August 14, 2016

Sibu Tales : Pig Stomachs

Giowing up in a small town like Sibu was a thrilling experience. I grew to know almost every street, back street and shop in the town. I went marketing with my father, went to church with my maternal grandmother whenever she was in town and I went to an English Mission school.

I learned about Foochow cuisine from my mother who made everything from scratch, like all her contemporaries.

One memorable skill was the preparation of pig stomach or pork trip or pig maw from scratch. My father would " carry a pig stomach from the market". That was the way Foochows speak. It was not "buying a pork maw" it was "going to the market to carry home a pork maw"..Dii Du guan suoh jia.

For some health reasons, the eating of pig stomach soup was very nourishing. My parents believed that (especially my maternal grandmother) eating the pig stomach soup would give one a good appetite and that it would help nourish back one's health.

So my mother would often request my father to buy one or two for the whole family once or twice a month. After all a pig stomach was not a very expensive food item.

Later when the cold storages started to open up in Sibu, frozen beef and pig stomachs were sold very cheaply and most housewives enjoyed purchaing these items.

In fact later I found out that pig stomachs form a very important ingredient in most restaurant dishes e.g. soups, fried noodles, soup noodles and even vegetables. It is in fact one of the favourite ingredients of Foochow cooks.

However frozen pig stomach became a hot item as it really helped the frugal housewife to stretch the proverbial dollar.

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