July 31, 2011

Pisang Susu Lembut (Soft Milk Banana)

Living partially in Brunei gives me an opportunity to be very adventurous in savouring different kinds of food and especially fruits.

some time ago I met head on with a very stumpy and fairly pricey bunch of bananas (By Malaysian standard)....
True enough as the proprietor said...these bananas are as soft as  a woman's breasts....




And they are heavy too....



For a bunch of 10 I paid Brunei 3.10. (approximately 8 Malaysian ringgit.)...So if in the future you have a chance to eat this Brunei banana please do give it a try...it is milky soft...and not really that sweet. Thanks to the scientists who developed this variety....By the way...they are not easily stored. Have to eat them within two days too.....



These must be some of the most expensive bananas I have ever  eaten (except one Cavendish in London @ 60 p each!! I wasn't going to splash my money then but I just had to because I had a special craving for bananas at that time. So please don't blame me for unwise spending.....I just had to eat the banana with the ice cream...after that special meal...I had to pinch myself and stinch a bit....LOL.

July 29, 2011

Labi labi (River Tortoise Claypot Style)

Selangau along the road from Miri to Sibu is a must stop for a lunch break or a r and r break. I like taking my children along this way and stop at some of the shops and the tamu. The toilet at the tamu is clean and there is lots of water for washing...and even for a quick bath!! All you need is pay 20 sen to the lady in charge. A nice chat is also on the offing.

And as for food...there's halal and non-halal food available.

There are two better seafood restaurants to choose from. I don't mind either one and will only eat when the outlet has less people and no smokers. However regrettably there is no "No Smoking" sign in Selangau.

One delightful dish to order is Labi labi in Claypot. The prices range from RM 10 to RM50 depending on your budget and the number of people in your group. Labi labi or river tortoise is about RM38 per kg in the market.

Foochow recipe of river tortoise - braised in a light wine sauce in claypot.
The tortoise meat is cubed and braised in a wine sauce.
Spring onions and ginger will balance the taste.
Onions and some celery help to enrich the sauce.
A nice layer of cartilage - the best part of the tortoise.
TheChinese love this dish in particular. Elders are usually served this dish whenever the families can afford to pay for the freshly caught labi-labi. Apparently the cartilage is good for bones and muscles. The soup is energy and health giving.

Steamed in expensive wine the labi-labi becomes an Imperial Food fit for a Chinese Emperor. It is one dish that spins tales of longevity and strength.

And I must say..having labi labi meat cooked in bamboo with lots of lemon grass and ginger you get a special treat..The flesh becomes so tender you don't have to bite it at all. No wonder our very senior elders love the dish.

Cheers for the day!!!

July 28, 2011

Pagoda Flowers龍船花 (pangil-pangil)

Do you know of flowers which seem to pop up from your "childhood consciousness"? The flowers which seem to remind you of people who helped you? The flowers which seem to remind you of people who have already gone? It is not so much the fragrance because most of them don't even smell nice. It is the colours and it is the shape !And even more so.... it is the stories which linger amongst their petals and the leaves. I have such a relationship with flowers and plants.

Their presence fill up my space...my real space and my subconsciousness- the depths of my heart . The Rose of Sharon is one of them. And today I am writing about the Pagoda Flower which is what we have always called "our kampong flower".

This is the Pagoda Flower. Is it true then that the magic in these flowers beckon me? Come here! Come here! We are here with you....

These flowers are added to bath water to bathe new born babies in the olden days when I lived amongst the Malays in Kampong Nyabor in Sibu. Today the old Kampong Nyabor is no longer there and the Malay population has moved to Kampong Bandong in Sibu. Most of my friends have migrated to other parts of Sarawak. My Kak and my father's best friend Abang Koh had long gone. Where are Dayang Ella and her family? Where are Sharifah and her family? Where are Ismail and his family? I continue to remember the brilliant pagoda flowers amongst the sireh vine and the belimbing trees....and the smell of the cempedak when the fruit was in season.

