Sunday, April 17, 2011

Some Bits of Vernacular Malaysia

We were back in Malaysia for 2 weeks recently.  The first week was hot (which got me sick for a week), and thankfully, the second week was a lot better with a bit of rain and clouds.  One of the highlights of our activities this time that was out of the norm was visiting my sis-in-law's family farm.  Now when I say 'farm', I'm sure an image of lush green grass, fences, vegetable patches, chicken and goats and small hut would come to mind.  Well, most of those stuff were present at the farm, except for the lush green grass which is still in the process of growing.  The farm is located on a land surrounded by oil palm plantations, so you can probably imagine the heat during mid-day.

“Pondok” (in Bahasa Malaysia) is what we call a small chalet or hut at the farm.  It actually has three rooms, kitchen and bathroom.  It’s quite nice to have something like a traditional house to visit from time to time now that even our “kampung” or family’s hometowns are mostly suburbs.

The farm is surrounded by fish ponds, where two of the brothers went in to catch some fish for my husband to grill.  Then there are some patches of lime trees, pucuk ubi, some chickens and four goats.  Going there, we brought some Durians that my husband's brother bought from Ipoh.  Malaysians love Durian, while others not familiar with it may refer to Durian as stinky or smelly fruit.  I wouldn’t describe it as stinky.  It just has a very strong, distinctive smell.  The fruit is fleshy and rich, and there’s no other fruit or food that taste like it.  What does it taste like?  It’s somewhere between sweet, a tiny bit bitter sometimes, and thick in taste.  I find it funny that in shows like Fear Factor or food travel, people would be willing to eat bugs and creepy crawlers, but would squirm at the sight of Durian!  It’s a fruit and it’s pretty good.  If you have a chance, you MUST give Durian a try!

And for the grilled fish (which was forgotten to be photographed!), we squeezed some fresh small limes or "Limau Kasturi" right off the tree.  These limes taste really good in iced tea, over noodles and on seafood.

Once in a while, it's definitely really great to be out in the farm or kampung or the more vernacular environment, don't you think?

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