When we are spoilt for fresh food from the farms nearby and the supermarkets we easily forget the salt fish monger and what he can offer.
And muang ngii is a salted fish many people have forgotten. Some even call it a thing of the past because of health reasons. But then I feel that once in a while we must taste the food of our forefathers in order to remember our roots.
Here's the Miri salt fish monger (one of the few men) who shows me a portion of a very long salted eel.
This is the skin side. Hope you can recognise the fish (fresh or salted)
Salted mustard green - a staple soup ingredient for the Foochows.
Kong Chai (literally jar vegetable) salted mustard greens/cabbage
Salted jelly fish - we Foochows like to eat this at least once a month. It is often served as an appetizer at banquets. The Thais love it in their salad!!
My comfort zone will always include my personal salt fish monger who will tell you tales of the old days and the problems of the present day. He could be the friend you need most on wet days or the wet season!! (when no vegetables can grace your table and no fresh see food can be bought - you will have to devise good meals with his expert guidance e.g. toufoo with salt fish and kiam chye with some meat and of course salted muang ngii or eel bones with winter melon or old cucumber.)
P/s Making the salted fish bone stock : you must always soak the muang ngii bones for at least a whole morning before using them for soup to get rid of the saltiness. And then boil the bones in water for a short while. through away that first water and then start boiling again until the flesh can come off the bones. Then it is time to throw in your vegetables for the soup. Cheers.
This post is dedicated to all the friendly salt fish mongers in my life - whether in Sibu or Miri!! Thanks!