. It is believed by many Sarawak Malays that the flowers can dispel any curse or evil spirit.
Leaves and flowers pounded into a fine paste make a nice poultice. I was given this poultice by my next door neighbour (a very nice Malay lady)who  helped me with my wounds caused by some nasty wires. I kind of like to think I have no scar to show. But when one was just a child a small cut was a huge thing. But I am ever so grateful to Kak.
I have not seen it myself at Malay weddings but I have heard from many that the flowers are used to add to the  blessing water at weddings and other blessing ceremonies. These small florets are pretty and their colours range between pink to brilliant orangy red!! There are pale yellow varieties too..These small florets are funnel shaped with long tubes. Although the individual florets are only about 0.5 in long, they are arranged in massive panicles up to 1 ft or more in height, at the end of branches. The flowers within the pyramid shaped cluster are tiered, like a Japanese pagoda.  The plant can grow as tall as 5 feet in height. The leaves can be very big.
Many of my  friends  who are hunters continue to take seriously their traditional pantang when they go hunting or set traps - they usually bring some of the leaves or the flowers in their pockets and later place in the traps. Several even said that when they forgot to do this in the past they came home quite empty handed.

I remember catching lots of butterflies in the kampong in my youth. And flowers like these would be a good place to catch them. Today butterlies seem to be missing in our environment...sometimes you even say aloud...yes where have all the butterflies gone? 


What other myths surround this flower? Is it true that its roots can relieve hemorrhoids?


Many people have cooked the roots of this plant with beef tripe as a cure for hemorrhoids. How effective it is we are not sure. But tales of such medicinal usage of the roots have been floating around for ages in Sarawak.


There are tales of kampong folks who dry the flowers and roots and then blend them into powder. A teaspoon of the powder when mixed with some sweet wine or water can provide a good night's sleep. I have never tried this myself. May be one day I would or rather....should.


I hope more people will do research on this remarkable flower and perhaps find new cures for so many of our  diseases.

65 + kg wild boar in Selangau

Have you wondered why this wild boar is headless? The head has been taken according to some communal practices by the men who cleaned the animal. That is their reward for in the old moneyless days any labour provided would be paid in kind. In thecase of preparing a wild boar for the table the people who helped would be given the head as the prize. Today the tradition is still carried on by most longhouse people.

This also means that those with some money would never have the chance to buy the pig's head !! So if you want to eat some pig's head you would have to volunteer to do the preparation of the animal..



Headless pig.
Another view of the animal



Two men are needed to weigh the animal


At first weighing the animal was 65 kg



More careful weighing...63.5 kg.
Weighing a huge animal is not easy in the rural areas. 

Have you ever wondered how animals were weighted in the olden days? Not by bathroom scales definitely.

This brings to mind once long ago how in the school we tried to prove that different scales could be different in their measurement.

The daching was used and the students were put into a sarong and weighed. You can imagine the fun we had using the old Chinese daching. But it did measure our weights to a certain extent. We did even manage to weigh a boy who was more than 70 kg....and he got into the sarong with such grace!!

It would be good in a community museum to have a really good set of Chinese daching to tell the new generation how we used to weigh things in the past.

Scales and daching should be true.

Have a good day.

July 26, 2011

Sesame Glutinous Rice Balls with Red Bean Filling - East Malaysian Style

These sesame glutinous rice balls are popular nowadays. You can find them in coffee shops (served at three at a time on a small sacuer) and they are also found in most stalls in pasar malam.

When we were younger we loved to bite wastefully at the sesame seeds and then ate the filling - discarding the "glutinous skin". It was a wasteful way of eating and we got scolded.

The best part for me is to see the balls fluff up in the oil and the balls getting cooked...one gets a quick fix in the procedure of successful cooking.

Now that Ramadan is almost here....these balls would be again made in large quantities in the open air market...

Sesame is a good food medicinally. And red beans are nutritious also. But I cannot say too many good things about glutinous rice as it icontains very high level of glucose. It is not good for diabetics.


