Give a little something special…

Usually when we go and visit somebody, the traditional practice in our local social etiquette would be to bring a little something. It may be something very special like a very nice dish that one has cooked or something one has baked…or something very nice that one has bought and likes a lot so he or she would buy that for the recipient to try. However, good manners have it that one would say, “It’s nothing much! I’ve nothing to give!” and the other party would go, “Haiyar!!! Cho mik cho bo eng? (Why make yourself busy?) No need to go through all that trouble, thank you…thank you!”

My cousins from Kuching were no exception and these were what they brought…

Goodies from Kuching

…when they came that day. There were the very nice tau sar peah (bottom left) that I enjoyed very much and these instant pastes from “The old Djakarta Restaurant“…

Instant pastes

I knew of this Indonesian nasi padang restaurant in Kuching a long long time ago located opposite the since-closed-down Cathay Cinema in the vicinity of Oriental Park where one can get to enjoy one of the best kolo mee in the city. By the mid-70’s, it was no longer there and its place was taken over by some kind of boutique owned one classy beautiful lady, always nicely dolled up and dressed to the nines.

I saw on Facebook that this restaurant has re-opened some place else much to the delight of those who were around at the time and enjoyed what they served there. I certainly wouldn’t want to miss the chance to drop by and try should I happen to hop over to Kuching anytime soon. In the meantime, I have these pastes to cook my own and try but I have yet to get down to doing that.

This is a local Kampung delight, what we call kuih jala

Kuih jala

…which should not be confused with roti jala. It is also called sarang semut (ants’ nest), not to be confused with kek sarang semut (bee hive cake). The ingredients are rice flour and gula apong (nipah palm sugar) so it is gluten-free and my girl can get to enjoy that.

There were also some almonds and a box of gluten-free crackers for my girl and they also brought her these…

More goodies

…very very nice ethnic Dayak beads, a headband that one of my cousins knitted herself and my girl loves it a lot, and also a box of gluten-free flour.

No, they did not bring this…

Kurma madu

…all the way from Kuching. They dropped by that supermarket in town that has all the imported stuff from countries all over the world and they liked these, imported and packed in Singapore, more than the Penang-imported Yusof Taiyoob ones that we had for our dinner that night. Yes, they were nice but I thought they were a little too soft and a bit too sweet as well.

That leaves just one more thing – the one wrapped in aluminium foil, newspapers and cling film in the above photograph (bottom right). Inside was the pork cooked with tempoyak (fermented durian)…

Tempoyak pork

…that one of my cousins cooked and she would like us to try. Of course it was very nice and of course, she was so very generous with the tempoyak – she always makes her own when the fruit is in season – she did send us some time and time again but to us, that is one precious and rare commodity so when my missus cooks the same dish, she would not use so much at a time and she adds serai (lemon grass) to hers as well. They had it here at this place that has since closed down too and theirs were pretty good as well but don’t count on a lot of tempoyak in theirs either.

The usual practice when people give you things is to balas or in Hokkien, tak tor tui (give in return). Oh dear!!! I did not get them anything in return when they left town and flew home, shame on me…but they kept saying that they did not have much luggage space for much of anything so I refrained from buying them lots of stuff to take back.