We’re different…

I was looking for a suitable title for my blogpost today and I came across this not-very-new Chinese song, 我們不一樣 (woe mern pu yi yang) or in English, we are not the same or we’re different.

I suppose that is exactly we can say about what we called tapioca a.k.a. cassava, the more common white variety and the coveted yellow ones. In Malay, it is called ubi kayu, kayu meaning wood, probably because of its appearance – it does look like wood when you dig the tuber out from under the ground…

I stumbled upon some that day and I asked the old man selling it whether that was the white or the yellow variety. He said it was yellow so of course, upon hearing that, I wanted to buy some right away.

It did look as if there were two types but the old man said that he washed and dried some of the roots so they looked nice and clean…

…but those would not last as long as the ones left unwashed. I did not know when my missus would want to cook it so I picked all the not-so-nice-looking earth-covered ones.

He was selling it at only RM3.50 a kilo and when I shared that bit of information on Facebook, an ex-student of mine, now a fruit vendor in Kuching, said that it is tagged at RM5.00 a kilo there, so much more expensive.

As soon as I got home, my missus washed and peeled it right away…

…and boiled it in water, adding a bit of salt to it.

At this stage, it was still not so obvious that it was going to be yellow, not until it was cooked…

Then only would one be able to see very clearly its difference from the white ones…

…and one bite into it would tell you how much richer and creamier and nicer these yellow ones are!

Of course, there was a lot of excitement when I shared the photograph on Facebook – all kinds of suggestions started pouring in. Somebody said that we could make a cake with it with santan (coconut milk), what we call chiew chu koi in Hokkien – the Malays call that bingka ubi

My late mum used to make this a lot during my growing up years but personally, I prefer eating it just like that, dipped in gula apong (Sarawak’s nipah palm sugar)

We would dilute the sugar with a bit of lard so it would be easier to dip the tapioca in it…

…and eat and of course, it would also bring the taste up to a whole new level.

If I may digress a bit here, we also eat durian flesh , seeds removed, mixed with lard and sago pellets or saguk. They call it samui, probably the name of that concoction in Melanau and it is the favourite of many, not necessarily mine though.

Going back to the tapioca, a friend said that it would be nice eaten with desiccated coconut and sugar. I’ve never eaten it like that but when there was no gula apong in the house, I would just dip it in sugar and eat. Of course, that is out of the question now that I am on a low sugar diet!

We certainly enjoyed eating what I bought that day so needless to say, I shall not hesitate to buy some more should I happen to see any for sale anywhere again. The old man also had a whole lot of unripe papayas for sale that day (probably some strong wind blew his tree down) – it did not cross my mind at the time but when I got home, it dawned upon me that I could have bought one or two to make some som tam, the very nice Thai papaya salad. Ah well! Another time perhaps!

Author: suituapui

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

6 thoughts on “We’re different…”

  1. How I miss tapioca! They don’t sell them here at big supermarkets.
    Thou, you can find orange flesh sweet potatoes.
    You know what I miss from home right now? Momochacha!
    Got yam, tapioca, coconut milk! Just so yummy.

    Also, I miss fried tapioca sweet pancakes! Do you have these in Sibu too?

    1. No, and we do not have tapioca in bubur cacar, just yam, sweet potatoes.
      These days, we have purple sweet potatoes. The Japanese & Filipino varieties are very nice.

  2. These days yellow tapioca are hard to come by. Lucky you can get them. They taste alot better than the white ones. I prefer to have them boiled or steamed and dip in kaya or sugar to eat rather than make into chiew chu koi.

    Yes, I wonder why. It has been a long time since I last came across any yellow ones. Dunno why it is so rare. We never make chiew chu koi – my mum used to make in our growing up years. These days, I would just buy if I see any at the kuih stalls – a piece or two, more than enough.

  3. I prefer the kuih. Bingka ubi than the boiled ubi. Long time did not eat the kuih. Nothing cheap now over here. Just heard over radio this morning on shortage of chicken, and increases in chicken feed. Sigh. Expected increase in price of chicken.

    Yes, no chicken at some states – the sellers use the excuse that their chickens are still too small, not ready for sale yet. No flour either…and the price of cooking oil is going up and up and up…and Gawai is round the corner. I bet they will feel the pinch!!!

    No problem getting really good bingka ubi here (unlike serimuka) – I am sure you can get it at a lot of places in Kuching, nyonya kuih haven!!!

  4. Ooh, I love tapioca. For me, just soft boiled is the best. But in Venezuela, we also eat it deep fried with a local green sauce called guasacaca.

    Oh? Interesting! I wish I could try that!

  5. My favourite and easiest way is just to boil in water and salt. I prefer to eat it plain, just like that.

    That’s what I do now, since I am on a low sugar diet. Gula apong is all right for people with diabetes though but I do not have any in the house and I do not intend to go out and buy, eat a bit and get stuck with a pot full in the fridge till God knows when.

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 sibutuapui@yahoo.com

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