So wet…

It has been so very wet lately – it sure looks like we’re getting a lot more rain than usual these days. Not too long ago, the downpour was so heavy that most of the town was submerged in water. Even my house compound was flooded and praise the Lord, it abated just before the water went over the edge of the door to go into the house.

Most of the time, it will rain in the middle of the night and will go on till mid-morning or around lunchtime. On other days, it will start mid-afternoon and drag on till night. At times like these, my heart goes out to those running their businesses at their roadside stalls like my favourite fish & seafood stall in the morning not far from my house or this Chinese pancake or ban chang kuih (慢煎糕)/apam balik stall in the next lane in the afternoon.

I remember once, a long time ago, I went to the shops in the neighbourhood at 4 something to buy something that I needed. It rained heavily before that but thankfully, it stopped. When I reached the car park, the ban chang kuih guy was putting up his canopy and setting up his stall. That was way past his usual time at around 3.00 p.m. and at 5 something, before 6.00 p.m. he would have to close his stall here and shift to the pasar malam (night market) to continue selling there.

He told me he was sitting in his van the whole time, the poor thing, waiting for the rain to stop. What if it did not stop, I wondered. On another occasion, I dropped by the pasar malam one evening and everyone was ready to start when the rain came suddenly and I was thinking to myself – what would happen to all the things that the hawkers had prepared for sale…or the ingredients if they were those stalls that would do the cooking on the spot? Would they have to throw everything away? That would be so sad, wouldn’t it?

Well, it rained heavily here in the afternoon for a few days in a row but that day, the weather was all right. I noticed that we had run out of fruits in the house so I decided to hop over to the fruits & vegetables sundry shop in the next lane to buy some – my girl will need those especially as she is not so into vegetables. I am not into fruits so much these days unlike before when I would eat a lot of bananas and papayas because I am on a low-sugar diet.

I saw that the ban chang kuih stall on the pavement beside the shop was open for the day…

…but there did not seem to be any business at all.

The stoves were in full swing…

…and there were some of the kuih, all ready for the taking…

I decided to buy a few pieces – the ladies in the house enjoy eating them while I would have to refrain from indulging in them as they do sprinkle sugar in them before folding them up and removing them from the copper pans so I just bought one for myself and two for each of them.

Personally, I am not a fan of these, especially the thick ones. These paper-thin crispy ones are fine when hot but if you do not eat them right away, once they are cold, the texture becomes different. They turn rubbery and I’m afraid I find them quite unpalatable when they become like that…and they do not come cheap!!! I remember them going for 70 sen a piece but that day, I had to fork out 80 sen for one.

I would much sooner go for the chai peah (vegetable fritters) – the ones at this stall, 5 for RM2.00 would rank among the top when it comes to my favourites in town. I think the ones here

…are the best but the old couple come real early in the morning and everything will be sold out by around 8.00 a.m. and since I do not usually venture out of the house that early, I would rather drop by here in the afternoon for the ones this guy sells.

That day, I spotted the bingka ubi (tapioca cake)…

…and I remember that I did buy some before, also 5 for RM2.00 and they were really very good. Unfortunately, for want of some quality control, they were not so lemak (rich with santan/coconut milk) that day but I liked how they were kurang manis (sugar reduced), not too bad for somebody on a low-sugar diet like me.

When I shared the photo on Facebook, my friend, Annie in KL, spotted the tee peang on the left- she misses those…but I feel these aren’t all that nice, just like the ones I bought from the aforementioned old couple selling the very nice chai peah. The ones at the fruits & vegetables sundry shop beside the stall are nicer but they are only available in the morning or you can buy the ones here in the morning or at their stall at the pasar malam at night.

I wonder what those on the right are called. My missus bought them once because the chai peah was sold out and we enjoyed them a lot. They tasted like chai peah but they were around half an inch thick and thus, were not thin and crispy and if I remember correctly, there were a few strands of taugeh (bean sprouts) in each of them. I think I shall buy those the next time I drop by and blog about it.

The or koi (yam cake) from this stall was just so-so, not anything to get excited about either but we did enjoy the ham chim beng (Chinese cinnamon rolls)- that is another thing I shall buy next time. My missus loves it!

And talking about the chai peah being sold out, my friend dropped by the stall a couple of days after I shared the above photos on Facebook at around 7.00 p.m. and again, they were all sold out!!! As a matter of fact, from the photo that he took, I could see that most of the kuihs laid out at the front of the stall were all sold out – there wasn’t much left…

I guess that is a good sign – we do need to render our support in any way we can to these local businesses in these trying times.

For the uninitiated, the guy would come at around 2.30 p.m. (before 3) and he would start setting up his stall. You can buy all the kuihs he brings along with him then but no, there would not be any ban chang kuih until he is good and ready. He doesn’t go over to the pasar malam anymore like what I had mentioned earlier – he told me his mother would be there but the other day, somebody shared a video clip on Youtube but I only saw some young guys at the stall, no old lady. I guess he will be around here till he has managed to sell most of everything before calling it a day but of course, if you go later, there will not be much of anything left.

The Chinese pancake or ban chang kuih (慢煎糕) stall is located on the five-foot way in front of the TCM clinic between Kim Won Chinese Medical Store and Mini-supermarket and Swee Hung (2.316161, 111.840441) along Jalan Ruby, in the block of shops on the right – next to a hair salon at the extreme end.