Chuck Norris And The Dog

Burly temple president and community leader, Gurcharan Singh, was like Chuck Norris to me. Dogs walk away and children quiet down when he stares. The last temple priest ran away. He came to sit with me and chat when I ate.

We talked about the temple’s century old history,

I was nervous when I wanted to tell him that conservation of a heritage building is not about about flattening it and rebuilding from ground up. The truth is he is a gentle giant, He feeds the dog with leftover food but no meat. Meat is not allowed near the temple, he stressed. The kampung is much misunderstood too.

In seeking directions in my search or hunt, many Malay villagers from outside warned me about Kampung Singh’s aversion to outsiders. “Tidak campur” (do not mix), they cautioned me. I started to think they might be like an insular Amish community. In fact, outsiders were insular and ignorant. The inhabitants were warm and friendly when I engaged them.

See previous post Chapati in Kalumpang.

#sikh #punjabi #kampungsingh #gurdwara #sikhtemple #kalumpang #tanjungmalim #dog #chucknorris #vaisakhi

Chapati In Kalumpang

Chapati In Kalumpang.

I visited a small Gurdwara or Sikh Temple in Kampung Singh during Vaisakhi prayers. I like the gender neutral community spirit in which the women volunteered to cook at a little space at the temporary temple. I wanted to see the 100 year old temple but it was undergoing restoration.

Hot from the skillet or flat frying pan were chapatis. an unleavened flatbread, which is a staple food in North India. It is spelt as capati here. The very hospitable Punjabi community invited me, the mysterious stranger, to eat and I gladly did.

The little known and hard to find kampung is in Kalumpang near Tanjung Malim.

#sikh #punjabi #chapati #capati #kampungsingh #gurdwara #sikhtemple #kalumpang #tanjungmalim #ethnicfood #cooking #vaisakhi

Chinese Lontong

Since I mentioned the shop next to SR Inn in Simpang Renggam serving lontong, let’s look at it. It was fascinating and interesting to see such a cute crossover food served by a few Chinese coffee shops.

The popular Johor Malay (originally Indonesian) dish is rebooted as Chinese food. It is a testimony of the cordial and harmonious interracial relationships in Johor.

The dish here cannot be halal as this coffee shop also serves pork and loads of beers. The kopitiam is a common watering hole in small towns, where pubs are few and rare.

The lontong here is good and satisfying food for breakfast. I liked slicing the included half boiled egg and mixing it up with the sambal, the rice cubes and cabbage.

Got too much sambal around your mouth? I chuckled at the many toilet paper rolls hanging from the walls of the kopitiam, supposedly for customers to use as serviettes. Which is kind of practical and handy as Chinese coffee shops never provide free serviettes, unlike Mamak and Malay shops.

#lontong #johor #crossoverfood #breakfast #simpangrenggam

A Rose By Any Other Name

My awesome rose tea from that mee tarik place. I am not much of a tea drinker but it looks like some dried rose buds or rose hips were used. The spoon was to stir the little sugar added and not to eat the buds, I think. It should be labelled as rose bud drink and not rose tea. Smells as sweet.

#meetarik #rosetea #rose

The Reunion Dinner

Its cultural significance is similar to the Thanksgiving dinner of the West. The modern families are separated by obligations of career and marriage. Hence the yearly rush back to hometowns to reunite for the dinner. In China, the exodus can result in traffic jams hundreds of miles long and at one time, it lasted for weeks.

Nu Sentral put up an interesting mock up of the traditional reunion dinner table setting when I visited. The dishes were sampuru or Japanese fake or plastic display food. Reunion feast usually includes sumptuous dishes like prawns and steamed chicken meant for the prayer altar, fish and tinned abalone, mushrooms stir fried with mixed vegetables. Missing here is the customary soup. There are no hard and fast rules and the dishes cooked or served can vary according to household and family custom.

The reunion dinner custom serves more than eating. Daughter-in-laws face pressure when they are required to demonstrate their cooking skills. The sitting down is a time to catch up on news of siblings and relatives. It is also a time when younger members are interrogated on marriage and expectancy of babies for newly married couples, Thus, it is an event not always look forward to by all.

Panasonic Lumix GM-1, ISO 1000, f4, 1/60 sec.

#reuniondinner #sample #sampuru #cny #asian #custom #food #culture #dinner #table #chinesecustom #nusentral