December 14, 2011

Red Faced Ducks @ Tamu Kedayan (Miri)

In December every year my mother would start worrying about getting a duck for the winter solstice festival or Turn Chek. Duck soup with mee sua was a special treat for all of us. And we really looked forward to the festival.

She could have a duck from our own back yard if she had been successful in rearing some during the year or she could buy a duck from the wet market which would be so much easier then. However she would save the $1.00 fee for feather plucking and all of us girls would gather together to pluck the feathers and use tweezers to pluck out the finer feathers..Ducks were really hard to dress!!

We had renegades in the family mind you....

But then the duck meat soup and the mee sua would be so memorable that we would forget the hardwork we put in. Today we call this social fun as "bonding". In the old days it was just sibling chores and perhaps just obedience.... But sometimes my mother would just shoo us off because we were doing a very bad job...she would say.."Go and study...let me do...can do faster...keli kelak (Foochow for talkativeness or chattiness)..nothing gets done....!!" But in retrospection kitchen work was so much more fun than work!!

Perhaps I was really learning about "effective habits from the kitchen". Do work quietly and efficiently and quickly...in record breaking time...

The red faced duck or Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata) is a large duck native to Mexico and Central and South America. But it has really found favour with the Foochows of Sibu. I am wondering whether the other races like this duck as much as we do. The Ibans are beginning to raise them in their villages.

I was this age when we moved from Pulau Kerto to live in Sibu Town..and my mother's herd of ducks  disappeared from our lives. Her ducks would swim in the high tide and we would fear the snakes coming in the evenings..and at low tide the ducks would be so happy foraging in the mud! We would watch all these from the stair case! These white ducks with yellow beaks are called Pekin Ducks or Chuong Nguang and they love to dip themselves beak down in the water to look for food. (Hence dabbing ducks). The scientific name for this kind of duck is Mallard. And they are found all over the world and in Sarawak.
We buy ducks like this in the towns of Sarawak...all wrapped up..Wrapped Cash and Carry!!
Three Happy ducks..posing for me..."How are you? How's your mother?"
This is one awesome male Muscovy duck...red faced duck which is handsome and is top of the peck!! This is easily 4 kg. If you cannot speak Iban (the lady duck farmer is Iban) you can see for yourself that 4.0 kg is written on the newspaper and all you have to do is RM16x 4= RM62.00 !! Pay up or try to bargain..and get it a round figure of RM60.00...Some foochows love to eat the red comb of the duck and find it exotic and gelatiny....Do you think that it will really give one longevity?

So whenever I see sights or scenes of ducks in the market at the end of the year...it is a sign that the Winter Solstice is here...and mums would be getting their longevity noodles ready for dads to come home to....
Winter Solstice Festival is another reunion for families....for fathers to come home from work away from home or from Imperial Examinations in the olden days....and Tang Yuen would be boiled to sweeten the mouths of the children.....

Happy Winter Solstice Festival!!

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

what are these? do we call them chai ahk in Foochow?

sarawakiana said...

Hi...Chai Ahk are the brown thin ones...these are chuong ngoung and buang chai or buong wang...(the yellow ones) if I am not mistaken...the English or scientific names have been given. The Malays call the red faced ducks Serati.

Anonymous said...

I thought that the red faced ducks are the chuong nguang. Chai ahk can also be white and the females are good in laying eggs and also used as cooling soup for kids with measles

Anonymous said...

we used to rear ducks just directly under our floor board cos our houses were on stilts and built along the river bank along the Long bridge..the bridge was of wooden planks all along ...my mom reared all sorts of ducks being kept in one pen with floating logs as their abode during the night...chicken were hard to reared cos of constant flooding
those ducks were real organic and tasted so lovely...esp done in lor ark style

sarawakiana said...

Hi..Yes you are correct..the red faced ones are the chuong Nguang..or the Muscovy..the chai ark are good for post measles treatment and for laying of eggs.

sarawakiana said...

Yes I remember the Long Bridge houses..I think it was a grand idea to rear ducks there..I saw the same thing in Kalimantan where ducks were kept in cages built on logs and these cages rose and fell with the level of the water...Chickens drown very easily because they cannot swim... The buang wang (white ones) dip into the water almost perpendicularly...they really remind me of the synchornised aqua dancers /Olympic aqua athletes...perfectly graceful!! Very tasty!!

Ann said...

I used to keep these ducks, and I was embarrassed when your uncle CC Chang asked me what I was collecting the water weeds for.

Little did I know, I was already an organic duck farmer. LOL

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Ann...oh dear...you and your mum...like mum were such organic duck farmers...it was really the local council that stopped all these home animal rearing...now in the UK..allotments have re-started home gardens etc...how we go in circles!! We really need to be independent and grow our own pesticide free veg and fruits!! and animals!!

Ann said...

heheheh,
I was told the urban duck rearing cause the bird flu.

In Auckland, I found out you can keep 6 hens, not roosters. The house across the road had probably 6 hens, but it borders the main road. When the wind blows, the awful smell drifts to my house, and there are lots of flies.

So as the compliant queen, I complained.

I was think, back then in Sibu, my mum and I were keeping chicken. Even Dr Soon Kai too.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Ann..I love the last sentence!!

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