May 8, 2015

Sarawakian Local Delights No.5 : Free Food in the Jungles of Sarawak

My mother used to tell how tough life was during the Japanese Occupation. She planted on more than 2 acres of land and harvested 38 piculs of  rice for her family,which included her father, brothers and one sister. At the same time she had to rear pigs,pluck vegetables with the help of her sister in law and younger sister.

She always looked forward to a good rain because her sister in law and she would go to the nearby jungle (not the rubber gardens) to look for the white mushrooms. Made into soup


Photo by Frank J Martin (Borneo Post)


this white mushroom was really good. Today it is hard to get this white mushroom or any other white ones. The best one is the Chicken Meat Mushroom.

Paku was available by the banks of any stream or river. During the Japanese Occupation , she and her sister would row a small boat during high tide to Sg. Assan to pluck paku and then later waited for the low tide to bring them quickly and safely home to Nang Chong. Rowing a boat to Sg. Assan in those days of Japanese Occupation was a done thing and very safe because the small short cut via Pulau Kerto was away from the direct sight of the Japanese in Sibu. Many villagers would take that route to pluck paku, trap animals or to visit friends.

Reflecting with her after she told her stories, we talked about paku (guok) and wild mushrooms now available in Sarawak.

Paku is God's gift to people who live in the jungle and its peripheral lands.

 In Yunnan and Guizhou of China Paku is also found. The people there cook paku like us and they go a further step - that is to preserve the paku in salt and a little vinegar. This preserved vinegared paku is fried and served as a restaurant dish.

Today when people gather for Christian fellowship in longhouses and Chinese villages, it is therefore very blessed to be able to serve stir fried paku and braised wild mushrooms besides some chicken and free fish from the river. This was the experience in many longhouses throughout Sarawak when urban Christian brothers and sisters go for short term missions.

God has sent us free vegetables in the jungle for us to use.

NB. This post is written for all women who are mothers and have to fend for their children through thick and thin, and to try to find free food in the jungle.

Happy Mother's day to my mother especially and to all other mothers in the world.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Can get free food, so good. I thpught nothing is free in this world?

David Chin said...

Yes, in some parts of the world there are still plenty of free food: water crest, chestnuts, feijoas, wild turkeys, crayfish, cockles, snappers, puha. I live in NZ.

Ensurai said...

Thanks David. Nice to know all these.

Sarawakian Local Delights : Haruan or Leh Ngii

1.7 kg. is quite a big fish, now costing  about 45 ringgit at least. It is interesting how the haruan or leh ngii has always been eaten ...