Furthermore one should also remember not to eat too many fried foods. I am mentioning this because many  in Sarawak and Brunei are familiar with the ubiquitous deep fried foods. Both the Chinese and Malays are fond of fried snacks especially.... 
These  deep fried glutinous balls are called "maqiu " in other parts of the world outsdie Sarawak. The best quality maqiu should have a soft skin or outer layer. It should be firm in texture and golden yellow in color. Different from the Mainland maqiu these local sesame balls have tou sa or red bean paste fillings. they cost Brunei$2.00 for three.
(Here's the recipe :Roll glutinous flour into a soft dough and rub it with white sugar evenly. Roll the dough into balls (about 20 to a kilogram of flour). Prepare the red bean paste (available in many cake shops) and press one dessert spoonful of the paste into the centre of the dough. Roll into balls.Dress the the balls with sesame seeds and put them into hot oil. When the raw balls start to float up, press them with iron wire strainer and the skin of the balls will swell because the water inside the dough has been turned into stream as a result of the heat. Press the balls for three or four times and they will be enlarged by 1.5 to 2 times. By then, fish the balls out and they are ready to eat.
The finished maqius are golden and chubby with the sesame seeds holding fast to the balls. The outer layer of the balls tastes crispy and the inner layer soft, solid but not stiff.)


Also called jian dui in many parts of China The hollow of the pastry is filled with a filling usually consisting of lotus paste (蓮蓉), or alternatively sweet black bean paste (hei dousha, 黑豆沙), or less commonly red bean paste (hong dousha, 紅豆沙). The last as you know is more common in Malaysia.
Depending on the region and cultural area, jian dui are known as matuan (麻糰) in northern China, ma yuan (麻圆) in northeast China, and jen dai (珍袋) in Hainan. In American Chinese restaurants and pastry shops, they are known as Sesame Seed Balls. They are also sometimes referred to as zhimaqiu (芝麻球), which translates to sesame balls in English.(Wikipedia)

The origins of jian dui can be traced back to the Tang dynasty as a palace food in Chang'an, known as ludeui (碌堆). This food item was also recalled in a poem by the Tang poet Wang Fanzhi. With the southward migration of many peoples from central China, the jian dui was brought along and hence became part of southern Chinese cuisine.


If you don't like tou sa..you can make little strips of dough and coat them with the sesame seeds...and thus you have pretzels or just long sticks coated with sesame!! These would be easier to make!!

But then each time I savour ma chiu...I would be thinking that I am having some Palace food from as long ago as the Tang Dynasty......

Cheers.

July 25, 2011

Good things are wrapped in newspapers!!

My dad started off as a journalist in Singapore after he graduated and a few years later he founded a Kuching Chinese language newspaper. That  pre-war and unfortunate and  badly timed investment and enterprise was truly bombed in a way because the Japanese arrived on the shores of Sarawak just a few months after it was started. He not only lost a lot of money because he could not restart the business his  physical health suffered as he was badly beaten up by the Japanese when he was inprisoned (just three days). I think his heart just gave way after that. He died twenty years later from those beatings.

But dad never lost his love for newspapers during his life time. He made sure that we read well every day.

Now that's a horrible introduction to this post!! But that was exactly the background and reason why my siblings and I love reading newspapers and have a special spot in our minds for newspapers from various perspectives.

We love collecting stories and photos related to newspapers too....Like we would never forget the movie Angela's Ashes ..how the protagonist licked the oil off the newspaper or how newspapers were used to wrap food in Sibu etc....

Here are some photos of the old relationship between newspapers and Foochow toufoo......

I wonder how many people will remember this.

If you were born in Sibu and are now middle aged and perhaps even  older you would remember that you and your mother used to buy tou foo packed in this way. I have not seen this done in recent years in Sibu but I was delighted to meet this scene in Marudi recently.

I remember too that we would dry the paper (our reduce and reuse early years) and read the old newspapers and then stack them up to be used as "fire starters" on our Foochow stove. Old newspapers were useful for all sorts of other activities too.

