Friday, October 13, 2006

Food - Sarikei Pien Neek Dumplings

Sarikei Pien Neek 2005 (source: Chen)

n the 60's and early 70's, when you ordered cooked food in a kopitiam (coffeeshop), you did not have many choices besides the Foochow staples like kam pua noodle, noodle soup and pien neek dumplings. Laksa noodle only arrived in the mid to late 70's. That made pien neek one of the comfort food that Sarikei Chinese folks grew up with and a dish one yearns for. Which is your favourite stall?

Sarikei Pien Neek 2006 - "special" with seaweed (source: Chen)

Foochow pien neek dumplings is different from the Cantonese wonton dumplings. Its flour skin is thinner and smoother than the wonton skin. The minced pork filling is also less than a wonton. The final materpiece is a bowl of smooth and soft dumplings in a clear delicious broth garnished with shallots and spring onions. The pien neek simply slips down your throat after flirting with your tastebuds. The dry versions in black or white came later.

Sarikei Pien Neek - dry version 2005 (source: Chen)

In the old days, every morning at around 6am, cooks would start mincing their meat with a big chopper on a wooden block. The rhythmic chopping would wake you up if you lived in a shophouse (no air conditioned covered rooms then to block out noise) and then lulled you back into slumberland again. Then they would patiently wrap the minced meat with a squarish piece of skin that came in a stack. Dry flour was used to prevent the skins from sticking to each other in the stack.

Sarikei Pien Neek - dry black (soya sauce) version 2006 (source: sorry, can't recall!)

What makes the humble pien neek desirable is its smooth and delicate skin that shrouds a rewarding burst of meaty juices as you bite ... so baby, it's ok to show more skin even if you have less meat.



I am not sure whether you will be amused to read that a reporter described Sarikei as a "remote" area best known for its Sarawak pineapples. I'm sure you will be proud to learn that 3 Sarikei secondary three students won the Malaysian Investment Quiz. Sarikei has consistently produced good students.


fred said...

that picture is killing me... argh... must have... must have... must eat pien neek... pien neek...

Sim Y said...

Count me in too. I miss it more than ever, especially I am in a foreign country now.

Daniel Yiek said...

Fred & Sim,
You should start a pien neek shop in Sabah & Middle East respectively! ;-0

LPPL said...

Gosh. Your Pien Neek reminds me of old days. My father is from Sarikei and when I was young, I used to go back there once a year to visit my grandparent. We will all have breakfast at a corner kopitiam near the market everyday and it's really cheap and delicious. Apart from Pien Neek, I also had the Tian Piang Ngu. I think I should go back and visit my grandma again next year. Anyway, your historical blog is quite impressive.

Chen said...

i always eat pien neek each time i balik kampung :)

Daniel Yiek said...

Ah Dom,
Welcome, I'm glad that you like the history. Pls dig into your family album and use your digital camera to capture any old photos of Sarikei life. Email me at and maybe I can make use of them in this blog.

aLoM said...

waaaa....great blog...i dad is from pakan sarikei but i've never eat pien neek longhouse is just too far from town...

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