28 January 2013

Post Sonamu abstinence

I am not going to say as much as I like to believe it, the fairy love affair with my childhood favorite  Nasi dagang has finally come to an end. It was a gastronomic lust with catastrophic consequences. The blame this time is not on the tropical storm or the legendary Keropok Losong but on the main ingredient of nasi dagang itself i.e. the sublime ikan aye, or ikan tongkol  as known by the non-endemic entity to this region, or tuna by the sandwich eating people  in the West. Having a second thought, I should have blame my wife...I mean myself for being so ignorance and blinded by my perversion to this local delicatessen.  It was a hard  reality that hit me like a huge atomic bomb, garnished with zillion of  Moruga Scorpions pepper. It seems this fleshy red meat fish has an optimum enough purine  level (a protein that breaks down into uric acid in our body) to trigger gout in me. It was the most memorable experience of an untold agony as it was also the longest. It had been a while since my last intimate rendezvous with this "rich man's disease". 

I would rather actually bath myself in a hot budu sauna rather than starving myself  from nasi dagang.  In Kay El (which is already in a menopause mode) I had no problem at all pacifying my appetite as good and  decent  nasi dagang is very elusive.  In ganukite  it is all a different story. With just a little effort and even  still donning  in a sarong I can just open my door and Nasi dagang is staring on my face right  on my doorsteps.  It is so abundance like indigenous mat rempits terrorizing the trunk road of Kampung Tok Beng and so irresistible like my wife's bantal busuk.

To make the story line more exaggerate,  I've been craving for nasi dagang Ganukite since my hijrah 2 months ago. As fate would have it, the opportunity came for myself  to indulge in this delicacy during a majlis doa selamat a day before Christmas holiday last year. A three days bash and countless sinful indulgence then the first sign of pain started to develop in my left toe. The rest was history... at least until last week. I've learned the lesson well and perhaps 40 over years is more than enough for me to put a stop and finally to strip this menu from my diet.

Now something has just hit my mind. I've just realized another culprit to my post-hijrah malady is the abundance of street fishmongers along the coastal road of Ganukite. The scenic coastal road of Mengabang Telipot, Pengkalan Maras, Mengabang Telong, Batu Rakit, Tok Jembal etc.,  are very close to where I am residing now.  Those places are  a heaven for fresh sea produces from the South China Sea. Because, life is so sedated and easy in this corner of the planet, every other chance I would make a point to drive slowly and stroll with my luvly jubly wife  along these coastal roads. And because there are so many interesting pit stops of kedai nasi dagang, nasi kerabu, sata, otak-otak and  not to mention stalls that sell fishes, it becomes an obligation to me to stop, have a peek and buy some ikan aye for our  kitchen department. In Ganukite, ikan aye hitam is more sought after that ikan aye kurik.  Because the name itself (hitam)  it is believed to contain more purine than the kurik sister. Yes that is finally my scape goat - the beaches are so beautiful and so alluring so as I forgot my pantang. 

As this is the inaugural entry of 2013 and the first since my hijrah to the Keropoklekor land, it is not too late I think to say a Happy New Year to whoever that stumble upon this blog. It is a good time also to bid  farewell to my beloved Nasi dagang. Wishing all my friends a good life ahead, full of barokah...and watch your diet too!

The sight of this typical but authentic nasi dagang, nicely wrap in banana leaf can cause me to salivate for days. It is not love at first sigh, but this sporadic feeling if left unattended can lead to brain hernia and mental disillusion for years to come. Mengidam tak sudah.

Driving slowly along the coastal road, almost every Friday and Saturday morning for some fresh air is one blissful family activity. On that fateful day, I bought this ikan aye and suddenly my life had a purpose. This fish had no photogenic appeal to me  at first, until some alien-looking creatures poking mysteriously from its mouth.  

 For the first time  and probably never being recorded in any Ganukite Scientific community, I saw a Tuna regurgitated another fishes from its mouth. Probably the Tuna too felt very sick from constant  promises by politicians close to General election.  My mother told me the fishes that regurgitated by that auspicious ikan aye could be an answer to some common illnesses too.  I just couldn't remember what those illnesses areAfter some meticulous and delicate 2 minute surgery on the  ikang aye by my significant half, the two mysterious creatures turned out to be a medium size anchovy and another small  fish of which I could not make out her identity.   

This nondescript meeting place  for  local  fishmongers and other seafarers along the main scenic coastal road of Pengkalan Maras  is buzzing with activities close to mid day. A place like this is a good place to get fresh produces from the South China Sea. A pakcik with a sarong really blend well with the setting and made the scene.

Sea produces in many forms and varieties make it very hard to choose from. I thought I'd known most of the fishes in Ganukite as they become my staple food for ages. In one of the visits, I 've been introduced to ikan haruan tasik - a fish that resembles ikan tenggiri in the flesh department (I think). When asked, the fishmonger told me that ikan is very popular for asam masak pedas.

Another  fish that add into my vocabulary. Can you notice ikan air bag among the ikangs? 

The trip to traditional fishmongers also excited and fascinated my youngest son. "Hebat mata dia..."  his remark on the beautiful eyes made the  fishmonger makcik smile. His impromptu and genuine remark had  saved me some RM as well :)

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