100th Post: Takuyung Siruk

Or Siput Sedut (“sucking snails”), as some people call it, because you suck the snails out to eat them.

These are river snails, extracted from the muddy banks during low tide. Escargot a la Brunei! Very earthy flavour. Haters will of course say these taste like dirt. It’s a matter of opinion really.

Here’s what you do. Clip the tip of the pointy shell. Rinse. Sauteed with a bit of garlic, ginger, cut chilli, lemongrass and soy sauce or kicap manis. OR you could go to a seafood restaurant near you and order a plate – much easier if you’re averse to a culinary challenge.

But I got the education of my life last month when we had these buggers. My cousins pointed out to me that I was doing it all wrong sucking the mollusc out from the clipped end. Apparently they slip out easier from the wider base of the shell. I knew that!

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ABC

The Ais Batu Campur.

A classic dessert.

Shaved ice.

Red beans.

Sweetcorn.

Red rose jello.

Black cincau jello.

Cream.

Red syrup/ Gula anau syrup (prefered).

Result:

Watak di sini hanyalah rekaan semata-mata dan tiada hubungkait dengan yang hidup maupun yang mati.

The misai and janggut are also optional.

But the ABC is not exclusive to Brunei, I’ve been to Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore etc and have seen or had the local versions.

These ones I had in Jakarta. In one sitting.

This one's got huge beans and black syrup.

This one had Alpukat/ Avocado and syrup.

I would’ve liked creamed avocado with some chewy pieces strewn in. Next time.

Some restaurants throw in cocktail fruit pieces, but me no likey. The tang just contrasts with the sweet too much for my liking. But each to their own. You go have your crappy ABC with crappy canned fruit cocktail if you want.

But I’ve been told of a recent import from Taiwan, the Snow Ice. Must try that next time after one of my runs up the hills of Bukit Ambuk.

Buah Mabulo

Some time last year my dad brought home some fruit apparently more common in the Philippines, hence it’s name ‘Mabulo’ – a reference to its peachy fuzzy exterior which is ‘bebulu’ in our language. Took some pics, but as with the ones I took of many other food and fruit, they’re left forgotten in the universe that is my laptop.

But a recent comment by Peace on my Buah Mentega post from last year reminded me of the ‘Mabulo’.

And Peace has kindly given a link to a Berita Harian post on the Buah Mentega.

But the pic in the Berita Harian page actually looks like this Mabulo fruit – what do you guys think?

It’s about the size of my palm.

The fruit is soft, and creamy white in colour, and is sweet tasting – just the way Peace described it.

So I don’t know ~ I’m sure we’re talking about the same fruit here, but the question is, what is it called actually?

My dad said the ‘Buah Mentega’ in my original post was called so because of its texture which is much softer or silkier than the flesh of this ‘Mabulo’- as well as its yellow flesh (it’s orange actually), just like butter.

The two are definitely different fruit, for sure, but the similar shapes and seeds suggests they could be related in an “uncle-nephew” kinda way…HA! “anak buah”/ “baby fruit” – Geddit? No? Not a fan of lame jokes..? *sigh*

Whatever they’re called, both are delicious.

And Maurina, we have neon-coloured plates too.

Anyu Abang @ Shorea

In Primary 4 science, I first heard the word “Shorea”, together with “angsana”, as an example of how certain trees reproduce, some by dropping fruit that flew like “helicopters” in the air. A prodigal skeptic, I didn’t believe what Ms Daisy said then. And I didn’t believe she was a real teacher either. Ms Daisy, you see, came into class in a very short miniskirt and a tank tube, bare shoulders and enough make-up for the entire RBA crew, making her look more akin to someone in the oldest profession in the world than to an educator. A right old slapper, if I’m honest! But who was I to judge? Though I did anyway. But that was light years ago.

Recently though my sister brought home the Shorea fruit she obtained from her school trip to Labi. It was the first time I saw this thing we talked about in primary school. Mum says it’s called “Abang” in Tutong, and “Kawang” in Brunei Malay.

Broken wings- the Shorea fruit that looks like a rotten, inverted badminton shuttlecock

Biginya

The Buah Abang seed is then separated and collected, and roasted and then crushed to extract the oil.

