Friday, September 3, 2010


When it comes to food, I am very, very strict with my children. They have to finish their nasik, bread, cereal, whatever they are eating. Punishment beckons if they don't. And if there is only little portion, ada sikit jer, they must share it with others. "Tinggal kat orang belakang sikit" my elders used to remind me and my siblings, again and again. The idea of course, was to share whatever we have with everyone in the family so that semua orang boleh rasa.

In the childhood days, there were some difficult times when we dont have enough financial means to buy lauk-pauk. I remember when everybody in the family have to share little portions of ikan seekor during dinner. To make the bland rice more delicious for our tekak to accept it, we mixed it with kicap tamin and the cooking oil that was used to fry the fish. I could still remember the taste now, which was simply delicious. At that time, we dont have much, but we make do with whatever we have.

Ayam, daging and ketam was really a luxury back then. If I remember it correctly, we only had the luxuries during the gaji time. For the rest of the month lauk were ikan kembung rebus (difficult to find nowadays, but lots of it were sold in Pasar Besar Ipoh @ Superkinta then) ikan kering, sadin cap ayam, telur masin or telur ayam. For vegetables, we had pucuk ubi, kangkung, jantung pisang, bayam, to name a few. If we were craving for some fruits, pelam or jambu air for example we just find the appropriate tree in the kampung, climbed and plucked the desired choice or throw some sticks at the fruits to get it. We usually asked permissions first but stealing fruits were not out of questions either especially if the owner was a kedekut haji bakhil type.

But even with the financial constrain, I also remember that we ate all the time. Beside lunch and dinner, there were breakfast of nasi goreng with ikan bilis halus topped up with fried cili kering, tea time with cekodok, goreng pisang or keledek or sometimes the simple ubi rebus with kelapa parut.

The food back then were simple and basic but it did the job to feed us. I guess since almost all were planted in abundance and readily available around the house or the village, we were never short of food supply. Things that we dont have, we pinjam from the neighbours and vice versa.

If there is a Maulud Nabi function or some prominent religious figure giving ceramah at our local surau, which was made compulsory for me to attend, we got to eat nasi beriyani or nasi minyak with kari daging kambing. The same goes if there are weddings in the kampung. The mouth watering rendang tok was my favourite.

Fast food was considered as another luxury, not like nowadays. If we want to satisfy our taste bud, and have a go at it, it only happens once a year, which during the first and second day of Aidilfitri, we will hit all the houses in the neighbourhood and our kampung, to collect duit raya. Then on the 3rd or 4th day, we'll go to Ipoh and spend our hard earned coins on root beer, burger and fries at the A & W ( the only fastfood outlet back then, no KFC, no McDonalds, no Pizza Hut) in front of panggung Cathay. Thats it, once a year.

We never wasted our food since it was drummed into our brains, to do such things was really bad. If we did that, the usual punishment like kena tibai dengan getah paip, or the ever popular lempang will swiftly be executed by our parents. When it comes to wasting food, thats how strict they can be. And because of that, I grew up with the thinking to never ever membazir makanan.

Thats why I am very strict with my children when it comes to food. I always tell them to remember these three things:-

i. Never membazir makanan. Finish it all off.
ii. Tinggal sikit untuk orang belakang yang belum rasa.
iii. Jangan tamak ambik banyak-banyak, kalau tak abis, kena buang jer makanan tu.

I followed those rules right up till now. Hopefully my daughters will too.


  1. I wish I could get my son to follow those rules. He almost never finishes anything!

  2. Jordan: Hahahha, my children too at one time. Until we gave them little bit by little bit. Thanks for reading and comment.