January 1, 2015

Sibu Tales : Black Forest Mushroom

Many years ago, high achievers amongst the Sibu Foochows would bring back spouses from other countries. Many who studied in Taiwan brought back Taiwanese wives.

Here is a story of a Taiwanese daughter in law.

The Taiwanese daughter in law was beautiful, slight in built and had the physical qualities of a gentle Chinese lady of the manor, fine bone, fine fingers and smooth skin.

She was not able to cook rice as she did not know how to start a wood fire. So she insisted that her young husband should move to the city where there was electricity. He was still without a job.

Fast forward several years, the Flower of Taiwan, as we secretly called her, was not able to cope with the humble lifestyle of the Sanba (village) people and she insisted that her husband leave Sibu to work in another town, preferrably in Sabah where she could find other Taiwanese sisters who have married Sabahans.

She was still not able to cook. She would get up at 10 a.m., order food from the shops. Her children had to be fed, bathed and put to nap in the afternoon by her "native amah". It was very interesting how she never managed to learn English, Bahasa Malaysia and even Iban the whole years she was in Sibu.

She could not go to the market because it was dirty and smelly because she could not tolerate the looks of the natives. "In Taiwan the natives were good singers and performers on stage." She had never been to their villages or any other villages outside the Sibu villages which she looked down upon.

And with her husband's relatives she was not at all Kek Kee (gracious) for she said what  came to her mind. "I don't eat this, I don't eat that" would be her statements, to the horror of  relatives who were humble  sanba people. Our dear Taiwanese daughter in law would eat 2 pears for breakfast, a whole steamed kampong chicken for lunch, and a good half kilo of best beef for her Taiwanese Noodle..." Only the best will do for her. When her mother in law made mee sua for her, she would not eat the Foochow string noodles. She would take out her Taiwan noodles, use the chicken soup, and her special Dung Goo, which she thought was the best in the world...Nothing but the best for her. And it was a marvellous blessing for her because she was married to a very faithful, loyal, and high earning Foochow man.

As women shared their stories of family tolerance in our fellowship we , the younger generation benifitted and became wiser..

From these stories we started to research into Chinese cooking. The most revered grades of Shiitake (mushrroms) are winter mushorroms or dung gu 冬菇, Ordinary people of the Sibu sanba were mainly familiar with heong gu     or fragrant mushroom now available in Asian stories or supermarkets all over the world. Bai Hua Gu  or white flower mushroom 花菇 are also more readily available nowadays.


 A delightful gift you can present to your elders would be a 3 in 1 gift pack. Buy all three kinds of mushrooms and pack them as a love gift. Each mushroom would have its own strength, flavour, fragrance and place of importance in a classic Foochow dish.  Heong Gu, though not so pretty, has great medicine values and should not sneezed upon.

On a light note = once an elderly relative presented a packet of black mushroom to her younger relative who was a notch above other socially and she was asked to bring back the packet. She said she did not eat black fragrant mushroom.......I hope none of you would ever be asked to take home your gifts by an ungracious relative.


Suggested dishes : Black mushrooms - toufu with minced pork and slices of blackmushrooms, Chicken soup with black mushrooms, Three mushrooms and toufu, Three mushrroms and beans....black mushroom sausages (from scratch), Foochow pork leg in wine and black mushrrom....

1 comment:

Ann, Chen Jie Xue 陈洁雪 said...

LOLOL, I tried to be this kind of DIL.