The difference…

The other day, my missus was drying cucumber and carrot and chili, julienned (cut into long, thin strips) plus some garlic, skin removed, too and I shared the photograph on Facebook.

A West Malaysian friend, originally from Malacca, commented, “Making Sibu acar?” I was baffled so I asked, “Malacca nyonya acar not the same meh?” but he did not reply. I went and googled and stumbled upon this blog – if I am not wrong, this popular food blogger originated from Kuching but is now residing in Singapore…and according to him, there IS a difference between Malacca nyonya acar and Sarawak acar timun. You can click the link and hop over to his blog to read all about it.

Another thing of interest, according to the guy, is, “Another distinction of Sarawak acar is that it is eaten with keropok or fish cracker. We do not eat acar with rice. For Sarawakian Chinese families, acar and fish crackers are the must-haves during Chinese New Year.” Yes, that…

Sarawak-style keropok & acar

…is what we usually do and I did not even know that it is a Sarawak thing.

I also shared this photograph on Facebook and a cousin of mine in Kuching commented, “Brunei keropok? We prefer Mukah keropok!” or something to that effect. Gee, I thought! How on earth could she tell? Not that it was written all over the cracker?

But yes, my missus did say that it was Brunei keropok so I went to have a look at the other pack…

Brunei keropok

…that she bought – she bought two that day, RM7.50 (250 gms) each. She was telling me about how when they were small, they loved the keropok from Brunei, so much nicer than all the rest. Over the years, I did hear people saying the same thing and I have seen it being sold at the neighbourhood shops but no, I never bought any.

I studied the packet carefully but it was not stated anywhere – that the keropok came from Brunei. All it said was it was a “PRODUCT OF MALAYSIA” and it was packed by some place here in Sibu. My missus said she probably saw it on the label stuck to the counter in the shop that she went to.

Anyway, I had taken one and opened to dry in the sun…

Drying keropok

…which, of course, is indeed a commendable achievement these days considering that it has been raining most of the time. Once done, I fried them and yes, we enjoyed it a lot with my missus’ Sarawak acar timun.

Everyone here sings praises of the celebrated Mukah keropok. They even serve it to you…

Mukah keropok at Fisherman Restaurant

…the instant you sit down at a restaurant here but no, they are not on the house. Dream on!!! They sure do not come cheap, around 50 sen a piece but yes, theirs are pretty good. Like everything else, you need to know which the good ones are and which to buy – not all are good.

I did buy two packs of this…

Mukah keropok udang

…from the bakery where I buy my mee sua these days and yes, the packaging does look rather unimpressive, just a piece of plain paper with the information slipped inside the plastic bag and sealed. My guess is it is the product of some home cottage industry so they do not have any advanced equipment to do a decent job.

I’ve already dried a pack and fried it but I can’t really say that there is a clear difference between this Mukah keropok and the aforementioned Brunei one. I have a feeling that unless you eat the two together, side by side, you would not be able to tell but actually, as a matter of fact, between the two, our general consensus was that the latter was nicer!

Anyway, this Mukah one is RM12.50 for 200 gms, so much more expensive for less and since the other one was, in our opinion, good, we sure would not want to fork out that extra bit of money, a whooping RM5.00, for less and for something not sensationally superior.