Although Marudi is not exactly a Foochow town I was quite sure that the toufoo seller was a Foochow and I was right. But I cannot say that it is only the Foochows who wrap their toufoo in this traditional way. A layer of newspapers and then a layer of cardboard would prevent the toufoo from breaking up...especially if one is riding a bicycle and dangling a packet of toufoo from the handlebar!!

I have done that! Been there!





Today the traditional Foochow toufoo is still being made in Marudi by two men in particular and also ..at home. Thus the cottage industry is still thriving in a way but one of the vendors did say that his well educated son would not be carrying on his trade." No one wants to learn this any more!" he said.

Tofu or bean curd is a food made by coagulating soy milk and then pressing the resulting curds into soft white blocks. There are many different varieties of tofu, including fresh tofu and tofu that has been processed in some way. Tofu has a very subtle taste.

Tofu is thought to have originated in ancient China. It has spread to other parts of Asia. (Wikipedia)





May I am wrong, but the photo above shows the Foochow Tou Wan, or South East Asian tofu cake.......very good for making salads in a fusion kind of cooking. (See my future post on this...)And stir fried with some minced meat it is an excellent dish. Whenever I see this I would dream of my mother's Foochow meatballs which is one of a kind in this world.

Is it true that tou foo's texture is different from one locality to another because of the quality of the stream or spring water? I would like to see Sarawak rivers to become unpolluted again . If it is only to make the best toufoo in the world!! Please...Sarawak can/boleh!! Boleh? Can?

July 24, 2011

Hua Chan Soy Sauce Made in Miri.......

During my childhood we enjoyed having homemade soy sauce made by my China born grandmother (Lian Tie or Mrs. Lau Kah Chui). We also enjoyed having her fermented brown beans which she would dig from her black earthern jars. Life was simple as we had so many home made preserved condiments made by her. Thinking of the old days recently I successfully made my own preserved brown beans using her recipe.

My paternal grandfather's Sungei Merah (Sibu) home was sited next to a soy sauce factory belonging to the late Mr. Wong Cheng Ang (of the first Foochow communist fame). As kids we used to visit his factory and we used to pretend that we were shaolin swords men and women looking for revenge....We even managed to hide behind some of those huge urns. Later when Mr. Wong went into the jungle to fight his guerrilla warfare his stressed up wife had to close the factory and lived elsewhere. We literally saw the factory being torn plank by plank by day light robbers. I was too young also to remember who took the urns away. But my relatives said that probably the neighbours but it was definitely not my own relatives (smile).

It was a sorry sight actually to see the derelict soy sauce factory the following years. Today a huge road has been built right over the factory site and in fact their original can no longer be seen. I always wonder if the family was ever compensated for the requisition of the land.....

Years alter I came across Hua Chan Soy Sauce Factory in Miri all my memories came back. Recently I visited its new factory in Senadin and was given a wonderful tour by the younger owner.

The smells of fermented soy beans are exactly as I remember And memories of my childhood came back. Shadows of the past danced before me as I went from vat to vat and from one section to another other!!

A nice view of the covers of the vats.
Side view of the vats
Yellow beans after being cooked.
Front view of the Hua Chan Sauce Factory Office.

the management of this factory is modern and visitors are welcome to visit the factory outlet. A tour can be organised by its pretty marketing manager (Karen). It is delightful to know that school children have visited this factory very often and especially at the end of the year. I hope one day tourists would also make the factory one of their destinations.....

Soy sauce is such an important part of our Chinese food history and cuisine. I am glad I have a grandmother who taught me how to make our own soy sauce from yellow beans. She not only taught me good lessons but she helped create good memories for my siblings and I.

It is nice to know that a factory in your own city can produce high quality soy sauce using very high stands of production (ISO).

And you know what? The young proprietor also calimed that it was his grandmother who initiated the Hua Chan soy sauce making in their family and set if off their their family business in Lorong 7 in Krokop. (Krokop Miri is the birthplace of many family businesses. And today Krokop has become quite a heavy industrial area.). Later his grandfather must have perfected the recipe(s) with his grandmother by trial and error. And his father was the only one interested in carrying on the business with great enthusiasm. Today the business is in the hands of the third generation and is still growing fast..

