December 1, 2013
Sibu Tales : :Love Overlowing at the Table
I often wonder who actually started serving aerated(CARBONATED) water (or pop chui OR KANG CHUI) at banquets and family feasts, Foochow Style, in Sibu and the surrounding villages. As far as I can remember I had always enjoyed many bottles of pop chui whenever I attended wedding banquets in the villages and in Sibu. In those olden days, all the drinks were bottled in brown bottles, until F & N flooded the market in the 60's. Then clear bottles were trendy and preferred although the 72 bottle crates of Tai Fong, Ngo Kiang, etc drinks were still sold every where.
For banquets in the restaurants, the standard catering would be almost the same . The drinks would be placed at the centre of the table, alongside a bottle or two of brandy, two packets of cigarettes with matches!! There would also be a small plate of sliced oranges too. Peanuts and Kua Chi or melon seeds would also be placed on the table for the guests.
And when the food is served, depending on the occasion, the dishes would be served one by one. If it was a family, self catered dinner, all the dishes would be prepared at the same time and they would cover the whole table. Some times as many as 10 dishes were cooked by the hostess.
Here my teacher Miss Ida, Miss Gail Williams , a missionary to the Ibans and another family ( looks like Mrs. Waint), sit in front of a huge array of food prepared by the host and hostess.
But the F and N, 7 Up, Coca Cola stand out so obviously. This is a very good example of village Foochow hospitality which I dearly miss today.
the Menu would probably include :Foochow Fried Noodles (Char mien),Braised Black Fungus, chicken and Hard Boiled eggs , Bok Gie or Onion Chicken, Kampong Chicken soup, Mee Hoon, Mixed Vegetables, leeks with chicken liver and gizzards, Pork leg, steamed duck, home grown vegetables, and white rice of course, etc.
Bowls would be a good mix of enamal bowls and chicken bowls of different sizes. Frugal Foochows in those days (1970's) would not have Corelle or branded bone china.
Look at the F& N on the wooden window ledge.
This photo brings back wonderful memories of village dinners when guests or relatives came from overseas.
I think this house is in Bukit Lan.