Little town…

I have some kind of hedge growing all along the fence at the back of my garden. No, I did not plant it – it just grew out on its own and yes, I would have to go and trim it once in a while. I have not done it for a while now, probably not since before Chinese New Year and I had not been feeling too well not too long ago so it had grown somewhat out of control, past the tall fence of my neighbours at the back. Obviously, they were not too happy about the intrusion so they just broke the branches and left them dangling over at my side.

That was why I had to go through the chore of trimming it short and I collected all the branches in plastic bags to take them some place to throw away. We do have quite a few designated places here with a “REFUSE BIN CENTRE” prepared by the municipal council so I took the bags to one of them to throw away…and I always do the same with the grass swept up everytime the guy comes around to mow the lawn. No, I would never leave all those things at some corner of my garden to dry up and then burn them…and with the blistering hot weather…

Sunset on a hot day, last Saturday

…here these days, I sure would not want to contribute to the hazy air.

That morning, I took the bags to the centre at Rejang Park here and since I was there already, I thought I would just walk around the place. I went to the market and I saw some very nice kembong (fish) but a lady wanted them so I just let her have them all – there were not all that many, five or six only, I think. I went to the other stall and bought some prawns from the nice elderly lady there – RM16 a kg. Buying is easy – it is the chore of having to peel off the shell and remove the vein of each of them that I dread the most. Still, we would stock up on some of those in our freezer. Like I always said, you can’t go wrong with prawns – just add a few to your dish of fried vegetables and they will bring the taste to a whole new level.

My missus had cooked some phak lor sa chan (stewed five-spice pork belly) the day before and there was quite a lot leftover in the fridge so I walked over to the kompia shop there to buy some. There are a few different ways to eat kompia, other than eating them plain, that is…and one way would be by stuffing them with slices of stewed pork belly and eating them, dipped in the lovely sauce.

Well, that was exactly what I did the next morning. I sliced the kompia and toasted them in the oven (some people may prefer them deep fried), stuffed slices of the stewed pork in them…

Kompia with stewed pork belly 1

…and enjoyed eating them with the sauce…

Kompia with stewed pork belly 2

Of course, it is much nicer cooking your own at home – you can stuff a lot more meat inside and the sauce is more garlicky and flavourful and not so terribly diluted…

Kompia with stewed pork belly 3

As a matter of fact, I prefer to dip the kompia into the sauce to eat rather than serve them swimming in the watery sauce and ending up all soft and soggy. Personally, I don’t think they are all that nice that way.

Back to the kompia shop, the young man and the mum know me quite well by now though I can’t say I am all that regular a customer. They are very nice people and that morning, I placed my order and the mum got what I wanted for me and when I got home, I found that she had given me an extra piece. No, it is not that much, just one extra piece but a little gesture like that would go a long way in making customers feel good and get them to come back again and again. The father was there too, as usual – he is a little more on the quiet side, I think and he sure looks like he was a very handsome man in his younger days.

That is one thing about living in a little town – that special human touch. As you walk around, there will be people smiling at you, greeting you with all the pleasantries and small chat. I don’t think you will get much of that when you go shopping in some huge supermarket…and definitely not when you shop online.

I went and bought two packets of the char kway teow with see ham (cockles), RM5.00 each…

Rejang Park ckt with see ham
*Archive photo*

…from the old lady at the stall in this coffee shop. I know the family very well, maybe not her but her brother and some of her younger sisters but I guess she could recognise me so when she was done, she came over to chat, asking how my parents were getting on and all that stuff. Her char kway teow was good as always but this time around, it seemed that she was using the canned cockles which of course, I did not quite like. I think the next time around, I would rather go without if she does not have any fresh cockles at hand.

I also bought two packets of the chao chai hung ngang with fish slices (RM6.00 each) from the stall next to hers…

Happy Hours chao chai hung ngang stall
*Archive photo*

…and I would say that the guy was very nice and friendly too. He even took the initiative to separate the hung ngang (big bihun) from the chao chai soup, lest they ended up too soft and soggy and would not be all that nice in the end.

Well, that took care of dinner – it was a Friday so my girl would be home later in the day and I was very sure she would be delighted to eat all those things that I had bought – she is not all that fond of eating rice…and I really enjoyed my stroll around Rejang Park that morning…right here in my little town.