(P/s to know more about the company and their products there is one business CD given out by the company officially whenever visitors come around ).

July 22, 2011

"Testing the Grounds"

When I was in secondary school in Sibu my peers and I had normal day scholar life - we were in school only during the school hours. Students then were divided into day scholars or boarders where schools had boarding facilities. The boarders were from outside of Sibu and there were two boarding houses one for boys and one for girls in our school Both boarding houses were run by very strict supervisors related to the Methodist Church.

And romances were not tolerated.

However it was normal for boy-girl relationship to develop even though it was frown upon. One of the great romances was that of a yet to become State Assembly man and a pretty girl staying the the Methodist Girls' Hostel. He was a senior boy hailing from another town. Of course he was a " marked man" as he had the right background and was of good intellect. Perhaps many girls were already  trying to catch his eye.  Fortunately in those days no mothers were daring or blatant enough to drive up to the hostel to invite him out for dinners..

Many boys approached the pretty  girls or their tragets to help with their sewing in order to "test the grounds". And many couples started off in this way.

According to the school legend he needed his slender white trousers shortened a bit so that he would ride his bicycle better. So he approached the pretty girl in the girls' hostel right in the middle of the basket ball court and asked her to do him a favour. Could she help him hem his trouser legs?

They became an item after that.

Now in all schools throughout Sarawak in those days there would be boys who needed help in the field of sewing. Girls who were able to hold a needle and thread it would be very popular. Trousers needed to be flared or narrowed - shortened or lengthened. Some girls offered to helped. Others had to be coaxed.

And some boys who could hold a needle would charge for sewing!! I believe none of the girls were enterprising enough to charge for their sewing.

Chivalry was in. And ladies were only too happy to do a thing or too for their knights in shing armour!!


Today most boys would be able to handle this. They can sew their buttons and  mend some  holes.
Hahaha...remember this...a torn sarong held together by a safety pin? Safety pins are very useful
My son is quite good in sewing buttons. He can charge 50 cents per button. 

Useful tools of the trade. The red thimble is quite an antique today....
In those long ago days a symbol of reciprocated love was the making of embroidered handkerchiefs for the boys. Grils would secretly make handkerchiefs and kept them under lock and key in the hostel. When the time was right they would secretly send the handkerchiefs to the boys..sometimes by post.

And our school clerks would gossip saying that a boy had just received a small parcel and the postmark was Sibu...They would guess..."Ha ha! Must be a handkerchief inside...and the writing belongs to a girl..." Many of us used to hang out near the school offices waiting for mails from our pen friends. Well a bit of gossip would make our day. I am wondering how many girls did make handkerchiefs for their intended.

One of the clerks is still around. He has been quite a favourite of ours as he plays the piano very well. This man is Mr. Chong Chung Sing. He is also a good photographer.

I am glad that my son is more independent and more than competent so I don't have to worry about him...he can sew better than any girl. Mothers should encourage their boys to sew well. Furthermore today hemming and other clothing alterations cost a lot. My grandmother used to say.."Your parents can be very skilful and do everything for you but nothing can beat your own skills."

It is nice to think of the old days and how simple it was to get a girl to pay attention to a boy. Helping a boy to do some sewing definitely showed that the girl was kind hearted and skilful if not anything else. If a girl was not interested she would say no immediately. However if a girl was kind enough she would probably sew for a lot of people who ask for her help!!  I think there was one girl who had a sewing machine and she was making lots of clothes for people!! Sewing was taught from Form One to Form Three during my secondary school years.

What strategy did you use to catch the eye of your girl friend/boy friend?

July 21, 2011

Organ Donation Campaign in Miri (2)









Want to pledge your organs?









Be at the Bintang Mall   23rd to 24th July 


24th July 2011


Judging of colouring and poster drawing competitions
Blood Donation
Sharing by David Lee
Pledging of organs


Lots of Activities




Closing ceremony of the campaign.....


