September 17, 2010

Central Market Open Stalls - Down Memory Lane

In 1987 I moved my young family to Miri . It was like plucking a growing potato vine from Sibu and replanting it in  a new and strange cosmopolitan town where even the common language was not our own. And Hakka as a dialect was like Spanish to us.  However we slowly adapted like other immigrants in spite of all the odds facing us.

One very special and happy memory that we had was our Friday midday trip to this conglomeration of open stalls near the central market for our special hawker lunch. It was a treat for both myself and my children. Sometimes my own colleagues would join me and my children learned a lot from our conversation.It was good for children to converse with very sensible adults from a young age.

This place has always been called by us as our Central Market Open Air Mee and Rice Stalls. Here we had our weekly noodles or pork rice. One of my friends would always order the special kueh tiaw with egg sauce because it reminded her of Ipoh Huat Dan Hor. In those days we were paying 2.50 a plate. Now it is around RM4.00 or an ordinary char siew rice.

Many of the stall owners after twenty years have passed on their business to their children. However man of the names are still the same. But many of the young boys were then  helping their parents. However a few of older "touts" are still there (another posting on them).There is this special man who receives guests at the entrance and gets us to sit at the first char siew pork stall. He is really quite unique. And of course we will sit at the first stall. If we wanted the Kolo Mee we would sit at the Lam's or the Pretty Lady's Stall.

The pretty lady serving Wan Tan is still there and she never seems to grow older!! Her old father Mr. Lam is still around and waving to old customers.

And the special drink that my children liked was sugar cane water. Today the family stall has a new signboard. And people from diverse ethnic backgrounds would still patronise it.

This is the stall that offers hot drinks as well as cold drinks. My lovely Kopi with a large tablespoon of condensed milk comes from here.

BBQ pork tastes the same after more than 20 years.

Here's a whole braised pig can order RM5.00 worth of pig head skin (tu tou pui) and enjoy a great lunch.

Tables are still the same except that the floor is now covered with lovely green and white mosaic.

Beautiful pork belly - roasted duck - and their family's own pork sausages freshly made for the day.

Two kinds of chicken - white steamed - and crispy roasted chicken.

5 Spice Pork - juicy and tasty...

Rice with a slather of soy sauce and pork slices.....Perfect lunch for RM4.00. (In Perth this plate would cost Aus $9.90.)

Iban mother with three children having lunch and drinks. See the little girl there? She reminds me of my own daughters.Customers are given a choice of chopsticks and spoons or forks and spoons. So do not worry if you cannot handle chopsticks.

Hot and cold drinks stall.

One happy customer with his plated noodles and a glass of cooling herbal tea or lian teh.

Here is Ang's Shop or Ah Tu's bbq pork.

Gerai is Malay word for Shop or Stall....and the owner uses Apai Achi ( Iban Language) for his stall's signboard...Very interesting and friendly. Very cross cultural linguistically.

this place is where you find many of the Sarawakian races coming together to eat and enjoy lunch. There is no cultural shock for any one here as every one is welcome warmly. And no one would be discriminated against. The stall operators are very friendly to all races for they know any one's money is good money. And you can it again they have been doing their business here for almost three generations.

Prices are very reasonable and the pork is always fresh because next door is the fresh pork stalls.

Business has never seen any down turn. And what is their secret? Business with a smile for all races.....and once in a while you will get to meet the original stall operators who are already in their 80's!! Most of them have not moved to better places or bigger complexes. This has been their microcosm of life. They are family within a larger family. And they do look out for each other.

That's what I call HERITAGE PLACE.....

They get Four Hearts and Four Thumbs from me.......


Ann said...

what is your understanding of the names that Chinese give to their business? We couldn't think of any business named after the owner. As opposed to the Ang Mos.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Chinese gave good names to their businesses...and the Foochows would start with Hock Hua Bank...or Hock Chu Huo (The Foochows together have Cooperation) etc... Chip Siong in Miri has a very auspicious name e.g. Lucky and Prosperous... or Simply Wong Kee (Wong's Shop)...the Chinese seldom name their shops after a place and never a woman. But today ladies have their shops named after themselves e.g. Lily's Place. Annie Little Kitchen...(All in English)...It is indeed interesting to analyse how people name their shops or businesses. thanks.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Legal firms have to be named after the owners...e.g. David Teng and Co.
There was this Lau Tiong Ik and Sons too - a construction company.
And later timber companies like Lau Swee Nguong and Sons sprouted up.
"Brothels" in Miri were called Monica Lodging House and MayFlower Inn. Very female names. kekeke..Wonder if Brooke Inn has a bad reputation...just wondering.
Cheers. Very interesting indeed.

Anonymous said...

Hi....haven't been to your blog for sometime....just came back to

must go here as soon as possible.Will always go to the first pork shop and have wantan soup to go with the meat...ymu yum

nice post which is good reminder we must not lose track of our first love and first shop...t.q. v. m.

Justin....still haven't done my blog yet....need lessons from you.

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