“Mole” as in “guacamole” (avocado sauce), not “mole” as in “taie lalat”.

I’ve a few friends who inexplicably have never tried Kembayau.

In my effort to propagate the goodness of Kembayau (Canarium odontophyllum) I always tell these misfits that they taste similar to avocado – creamy, lamak, and just simply beautiful.

So today I walked into the kitchen and saw a couple of leftover kembayau on the table. And feeling suitably peckish, I also began to feel dangerously creative.

Now, if indeed Kembayau is like Avocado, then an equivalent of guacamole should be possible with the stripey ones. So I came up with this.

Here’s what you need:

The ingredients

The ingredients: Chilli, garlic, tomato, limau kapas lime, salt. I would have used some Corriander but I didn’t have any at the time

And here’s what you do:

Get the flesh of the Kembayau by squishing using thumb and fingers until the seed slides out.

Get the flesh of the Kembayau by squishing using thumb and fingers until the seed slides out.

You'll end up with this. I only had about 11 biji kembayau that were leftover, and they were a bit oxidised already, hence brownish in colour.

You’ll end up with this. I only had about 11 biji kembayau that were leftover, and they were a bit oxidised already, hence brownish in colour.

Chuck in the chopped tomato, chilli, garlic, onion and lime juice.

Chuck in the chopped tomato, chilli, garlic, onion and lime juice.

Use a wooden pestle (or any kind) to squash the ingredients.

Use a wooden pestle (or any kind) to squash the ingredients.

Et voila! Kembayau-mole.

Et voila! Kembayau-mole.

Have it with rice and veg, and Durian- why not?

Have it with rice and veg, and Durian- why not?

Now, I do realise that guacamole should be used as a dip. It goes without saying that the Kembayau-mole looks slightly less appealing visually than the emerald guacamole. But ocassionally guacamole reminds me of a pureed Shrek, so I’m not too sure that’s an appetising thought either. The black skin of the Kembayau lends to a purplish hue in the final product. Perhaps you could remove the entire skin if you wanted to avoid the purple tinge; I’m not too bothered, personally. Thoough I would have liked some Corriander in this mix, except I didn’t have any at hand at the time.

But our cook made her own “tumis” version later on, which was nice too, but that then makes it technically a Sambal.

But I say: Be adventurous!
Give it a go!


The Dungeon

So I come home from my travels late one night. Straight off a plane, and right into the kitchen. As I washed my hands at the kitchen sink, a stench crept up. I turned around expecting to see grandma behind me, but no, it wasn’t her letting one out again. But this smell was annoyingly too familiar. So I followed my nose and found myself di belakang rumah. Unfamiliar territory. But I saw this locked door, and I got curious. I’d never entered this part of the house.

Pintu Misteri

Pintu Misteri

I tried menyubuk through the chicken wire.

Apakah seperti yang kufikirkan??

Apakah seperti yang kufikirkan??

Sekali dibuka pintu ani, laaahhh….. It’s durian dungeon rupanya!

photo 33

I couldn’t believe it! No, not the fact that the place was full of durian, but rather that I did not know there was this secret hideout all this while!!

They used to keep durian and other fruit in the cabinet under the sink, and I’d walk into the kitchen late at night and plunder them.

But I guess this much durian would just make the kitchen smell like a hundred gaseous grandmothers. So, baik jua ada tampat menaruh di luar ani. You could create a mess, and leave it there, and keep the kitchen and whole house stench-free. Unless of course some members of my family are members of a secret cult who torture people through creative use of the thorny fruit. It does make me wonder sometimes.

Membuka durian - not my forte!

Membuka durian – not my forte!

Mess. Not by me.

Mess. Not by me.

So thorny and prickly and pungently smelly stuff may not be the usual kind of reception you’d expect when you get home from your time away. But tonight’s welcome was one exception I was more than happy to make.

Pau si Assim

A few friends have been raving about this steamed Pau at this “Restoran si Assim” in Tutong Town. I don’t know the restaurant’s proper name. In fact I don’t even have the slightest clue who “Si Assim” is. So I simply call the restaurant “Promart” cos that’s the big shop right next to it. You see, my mates have been having their late breakfasts there while I’ve been in Bandar most of the time, especially during that time of the day.
And they just wouldn’t stop yakking about the pau, nyaman berabis apparently. The first time I went to try the Pau, it had sold out. Apparently it’s so laku. But ngam tekana cuti recently, I finally managed to try it.

And my mates weren’t wrong. It was really good. Normally sweet Paus have one type of filling only, usually Kacang hitam, Kacang, or Kaya. But this is the first Pau I’ve had with Kacang hitam and Kacang together.

And the result is a delicious ooze of red bean paste with the contrasting crunchy bites. Really nice while it’s hot. And whilst there, inquisitive little David will entertain you with his collection of Ultraman and action figures. Just make sure he doesn’t dip them in your tea while you’re not looking… or even while you are.

