Gosh!!! It has been two weeks at least now since I last bought those pek hay (seawater prawns) from my favourite fish & seafood stall in the neighbourhood. Maybe it is not the season and that last time was probably in August. So far, I only saw those farmed ones and at times, the cheaper teng khak (hard shell) ones that I am not really fond of – they taste fine but they have a somewhat strong smell.
I went again that morning and no, she did not have any. I did not want any fish as I still had some in my freezer so I went over to the fresh mini-mart beside the stall in the main building to see if there was anything of interest to me.
Much to my delight, I saw these paku (wild jungle fern)…
I liked how they made the stalks stand in a basin with a bit of water at the bottom for customers to take the amount they wanted and go over to the cashier’s counter to weigh and pay.
These paku and also its distant cousin, the midin, will make their appearances at the neighbourhood vegetable stall and shop in the next lane from my house very rarely and of course, I would grab them the instant I see them. I guess I can go to the jungle produce section at the Sibu Central Market but that is a high risk zone and seeing how all the clusters in the state are all the rumahs (longhouses) and kampungs (villages), I certainly would avoid any close proximity with those ethnic sellers.
Besides, they are not very honest – they will tie the ferns in bundles, wrap them with some jungle leaves and tie and when you get home and open, you will find the not-so-nice ones hidden in the middle and those would have to be thrown away, may God forgive them.
I took what I wanted and that cost me RM2.50. They were selling it at RM4.50 a kilo here and what I bought was enough for a plate…
…fried with sambal hay bee/udang kering (dried prawns) for lunch and dinner.
We had that with this awesome dish of ayam masak merah…
…that my missus cooked from scratch and the lovely nasi biryani…
…using the packet of mixed spices and ingredients from MAGGI. Yes, it was very nice, bursting with the fragrances of all the spices in it. We certainly would buy more to keep and cook whenever we feel like having more of this.
Yes, that is the amount of rice I eat per meal these days and never mind how nice the food may be, a second helping is strictly not allowed as I am on a low-carb diet. My life sure is so miserable, isn’t it? Sobsss!!!
Anyway, on my way back to the car that morning, the nice and generous lady from the fish & seafood stall called out to me and came over to give me this…
– some salted fish that she made herself. Hopefully, she will have some prawns for sale soon so I can buy from her.
The fish & seafood stall and the CCL FRESH MINI MARKET are located at the end of the block to the right of the Grand Wonderful Hotel (2.309601, 111.845163) along Jalan Pipit, off Jalan Dr Wong Soon Kai.
22 thoughts on “Not available…”
That plate of paku fried with sambal hay bee is to die for. Wow, the salted fish…😋🤤. I prefer ayam masak hitam more to ayam masak merah. I still have a tube of Liza brand ayam masak hitam paste bought sometime ago. Will be cooking soon. Indeed a nice and delightful lunch and dinner.
I love masak hitam but the ladies in the house do not like it, dunno why. That is why we never cook that anymore. Sometimes, when eating out last time, I would ask for it.
My missus’ masak merah is nice, a little on the sour side, more asam – the ones outside, not all are good. Most are usually very sweet, like tomato sauce.
I wish we can get paku here in KL
You can! I guess you do not frequent those places where they sell these. I see them cooking these all the time in the local cooking shows on TV and the other day, I was so surprised to see two guys cooking midin – the leafy ones that people here are not that fond of…and they called it paku too!!! We prefer the crunchy and very sweet curls, so nice!!!
I love paku pakis. Haven’t eaten for a long time. Used to order this when we dine-in in restaurants. Can’t find this in my area, only can find in the main wet market in town. Drooling over the paku pakis, ayam masak merah and nasi briyani. I must look out for the Maggi mixed spices for briyani.
We can order midin at the Chinese restaurants and chu-char stalls but not paku. Paku, only at the Malay nasi campur shops and stalls sometimes.
These are easily available at the main wet market here too, the jungle produce section but that place has been listed as HIGH RISK even though they have the ruling, all sellers must be vaccinated and only those vaccinated allowed to enter. Still, so many cases!!! You will not see me there.
I am not a fan of strong-smelling seafood either.
There are recipes using ingredients that may drown out the smell but some folks seem quite comfortable with it – like the fishy smell in Penang laksa or the ikan tongkol in nasi dagang. I guess it would just take a bit of getting used to…like belacan (dried prawn paste), for instance. I love that! LOL!!!
After all of these years, I still find the smell of belacan overwhelming strong.
I bet you don’t know the awesome ones from Bintulu here, so good…but the West Malaysian teachers here don’t like it – they prefer their own Penang or Melaka ones.
Lucky you! Your missus is cooking up a storm. Ayam masak merah and nasi biryani has got my mouth watering!
I’m sure you would love the paku with sambal hay bee too! All good that day, we sure enjoyed everything!
Don’t think we have jungle fern in Johor either.
So I would really love to try this.
Paku is easily available in the peninsula, always see recipes in Malay cuisine. They say midin is not found there but that day, I saw on TV, two guys cooking midin leaves (but they call it paku) – here, we go for the crunchy and very sweet curls, nobody goes for the leaves but actually, they are nice too.
At one time, everyone was talking about people in Kuching exporting midin to Singapore – with the pandemic raging on and on, dunno if they still do.
I prefer midin than paku. But don’t mind it with belacan or hay bee sometime.
So nice of the lady to give you salted fish. Looked clean.
Me too, midin is nicer, crunchier and sweeter but I like paku too. More than a lot of other vegetables plus they are organic, wild ferns!
Yes, she is very nice and generous. So shy lah, she always gives me things.
Until now I am still craving for those ferns, hopefully I can find something here soon
You will have to look for undeveloped jungle areas where lots of ferns grow wild. LOL!!!