This article from Utusan Malaysia recently explains this process more eloquently than I ever can.

Suffice to say the result of this lengthy process (48 hrs of smoking ++, according to the article) is the following sticks of solid Abang oil, or Anyu Abang.

Sticks of Abang 'butter'

Due the complicated process, and more significantly, due to its scarcity (the article also says it fruits only once every 7 years), Anyu Abang is sold at quite a steep price, sometimes going for $20 for a 5-inch stick.

As a kid my parents introduced me to this delicacy. The stick is rubbed onto a plate of steaming hot rice, and it melts into it, add a bit of salt, and the rice becomes instantly flavoured.

Hot steamy rice and Anyu Abang

How to describe its taste? It’s rich, and creates a smooth silky coating like butter over the rice, except a bit more intense and aromatic. In fact my parents used to refer to it as ‘mentega’ – which led me to confuse facts and to thinking it’s made from Buah Mentega or Avocado- which I now know was not the case.

So there you go. So I eat my shorts and apologize to dear Ms Daisy for thinking she didn’t know what she was talking about – Shorea fruit do have wings, and they do rotate and float in the air as they fall off the tree – and I did learn something from her. But that still doesn’t explain why she couldn’t say the word “xylophone” in reading class, despite four attempts- guided by us, her primary four students. May she live in peace in her old persons’ home in Labuan somewhere, or simply in Labuan somewhere. Bless her soul.

Mei Fang

This post is dedicated to Jennie who asked about the best pulut panggang in Tutong, and I answered Mei Fang’s and Hj As’ (or Putih’s now).

This is a cheat though, coz I’m not writing about the pulut panggang itself, as I don’t have it’s pics, but just of the restaurant- one of the three legendary kedai kopi in downtown Tutong, on the riverfront.

The place opens early for breakfast, and offers traditional fares- with a Chinese twist perhaps – this is a Chinese restaurant after all- but all halal.

The wooden signboard above, which appears handpainted, seems to have been there right from when it first opened in the 50s (I dont have proof of this) is a reminder of its long history. It remains a very popular not-air-conditioned original meeting spot, but would appear to be a boys’ club in town. But nice people and tasty food all around (try the kuetiaw).

Sorry, this is a lazy post- the place was closed when we were there. (will write about the actual food next time).

Bubuk Season

“Bubuk” or “jut” in Tutong is back!

I’d meant to write about it last year, but I was too engrossed stuffing my face with it, amongst others, and completely forgot until they’d disappeared off the shores of Tutong.

Bubuk is “Krill” in English. You can find the scientific crap here .
Whales, which simply open their mouths and let the unwitting tiny shrimps swim happily into their gobs and to marine heaven. So, apart from our body shapes, another common thing I share with whales is our love for bubok.

Bubok is scooped out of the sea using fine nets in a process called ‘menyadak’. I tried it once as a kid. What you do is wait for a swarm of these krills to swim close to shore, which will become evident in a very red tide (not to be confused with the dangerous real red tide that’s a sea of iron-rich algae, which I won’t pretend I know much about). You scoop against the direction of the swarm, but bewarned- the bubuk actually jump in and out of the water and when you’re in the middle of a swarm, you get a pins-and-needles sensation – not pleasant.

So, perhaps it’s best to leave the harvesting to the experts, and sit your fat bum round the dinner table and enjoy this, Bubuk goreng or “Jut beukau” … lemme see… “sauteed krill”??

Anyway, this is simply fresh bubuk sauteed over high fire, with a bit of oil, bawang merah/ shallots, garlic, and chilli. If the bubuk is really fresh, you won’t need salt, as the natural juices of the bubuk will ooze flavour.

You can eat it with rice, but here’s how we eat it at home, as an ulam filling. Simply use any raw leaf ulam e.g. pegaga, daun sawi padas (mustard leaves), or even lettuce or cabbage.

I prefer Pucuk Mambangan, the very wangi and flavoursome leaves of the buah/ pohon Mambangan, a member of the Mango family (too lazy to find the scientific info- go google it).

In fact, I wrap my bubuk goreng with both Mambangan shoots and Pegaga- as I do my cincalu- but that’s a different post altogether.

How do you like your bubuk?