October 4, 2014

Nang Chong Stories : Hoong Ngang Tapah and Red Wine

My third uncle Pang Sing was a good fisherman and every evening after dinner, it was his R and R to fish from the jetty. Sometimes he would catch a good sized tapah!! Tapah is a very ugly fish found in Sarawak rivers, particularly in the Rajang River.

The flesh is white and very firm and tasty.

Steamed with just a bit wine and soy sauce and lots of ginger, it is very delicious, fit for a king!!

But in the days before the Communist unrest in Sibu, whenever my uncle caught a tapah , he and grandma would also make a huge pot of Hoong Ngang with tapah and red wine.

Conversation at the table would always be between my uncles and my grandma, while the aunts would sit quietly and listen. This scenario made a very strong imprint on my mind.

Photo from http://petersfishtrading.blogspot.com/2011/05/river-fish-tapah.html

My uncles were very filial sons. They never never DARED to upset my grandmother by saying the wrong words. And I do remember that my third uncle would always try his best to make my grandmother laugh, by telling her very funny stories. My grandmother in her seriousness would relate stories she heard from China where she was born.
This is my photo of Kapit Hoong Ngang. I will have to wait for a while ..wait till I get some tapah and cook it with hoong ngang.....

Thus stories from these evenings, filled with laughter and food, remain in my mind until today.

And indeed we would be drunk with happiness. The sharing of food with 14 other cousins, 2 uncles and 2 aunties and grandmother was also very very memorable.

Today whenever I see tapah I see that huge pot of love : tapah with hoong ngang and red rice wine made by my grandmother

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