Friday, December 28, 2007

Food - Sarikei Breakfast

Sarikei Breakfast Hawker Centre, 2007

Who needs breakfast in bed when you can head down to the hawker centre next to the seafood market at Bank Road (next to the existing bus terminal)? This building was built in the 1960s after the shophouse block at Bank Road was completed in 1946 and the vegetables market in the early 1950s. This area was formerly part of the Malay village (kampung).

Sarikei Breakfast Hawker Centre, 2007

The stalls there close by early afternoon after the morning human traffic dwindles. They are now better known for their breakfast fare. In the early days, there were 3 Hainanese stalls and what do they bring to the table literally? Read on and follow the aroma of freshly brewed coffee (kopi).

Sarikei Breakfast Hawker Centre, 2007.
Cakes on left, Muffins on right

You can find muffins 鬆餅 in paper cups and the perennial favourite simply known as cake 蛋糕. These are sourced from bakeries. It the old days, an example would be San Hin bakery 三興 at No. 6 Wharf Road. The fist sized cakes are soft and fluffy.

Sarikei Breakfast Hawker Centre, 2007

If your protein pangs egg you on, you will need to order soft boiled eggs and eat them in a saucer with soya sauce.

Sarikei Breakfast Hawker Centre, 2007

Now locally made sugary soft drinks from Sibu and Bintangor have also penetrated these breakfast joints. Can you take these for breakfast? Maybe these are meant for the bus travellers to take away.

Sarikei Roti Kahwin, 2007

Now for the Hainanese influence. You can not miss the charcoal toasted sandwich which the locals call roti kahwin (literally married bread in Malay). It comes with kaya (coconut jam) and a dollop of melting butter. It's our bodies' primitive survival instinct that makes us love calories laden food so watch the dripping butter.

Sarikei Roasted Coffee Beans, 2007

What else? The Hainanese are generally regarded as the best coffee makers in South East Asia. Some of them have become big businesses with franchises (eg: The Ya Kun chain in Singapore). The Chinese, Malays and Indians are traditionally tea lovers but how did the Hainanese end up serving coffee? One school of thought is that the Hainanese used to work for the British colonial folks and they learned the art of making coffee from them. The traditional Chinese coffeeshops are the local interpretation of the English cafes.

Sarikei Coffee (left) and Tea (right) Making tools, 2007.
Find the coffee and tea filters and the water mug.

Coffee berries are picked by hand. The flesh is then removed by machine. The seeds (beans) are fermented to remove the slimy layer on the seeds. After fermentation, the seeds are washed by water. The seeds are then dried, sorted and labeled as green coffee beans.

Sarikei Tea Making, 2007.
Find the tea filter and condensed milk.

During the roasting process, the starches are broken down into simple sugars and this causes the browning effect. In the old days in Sarikei, you could see people roasting coffee beans by rotating home made metal drums over fire in the back alleys and on the padang (field). Darker roasts are smoother and more sugary. Lighter roasts have surprisingly more caffeine, slight bitterness and a stronger aroma. Now shops have coffee bean grounding machines and if you happen to walk by, you can get high from the waltzing aroma.

Java takeaway in a recycled milk can

Piping hot coffee is brewed by pouring boiling water into a filter that looks like a ladies' stocking. If you like it white, the local version uses thick and sweetened condensed milk simply because fresh milk was not readily available in the old days but now this way of preparation is indispensable for the local kopi (coffee) connoisseur.

Now don't try this at home, I mean, with the ladies' stocking.


Anonymous said...

The cake (long ko) is the best! Can't find anything like it anywhere. Really miss them. Our kids (even though they're born & raised in Canada) like them so much, their grandpa would order 100of them & bring them over to Vancouver when he came to visit.

Sharifah said...

Hi there, came across your blog and this interesting post. I enjoy looking at the tools, including the stocking, which I prefer to refer to it as a sock.:) And the takeway milk can - just lovely. You have a great blog with lots of things to read.

Tuan Lokong said...

Presume Sarikei Coffee is still the best. I like the one that was beside the old Theatre now changed to Aifah Electrical & Electronic ?? Anyway see If I can get a picture with his consent to be send in here next week when I am home from abroad. It is always good to see new changes in Sarikei though.

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