Not now…

The fruits started coming out last month in July which would be something rather unusual if it had been in my growing up years in the 50’s and 60’s. Way back then, the fruit season would be, without fail, during the rainy or landas season around the end of the year, not now, but these days, it could be anytime at all. At times, it seems that we have those very much coveted fruits all year round!

The sad thing, however, is that even though we have all those fruits in abundance, they do not come cheap. I bought some dabai (our local black olives) the other day for RM25.00 a kilo. When they first appeared, believe it or not, they were going for some RM40-50 a kilo. I simply can’t believe that there were people willing to buy at those cutthroat prices.

I did buy those cheaper ones a couple more times and the other day, I bought these…

…that came from Sarikei, at RM30.00 a kilo at the same place, our neighbourhood shop in the next lane from my house. Even the boss said that he could not understand why there is so much dabai in the market now, mountains everywhere alongside all the durians, the mangosteens, the rambutans and so on, and yet the prices never come down!

These were quite good, more lemak (richer) than the cheaper ones I bought earlier but there were parts in every fruit that would remain hard no matter how long we waited so we just ate what we could and threw the rest of each fruit away. For this reason and at that kind of price, I sure would not want to buy those from the same area again!

There are durians too…every day but no, I have not bought a single one. I told the lady boss that we are not into the fruit, will eat when there’s any like when somebody gives us some but we never buy our own and she was shocked to hear that especially seeing how everybody else loves the fruit so much.

My missus loves the wild ones, the buah pakan/pakon a lot though and it so happened that when I was at the shop that day, there was a van there delivering boxes and boxes of the fruit…

Of course, I asked for a few and the boss picked four for me, RM25.00 a kilo. In the past, these would appear only after the durian season but not now. At this point in time, the market is still flooded with durians and these have made the appearance already. Time sure has changed – it really isn’t the same anymore.

Back in those days when my girl was teaching in the rural school in the jungle, when in season, you will see all the makeshift stalls all along the road and the ethnic inhabitants would be selling them to passers-by at only RM10.00 for four. I paid RM25.00 for the 4 I bought that day. Sigh!!!

Thankfully, they…

…were really very good and my missus was thrilled beyond words. She said they were exceptionally good…

…because they had ripened in the tree before dropping off by themselves as opposed to those that people plucked and left there to ripen eventually. Well, that was quite a lot that we had that day. I guess I shall not be buying anymore, not at those prices.

Moving away from the fruits, there was some leftover rice in the fridge so I fried it for my breakfast…

…the other morning.

I usually fry with ikan bilis (dried anchovies) and at times, with sambal belacan too but that day, I saw Nancy’s fried rice with dried shrimps (hay bee/udang kering). I never used that ingredient because I usually wake up at around 4.00 a.m. every day and I would be cooking breakfast at 5 something. I told Nancy that I could not imagine myself pounding away and waking up everybody in the neighbourhood and she told me that she did not pound them – she just cut the dried shrimps into small bits.

I decided I would do the same that morning and I threw in some ikan bilis and also some of the chor liao (use as ingredient) prawns that the nice and generous lady at my favourite fish and seafood stall gave me that day when I stopped by to buy some sotong (squids) to cook the Thai glass noodles seafood salad that my girl requested for. She did not have any pek hay (seawater prawns), big or small, that morning but I spotted a bit of this teng khak (hard shell) ones in a bag by the side. Those would be cheaper, not so nice, but beggars can’t be choosers.

I offered to buy from the lady but she simply refused to sell them to me. She said they were leftovers from the day before and she had already kept it in the freezer overnight. Instead, she insisted on giving them to me free of charge and she even helped to remove the heads and shell! Isn’t she great?

The fried rice was nice with all the added ingredients but no, I could hardly detect the taste of the dried shrimps. Perhaps I can pound some in broad daylight and keep in a container to store in the fridge for use as and when I need it – I bet it would be more prominent then.

SWEE HUNG (2.316161, 111.840441) is located along Jalan Ruby, in the block of shops on the right – next to a hair salon at the extreme end and on the other end, to the left is the Kim Won Chinese Medical Store and Mini-supermarket.