Salai Stuff

The bile-generating flavoursome smells.
The thick, billowing smoke.
Eye-watering, literally.

It’s the unmistakeable salai or grilled stuff. In the past, the grills were placed randomly among the various foodstalls at the Tutong tamu and the seasonal ones like the Tamu Perayaan or the Gerai Ramadan – only to suffocate pneumatic patients like me, but don’t worry, carry on.

Five years ago they started isolating these smokey chimneys into a corner, thankfully. But when you’ve been fasting the whole day, the slightest waft of the burning meat can have the strange effect of making you splurge unnecessarily and buy penyungkaian enough to feed the whole kampung.

Some time ago I promised myself to restrict visits to the Gerai Ramadan to a minimum. So today was one of those few occasions in which I decided to “splurge” (in fact this was only the second time during this puasa season, so I’ve been good). Only, today I didn’t go to the Gerai Ramadan, I went closer to home, my Auntie Naimah’s famous tongkeng stand in Kg Keriam.

Notice the grill looking suspiciously similar to an atomic bomb shell.

Camera-shy Bu’ajah Naimah only started her business recently, but she’s been getting a lot of fans!

I bought 5 sticks of tongkeng, a whole chicken and a special burger, and reached home only to discover two free chicken wings salai. In coolspeak, Awesoooommmee!

And I’m not just bigging-up my auntie’s gerai, I know for a fact her food is real homemade fare.

But I suppose any seller would claim that. But when I see fluorescent red chicken wings on the grill like those you see below, my first instinct would be to keep clear in case there’s radioactive contamination.

Some food colouring is OK I guess, but when it gets bright red like that, you cannot help but be a little bit suspicious.

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