Just like old times…

When I was still working, I had official tasks to perform at the end of every year, right through Christmas and the New Year, so much so that these festive days would just pass unnoticed – there was hardly anytime for much else. But around this time, my friend, Jimmy, would come from Bintulu and Lim from Roban/Kuching for the same and they would stay at my house. We, Melissa especially, would enjoy the company and the fun that we would have together despite having to go through the chore – W-O-R-K – when everyone else was celebrating and having fun. Later, Lim’s missus joined the team and eventually, they moved to Sibu and they’re both working here now, blessed with three kids to date.

Well, coincidentally, it was the DongZhi or Winter Solstice Festival that day when Jimmy had to fly in for one of the meetings and I decided to ask them all over to my house not so much as to celebrate the festival but for a get-together just like old times…and for the dinner, I chose to have a jungle theme, all the traditional ethnic or kampung-style dishes that one would not be able to get anywhere in town.

I cooked some steamed tuak (traditional ethnic rice wine) chicken with a bit of cincaluk (fermented shrimps) added…


…and also some tempoyak prawns


I was at one of the Rejang Park shops earlier that morning as Jimmy wanted to buy some groundnuts that people in Kuching seem to be crazy about. He bought a kilo on his previous trip but they never reached the person they were meant for, it seemed…and this time around, he bought two kilos. I got him to try the kuachee (pumpkin seeds) and he ended up buying a kilo of that as well – that’s another must-buy when Kuching folks come to town.

Anyway, when we were there, the guy at the shop asked me to buy their bamboo clams and I saw that they were BIG and they had been nicely cleaned. I had never cooked those before as cleaning them to get rid of the sand in them could be really tedious and troublesome but they looked good and were going for RM25.00 a box (one kilo) only so I decided I would give it a try…


I fried them with some curry powder, among all the other ingredients that I added, and they were a hit! Before the night was through, there was not a single one left.

I bought one ikan terubok masin (salted fish) at the market here sometime ago but I never got round to frying it so I decided to do just that for the dinner…


…and serve it as one of the dishes that night…


It sure was a good idea as the salted fish was certainly very well-received too and went well with all the other dishes we had…especially the dabai (wild black olive) fried rice that I cooked…


I thought it was not very nice as usually, I would only cook a bit for breakfast once in a while and I was not used to cooking such a large amount at one go but it was all right when eaten together with everything else.

I fried some bihun with those canned clams in soy sauce


…with cangkuk manis added for the kids in case the dishes that I had lined up did not go down well with them but they liked most of what we had and they loved the bihun too!

Melissa made this buah emplam (local sour fruit from the mango family) sambal


…which everyone loved a lot and I also had some cincaluk dip…


…in case anybody wanted it a little bit stronger and of course, there was that very nice fried tempoyak that the boss of Payung Cafe gave me

Payung tempoyak

My missus and Melissa also prepared this dish of Bintangor rojak


…with the special sauce that my friend, King Hua, gave me recently…and since it was the DongZhi Festival, my missus and Melissa made these traditional glutinous rice balls…


…with sweet potato added, hence its colour, which made them easier too chew and swallow than the usual tangyuan balls. They went a step further and stuffed some of the balls with gula melaka (brown palm sugar) and the rest with some durian cream that my missus made. Everybody enjoyed them very much especially the kids and they even asked for seconds!

So there you have it – our simple dinner that night…

Dinner is served

…with all the ethnic/kampung delights and of course, when you’re in the company of great friends, anything would taste nice, that’s for sure!

Those were such happy times and not so long ago
How I wondered where they’d gone
But they’re back again just like a long lost friend
All the ones I loved so well…

…it was yesterday once more!

Author: suituapui

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

23 thoughts on “Just like old times…”

  1. Wow wow wow! I’m salivating at your glutinous rice balls! Durian cream?? Fuh! A bit late to wish you Merry Christmas here but not too late for a Happy New Year Arthur! 🙂

    Hope you had a wonderful Christmas…and your New Year will be a good one too. Just the balls, none of the dishes appeal to you? 😦

  2. Wow, how long it took you to cook all these dishes ?! Were you a teacher or a chef in hotel? 😛

    Aiyor!!! Don’t insult those professionals, mine’s just simple kampung cooking only. Just the afternoon was good enough but I cooked the chicken a day earlier so the wine would go into the meat and the flavour of the chicken would come out into the soup – a lot nicer this way, just had to reheat that…but it could easily have been cooked the same day. In fact, my friend, Jimmy, saw me cooking the tempoyak prawns and his mouth fell open. “Is that it”” he said. He could not believe that it was so very easy to cook.

  3. Wah …… so much delicious food ! I like the ikan masin. Wonder is it very salty like normal salted fish ?

    This one was a bit salty – should have soaked it in water first. Had not had it for years and years now. Had one long ago, maybe it was still new, just salted…so it was slightly salty and still had the taste and fragrance of fresh terubok. I would prefer it like that. Anyway, my friends loved it…a lot! Was great with rice.

  4. So much yummy food!

    Interesting to see tuak and cincaluk together….am now tempted to try cincaluk with Chinese rice wine since I don’r have tuak.

    If it’s Chinese white wine, it may be compatible. Would be very nice. I do not think it will go down well with the red.

