This morning’s breakfast is an ode to Kuching; – laksa and popiah (with a order of my usual sidekick, Miss Teh-c peng). Uncle was quite taken aback, apparently it is well known that you should never start the day with a cold beverage, – it messes up your digestion. Whoops, luckily it was too late – my tasty friend had arrived.
Uncle had a kopi-o (black coffee) and Hainanese toast (I know this as kaya toast, – toasted bread with kaya and butter).
The laksa here used to be one of the best in Kuching, but since the new stall-holder took over it has lost its standing. Even so, it was a nice spicy start to the morning, even if the soup base didn’t have the complex prawn-y depth of the better ones. This was the ‘normal’ version at RM$4.00, with the ‘special’ at RM$5.50.
The absolute star of the morning was the popiah. This is a handmade thin wheat flour crepe filled with lettuce, sprouts, cooked julienned sweet jicama and carrots, chopped roasted peanuts and hoisin, and is eaten dipped in a chili hoisin sauce. It is a lot of work for something which costs a measly RM$2.20. This was simply sublime.
Later I tagged along with Aunt as she shopped for vegetables in the neighbourhood stalls.
At home, Uncle showed me some birds nests he had just received from his sister in Sabah. These are salivary nests of cave Swiftlets. The different colours are from supposedly from different Swiftlets species. These will be prepared by soaking the nests and removing all contaminants, then simmering with herbs and stock to make a tonic soup.
Lunch was glutinous rice dumpling (known as bak chang in Hokkien, zhong zi in Mandarin, or jhuh in Foochow) from Lok Thian, the venerable Chinese restaurant in town.
Obligatory snack at 4pm, – consisting of fresh young coconut water (with or without freshly squeezed sugar cane juice), and filled kompia (Foochow bagel). Apart from the traditional mince pork, there was also cheese and ham-filled kompia. I can’t wait to tell grandma, – she would be totally mystified at the addition of cheese.
The feasting concluded on Day 2 at the Petanak Market (luckily, I managed to convince Aunt that I really, truly did not require any supper).