistaken, they are also found in the peninsula and they are called udang geragau there.

Other than the aforementioned uses, bubuk is also dried and sold at the market looking like this…


I do recall them being of a darker shade of red in the past but I guess people are more health-conscious now so they do not bother to dye them anymore. They can be used as a substitute for udang kering or hay bee (dried prawns) in one’s cooking – a poor man’s substitute, I would say as they are relatively a lot cheaper. I, for one, will use bubuk when cooking my kampung-style fried rice.

These were the ingredients that I used…

STP's kampung-style fried rice - ingredients

– some shallots and garlic, peeled and sliced, some chilies, sliced and a bit of ikan pusu/bilis (dried anchovies). In the past, I would chop the garlic till fine but of late, I prefer to use them sliced. Sometimes, when eating, I may bite into the fried garlic…and I actually love the taste very much.

So what I did was…I fried the shallots, garlic and anchovies in oil till golden brown before I added the bubuk – you may need a bit more oil as it may soak up the oil like when you make sambal udang kering…and after stirring everything together for a while, I put in the sliced chilies and the rice. After frying for a while, I added a bit of light soy sauce/fish sauce and msg before I broke two eggs into the wok and fried them together with everything else till they were cooked. Then it was ready to be served…

STP's kampung fried rice with bubuk 1

In the past, I would just throw in the bubuk after I had fried everything else…or maybe before I added the eggs but this time around, I decided to fry it in the oil first expecting it to taste a lot nicer but frankly, I could not really tell the difference…

STP's kampung fried rice with bubuk 2

Either way, the fried rice tasted great. Wink! Wink!

Perhaps you would like to give it a try?

Author: suituapui

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

32 thoughts on “Those little things…”

  1. bubuk means ‘powder’ in Indo… something like jintan bubuk… ie jintan in powder form…

    I think bubuk is either in Sarawak Malay or Melanau or both. Powder is serbuk…same as in standard Malay.

  2. Ha, I just wrote a FB post that I was inspired by your fried noodle dish, and here you go posting a fried rice dish, lol. I didn’t check your site, before I wrote my FB post.

    Anyway, I just got finished making chicken fried rice for my daughter’s dinner. For myself, I made veggie fried rice. I’ll be taking pictures later today, and posting the pictures. But for now, I have to clean her pet’s cage (guinea pigs) and do a bit of gardening.


    LOL!!! It’s rice today. Like I said in my earlier post, I’ve had too many noodle post so I should stay away for a while. I would want to try to cook something vegetarian. Will get down to it soon and if it’s nice, I’ll blog about it. If not, as usual, I would just throw it away and keep quiet about it… Hehehehehehe!!!! Sneaky, eh? Looking forward to your pictures of your fried rice…

    1. Will get down to it soon and if it’s nice, I’ll blog about it. If not, as usual, I would just throw it away and keep quiet about it…

      This made me laugh, since that occasionally happens to me when I’m cooking. I rarely follow a recipe, and love to experiment in the kitchen, most of the time it turns out great, but then there are times when… Eww!!! LoL

      I really should write about food more, with my last website that I had for about four years, that’s mainly what I did. These days, finding the time to post the pictures, and write about what I’ve made have been challenging, but I’ll try to make an effort to post about food – a bit more. I’m still cooking, but rarely post about what I make.

      I did post pictures from yesterdays meal. I shared some of it with my father. My mom is away (visiting brother and his family in Texas) and so I’ve been preparing his meals until she returns.

      LOL!!! Amazing!!! Two completely different people halfway across the globe and we’re so alike in so many ways. I just can’t follow a recipe too – it will be a sure disaster. At best I would just glance through and then get to work on something similar in my own way.

      I’ve seen your fried rice. It looks good. I always work with leftovers including the rice…and whatever I can find in the fridge and I can save money too as I would not need to go out for breakfast – waste not, want not. 😉

  3. Have never tried lil shrimps but I think it may have similar taste and texture as the lil’ bilis in the malay fried rice.

    No, not really – it tastes like dried prawns except that you have all the shell and the head in it. In Penang (New World) – they fry them till crispy and sprinkle on top of the steamed yam cake (or koi) and serve with chili sauce and sambal rojak… VERY nice!

  4. ooooh, nice nice!! give me any kind of fried rice and i (normally, usually, probably and most of the time) will be able to finish it and perhaps ask for me, hahahaha~~ 😀

    I am waiting… If you come to Sibu, I can fry for you to eat…and take you around to eat the best fried rice in town!!! 😉

  5. wah the fried rice looks really good. I think bubuk makes very nice soup as well right?

    So I heard. They say they use it to make noodle soup in Shanghai or was it Taiwan? I don’t think I would like the strong prawn taste though…like the stock they make using the heads and the shells of the prawns at those hay mee (prawn noodles) places in Penang. Not a fan.

