Take it for granted…

All our lives, we called it sai seng in Hokkien…

…even though it might not be a very flattering name but in our house, it was more commonly called ikan buris, probably by virtue of the fact that my maternal grandma was a Melanau. We never bothered to find out whether that was in Malay or Melanau – we just took it for granted and assumed it was the name of the fish in both languages and enjoyed eating in various ways – deep-fried, masak rebus (boiled as a soup dish)…

masak kunyit (cooked as a soup dish with tumeric), wrapped in/with leaves and grilled…

…cooked with durian mantak (unripened durian)…

…and one thing I would say is that never mind how we would cook it, it was going to be nice.

The other day, however, I managed to get hold of some at a shop here but the lady called it ikan lajong which to me, would be a different kind of fish altogether. My cousin in Kuching said that buris was the name in Melanau – we just used that name happily, never bothered as to what language it actually was.

Come to think of it, Malaysia is a multi-racial country. There are so many things all around us that we are familiar with – the types of fish, for instance or the different varieties of vegetables. We may know the more popularly known ones by sight or we may know the names but we never bothered to check as to whether those would be the real/correct names or not, or what language they are in actually.

The other day, for instance, I featured the kasam ensabi kepayang in my blogpost and my friend, Irene, in Kuching had no idea what on earth I was taking about…

*Photo taken from Ruai Aku’s Facebook post*

Well, I don’t blame her for that because before my girl was posted to that jungle school in Selangau, I too did not know what ensabi was. It is actually a very bitter vegetable that they preserve/pickle, thus called kasam ensabi. I do enjoy eating the fresh ones but I prefer the kasam which is something like our preserved/fermented vegetables…

*Photo from Ruai Aku’s Facebook page*

…but nicer. Incidentally, buah kepayang is buah keluak, very popular in the nyonya/peranakan cuisine.

Another name that I used to assume wrongly before was the daun Bandong

*Photo from Ruai Aku Facebook post*

…the leaves of the tapioca plant. I had always called it Bandong hiok (leaves) from small, thinking that it was the name until an Iban friend of mine asked me what that was – it seemed that they called it daun empasa while the Malays call it daun ubi.

I love eating these leaves, fried with ikan bilis (dried anchovies) just like that but my mum would cook it as a soup dish with ikan buris – that was so very nice! For one thing, they must be pounded or blended till real fine prior to cooking as they can be quite tough and a chore to chew. For one thing, they must be cooked a long time to remove the lead or whatever and also the green smell – that was why I did not like the one I tried here.

Of course, these are just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many other things, all so very nice and eating them can be an experience to behold even though we may not have seen them, much less tried them before. There is a very good place here at a coffee shop in town, inexpensive and they have quite a variety that one may want to try. As they say, one is never too old to learn so do drop by to see if there is anything that is of interest to you. I, for one, would drop by regularly time and time again to tapao some of their very nice dishes home for our lunch or dinner.


*Photo from Ruai Aku Facebook post*

is located below Eden Inn (2.285223, 111.831256) along Jalan Maju right across the road from the Rejang Esplanade.

Author: suituapui

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

5 thoughts on “Take it for granted…”

  1. The deep fried ikan buris looks like “bay ka hu” after fried. I have never tasted daun Bandong either. Do you know that long beans leaves can be eaten too?. I just learn from my friend recently and have my first try 2 days ago. Like cangkuk manis it has to be tear to bits and pieces before cooking. Fried just with ikan bilis/hay bee and it tastes great. Only 2 types of leaves I ever tasted, sweet potatoes leaves and long beans leaves.

    1. I’ve tried cucumber leaves, very bitter but get the young ones from the Dayak jungle produce market. Very nice. Used to enjoy sweet potato leaves, sick of it already.

      1. By the way, bandong leaves cooked with lots of ginger and chicken taste like kacangma minus the white wine. Never tried adding tuak – may be nice!

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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