May 30, 2010

Cikgu Kok of Kuala Belait and Nasi Katoki

I love listening to stories of brave pioneers who crossed seas to seek their fortunes.

Cikgu Kok a familiar and lovable retired National Language teacher of Kuala Belait (Brunei) is the son of such a pioneer. His father sailed in a small boat across South China Sea and landed on Brunei soils just before the Second World War. He worked the oil fields and every other job available. Finally he had enough money to send for a wife . Cikgu Kok was born in Brunei.

From young he was enrolled in a Malay language school where he cultivated a love for the language and especially Jawi.

He later trained as a teacher and helped many students to master the National language besides passing the Jawi component. Those who set for the Citizenship Test also obtained help from Cikgu Kok. Cikgu Kok himself has a Yellow IC - his pride and honour.

These days as a retired teacher (He told me that "we teachers can never grow rich - but we have just enough to eat") he goes around looking for friends like the fishermen on the beach to chat with and food to enjoy. My friends often say that if you find Cikgu Kok in one shop the food there must be nice. You don't need a GPS when he around. He knows his directions very well.

He told us that one of the stories related to the name Nasi Katok came from the Indonesian word "tok tok" which is the sound of two bamboo sticks hitting each other. Pedlars in Indonesia would beat the bamboo as they walked from place to place selling their tasty home cooked nasi bungkus in the past. Thus their rice came to be known as Nasi Katok. Do you have another origin of the name?

Nasi Katok from this home (Haji Yusuf) is excellent. The chicken is succulent and the rice adequate. I liked the bamboo shoot and the soup (which was beef stock) to which I added lots of spring onions. You can ask for extra sambal and I think that was charged. Otherwise the Nasi Katok here is the same as anywhere else in Brunei - Only Bru$1.00 . You cannot get anything better than this nasi katok and at this special prize.

this is the entrance to the nice little (8 tables) Nasi Katok outlet. It is in Seria. Hope you can find it.

I am sure our friendly Cikgu Kok can bring you there. He is such a remarkable man and always a teacher. He will entertain you with very educating kinds of stories.

He is related to one of my friends by marriage. Thus he is very often seen in Miri too....enjoying breakfast or lunch!!


Ann said...

My tourist guide in Brunei asked proudly where else in the world can you get $1 for rice katox?

later, my friends told me rice is subsidized in Brunei. So eat your fill.

I was taken to the Tourist market free courtesy Royal brunei airlines lasy July.

Ah Ngao said...

hard to believe but then,it's true.waa..the food looks yummy.i won't forget this if i ever go to Brunei,must try man

fufu said...

wow i wanna try nasi katok after reading this... i like the history behind it

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Ann
Yes that's right...Nasi Katok is almost a national dish in Brunei...and because the rice is subsidised by the government the hawkers can sell at $1.00. No I do not think I find nasi bungkus as $1.00 any where in this world!! Thanks to a wonderful Sultan...May he reign long....

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Ah Ngao....You must try nasi katok...and I will source more for you now that I am on the Nasi Katok trail in Brunei...May be I should give you Cikgu Kok's phone number!! Cheers.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Fufu...

I think there are several stories behind Nasi Katok...the sambal in its varieties is actually very nice. I like the ones which have more onion paste.....You must visit Brunei...and Temburong has a pristine wild life sanctuary and resort...good river too. you can float down a part of the river on an inner tube!!


Ann said...

Do you remember our History lesson about the Emergency in Malaysia, The Govt found people smuggling uncooked rice in the cylinders of the bicycle to the communist in the jungle.

I read something about smuggling bicycles in Germany.

May be your risk smuggling rice from Brunei.

My uncles also tell me the petrol is very cheap there, and I read some people also risk their life trying to smuggle petrol

Sarawakiana@2 said...

No one dare to take the risk to smuggle petrol and rice now over the border. The penalty is too heavy...a few expensive cars had been confiscated together with the rice and petrol in the past. So people are weary. Sometimes even rice from Limbang or Lawas cannot get through the border...

The stories about the Foochows putting rice in the bicycle tyres were plentiful!!

Haven't heard about smuggling bicycles in Germany!!

Smugglers are bound to appear in places where customs officers are corrupt...and coast guards very careless...

But God fearing and law abiding citizens like those in Brunei are really careful. I am afraid I cannot say about many Non-Bruneians.

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