October 15, 2014

Sibu Tales : Peanuts

"Our forefathers who came to Sibu were so frugal that they ate little, a little bit of rice and half a peanut each mouthful....peanuts were split into two so that more could go round...."

My grandfather's favourite dish : peanuts. And it's a long story. It is the story of the Foochows of Sibu.

Hua ren ning ke doi beng (eat half of peanuts) or 花生啃成半(spliting each peanut).   - eat frugally.

My favourite preparation - braised peanuts

In later years , after my grandfather retired, he led a very quiet life living in a nice wooden house on top of a hill in Sungei Merah. He had moved from Sungei Merah to Bukit Lan, from Bukit Lan to Pulau Kerto and from Pulau Kerto to Bintangor (which he founded with Ling Ching Tu and Yao Shiaw King) and finally back to Sungei Merah where he acquired his final piece of property of several acres of rubber,banana and fruit farm.

 We used to visit him very frequently. My grandmother Siew would always get ready the plump braised and best peanuts for him on the table and for years I watched him chewing the peanuts slowly and with great satisfaction. What was in his mind?

Once he came to our house for a memorable 10 days, and his loving and skilful hands repaired our Foochow stove. He carefully cemented the cracks of the stove, little by little, like a master craftsman. At the end of one week, no one could see the cracks. And he also reminded us that what we could do ourselves, we must do and not call a Tukang who would charge us. He was then 84 years old.

My siblings and I remember we had fried peanuts every day because Grandpa was staying with us. My father would buy food he liked and could not be superfluous because grandpa did not like overspending on food. He had a very awesome presence.

He told my father that the stove was as good as new. Indeed. We did not see any crack from then on . It was sad that we finally had to demolish our beautiful wooden house together with the stove which gave us such great memories in 1978. Today, the Orchid Inn stands tall on that piece of property. Another era.


Anonymous said...

When I read your writings, I recalled my late Dad who shud be more than 115 years if he was to live till today. He used to eat those roasted peanuts done in a very3 big wok!!!! Every evening, he would use a type of crabs paste to eat with them. He lived till 90 in Dec 1990 he passed on... I think many people eat so long one is loving about it. It will prolong life.
Thanks for sharing, teacher.

Ensurai said...

Thanks for your comments. The crab paste is Pangyi Sauce, originally made by Foochows of the Rajang valley, especially in Sarikei. You are most welcome ..

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