The olive tree…

Some of you may know this Mandarin song – The Olive Tree, if you’re as old as I am, that is. It was the theme song of a Taiwanese movie, “Your Smiling Face” (歡顏), starring one very beautiful Hu Hui Chong (胡慧中) that had every hot-blooded male falling head over heels in love with her but she was merely lip-syncing in the movie and the song was actually by Chyi Yu(齊豫) who had a few English albums to her name and my favourite by her is this cover of a Mac Davis song.

Well, I had to drive to my daughter’s school past Selangau Bazaar last Friday as her colleague was attending a course in Sibu over the past few days so my daughter could not hitch a ride home from her. Along the way, I saw many olive trees bearing fruit in abundance…


This is our Sarawak olive, what we call buah dabai


…or dabay in some local languages or or-kana (black olive) in Hokkien and though many here would be familiar with the fruit, I am pretty sure that quite a few have never seen the tree before as usually, these trees grow wild in the jungle. The fruits would be white initially and then they would turn red and purplish and when they turn black, they would be ripe and ready for the picking. There are, however, red ones as well these days, it seems. These that I saw on the trees were still white so I guess we would have to wait for at least some two or three months before the fruit would flood the local market.

I went a little bit early and while at the Selangau bazaar, I had lunch at one of the shops there…


I think this was RM5.00 as I asked for the whole salted egg – normally, at such chap fan (mixed rice) places, they would give half only.

It tasted all right and I quite liked the tapioca leaves…


…even though they were not pounded or blended – we would usually do that when cooking those greens.

I bought a packet of petai (stinky beans) from an Iban lady sitting by the pavement outside the shops and when I got home, I cooked those with the leftover sambal from the ulam that we had at our family reunion gathering recently and I threw in some small udang galah (freshwater prawns) that I had in the freezer as well…


That certainly was quite a dish, I would say.

I also managed to get hold of some of the exotic meat that morning and used a bit for soup and I slow-cooked the rest with soy sauce, sugar and garlic till nice and tender…


…while my missus bought one young buah tupang/pulo and cooked masak lemak with it with fresh santan (coconut milk)…


That was indeed quite a fruitful outing, don’t you think?

My poor girl was asking me the other night as to how long a teacher must serve in a school before he or she could ask for a transfer. She was feeling bad as I have to send her back to  her school every week and at times, drive all the way there to pick her and bring her home as well, me being no longer a spring chicken some more. I reassured that I really enjoy these little road trips – after all, there is not much excitement in my life anymore, nothing much this old man can do other than staying at home and going online…and which parent would not do the same for his/her little girl? I guess I managed to convince her and she felt a little better after that…

不要问我从那里来 我的故乡在远方
为什甚流浪 流浪远方流浪
为了山间轻流的小溪 为了宽阔的草原

Author: suituapui

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

36 thoughts on “The olive tree…”

  1. Hi Arthur! I know this song BUT I’m not as old as you!! Hahaha!

    I love olive fried rice. I used those black preserved olive, mash it and add to my fried rice with minced pork. Very nice!

    They have dabai fried rice here too – they used the preserved ones but I’ve never tried as I do not like the fruit preserved – would insist on the nice young ones every time and none of the wrinkled ones for me…and hey! I’m talking about dabais, eh? 😀 And if you do not eat them up soon enough, they’ll start to wrinkle after a day or too – the badly wrinkled ones would not be nice.

    Oh? You know the song, eh? Not bad, not bad at all…and no, I don’t think there is any blogger as old as I am…or not many at least. 😉

  2. I know this song but never know it has an English version. Dabai & petai, I don’t know how to eat but the lean meat, give me anytime. You are so observant, driving and at the same time you notice the dabai tree.

    They’re all over – can’t miss seeing them. Looks like there will be a lot at the market once they all ripen! Yum! Yum! You, typical Kuching people – cannot eat dabai hor? Many have acquired the taste, I know…so people don’t want to sell here, send to Kuching and sell there – better price! 😦

    Ya, I did not know there’s an English version either till I stumbled upon it while searching for the song on youtube.