  5. Wow, you cook up a storm and yet call that simple dinner. That fits for a king. Welcome all the dishes with open arms except tempoyak. Big “NO” and thank you.

    Jimmy said he would cook it thicker and creamier, more tempoyak. I just added a bit in case the kids especially might not like it…but they loved it! Keep asking for more and more prawns! You would not know until you’ve tried. I never liked it before either – my mum was the only one eating it in the house.

  6. Very homecooked. That bamboo clams are sure big. I love to eat it. Like it in curry style.

    I noticed that most people love fried ikan masin terubok but not me. I dont mind the eggs through but cannot imagine the after effect after ate them. Lol. Remember when I was small, my mum used to buy fresh terobok and steam it. Very sweet but hate to dig for bones. Haha. Sometimes mum will deep fried and you can eat the bones as well.

    This time round hubby is going to buy some more ikan masin terubok as his West Malaysian friends love it so much.

    I love terubok panggang, fresh ones, cooked ourselves…not those dry ones from the stalls but would need time to eat slowly, too many bones. Salted ones, I prefer the long kiam hu, more smelly, nicer! Ikan masin terubok used to be available in Kuching only but they have a lot now in Sibu, can get anytime from the market. Got the bamboo clams from Chai Hing, the shop beside the post office in Rejang Park…in boxes, so I guess they’re from Sabah. One box 1 kg and RM25 only, so very cheap.

  7. Very exotic foods u have there – not available in the restaurants, so what a pity (for me!)

    Easy and fast to cook, nice to eat…if you have the ethnic ingredients and if you’re into those stuff. I think some may not like it much. 😦

  8. That’s a lot to dish out in one afternoon! All yummy home cooked food. The bamboo clams are big, long time didn’t eat them…
    For tongyuen, this year we had gula Melaka and black sesame as fillings..very yummy 🙂

    Ya, and I even had time for my afternoon nap! You can imagine how easy it must be to cook all those dishes. I think I prefer the durian – the gula melaka ones remind me of onde onde, more or less the same.

  9. Wahhh…..what a feast!! slurrppp
    Would love to try the sweet potato tong yuen with durian filling!! I’m sure it tasted really good 🙂

    Nicer than the traditional in syrup or coated with crushed peanut.

  10. That looks like quite a feast! The bamboo clams looks good… I usually only have them during CNY, cooked by someone else for me. 😛

    Lucky you! But I do enjoy cooking…and enjoy seeing people enjoying eating what I cooked.

  11. wow, so many dishes!! it surely was a big feast huh?? yeah, the bamboo clams looked very delicious.. and none left for me?? hahaha~~ 😀

    Gotta go back to the shop, see anymore or not. Can buy and keep for Chinese New Year, coming soon.

  12. Wow wow wow…two chefs at home really make a different. hahahhahah
    All dishes look awesome and all look “something new” to me. The fish look interesting, i love that.

    Yes, our tang yuen here, we will put a small piece of brown palm sugar. Cruz love it very much, the other days he had 8 tang yuen! I still love Sibu style, dried version, coated with crushed peanut.

    That one, nice…but hard to swallow. These, with sweet potato added, not so…so I like. Kids loved, they wanted second round, third round. I did most of the cooking – all very easy and quick so no need for anybody to help. My missus and Melissa only did the rojak and the sambal emplam…but the Christmas dinner was hard work – missus did all that, I just ate. Hehehehehehe!!!!! Watch out for the post! 😉

  13. Glutinous ball stuff with gula melaka..yummy! Will want to do it again..ahhaha with the gula melaka instead of plain one.

    Much nicer with sweet stuffing inside.

  14. heheh, i chuckled when you wrote ‘simple dinner,’ cos i think this looks like a bountifully brilliant feast! every dish seems appetizing, yums yums 😀

    It was a feast, no doubt…but simple, so easy to prepare, hassle-free and the best part, of course, would be the fact that one would not be able to get such stuff outside. Things money can’t buy.

  15. That’s a whole lot of food there.. respect you for being able to whip out such a feast. Nom nom nom.

    If you come here, sure I will cook up a storm specially for you too! 😉

  16. ….Every sha sha la la.. every wooh wohh.. still shines…… Yes, your food certainly shines over to Ipoh here! Such sedap dishes… and so uniquely done too… I LIKE!!

    Told you to come, but no….you’d rather eat bak kut teh in KL instead. Wait till you see what we had for Christmas. 😉

  17. Wow…So many nice food….make me feel hungry.
    You can cook so well.

    You like? I thought you would not go for this kind of food very much, your hubby’s Foochow. My father’s also Foochow and he is never into this type of kampung cuisine.

  18. Wow, what a scrumptious spread! I would definitely prefer this type of home style cooking any time.

    Me too! Anytime nicer that eating outside, and stuff that money can’t buy. Outside, generally it’s the same everywhere.

  19. Gotta LOVE holiday Gatherings, time with friends and fam, and Pot Luck type meals!


    Hey! Come to think of it I have not had a pot luck gathering ever. Well, not when my friends are from out of town – no point their going to buy something from the shops. I would prefer own-cooked dishes to bring to such parties, anytime nicer than things we can buy outside.

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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