March 20, 2015

Sibu Tales : Hard Tails

Hard Tail is the name of a fish commonly found in Sarawak.

It is best "bbq-ed" or panggang or peng.

Today it is a common street food wherever you go in the state of Sarawak.

Years ago in Sibu, my mum would pan fry the fish using our newly acquired European frying pan which was a novelty. We were all brought up in a traditional Foochow family , where our stove was the huge wood fired Foochow stove.

The main cooking appliance was the huge Chinese kuali which sat on the left side of the stove, while water, dirty materials could be whosh through a window, conveniently, out of the house!!

Wood fire would be added on the other side of the stove.

I remember once my grandfather came to lovingly repair the stove, which was originally built by him. It took him a few days, but it was his reason to come to stay with us when he just wanted to spend time with my dad.

Fish was cheap and we got special discounts from our fsh mongers who were two brothers. Meh Hoo Lang (Fish seller) and Ah Boon. It was strange how we called people in those days and they did not at all mind. We never knew their names and they had no name cards. Meh Hoo Lang and Ah Boon were my mother's life long friends.

Mum would buy 6 hardtails for less than 2 dollars and my father would have them bbq over the wood fire for lunch. It was a good lunch to come home to. A huge bottle of soy sauce would be placed on the table. If I was the last one to come home , being late so often because I had to check the cleanliness of the classroom as monitor, I had no fear that I would not have anything to eat. Mum would also place one whole fish in the food safe for me. Cold fish never tasted better at 1.30 p.m. after a hard day of learning.

Now thinking about the soy sauce bottle from time to time, we must have eaten a lot of soy sauce in our younger days.

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