Highlights of the two day event:


Witness colouring and poster drawing competitions!!


Listen to DAVID LEE sharing about his new lease of life after receiving a liver transplant ! 









Thanks to a donor he is living a very healthy life.


Learn all about organ donation!!




Organ donation is the donation of biological tissue or an organ of the human body, from a living or dead person to a living recipient in need of a transplantationTransplantable organs and tissues are removed in a surgical procedure following a determination, based on the donor's medical and social history, of which are suitable for transplantation. Such procedures are termed allotransplantations, to distinguish them from xenotransplantation, the transfer of animal organs into human bodies.

July 20, 2011

What is Marudi Famous For? (2)

Marudi is famous for three other things: Fort Hose











You have not visited Marudi if you had not been up to the Fort Hose and Baram District Museum on the Fort Hill. Fort Hose was first built in 1898 on a hill which faces Sungai Baram. The fort was later demolished and rebuilt using the same design in 1994 in order to preserve it and when it opened in 1997.
It is interesting to learn how the Baram became part of Sarawak. Even up to this day the various local tribes still have relatives in Brunei. Their history and their languages are similar to their relatives in Brunei. Many local Bruneians still claim to have their ancestors who have been buried in Marudi and its vicinity.
"The Baram district was under the sovereignty of the Sultan of Bruni (Brunei) until 1882. The Sultan was by then finding much difficulty in controlling the continual feud and blood letting of these ferocious tribes in the Baram area. The battles and the expansion of tribal lands by the late 1800’s had reached to a distance which was uncomfortably close to his capital and was becoming a threat to his personal security. The Sultan’s authority had never before been exercised in this territory spanning an area of some 10,000sq miles . Their fear of the wrath of the Kayan tribe, the Malays never ventured into the interiors of Baram. Hence, when Rajah Brooke pushed his authority deeper into the upper reaches of Baram, The Sultan was happy to relinquish his hold of the area for a lump sum of 6,000dollars per annum of which the Foreign Office in England had agreed to, believing it to be a fair price for the handover.



Charles Brooke fretted over such barbaric methods conducted by his subjects, deciding to end these blood feuds and headhunting habits once and for all. He got all the tribes together in a contest, initiating cock fight activities amongst the tribes but that didn’t quite go down well with the losing parties and another brawl broke out. Back to the drawing board, Resident Charles Hose decided to host a regatta instead at Marudi.
Sometimes people still remember that Marudi was once called Claude town (its former name).It was named after the previous resident of Baram, Claude Champion de Crespigny. Charles Brook stationed his sentries atop a knoll that overlooked the river. 

2. The Baram Regatta 
Origins of the Baram Regatta : Charles Brooke believed that the Baram Regatta would be a solution to their predicament. And having hosted the first regatta, called the Sarawak Regatta in Kuching in January 1871, Rajah Brooke mooted the idea and decided to promote it to the tribes living in the interior. Hose realised that with the exception of the Penans, all other tribes in Borneo utilise rivers extensively to traverse and to create boundaries as they expand their lands. The idea was taken on eagerly and soon felling of large forest trees was seen and war boats were carved from a single tree trunk, normally from the engkabang tree that could seat 30 warriors. The tree trunk was normally hollowed out with the use of fire and adze. Its masthead was shaped into a head of the majestic hornbill, given that the hornbill is highly revered in the Orang Ulu culture, regarded as a vessel for the spirits to communicate with the people.

3. Marudi is also famous for its freshly baked bread - Most people would order loaves of bread made in Marudi to be brought back to Miri or other parts of Sarawak whenever they make a stop over in Marudi.

Mr. Phang - the Baker
Special Marudi bread
My friends ordered 27 loaves of this bread as gifts to friends. On that day the Marudi people did not have their normal tou sa and peanut buns!!



This special bread is made by the Phang family and the texture of the bread is reminiscent of the bread made by the Colonial Officers who enjoyed their English Breakfast and afternoon teas.