  3. Saguk in a bowl of wild boar soup is the best!

    Unfortunately, I’m no fan of saguk. That’s why everybody loves samui (durian + saguk + lard) but not me… 😦

  4. I know this song too. Does that mean I’m your generation? Hahahha
    But I don’t know there is a English version of it..

    I can’t recognize a dabai tree, though my my grandpa did planted a tree. Moms said it bear fruit last year. Unfortunately, grandpa cut it down, on the base that the tree getting too tall thus hard to pick the fruits..tsk tsk ..

    Don’t know buah tupang, but I did know its cousin, buah sukun .. 😀

    ps. Hu Yi Mong and 胡慧中 are two different actresses. The actress of Your Smiling face is 胡慧中, Sibelle Hu or romanized Chinese should be Hu Hui Zhong

    Not the same kah? Ahhhhh!!!!! I think I remember now – Hu Yi Mong or something like that is another actress…very classy & more beautiful. I think her English name is Terry. Ok, will go and edit after this, thanks.

    Yup!!! Dabai trees and tupang trees are very very tall. This photo was taken from the road – very much higher up…and the trees are growing down in the valley below.

    Hah!!! The song’s very popular – an evergreen. Nobody has revived it though or not that I know of…unlike some of the old songs and they absolutely murdered them. The modern covers are not nice at all! Tsk! Tsk!

    1. Yup yup, Hu Yi Mong is Terry.

      I googled and finds that 孫燕姿 Stephanie Sun, did her version on Gan Lan Shu

      Oh? Will search for that – maybe available on youtube. That the fat one who has died…oh no, that’s Lydia. This one’s younger – I think I know her too. Hehehehehe!!!! A little bit confused here and there.

      Ok…I’ve seen the video, heard her version – not as nice and there’s also this one by Fei Yu Ching.

      1. Btw, the English version of Gan Lan Shu, the Youtube title said, it is sang by 叶倩文, Sally Yeh

        Is it? Sounds pretty much the same to me… Let me see – ya, they did mention that in the comments…and now that you’ve mentioned it, the voice does sound a bit different from Chiyi’s – a bit stronger, not so gentle and soft. Can tell from the high notes.

  5. Ok, i have to said that i am not as old as you, but i know the song too. hahahha Not only that, i know Hu Yi Mong and Hu Hui Zhong, both are very pretty actress.

    I have not see dabai tree before, sometime a short trip trip to Selangau also quite interesting, like a weekly break. I don’t eat petai, give me dabai anytime!!
    Awww…so sweet on the last para, this is what we parent will do for our kid. I hope when my boys grow up they will appreciate what i have done for them too. Talked about things we do, this week and next week, my time will be full with their school activities again!!

    Hahahahahaha!!!! I know, I know! Nobody is as old as me. 😉 See! I was right, some may have eaten the fruit but have never seen the tree.

    Yes, our lives centre around our kids from infanthood…through childhood…and adolescence…and even when already adults. It never ends… 😉

  6. Yeah. Dabai season is coming soon. Going to buy some for my parents when I am goibg back in Nov.

    Hey, I know this song too but I am the 70s boh. I am not that old. haha.

    Your sweet girl. I know how she felt because I would be if my dad as sweet and dedicated as you. lol!

    Yes, she’s such a sweet and sensitive girl, always so considerate, so selfless – I guess we must have done something right along the way for her to turn out to be what she is today. Ahhhh!!!! I’m sure there’ll be lots of dabai by November – I’m looking forward to that too. Hmmmm…..looks like everybody knows this song. 🙂

  7. eh, i know and have heard this song 橄欖樹 before, it is one of the classics, the one performed by Chyi Yu i mean.. but nope, that English version is unknown to me, haha~~ so where did you find the chinese lyrics to post?? so rare to see chinese here in the blog.. :p

    Hahahahaha!!!! I have my ways & means – Google is such a wonderful thing! Ya, that song certainly is a classic, an evergreen.

