Tuesday, June 01, 2010
Coinciding with the school break next week, I have taken a week's leave in order to balik kampung. As usual we decided to bring buah tangan for my mother and grandmother at Johor and our usual shopping centre is Alor Setar's Pekan Rabu. Mom and gran do not have specific request (well actually only my mom, haha) just 'bring back anything interesting' or most of the time did not ask at all. But knowing them I usually bought tamarind pulp and yellow raisins which they consider superior to the ones sold in Johor. Gran is usually more specific - she usually asks for the two items mentioned above plus black glutinous rice and kuah rojak.
For this coming holidays, I bought Gran a bit of white glutinous rice (which a neighbour ordered), minyak ibu gamat (which is a thicker version of the regular minyak gamat; when my wife simply said "ibu gamat" to the shop assistant, she was handed dried gamat (sea cucumber)). She also would like ikan pekasam (basically fermented fish. Like durian, ikan pekasam "smells like hell (like s**t really, at least when raw) tastes like heaven" or as I explained to my wife "wet or undried salted fish")
And on my return to Kedah, I bring back buah tangan from Johor, usually in the shape of kerepek, bags and bags of them. Kerepek (crisps) is rather rare in Kedah. When available, it is more expensive - I mean, RM10 will only get you roughly 200grams of kerepek pisang tanduk. The same amount can buy a kilogram of the same kerepek in Johor! And if condition permits I would also bring back ubi kayu (tapioca) which is unavailable in Kedah (except at Tesco), which bemused me. I have seen lots of tapioca plants in Kedah but not even a small piece of its tuber at the market. So what's the purpose of planting them in the first place? Furthermore Kedah is of a more rural setting than Johor so I find it amazing that even the selection of ulams is less!