I’m pretty certain it’s not just me growing old and reminiscing over how good things were in the past, because much to my surprise my young-er mates also shared the same feelings when we came across these little gems recently.
The Nasi bungkus sekulah is called so in reference to its presentation in a plastic wrap, folded over, and this was the common way rice was sold in primary schools in the morning and Ugama school in the afteroon. Usually consisting of fluffy white rice, topped with some sambal pusu, and a tiny slice of Talur dadar or fried egg, this delight brought smiles to children who over the years only had to pay between 20 cents to 50 cents. These packets of rice would be prepared early morning no doubt, and sold during break time at around 10 – by which time the pusu sambal would have infused the rice with its delicious spicy sauce, and in many cases, grease. But we couldn’t care less, yang penting nyaman.
Its counterpart from the Noodle world is the “Mee Goreng Duaposen” (20 cents), mainly oil-soaked worms of egg noodles, with slithers of fried egg (if you’re lucky). Nothing special, except it’s uniquely wrapped in parchment paper exactly like you see in the picture here. As the grease gets absorbed by the paper, it becomes increasingly translucent. Just like your underpants when you got some unplanned bowel movements in class, having consumed makanan bangas. Only less stinky and messy. ugh.
I had always assumed this kind of packaging had been replaced by much fancier ones over the years, but apparently not. I found these ones sold by an old Pa’Aji and Bu’Ajah in the middle row of the Pasar Malam, Gadong just recently, so I reckon it must still be current in the schools. The mee goreng was 20 cents each, so we bought a dollar’s worth, and the rice was 50 cents apiece.
If only I’d done my homework everyday and not be told to stand on a chair outside the classroom as punishment everyday during primary school, in lieu of a good beating, or sometimes together with. I exaggerate, of course. It wasn’t quite every single day that I was punished, as I vividly recall the 3 days in the year that I actually did do my homework and was allowed to play with friends during break, and enjoy the nasi bungkus. Don’t we all miss the days of corporal punishment..?
Note 1: I’ve written about the Nasi Bungkus Daun before. I’ll link later.
Note 2: Malas ku spell check or grammar check eh.