Fresh from the oven
Fresh and fragrant - you can smell the baking bread one street away at about eleven in the morning. Limited edition!! So have to order.
This Marudi bread has a special shape and most government officers continue to have some toasts every day in the shop.

I will eat the bread and drink the coffee there next time!! See you there!

July 17, 2011

What is Marudi famous for? (I)

Marudi was founded by the Brooke Government when it acquired the territory towards the end of the 19th Century. By 1903 (when the Foochows landed in Sibu) a Fort (Fort Hose) was already constructed and some government buildings put up.

The Kenyah and Kayans were already subdued and made their peace with the Rajah.

In a way Marudi controlled the development of the Baram from that time onwards. Most government affairs were conducted from Fort Hose.

When the Chinese arrived a bazaar was built up next to the river side a little below Fort Hose which stood magnificiently on a little hill overlooking the "entrance" of the river . Any enemy coming up the Baram could be sighted easily. As was the practice of the Brooke Regime...two canons were strategically placed facing the river mouth. Those two canons are still under the Fort today but they are not facing the river. So in a way they are "retired" from service. Now they are pointing towards the back road that leads up to the Fort.

What is Marudi famous for nowadays? It really depends on what interests you. If food is your interest then Marudi is famous for three things : Char Kueh Tiaw Marudi Style. Marudi Bread (a remnant of the White Colonial Days). Tapah Fish.

Specially fried fresh deer meat with a frantastic wine sauce.
This is the secret of the Marudi fried kueh tiaw - fat rice noodles which are lovingly hand made. Only two families make them in Marudi I heard.
Another dish from Marudi - dry fry bee hoon with Ikan Bilis topping.
Wet style Marudi Kueh Tiaw with sea food. and vegetabls.
When next you visit Marudi you must have your hair washed in Angel Salon and then ask the proprietor (Madam Yuen) where the best restaurants are. Mayland Hotel is a very decent hotel too if you would like a recommendation. The rooms are clean and the staff very friendly in the Sarawakian way.
Well sauted kang kong - a good chef comes up with this kind of standard - green and crisp vegetables(the secret is in a fierce fire and a good wok. The chef must also have two fast hands. My mum used to say..a good chef must be ambidextrous - very much like a two knives swordsman. I tend to agree because you just can use one hand in the kitchen..

You have not been to Marudi if you haven't tried Marudi Kueh Tiaw.

July 16, 2011

Special Delivery - a Bag of Sunkists - Express - Baram Style..

As we reflect on life along the Baram Valley...we wonder how the populace live and face the challenges of development and the obstacles in transportation before roads criss cross the land. This has been a lower river course which depends on different modes of river transport only.

So how would a camp manager get his supply of Sunkist oranges?

After reading the post today you would have to re-examine your idea of "Express Post" - Baram Style.

By Express Boat's special delivery! Here you can witness how the special delivery goes.


I saw this "home made" speed boat coming out of a small distributary as our express boat slowed down a little.
Two men in a boat...with one man guiding the "motor" or outboard engine and one man to collect the goods. Two moving vehicles in the middle of the river may pose a great danger. River Navigation is not that simple.


This guy yelled out..."packet...packet..packet".


The ticket collector suddenly remembered the plastic bag of Sunkists. There was no name and no address on the plastic bag.




The speed boat left with the oranges...


The lovely waves made by the speed boat...the happy driver seemed to be making a triumphant retreat. Mission accomplished.

Life is just so simple - someone sends a bag of sunkists and it will get picked up..This has been going on for more than 30 years. And I believe there is no charge. Pos Laju may have to rethink its services. The Camp Manager thus received his Sunkists within 2 hours from Miri. How express can this express post be!! And due to the honesty of the passengers not one fruit was taken out of the bag.

I really like that.

++ Sunkists - In Sarawak the term Sunkists is synonymous with the imported navel oranges from the Mediterranean countries and the US (and now China). Originally the word Sunkist was printed on each fruit. The locals having no word for this glorious orange fruit just called it Sunkist and the name got stuck. We would never call the green local orange (or limau) sunkist...