Haji K.K.Koya, Tutong

The now defunct “Restoran Hj Asbullah” (“Hj As”) has featured aplenty in my posts. No prizes for guessing which of the old guards of Tutong I go to frequently. But there’s another legend in Tutong town by name of Restoran Haji K.K. Koya. There’s branch in Telisai, and another in Seria. But who doesn’t know the name?

Downtown, it’s known for it’s rojak comprised of inflated cucur udang (prawn fritters) bathed in sweet peanut sauce.
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It still tastes the same to me now as it did when I was a kid even.

But here’s another must have when I go there, Kuih Suji or Semolina with raisins and crushed cashew nuts.

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K.K.Koya in town had a major facelift sometime last year, the lights, furniture and layout have been changed. It still doesn’t have air-conditioning and is pretty much an open-air concept – you can enter from the front or the back door. The food hasn’t changed (much), and neither has it’s old spirit and charm. In fact, it’s still got it’s old signboard!
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Now, that’s what you call “character”!

Talor-Menalor

“Tiyu” in my language.

This is an ode to the humble but ubiquitous “talor”~ the beginning of life if you’re philosophical, breakfast if you’re hungry.

In Brunei most of us have grown up with these three “types” of eggs, each unique in their own way.

First up, the Talur Masin or Salted duck eggs. Very salty, but very tasty.

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When I was little, dinner was a much-dreaded nightmare for my parents, payah kan disuruh makan. But one bait that never failed to get me to eat was rice balls with crushed Talur masin. When I grew out of it, I started to have halves, but only ate the tasty yolk. The best ones were the naturally oily yolk. Mum used to chastise me/us for doing that. Never understood what mum was so upset about, cos I always had the courtesy to leave the salty white bits on the serving tray- you know, for others… what??

But this next type of egg took a while to get used to… it’s an acquired taste let’s say, but once you’ve acquired that taste, you’ll love it!
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The marble pattern in the yolk of the “Century egg” or “Talur itam” (Black egg) is part of its appeal, in my opinion. I do not share the aversion of some people to its blackened appearance; it’s the creamy unique “umami” that matters to me. So I nearly fell off my seat when I saw the Century egg being featured as a “scary” food in Fear Factor (an American production, no doubt), alongside thorny durian- and to see the contestants in tears as a portion floats toward their open mouths to the crescendo of “O Fortuna”- climaxing, just moments later, in a projectile of vomit shooting across the screen. Savoury. Some people actually think this egg is a hundred years old, probably the same idiots in Fear Factor! Talur banar! (Go wiki how it’s made!)

But one thing I’ve never understood about this is egg is why it’s called “Talur kuda” or “Horse egg”~ We still call it that in my family~ and i grew up believing this egg unceremoniously emerged out of the horse’s arse… (Insert Sapir-Whorf worldview analysis here).

Its other nickname, “Talur padi” (“Husk egg”) would seem more credible and appropriate owing to its golden husk outer layer…

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Now, both the Talur masin and the Talur Kuda are often served as accompaniments to your lunch or dinner.
But the plain old chicken egg is a favourite for breakfast… not fried sunny side up, not scrambled, not as an omellete, but separuh masak or runny half-boiled. But that’s not the end of the story yet, it has to be talur separuh masak campur kicap as follows.

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It’s a tried-and-tested recipe and a sure winner this, just add salty soy sauce and it’ll bring out the natural sweetness of the simple egg.

Bizzarre? Maybe. Delicious? Definitely.

So there you go, my homage to eggs all over the world. Here’s the final score, Love l’oeuf..!!

Buah Kundang

I’ve been quiet, I know. Been having a spot of bother called “work”, saps the life out of ya!

But my gastronomic curiosity (and indulgence) shall prevail… marking exams or no marking!! So I’m back with this post on another fruit certainly worthy of a mention.

On one of my travels abroad, Manila this time, a couple of us got talking about this fruit called Buah Kundang. Colleagues from Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Cambodia vividly described the sour young Kundang fruit, and the amazingly sweet and delicious ripe one. Not one to be outdone usually, I felt rather left out this time because I really didn’t know what they were talking about. But I was intrigued. I have never come across it here in Brunei, but I’m almost certain it’s lurking somewhere in someone’s kabun buah. (Incredible too coz nothing edible has ever escaped me!)

So I present to you the very purple Buah Kundang…

Unripe Buah Kundang up close and personal

Unripe Buah Kundang up close and personal

Membari taisliur-looking sambal Kundang...

Membari taisliur-looking sambal Kundang...

Drool-inducing ripe Kundang.

Drool-inducing ripe Kundang.

It’s a beauty ahh! Well, my uncle is en route to KL as I blog, and in no uncertain terms I asked him to get me Buah Kundang. So I’m really looking forward to that first meeting of the beauty and the parut buncit… it’s a predictable ending.

Until that momentous occasion, it’s back to marking my exam scripts… or maybe football on TV.

(and Man U just won the derby ~ Woohoo!)

(Photos courtesy of http://hanieliza.fotopages.com – I asked for permission )