    1. Arthur,
      A shanghai restaurant here has a soupy dish with tanghoon.The soup is clear and I don’t think the stock is made from these tiny prawns.After dishing out, they just scatter some fried ones on top.Very nice…and this coming from a fussy-pot…hahahaha.

      Then it’s nice because of the stock…not the bubuk. You sure it wasn’t fried shallots that they tabur-ed. Mana tau… Old liao – eyesight not so good? Muahahahahahahaha!!!! 😉

  6. If I am not tired this evening, I want to fry some rice using SPAM… see whether I rajin or not… 🙂 I bought a few packets of dried prawns from the Sibu central market… my mother asked me why the prawns are straight instead of curving like the normal ones over here… i have no answer to that.. 🙂

    They remove the heads and the shell and line them up – all straight and leave to dry (Maybe they steam them first, not too sure) so when they’re dried…they will be straight. In the past, they used to be HUGE…now not really so. You bought? Then you can use it to fry veg or rice… VERY nice! Nicer than using belacan – nicer than Ruby’s midin… LOL!!! 😉

    1. Claire, told u in sibu tat they tie each prawn to a toothpick to dry them up. Hahaha

      Hahahahaha!!!! And she doesn’t know you well enough not to believe everything you say? 😀

  7. Hi, wah… your fried rice so delicious. Look great and appetizing. Think I can easily polish off 2 plates with extra chlli padi. LOL
    Add some white pepper can enhance the fried rice. 😉

    Have a nice day.

    Yes, I use cili padi sometimes…but I do prefer the fragrance of ordinary chilies – something that cili padi lacks. And yes, I do add pepper sometimes as well…especially when there are no chilies in the fridge… 😦

  8. Eh!!!..change of taste, from fried noodles to fried rice. I, for one would definitely try this hassle free receipe. I will add in some lap cheong, yummy!!!!…yummy!!!!…. Droolinggggggg………..

    Oh no! That would not be the same anymore. Lap chiang, you should it this way: Substitute the bak kua with the lap chiang…. Chinese-style fried rice.

    1. Oppsss!!!!….no lap cheong need. Any difference in taste. Tomorrow go market and look for bubuk.

      Without the bubuk, only the ikan bilis…nice enough. The bubuk is just something extra.

  9. Yummmmmm! Fried rice is always good to go but unfortunately no rice for me these days. The body do not allow rice 😦

    Here in the peninsula, I think they use these tiny prawns for cincaluk. Funny smell and taste. But if you fry them up instead … it’s good to go as a condiment for many stuff from congee to chee cheong fun and oats … yup oats!

    Cheers! Been missing a lot on your food spread here.

    Oh? You’ve been away? Ya…but I do not like it if the smell is too strong. It is not as nice as our Rajang hay bee (dried prawns) but for one thing, it’s cheap…and is just as good as the ordinary (and cheaper) hay bee. Can’t afford to use the Rajang hay bee too much – worth its weight in gold!

  10. My mum loves this kind of fried rice!!

    Me too!!! Anytime better than the Chinese restaurants and chu-char places….and the fried rice at the Malay stalls here isn’t anything to shout about either. 😦

  11. I think it’s a new food to me, it looks like fried rice. Yeah, belacan is available here 🙂 ahaha.

    Thanks for the sharing of this post,
    thanks for dropping by my blog, it’s actually not exactly a scarf but BUFF, which you can get in Nature Owlet 🙂

    And, wow, over $100 in SG is so so so expensive!!!! OMG!!! hmm.. We dun over 100 Ringgit Malaysia for the original buff 🙂

    Post: Nature Owlet
    Page: <a href="

    I know what a buff is…and oops! It’s SIN$30 only…so around RM75 our money…which doesn’t mean it’s any cheaper. My daughter has one:
    It IS fried rice! I wonder where you are, not local, I presume…and you can get belacan there. This is the simple kampong/village style fried rice…and anytime nicer than those from the Chinese restaurants/takeaways overseas, I’m sure!

  12. Oh yum! I love fried rice and this is perfect with those crispy shrimps. I love using them in fritters, like the ones they have in a lobak dish … not sure what it’s called there … little flat, crispy fritters. I don’t see them too often these days … must have all gone to Sarawak and Sabah 🙂

    Yes, yes…I remember somebody using bubuk to make fritters…but I can’t remember where I ate that now… Sigh! Old age! Memory loss.

