Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Now what can I write about eggs?

I will begin with a childhood lesson on eggs, given by my uncle Hii Wen Hui when we were just children. He said that the difference between wealth and poverty was only an egg. (Kiin Pu na char suo lark ark moh long)

There was an old man who gave one duck egg each to his two daughters-in-law. The eldest asked her neighbour to allow her egg to be hatched amongst the eggs of the latter's mother duck. The younger daughter in law chose to eat the egg that very day.

Soon the duck egg hatched and the elder daughter in law carefully raised the duck which turned out to be a female duck. This duck laid more eggs and she had more ducklings. In no time, she had a farm of ducks, drakes and ducklings and lots of duck eggs for salting. She became rich beyond her dreams.

When we were young we often suffered from fever. So my mother and grandmother used to treat us in the usual village style. We would be wrapped up properly, a hot, hardboiled egg ,inserted with a silver ring in the yolk would be used to rub us from head to toe. After being rubbed , we would sweat profusely and as if by magic, our fever would go down. The silver ring in the egg would either turn green (cold or flu) or blackish red (overheated)

Actually I still practise this on my family members and most of the time, it is effective. But of course I have to make sure that they drink lots of fruit juices and abstain from heaty food and meat, as a good measure.

My grandmother always welcomed the visitation of the local Methodist pastor. And she liked Rev Lau Ngo Kee as much as she liked her own sons. She would welcome him with the usual mee sua and chicken,and two hard boiled eggs. It was well known that Rev. Lau liked eggs very much. So grandmother would also slip in an extra egg. Thus we were told that he often ate three eggs with his bowl of mee sua. He always had a good word to say of my grandmother. "Look, how much she loves me. She gives me so many eggs." That has become part of our Lau legends. We grew up equating the love of our grandmother with the number of eggs in our bowl of mee sua. This was the joy of eating with grandmother.

One of my favourite and memorable movie scenes is that of Paul Newman eating eggs in his convict movie, "Cool Hand Luke" (1967). How many eggs did he eat to win the egg eating competition? He won the bet after eating 50 hard boiled eggs. Paul Newman made me feel so sad in that movie. Sadness is one feeling that is extremely well developed in me. Could it be the scene?

I am wondering if any one still remembers the very enterprising family who lived in Hua Kiew Road, Sibu who had hundreds and hundreds of quails. They sold quail eggs which were a delicacy in the restaurants at that time. We were flooded with quail eggs at home. Quail eggs were given as birthday gifts, visiting gifts and get well gifts. The proprietor packed the eggs very cutely in transparent egg boxes, twelve in a box. I must have eating a lot of those eggs and other things too which as a result had quite a problem with cholesterol. (No offence to the quail egg seller.)

Apart from duck eggs, chicken eggs and quail eggs, we have the normal supply of century eggs (pii dan) and salted eggs. Today we have ostrich eggs and organic eggs to add to the list.

Eggs of any kind, big or small, make a good meal, any time. But my favourite egg dish is the egg soup cooked with tomato. This was the first dish I taught my children to cook and I hope it will be a mainstay for them. It is full of goodness and is delicious. Do add a good tablespoon of rice vinegar too.

2 memories:

Mumble jumble said...

Eggs, yum, in whatever way you can make them, poached, fried, boiled, scrambled.

I find the chinese the most amazing race that has ever produced a really different type of eggs. The Century Egg. I can't remember the name Kwan gave to the eggs in The Hundred Secret Senses, by Amy Tan, but I can actually taste the egg. And imagine how she produced it. with lots of Lime powder and salt.

i was once told by my mother on how a family was so poor they had to divide it into 8 parts to share and have a taste.

I Am Sarawakiana said...

Dear Free Bird, I must read the book, "The Hundred Secret Senses". Thank you for mentioning it to me.

Yes, in frugal households, century eggs, salted eggs are usually divided into eight pieces, and the family would then have lots of preserved ginger to go with them

Japanese sushi goes very well with preserved ginger which they make in pink colour.

Don't foget, century eggs are acquired taste like cheese and yoghurt.

Bon apetit.


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