This morning I had “dian pien ngu” for breakfast at a coffeeshop in Miri Commercial Centre. This was the first time I had breakfast in that part of Miri.
“Dian pien ngu” is a Foochow delicacy. “Dian” means wok, “pien” means side and “ngu” means paste in Foochow. It is a savoury soup with rice cakes,fish balls, black fungus, dried cuttlefish shreds, shredded pork and some dried flower thingy. Rice flour is mixed with water to form a liquid paste. This paste is then poured on to the side of the wok and once cooked, it is scrapped into the wok and cooked in a soup.
I have not taken “dian pien ngu” for quite a long time as I cannot find really good ones in Miri. The “dian pien ngu” I had today was actually not too bad.
A couple of days ago, my mother-in-law gave me a lot of “kompian” from Sibu as she knows I am a great fan of this Foochow delicacy. “Kompian” is made from lightly salted flour sprinkled with sesame seeds and baked in traditional open charcoal oven. It is actually a type of sesame bagel. When it is hot from the oven, it tastes great.
I am a Hokkien but I love Foochow delicacies such as “dian pien ngu”, “kompian”, “kampuan mien” (dry mee) and “peh tin yok chicken” ( chicken cooked in a herbal soup). The reason is simple. I was born in Bintangor (where the inhabitants are predominantly Foochow) and lived there about 17 years. Even in my birth certificate, my surname was registered as “Ling” (Foochow spelling of my family name) when it should have been “Lim” (Hokkien spelling) as the nurse who recorded my birth just assumed that I was Foochow. So I am stucked with a Foochow name and my Malaysian identity card shows my Foochow name with my Hokkien name as an alias! I guess I am fated to be close to Foochows…….my wife is Foochow and many of my closest friends are Foochow too.
Foochows are very-hardworking and not averse to toils and risk-taking. It comes as no surprise that the richest Chinese in Sarawak are mostly Foochow. If you don’t believe, just think of all the Sarawak Chinese tycoons and see how many are Foochow.
Let me teach you a couple of commonly-used Foochow phrases:
Siah pa moi? = Have you eaten?
Ken chin kuan= Talking rubbish
And ask your Foochow friend how to say “3278” in Foochow…..it will be a “revelation” for you, hahaha!