November 9, 2017
Foochow Tales : Fill Stomach Fully 填饱 or Tien Bah
The generosity of a Foochow host is superb since time immemorial in Sibu. Ten courses were often prepared by a band of villagers who came together on a communal volunteer basis to help with a birthday or wedding banquet. Even tables and benches were borrowed from each other.
The ten dishes would be the best the chefs could cook, including sharks fin, no less.
Very often several pigs, more than 20 chickens and ducks would have been slaughtered for the event.
One important dish which must not be missed out was the penultimate dish which the Foochows called Tien Bah. This dish was prepared especially by the host who was reluctant "to let his guests go home with a half filled stomach".
The Foochows often asked each other, "Have you filled your stomach?" "Or you full?" "Did you eat enough?
Hence this dish, which may be a famous mun mien dish, or a simple fried rice or fried noodles was in those days An Act of Love.
When it was not touched, the host would quickly come and pack for those who had a long way to go in the village or for people who could not attend the event due to work .
It was always touching to see how kind the host was to his guests. It was good to see this custom, which might not be practised nowadays due to some practical reasons.
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