Anyway, if you’re interested, the restaurant is by Promart, across from Tutong Chung Hwa school, masuk arah simpang dapan Balai Polis Tutong. But be prepared to be disappointed (as I have been a few times) – the paus are that popular.

Madwomen & Walnuts: Lakau-Lakau KB

Three months ago that madwoman Maurina raved on Instagram about a wonderful Chinese dessert in KB. She said it was Walnut puree, and I was fascinated. I was equally enthralled by her story about being a pole-dancer in Baclaran. Maurina’s borderline-illegal moonlighting aside, I decided that I must one day drive down to KB and try the dessert. The opportunity came only a few weeks ago on my final day off work. You see, when I say I want a particular something, food especially, I will get it, sooner or later. Unfortunately this one took 3 months and some; though I have waited longer. (I have been looking for Smarties for the past 3 months. And you say I’m impatient! tsk!)

So, determined, I drove all the way down to KB on the pretext of meeting up an old friend to pass some old computer stuff yang batah bejaruk. Now, there must be something in the KB water cos all the people I contacted to meet up all suggested the KB Kuey Tiaw at Tudung Saji. I have said before that I was not a big fan of Kuey Tiaw (broad noodles or pasta) but since I was a “guest” in town, I gave in, somewhat.

The Famous Kolo Mee KB

Tapi I had Kolomee Ayam, which was good, while Izzat and Hirman (you guessed it, KB residents) had Kuey Tiaw.

I tried some of theirs and took their word for it, but what was interesting, and a first for me, was Izzat’s Kuey Tiaw Urat.

Kuey Tiaw Urat

Now, I’ve never quite figured out exactly which part of the animal the urat is – maybe ignorance is bliss- but this combination with the noodle was just “interesting” to me. And by the looks of it Izzat quite enjoyed his food. I, on the other hand, didn’t finish my Kolo mee. It was OK, but I was leaving space for the thing I came down to KB for.

So we quickly made our way to the restaurant which happened to be just next door to Tudung Saji, and I thought it was a rather nice little boutique, very nicely-appointed.

Quickly flipping through the menu, we ordered the cold Walnut and the Almond dessert, with hot and cold Rose tea with honey.

The rather literally-named “Walnut Dessert”

… and its equally uncreatively-named cousin “Almond Dessert”.

The Walnut dessert was actually quite nice, as Maurina had remarked. To me it was just the right sweetness and very silky. But sorry, I probably would have liked a bit of crunch in there somewhere from chopped walnut, just to give it a bit of a texture. But I don’t think it tasted like “lipas” at all, as suggested by one of Maurina’s colourful friends. Two things: How does she know what cockroaches taste like? Secondly, lipas do not taste nutty, but just slightly hapak. I once found half a coackroach in my bag of Chickadees. It appeared freshly bit into. Anyway, this Walnut dessert tasted nutty, earthy even, and reminded me of the famous French love-it-or-hate-it “Bonne Maman”, the Chestnut spread, just kurang manis. I happen to love it, so unsurprisingly I liked the Walnut dessert.

The Almond puree that Izzat ordered was actually quite nice too, although the sweet almond flavour reminded me of Ubat Batuk Cap Ibu dan Anak. It didn’t help that the menu actually had a description stating warding off coughs was one of the health benefits of Almonds. But as a dessert, I really didn’t mind it, but perhaps again with some roasted almond thrown in to jazz it up a little.

There was a Sesame Dessert (no prizes for guessing what it’s made of) which we didn’t try, but maybe next time.

To wash these down we ordered Rose tea. The Rose tea with honey came in two versions, hot and iced.

Iced Rose Tea with Honey

Hot Rose Tea with Honey

I tried both, and decided I liked them both equally. The first time I had Rose tea, I thought the aroma was a bit overwhelming and I could only manage a few sips. But perhaps this restaurant prepared it the right way and it tasted fine this time.

No doubt I will be making a return trip for a bit more of the dessert, or other literally-named foodstuff. Let’s see what Maurina suggests next time.

Meet… umm… Lady Gaga..?






Early this year I decided to chop off this Mango tree because it was half-dead anyway from termite infestation (Tree-huggers, relax).  But I thought I’d be more creative than to simply lob off the trunks, and give the tree a post-humous function.  I recall my school-leaver primary school Science teacher saying if you peel off the bark around the main trunk of a tree, its water and food supply would be cut off and it would die eventually.  So this I did with this mango tree, as I’d decided to fix it canopy over the dead trunk and turn it into a useful hut.  Everything seemed to work the way I imagined they would… Until I visited the beach house again this week after 2 months’ absence … only to be confronted by this monstrosity.  To my horror, the bloody tree had continued to grow beneath the canopy!  Never have I felt utter failure before! When I first set my eyes on it, I thought Lady Gaga had descended upon me!

So my science education obviously didn’t work. And this was not my finest hour.  And for this to be witnessed by a few friends I’d been hoping to impress was not what I had had in mind. 



Lady Gaga undressed.