  8. Even though I don’t eat petai, the dish you fried with the prawns just caught my attention! I’d love all the sambal and prawns with rice, thank you 🙂

    I boiled the petai before cooking so no smell when eating…but unfortunately, when you go and do your business, any which way, the smell would fill the whole washroom! 😀

  9. Never heard of this song before also the Chinese version not born then haha. Ah or-kana got so many names. Whoa lup the prawns, chow tao & the sotong

    You never listen to Mandarin songs kah? I thought in your blog, you give lessons in the language one? Did you watch 负心的人? That 汤兰花 also so very beautiful one… 😀

    1. Not borned yet mah not my era hahahaha. Ya lah got lah ‘heard the Mandarin version of ‘kana tree’ before just pulling your leg mah. Sure have seen all those Mandarin shows and heard the songs you mentioned, cannot forget Chen Chen, 汤兰花, Teresa Teng etc. In fact my ratio was 20:1 ie 20 Mandarin movies vz one Angmoh movie those days. That’s why Bananaz is more mango than mangoez. Always faced a problem with the angmoh slang and can’t understand the dialogue but when watching Mandarin movies got English subtitle so easy. Guess Bananaz is a ‘visual’ person not ‘auditory’ in NLP terms.

      So you saw Lin Dai in “Love without end” and later in “Blue & Black” – both the same lah…in black & white? 😀 Gosh! I’m so mean hor…

  10. why do you take the whole egg? isn’t that way too salty ?
    At the office now, unable to switch on the volume, will listen to the song when I have the chance back home 😀

    Nope. The better quality salted eggs are not so salty…and go well with rice or porridge.

  11. You are a good dad!
    I dislike petai…keke…. whenever my mom cooks petai sambal…everybody will be eating the sambal + petai. Me pulak just eat the sambal. hehe…. :-p

    I never touched petai before…till I learnt to eat at hotel buffets in the peninsula – it seems that those over there are not at smelly as the ones here…and after sometime, I don’t mind the ones here as well. They’re good for health, for people with high blood pressure, I hear.

  12. Hey, I know the mandarin song…heard that when I was young. Didn’t know there is an original English version. My dad loves these sentimental oldies from Taiwanese singers, especially Teresa Teng. (Btw, the video of a digitally enhanced Teresa singing with Jay you shared on Fb so cool!).

    You’re such a doting father. But luckily you enjoy those road trips, enjoy food, makan-makan & cooking! 😄

    Hah!!! I thought that video clip was quite eerie…but I love that song – one of the few Mandarin songs that I can sing. Ya, those long drives help keep me active and at least I get to move around a bit.

  13. Hey Arthur, you know chinese too? Geng! Yes, i understand how parents feel and we try to do our best for them and that includes driving all the way to fetch them back… By the way, did Melissa take up driving? As you said, no more spring chicken, we have to let the young take over the wheels…

    I don’t. Maybe a few simple characters such as the numbers and the few colourful ones in mahjong! Muahahahahahahahaha!!!! But I can speak a little, enough to get by…and I can even sing a couple of Chinese songs. 😉 Yes, Melissa has a driving license but no, I would not let her drive on our narrow not very smooth two-lane “highway” with all the hell-raisers with no road courtesy, total disregard for other road-users…all the big lorries & long vehicles and petrol tankers. Definitely not for the young and inexperienced. I don’t think my missus, with all her years of driving experience, would dare to take the wheel even…

  14. Gosh…. i know this song =.= am i that old LOL! So does the black olive tastes like olives? or something special? I thought you are english-educated? :O

    I am – from the British days but does that mean that I am not supposed to know anything Chinese? You? BM-educated? And you know English…and Chinese songs as well?

  15. Yes I know that song by Sally Yeh, hehe~

    But Sarawak olive looks a bit different from what I usually see here, the ‘kana’ here is green color.

