Remember how we started…

I do remember that New Year’s Day last year (2021) fell on a Friday so we had Bovril mee sua instead of our usual – the longevity noodles served in traditional Foochow red wine and ginger chicken soup to start off the brand new year.

Well, this year, it was on a Saturday but no, we did not have it first thing in the morning as usually, I am the only one in the house who gets up at the break of dawn. We had it…

…for lunch instead and yes, we did invite my sister to join us.

Incidentally, I came across this article online: New Year’s food traditions around the world and at No. 6 is soba noodles from Japan. According to the writer, “In Japanese households, families eat buckwheat soba noodles, or toshikoshi soba, at midnight on New Year’s Eve to bid farewell to the year gone by and welcome the year to come. The tradition dates back to the 17th century, and the long noodles symbolize longevity and prosperity.

That sure sounds similar to our Chinese (Foochow) traditional practice of eating mee sua on New Year’s Day, something we would do without fail every year and also during Chinese New Year, as well as on birthdays, weddings, engagements and anniversaries.

Moving away from the mee sua, I got these bottles of sambal

…from my sis. She bought them from a friend who was selling these at a church fund-raising food sale in Kuching and she passed them to me to let me have a go. They are made at Kota Samarahan in Kuching, DOKU brand from the Doku Biotechnology Industries Sdn. Bhd. there (tel.: +60198880612).

I tried the sambal serai ikan bilis (lemon grass & dried anchovies)…

…on toast…

…and yes, I loved it!

However, I thought it was a bit too sweet, something like acar limau (lime pickle) so I should go slow on it…

…considering that I am on a low-sugar diet.

I did try the other bottle, the sambal with bunga kantan (torch ginger flower) and it was not sweet, more to the savoury side but one may be put off by the taste and fragrance of the flower – I would say it is an acquired taste. We are used to it and actually, my missus prefers this one to the other.

She took it to cook this meat dish…

…that day and boy, it was really awesome, so very nice! It had that exotic taste typical of Thai or Vietnamese cuisines and we sure loved it a lot!

Now, there’s only half a bottle left – I wonder if these sambals are available at our local stores or not. Both do not have that unpleasant smell that I can usually detect in factory-made sambals, never mind canned or bottled – that is why I would not buy those as the smell puts me off. The only bone that I have to pick with these two is how come the ikan bilis (dried anchovies) in that first one is so black in colour.

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

11 thoughts on “Remember how we started…”

  1. Looking at the dish cooked with the sambal with bunga kantan, it does looks good but maybe not for me if there is an acquired taste. I might like the sambal serai ikan bilis.

    You will love that if you like acar limau, not so sour, more like sweet and sour…very nice!

  2. We have no special tradition to follow on New Year Day. I am the only one in the family that loves mee sua and the foochow red wine chicken mee sua. Hubby will enjoy the red wine chicken but not the mee sua. I too wonder why the anchovies is black in colour.

    I love the mee sua and the soup and the egg, not so much the chicken. LOL!!! The ikan bilis did not look like it was over-fried, dunno why it turned black.

  3. Never noticed this brand of sambal.

    Nothing special on New Year this year. Blog post on it coming up.

    I noticed crowds everywhere on our way home that evening. Luckily, it was all right where we went. There was just another table of around 6-8 people in the outer section when we left.
    There are a lot of bottled sambals at the shops, from Cosway too, if I am not wrong but usually those factory-made ones have a smell that I do not like…like Yeo’s canned ikan bilis, for one.

  4. We Hakka folks do not have anything special on Angmoh New Year’s day.
    But I do use ikan bilis in sambal. Here it’s not cheap to buy dried shrimps, have to use them sparingly. Ha ha!
    Also lemongrass is not cheap either, back in my little kampung, they grow like weed along the roadside.

    1. Same here, no problem growing serai…but have to trim it all the time or it will go out of control.
      Both ikan bilis and dried shrimps are VERY expensive here too these days, eating gold!
      The Foochows will eat mee sua first thing in the morning on Chinese New Year’s Day so we sort of borrowed that and do the same every New Year’s Day.

  5. Hi Arthur, my name is Diana, from Kuching. I actually know the people behind DOKU. Let me try to get info of how to get the sambal in Sibu ya. I’ll get back to you as soon as i hear back from them.

    Thank you. If you can let me know where their products are available for sale off the shelves in Kuching, I can easily get somebody to go and buy and send to me. Appreciate your help.

    1. Good morning! You may contact Ms. Jennifer at 012-809 6388 for the yummy sambals!. She’s based in Sibu 🙂 Have a good day ahead!

      OK, thanks for your help. Much obliged!

  6. Noodle soups is a must for New Year! Happy New Year to you and your family

    Our tradition, our customary practice. Thanks and the same to you and yours too!

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own. For food and other reviews, you may email me at

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