Not how it’s supposed to be…

There was an open packet of sambal laksa in the freezer so last Friday, I decided to take it and cook Sarawak laksa

Sarawak laksa

…for our lunch and dinner. I left out the thin shreds of boiled chicken meat as it was on Friday last week and we had fish balls instead. Yes, it turned out really well, very nice and my girl enjoyed it so much that she had seconds.

The next day, Saturday, I decided to make popiah (spring rolls) because my missus bought home one big mangkuang/sengkuang (jicama). No, I did not have a problem with cooking the filling even though it would entail quite a bit of work. Well, after all, a retiree like me would have all the time in the world to do everything slowly, bit by bit, a step at a time. However, it turned out eventually that I had a problem with the skin.

I liked the square ones in black packets that we had been using for quite sometime now – not all that ideal, not quite like the real thing but it was thin enough and not rubbery plus it was very easy to peel and use. I bought it at one supermarket, since closed down and taken over by another one, and the last time I managed to grab some was at the supermarket near my house. However, after the lockdown, I did drop by and I did not see any of that brand. There was another one that I was not familiar with so I did not buy it.

My cousin in Bintulu used this one…

Fabulous popiah wrapper

…and we’ve used it before too.

Steaming is required so you will have to take the wrappers out ahead of time to thaw…


According to the instructions, they have to be peeled to separate them and arranged, one by one overlapping…


…and by that, I guess that was what they meant. I covered it with a piece of muslin cloth and steamed it till soft – originally, it was kind of rubbery, not quite like the real thing but after steaming, it turned out really good, almost like those freshly-made popiah skin.

Initially, we did not have a problem and we were able to use the skin to wrap each popiah nicely…

Popiah, nicely rolled

…but after a while, the skin started to stick together – maybe when it had cooled down a bit – and it was near impossible to get them apart without tearing them and we ended up with the skin, tattered and torn and were not able to use them to wrap anymore popiah.

There are 20 sheets in a pack – the top one ended up kind of shrivelled and did not look too good after thawing so I threw it away and I steamed 10, out of which 6 were all right, 2 were not completely disastrous and the last 2 could not be salvaged at all.

That evening, my missus steamed the rest for dinner. Maybe she did not keep time so the skin on top got stuck to the muslin cloth and the rest was so very hard to peel without destroying them and in the end, instead of wrapping it like this…

Popiah, ready to roll

…we just had to wrap the filling using the lettuce and eat it like that.

One thing’s for sure, you will not see me buying this brand ever again! Tsk! Tsk!