February 23, 2016

Nang Chong Stories : Visiting Friends


The making of rice vermicelli in Sibu in the first half of the 20th century was a home based industry. A few of this cottage industry were found along the Rajang River from Sibu to Bintangor.

There was one such cottage industry and the aunty who was the chief Hoong Ngang maker was even nicknamed Hoong Ngang Ying. She was well known all over the Rajang Valley for her excellent Hoong Ngang.

My mother and her daughter were close friends and they went to school together. Hoong Ngang Yin's daughter would row the boat, cross the Rajang River from 24 Acres, a distance of about 1 mile. and then walk with my mother to school in Chung Cheng. They were really life long friends.

During the weekends when my mum had not much to do, she would follow the tide (ebb) to row downwards and the about 6 hours later, she would follow the rising tide to come home , usually in the evening. Most of the time, she would make that journey to buy some rice vermicelli for the family. She would usually get a very good discount. It was a good one hour of rowing.

Mum always tells us that home made hoong ngang is very tasty and fragrant. And they don't break so easily. And she would laughingly said that as children, they enjoy slurping a long strand of hoong ngang into the mouth...It would take them some time to chew properly.

That's a story of the 1930's and early 1940's ....

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