    The pickled ones? Those are not Sarawak olives lah…the ang moh ones – completely different. Sally sings this song too? Didn’t see her version on youtube…

  16. Sarawak olives are nice!

    And you and your daughter are so sweet to each other :’)

    Only one I’ve got mah…she certainly means the world to me! 🙂 Ya…I love them too – the really good lemak ones.

  17. what we would do for our kids will never be a chore as acts of love is always priceless. In fact as a mom, myself, I completely understand where you are coming from as I would also do anything for my little one. It is also a great bonding time with them that I will treasure always… I m sure you feel the same on this too…

    Yes, bonding is very essential during the growing years – the closeness will keep families together regardless. Sad that everyone lives so far apart these days and hardly keeps in touch with one another, never making an effort to go home to visit as frequently as one can – they would very much sooner choose to go off somewhere on a holiday and what not instead.

  18. Drooling over dabai. The price still mahal ka? Here still RM30 perkilo. isk isk… If you stop pick and send your daughter, then there’ll be no stories of the other side discovered by you. I bet most people enjoying your journey. 🙂

    Yes, an eye-opener for a lot of people, I’m sure. Should be interesting to some, if not all.

  19. Yummy and tempting 🙂

    Indeed. 😉

    P.S. Can’t scroll down your comment box to prove that I’m not a robot. What a nuisance, those things really!!!! Tsk! Tsk!

  20. oh, i’ve never seen buah dabai before. the flesh looks reminiscent of ciku fruit, one of my favorite local fruits, in terms of texture 😀

    Nope, a world of difference. Very rich (lemak) and smooth…more like avocado, people say.

  21. Never seen buah dabai trees too. only had the fruit once in Kuching many years back.

    It’s a tree like any other tree, big like wild durian trees…but one would see the uniqueness when it starts bearing fruits.

  22. wow…very touching 🙂 how are you, arthur? the sotong looked very sexy :)) good thing you can go online, my father always complained of very slow internet in sibu.

    I’m on CELCOM. My connection’s excellent in the early morning and is pretty good all morning right up till lunchtime. By afternoon, it may or may not be good and usually, at night, it’s as dead as a door nail. Different story on weekends and during school holidays though…when those @#$%^&*@#$% are not in school.

    Their connection’s better where my daughter is – in the middle of nowhere, can connect via 3G broadband or GPRS. I guess there are not many subscribers and users there in the middle of the jungle – too many in Sibu. That’s why my missus’ MAXIS is better here but not good in some places in Kuching.

    What’s your father’s provider? SCREAMyx? 😀

  23. The english version of the song is just as nice as the mandarin version. I love the udang galah with petai. Hope to find some nice petai in the market this weekend.

    Lots there, I’m sure…even in the supermarts, peeled. I prefer the Mandarin version – somehow the English one does not sound quite right to me. 😉

  24. Arthur, I love your home cooked food! Poor Melissa!. I guess she just needs to hang on a little while and all will be good in time to come.

    She’s doing ok there, getting used to things…and the reality that what you study in the uni is all crap and it all boils down to oneself to do the best one possibly can. She just feels bad/sad as she thinks she is causing such an inconvenience to me – when in fact, it makes me feel good. At least, I feel needed…still!

  25. my first time eating petai was in kl .. haha.. then i asked mum if we have petai in kuching and she said yes.. made me a sakai. 😀

    Aaaww. that’s very sweet of you.. I think i’ll melt when i hear this from my Papa.. haha..

    LOL!!! My mum ate pickled petai all the time I was growing up and I hated the smell. Learnt to eat it very much later…and older. 😉
    Yes, and I’ve a sweet “little girl” too – she’s all heart. ❤

  26. Tapioca leaves? I wonder if I can find something similar around here or online?!

    You’d be surprised to know that many things are edible but people are ignorant of the fact. They’d ask, “You eat that?” Some may even have health benefits.

  27. Oh la la!
    This is 11 PM and you make me hungry!!!
    LOL 😀

    That’s absolutely unintentional, I assure you! Wink! Wink! 😀 😀 😀

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