Sunday, April 27, 2008

Kerto's Wild Chicken Mushrooms and Hoon Ngang

(Wedding photo: one of the earliest weddings in Pulau Kerto - this photo was taken outside one of the Hua Hong Ice Factory residential homes. This is my parents' wedding photo taken in 1948)

If one has to summarize in one sentence about our Foochow elders, then it should be "They were wonderful people who could create a living out of nature."

I remember my father going out one morning while we were living at the Hua Hong Ice Factory on the Kerto Island (1949-1955) and coming home with a whole bunch of wild mushrooms. He called them Chicken Meat Mushroom. Then he and my mum went to clean up the mushrooms, and cooked a beautiful pot of wild mushroom , and the big Foochow mee hoon , which is called Hoon Ngang. The taste was definitely chicken.

I can never forget the taste nor the happiness of eating the free and pure white mushrooms. Even though later in life we have so many kinds of commercially and freshly grown mushrooms, that meal was unforgetable. I continue to look for chicken mushroom throughout my life.

Although my memory is fading,I am sure my father and his Foochow and Iban employees seriously could find chicken mushrooms in the woods of Pulau Kerto.

Not long ago I tried to search in the internet for Chicken Mushroom and I found a very rich source of information. There is indeed an American version of the chicken mushroom. Below is one example.

Recipe for the Chicken Mushroom Hoon Ngang

wild mushrooms ( 2 - 3 ringgit worth?)well washed
2 big onions, well chopped
salt to taste
2 Tbp sesame oil
lots of white ground pepper
half packet of thick rice vermecelli (Hoon Ngang) Boiled and softened
one pot of water
foochow red wine
some chicken stock powder


1. Fry the chopped onions in the hot sesame oil
2. stir fry quickly the shredded wild mushrooms
3. add enough water to make soup.
4. add salt and pepper and chicken stock powder
5. When ready, pour soup into bowls of the softened hoon ngang. Let stand for a while.
6. Serve with Foochow red wine.

Perhaps one day, some entrepreneurs will be growing chicken mushrooms in Sarawak or even find it in Kerto!!

8 memories:

Unknown said...


There are a lot of plants and wild vegetables in Sarawak that have not been commercialised. Our rain forests is rich in flora and fauna. Some are medicinal, others are ornamental. I was told that big perfume companies in Paris, London and New York send people to comb our forest to look for flowers of plant parts that produces fragrant scent. One of the plant used in perfume not too long ago comes from our forest: Polygonum (daun kesum) -used in cooking.

By the way, do you still remember those entertainment that we have in Sibu in the 1960's and 1970's?

I remember there were Chinese opera which my granpa liked so much. Also, inthe 1970's there were concert with bands with singers crooning out mandarin/Taiwanese songs! It hapeened at the Sibu recreational Club as well.

I Am Sarawakiana said...

Thank you again.

I remember the Foochow opera but I do not have all the details...and of course all that singing...but a bit cloudy. end of 60's I went off to study and 70's I had my young family, so entertainment was not big on my list. I can really remember all the movies I watched, before I went off to study.

Memories can be very strange.

James TC Wong said...

Ya - I remember SRC, in front of the padang, tennis courts, basketball ... so popular with live bands in late 70s and early 80s. There was a canteen in the ground floor operated by a Teochew family that served excellent food! Roseline and I used to have our dinners there. So wonderful memories...

I Am Sarawakiana said...

The Sibu Boys' Club basketball court was turned into some kind of open air concert hall for singing competition. One of the favourite Chinese songs at that time was "Tonight I am not coming home" Chin Tien Pu Hui Chia by Liew Chia Chang....

The SRC upstairs was a dance hall...and lots of ladies wearing long skirts, popular at that time, took to the floor to the delight of a lot of people. My uncles and aunts danced well. And I believe James' parents also danced well....those were the days when community parties were very popular. Home parties were few and far in between.And then Island Club took over the social scene. By then I was gone from Sibu.

tumi荼蘼 said...

“Tonight I am not coming home" Chin Tien Pu Hui Chia by Liew Chia Chang....” 是“今天不回家”吗?应该是姚苏容的歌,不是刘家昌。

Been enjoy reading your articles.


I Am Sarawakiana said...

Thank you Tumi for reading my postings. I am not too sure now about who sang Chin Tien Bu Hui Chia....but the tune just rings in my head all the time.

Hope I can write often and entertain as many as possible.

Your views are important too. And sometimes comments from readers can help trigger some more memories.

The Quartet of El Dorado said...

That's a beautiful wedding picture of the 40's.

I recognise Professor Dr. Chong Chung Hian, Chiu Ik Sing and Greta and Chiu Sieng besides all the others.

Rare but nostalgic.

Sibu Gal

I Am Sarawakiana said...

I treasure black and white photos. They are unique in so many ways. They capture the ambience, timelessness of the occasion, and perhaps the depth of the feelings too.

Thank you for your comments


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