I am alternating between this blog and my FB discussing the merits of what constitute of the great food on earth. Now, depending on your ethnicity and the way you have been brought up, there can be many variations to this.
As many people know, I have been brought up in a kampung where the nearest toilet used to be about ten minutes walk to the nearest river. And that, you need to cross this semi jungle, then another short walk among the rubber trees. Mind you, after arriving at the small river, you need to check whether is there anyone else using that part of the river to do their business. Because if they do, then you need to wait for your turn. Now, if you really cannot stand the ahem…nature call..you need to turn back and make a dash to the other river which passes another semi jungle. I really hated going to the other river as there was usually a kampung dog (a mutt) who will be a sentry along the route. Not only I had to make a mad dash for the nature call, but I had to outrun this dog too.
Imagine if you really need to go at night. And to make things worse, if it rains. You certainly want to make a mental note to self to go and do your bloody business before the sun sets.
Anyways, I digress.
So, the great food on earth. I have a few. The list goes like this, and in random order, although the usual suspects will be on top of the list….
- Masak asam tempoyak ikan patin (river patin cooked in fermented durian). This, will remain an all time favourite. The soup must be just right…the right amount of chili, tempoyak (fermented durian) and balance of the soup.
- Sadin mentah (canned sardins). Straight from the can and onto the plate. You squeeze half a lime, sliced chili and quartered Bombay onions. Pair it with steamed rice. Definitely my last meal on earth if ever. I will eat sardines in many style of cooking – gulai (cooked in coconut milk), curry, sambal…mmm..yes yes..
- Sambal petai tempoyak campur pucuk ubi kayu (stinky beans and young shoots of tapioca plant cooked with fermented durian and chili, sambal style). The ever so beautiful dish that I can write some pretty lyrical description of its taste.
- Sambal hitam (black sambal). This deceiving looking sambal – a lethal combination of dried anchovies, asam belimbing buluh (a kind of sour fruit), onions and tons of chilis. You pound all the ingredients and cook with the asam belimbing buluh. It is cooked when it turns to black. Mmmmmmmm…………pure bliss.
- Pincuk umbut kelapa (salad of err…hmm…I dont know how to put it…) basically umbut kelapa is the top end part of a coconut tree where it is still soft. You need to boil it, then slice thinly before adding the rest of the ingredients that typically made up of grated coconut, lime, coconut milk, some local herbs, crushed black pepper. Served during weddings.
- Ayam masak asam rong (chicken cooked with asam rong). Asam rong or buah keluak as the Chinese called it, is a rare jungle fruit. Unfortunately, I really love the dish and it is a difficult dish to find. Unless I go back to Raub with the 2 hour drive, brave the morning Sunday market crowd looking around for it, drive for a good 2 hours back to KL. By that time, I would be too poop to cook. This is a real masterpiece of a recipe. Small chunks of chicken meat are simmered slowly in a mixture of local jungle herbs, chili, pounded asam rong. I love adding petai (the stinky beans) for a better kick.
- Sambal kerdas cambah (kerdas is another kind of fruit which is really stinky. Scientifically called archidendron bubalinum). Again the ever popular cooking style – sambal.
Owh, did I mention that I also love Japanese food, my medium well steak, lamb stew, Arabic food, any Mediterranean food, Mexican food, Spanish…fish and chips, Chinese food, Korean food and almost everything else in between?