  13. Fried rice…anytime for me! Kat gave me some harbee and I have try it with fried rice. Not bad.

    Of course!!! Listen to me…and you can never go wrong! LOL!!! 😀

  14. I like nasi goreng that is done your way..lagi pedas and lagi aromatic the better. I’m not a fan of Chinese style Nasi goreng that adds lap cheong lar, char-siew, add frozen peas and carrots lar or those pucat-pucat ones. However, I do like the ones where they add salted fish…yum!
    Those fresh udang geragau or we Nyonyas call ‘gerago’ make very good kuih cucur/jemput-jemput/kodok and even in Western countries they have their version which is pretty similar to ours..and they use white bait. But don’t know why, I can’t eat the fresh gerago or else my mulut and tekak will be very itchy ( my late mom cakap that is because I mulut jahat…hahahaha). Another dish that we Nyonyas like to cook with fresh gerago is the masak asam rebus..and when ada leftovers, we’ll drain the gravy, and then we’ll goreng kering-kering the gerago to make new lauk which we call gerago masak asam….which is my favourite and after undergoing all the stress process, the gerago somehow will not cause me any itchiness..hehehehe.

    Hahahahaha!!!! Your late mum was absolutely right! ROTFL!!!!! 😀 Ya…not a fan of Chinese fried rice…with peas and carrots and corn and bits of char siew, so tiny that they’re hardly visible…and oyster sauce. Eyewwww!!!! So bland, so tasteless…and lots of msg! I don’t mind the lap cheong and egg ones…if I’m frying it myself.

  15. Wah! Lately so many goreng goreng?? Goreng instant noodles, yellow noodles and today fried rice!! Yummy!! I love fried rice, but i don’t like hay bee, i don’t like the taste. Your fried rice look nice and not too dry and i like the color, it said ” i am yummy, come and eat me!!” hahahah

    No fried rice for me at the moment, having bad cough and flu, getting old. *sigh*

    I know, I know…you don’t like belacan and spicy stuff. Cough? I was coughing so badly after our blogger friends left – coughed till I had this terrible pain in my tummy muscles and I could not sleep all night. Then I took cordycep capsules – can buy from Chinese medical story – good for relieving cough and for a whole lot of other health benefits. After taking, could sleep at night and just two days…ok already.

    1. I can take spicy food, but i just don’t like belacan and hay bee smell. Maybe “mild” type i can take. hahahhahah

      Ya! My tummy muscle hurt too!! I am wondering is it from my gym exercise or my cough cause that pain. But night time i am alright, i can sleep through, i cough badly during day time. 😦 Had seen doctor, took anti biotic and cough medicine, hope will recover soon. It had been like before chinese new year till now? Sinus, flu, a bit cough, then ok, then start all over again. 😦 😦

      Daytime cough = heaty cough…must take cooling stuff. No fried stuff, no ginger soups… Ibu dan Anak should be good.

  16. You seemed like a good cook!! But I prefer without spicy elements la haha
    I really can’t tahan spicy food… maybe I’m a guai mui in past life XD

    Oh? Then you and Annie-Q can be the best of friends. 😉

  17. well i am kinda fortunate .. i had the her bie fried rice..
    I use to cook during my uni time and lots of friends came over to eat.

    Oooooo…. a masterchef eh? Come, cook your specialties and share on your blog. 😉

  18. Aahh, flied lice…easy, fast to cook and filling! Depending on what you put inside, can be nutritious, too! I’m a rice person. I love all kinds of rice.. 🙂

    Yup…up to one’s creativity and imagination! 😉

  19. Wow…just like nasi goreng kampung…..put in fried anchovies powder….yumm yumm ……

    Stock ikan bilis… I’d rather use the real ikan bilis. I think the stock cubes or granules contain a lot of msg. 😦

  20. Don’t care if you use bubuk or serbuk, give me that plate of fried rice, I will finish it up in a New York minute for your and ask for another plate.

    Next time you come to Sibu, stay longer…and I will have time to cook this and lots more for you to enjoy… 😉

    1. Maybe I rent a house there for one month and have three meals a day in your house. Scare you to death or not??? kekeke

      Come, come… No need to rent. Can stay in Melissa’s room FOC…and hope that after one month, you will not be my same shape and size. Hahahahaha!!!! That would sure scare you, wouldn’t it? 😀

      1. No scare me at all. If after one month I can achieve your size. Then I will be more matching with my Quay Lo and we will sure make a very cute old couple! LOL!

        LOL!!! Then you must come to Sibu more often and stay longer – will be my size soon. LOL!!! 😀

  21. when i read “bubuk” and then glanced at the pics, i thought “what is he talking about? bubuk is sleep and i see food”. hehehe

    love the fried rice. looks brilliant. i sure hope i can taste your cooking one day.

    Bubuk is sleep? What langauge is that? In Malay, it’s tidur, in Melanau, it’s tudui…and in Ibna, it’s tindu’k. Come on over to Sibu and I can cook that and more for you…anytime. 😉

    1. bubuk? learnt that from my Indon pals 😀

      Indon? Dunno…SuperWeightKoala says it’s sleep in Indonesian. He works there and speaks the language and is an authority on Indon cuisine. I wouldn;t argue with him on that…(especially when you look at his size, I wouldn’t argue with him on anything!!! Muahahahahahaha!!!!)

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

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: