I was so busy for the last 2 weeks that I can hardly find the time to update my blog. Apart from visiting our relatives and friends, I also visited many interesting places in Kuala Terengganu such as my grandmother’s shop, Alam Akademik (refer to ‘A memory of Kuala Terengganu’), Bukit Pak Apil (refer to ‘Special Ramadhan Treats from Terengganu’), Taman Tamadun Islam in Pulau Wan Man, Pantai Batu Buruk (refer to ‘A memory of Kuala Terengganu’), Sultan Sulaiman Secondary School – SSSS (refer to ‘A memory of Kuala Terengganu’), Pasar Chabang Tiga (a wet market) and places where they made keropok lekor (a special Terengganu delicacy made mainly from fish)
When we were at nenek’s place in Kuala Terengganu, I was too busy reading the new books that I got from Alam Akademik and also those that I borrowed from my Apa – Hj. Yaacob bin Abdullah Al-Yunani. Apa is my maternal great grandfather (please refer to ‘A Memory of Kuala Terengganu’) and he has a huge collection of those lovely and very expensive Reader’s Digests books. So far he had already spent more than RM20,000 for his collection. My Apa is a wonderful man and he is always very happy to see us rushing to his ‘Reader’s Digest library’ choosing books to read every time we visited him.
A few days before Eid, dad took us to a famous keropok lekor place in Bukit Tok Beng. When we reached there, there was a very long queue outside the stall. This is not an ordinary keropok place as they use machines to roll their keropok lekor. We were so impressed; but later we were shocked when a rude lady at the sales counter shouted rudely at us telling us to wait for our turn when it was actually our turn and in fact a few customers had jumped the queue and went ahead of us. Later we heard more ‘stories’ from our relatives and friends about their bad customer service and how their attitude towards their customers changed after their business flourished. What a pity…
The next day we went to another keropok lekor place. This time, in Tanjong. The place is very small compared to the one in Bukit Tok Beng and all the processes of making the keropok lekor was done traditionally. What is very interesting about the place is the lady who runs the place. She was so nice and humble as how Terengganu folks should be… It makes me wonder if the lady in Bukit Tok Beng was also nice to their customers before the place got to be as popular as it is now… And I just hope that this lady in Tanjong will never be rude to her customers even if her business grows bigger than the one in Bukit Tok Beng!
The tasty ttupak pulok
The other day mum asked if I want to eat rendang… Rendang reminds me of ttupak pulok and no ttupak pulok tastes as good as the ones from Kuala Terengganu. Ttupak pulok is a type of glutinous rice delicacy, steamed with coconut milk and wrapped in a special leaf before it is fried to perfection.
I’ve tried the ones sold in KL but none can match the tasty ttupak pulok of Kuala Terengganu. As I always wrote in my blog, the Terengganu folks love to eat fish and we eat fish for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Well, we do not use fish to make ttupak pulok but we eat ttupak pulok with grilled fish. Ttupak pulok is also tasty when eaten with rending ( a spicy beef / chicken dish) or samba ayang or daging/serunding in standardspeak (chicken or beef floss – another meat recipe). In fact ‘ttupak pulok’ is even tasty on its own especially when eaten fresh from the wok.
To make ‘ttupak pulok’ we first steam the rice. Half way through, add the thick coconut milk and salt. Next, continue steaming the rice until cooked. Then comes the tricky part – to wrap the steamed glutinous rice in special leaves. Too bad I do not master the art of wrapping the ttupak pulok neither did mum nor nenek. If the wrapping process is not done properly, the ttupak will be too soft and maybe too oily after it is fried. The final step is the easiest – fry the wrapped ttupak in hot oil and the ttupak is ready to be served with grilled fish, rendang or ‘samba daging’. How I wish that I can have them… But it always took me much longer than mum to unwrap the ttupak! Not only do we need a lot of practise to enable us to wrap the ttupak pulok, but we also need to learn how to unwrap it before eating the tasty ttupak pulok. But once you try them….you won’t mind the hassle of unwrapping them.
In Trengganuspeak we have two different words to describe the different manners of dipping. If a person dip just a small portion of (for example) a banana (pisang) in honey (madu); in Trengganuspeak we name the dipping process as ‘cicoh’. So we’ll say ‘pisang cicoh madu‘. But if a person dip the whole banana in honey; the dipping process is no more cicoh but celok. Hence we now say ‘pisang celok madu‘.
Trengganufolks like to ‘cicoh‘ (dip) their crackers, cookies, certain types of bread and cakes in their drinks. The most preferred drinks for dipping are coffee, tea and ‘Milo’. I’m not so sure if fresh fruit juice and fizzy drinks are also used for dippings. Anyway my siblings and I love to cicoh our cookies and crackers in ‘Milo‘. ‘Biskuk jagung’ (cream cracker) also known as ‘biskuk pak ssegi’ (according to mum) is usually eaten dipped in drinks – in our case, we dip the crackers in ‘Milo‘. Other cookies such as ‘Tiger Biskuat‘, ‘Tiger Susu’ and ‘Biskuk Marie’ are also tasty for cicoh ‘Milo’. During the Eid celebrations I often saw people cicoh their ‘biskuk raya’ (cookies baked for Eid) in their drinks back in Kuala Terengganu; but I prefer to eat my Eid cookies just the way they were.
One should try ‘buoh ulu cicoh Milo‘. ‘Buoh ulu’ or bahulu is a Malaysian sweet cake made from eggs, flour and sugar. They can be soft or crisp depending on how long they were baked. ‘Buoh ulu’ is actually tasty on its own but when dipped in ‘Milo’ -mmm… it surely tastes a lot better. The creamy and chocolaty taste of ‘Milo’ really enhanced the lovely taste of ‘buoh ulu‘. The ‘buoh ulu’ will then be very soft and just melt in my mouth. Sometimes I over ‘cicoh’ (over dip) the ‘buoh ulu’ until parts of my ‘buoh ulu’ sink to the bottom of my ‘Milo‘. I would then use a spoon to dig out my delicious ‘buoh ulu‘. Anyway not all type of cakes would be tasty when dip in drinks. I haven’t heard of anyone who dip their cheese cake or ‘nganang’ (a traditional Trengganu sweet cakes) in their drinks… but who knows?
Nenek (my grandmother) and dad loves to ‘cicoh’ their ‘roti kerah Kemamang’ (a special hard, dry and crispy bread from a district in Terengganu named Kemaman) in ‘kawe’ (black coffee). Another of nenek’s favourite is ‘kayu khammak’(a type of local Terengganu fried bread) cicoh tey o’ (plain tea). I do not like ‘kayu khammak cicoh air’ (drinks) for the drink will then become oily and I do not fancy drinking oily drinks. Oh yes; we drink the leftover drink used for dipping.
One should be creative in thinking of what to ‘cicoh’ in their drinks and of the type of drinks to choose as ‘nnyiccoh’ (a drink to cicoh in). Anyway don’t ever ‘cicoh’ your ‘ikang panggang’ (grilled fish) in your ‘kawe ‘(black coffee) or any other drink for it will then taste ‘anye’. Normally we ‘cicoh’ sweet or rather plain tasted food (eg: white bread) in our drinks but I know a few people who love the taste of ‘khepok kkeping’ (fish cracker) and ‘pulok lepa (please refer to Delicious Pulok) cicoh kawe‘; and I don’t mind to give that a try, I guess…
I perfectly understand the difference between ‘cicoh’ and ‘celok’ but when dad said ‘kicoh‘, I was puzzled. Fortunately mum was around and explained the meaning of ‘kicoh‘. So, if you plan to try dipping your ‘bouh ulu’ in your drink; please remember to ‘cicoh selo-selo’ (dip slowly) for if you over ‘cicoh’ it will be no more ‘cicoh’ but ‘celok‘ (dunk) and if that happens your ‘buoh ulu’ will sink to the bottom of your drink. But it is alright because you can still scoop the ‘buoh ulu’ with a spoon and eat it. However, never ever ‘kicoh’ (rinse) your ‘buoh ulu’ in your drink for it will break to tiny pieces and become too messy to be eaten.
Note: The ‘c’s in cicoh and celok are pronounced as the pronunciation of ‘ch’ in English. The act of ‘makang cicoh air’ (dipping food in drinks) should not be done in fancy restaurants or while eating in another people’s house. Infact it should not be done even in our house, if we have guests around. Anyway one can enjoy their food ‘cicoh air’ in food stalls, ordinary restaurants, very close relatives’ and friends’ houses (in Trengganu). Remember to ‘irup sapa abih’ (finish up) your drink after you are done dipping.