October 20, 2017

Sarawakian Local Delights : Deep Fried River Fish with Sauce

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River fish is bony and not many people like bony fish.

However to get around the bones of the fish one has to deep fry the whole fish until very crispy,or until "the bones can be crushed by the teeth and eaten as well"!!

This is the way to do the bony river fish, which can be a mengalan, a tengadak or a tilang. A nice sauce made from soy sauce, Al Sauce, tomato sauce with onions and garlic would be nice. Otherwise if served plain, a dipping sauce is good enough.


October 1, 2017

Sarawakian Local Delights : Nipah Salt made in Sarawak

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Nipah salt or garam apong has a special significance for people who lived  through the Japanese Occupation in Sarawak.

When the Japanese took over most of South East Asia, trade routes were cut off and important supply lines were stopped. Salt, sugar and rice in particular became extremely difficult to get.

The Chinese especially suffered a great deal because they were not economically but politically suppressed by the Japanese.

So when the Chinese were able to obtain some nipah salt, they were very grateful.

My mother, in her late teens then, remember how precious the nipah salt was. The community had to secretly cut down nipah leaves to make nipah salt according to her. Most of the Foochows who lived in the Rajang Basin were fairly far away from the sea. Sibu was 70 over miles from the sea coast.

Due to malnutrition many Foochows also suffered from beri beri and other diseases.