Sunday, August 10, 2008

Pigs' Heads of Sibu and Around the World

The images used in this posting are not intended to offend any of my readers.

I must include this delightful picture,full of nostalgia, in my posting as I think and rethink about pig's heads. "The Lord of Flies"was very much part of our secondary school education in English. It introduced us to boys' world and struggles of the human society e.g. civilised behaviour as against savagery, systematic government as against chaos,apart from other themes. The pig's head was very impactful and sent a strong message to us. However we did not have the opportunity to see this movie . Perhaps I will get a DVD and have my children watch it this coming Christmas.

This photo is from of the Flies Reunion (1996) / Time Flies

Remembering the pig's head.. Vieques, Puerto Rico 1996
The Lord of the Flies boys return to Vieques after 35 years, August 1996. The BBC director Richard Dale produced "Time Flies", a 50 minute documentary. Whatever happened to the boys who were in Peter Brook's 1963 film "Lord of the Flies", a classic film of William Golding's 1954 novel of the same name.

Bill Roger Elwin (in Australia December 1999)

All information on this site copyright ©1999 by East-West Forestry Associates
All Rights Reserved (3/10/99)

From New Zealand we have this photo of Anthony Bourdain Chef Extraordinaire who went pig hunting in Kiwi land. He came back with one and cooked it. Wonder who ate most of the head.

Ref : ;photo credit : Anna Shutz

Would you fly all the way to Bali just to eat "everything from a pig" at Bu Oka? ref:

Here's a photo from This is from an English Butcher's shop.

If you wish to read about how the French prepare their dish of pig's head you can read it at This photo is from her blog.

There is a hotel called Boar's Head in Harrogate , England.

This photo is from The Slat Rat Chronicles and yes in parts of Canada,England, and the USA you can have these kinds of roasted pig head for snacks!! So check out special web blogs where different corners of the world can offer you inspiring comfort food.

The last photo is a recent one by Sarawakiana.

I caught this photo recently to remind myself that in the years to come less and less butchers would be allowed to sell their meat openly in this age old traditional manner.

Also,I am wondering if the Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals would consider taking measures to raise the awareness of local people on more humane ways of displaying their meat. Our normal ways of dispalying meat have been unchanged for centuries so to speak. And few people have ever thought of changing the ways of hanging meat,etc. But I still think that there are better ways.

Buying meat that is hung is alright by Foochow standard but somehow the heads look a wee bit too sad when hung upside down. Amy way most consumers think nothing about it. Just buy the head if you want one. It is hanging there.

On a lighter note, we Foochows can eat almost every part of the pig. And there are hundreds of recipes for the cook to follow. Top of the range is the suckling pig of course. And at the bottom would be the cheap trotters which can now be even offered at restaurants. offals continue to be special to the chinese. My children love the brains which may upset you. They think that eating pigs' brains make them a little more brainy. (I can still hear their laughter....)

Pigs' heads used to be very cheap but today with prices going sky high a good pig's head cost about 30 ringgit and may be beyond the means of many salary earner. There is not much meat on the head but according to a frequent pig's head eater , it is the fun of "attacking" a pig head,slicing off the crispy skin, and toasting wine or beer to the pig. Besides cooking the head over the open fire is often a delightful experience according to another courageous gourmet (who eats worms, snakes and beetles). He said that taking in the aroma of a roasting head is similar to having a thrilling exotic adventure. And often he would meditate before the head for good measure.

And I would like to wish all who love this meat(and especially the head) great eating adventures in the future!!

Here's a delightful article to share with you:

China, a Nation of Pork Eaters


Throughout history, Chinese have been dedicated eaters of swine. Pigs were among the first animals domesticated for food in ancient China. Excavations of the Zengpiyan Cave in Guilin, Guangxi

turned up remains of what is believed to be the earliest evidence of the domesticated pig in the world. Today 10,000 years later, China still consumes far more pork than any other country, and not surprisingly, has the world's largest pig population (800 million head says one source). While other meat types are rapidly gaining in popularity, consumption of pork still accounts for a whopping 70 percent of all meat eaten in China. Although these figures sound impressive, it is worth remembering that until recent, relatively more affluent times, the average individual never got to eat much meat of any kind.

The importance of the pig in the Chinese diet is reflected strongly in language. In days past, and still today, to some extent, any family home of the slightest substance would quarter at least one animal. The pig was such an integral part of normal family life that writing the Chinese character for roof written above the one for pig, creates the word meaning home or family.

Compared to grazing animals like sheep or cattle, the omnivorous pig is a super-efficient meat producer, one that can be tethered in a small space or left to scavenge by itself. In a crowded environment the pig is perfectly suited to life among a rural family. Pigs eat nearly anything remotely resembling food, including stuff that humans choose not to ingest or cannot digest – picture the classic image of the slop bucket and you get the basic idea. They can even derive nutrition from human excrement, eliminating a sanitary problem for their masters in the process (the pig's own manure is quickly turned into fertiliser for the vegetable garden).

The character for meat is a synonym for pork. In other words, when the meat of a dish is not specified, you can be almost certain that it is pork. As an example, let's take a dish everyone knows: fried rice. Pork fried rice in Chinese would read meat fried rice, with everyone understanding that meat refers to pork. All other meats, being less common are always identified clearly. Thus we get chicken fried rice or beef fried rice.

Almost all parts of the pig are used for food and any reasonably comprehensive list of dishes would be vast. Liver, kidney, and intestines are all commonly used, as is skin. Lard is still used as a cooking oil in some regions. Chinese produce ham, turn pork into sausages, and preserved pork belly has a bacon-like taste. Braised pig's trotters and knuckles are popular dishes. Slabs of congealed pig's blood are cut into cubes and used like tofu in soup. The pig is a symbol of virility, and so pork is used as a strengthening food for pregnant woman and new mothers.

For an interesting appetiser, try pig's ear. The ear is cooked, then sliced very thinly, and perhaps served with slivers of young ginger and soy sauce. The texture is a slightly gnarly combination of skin and cartilage.

Despite its great usefulness to humans, the Chinese pig like its European cousin is often denigrated as lazy, greedy, dirty and stupid. In China, if you wish to question somebody's intellectual capacity you would call the person a pig head.

Source : | Copyright © 2004–08 Stephen Jack updated: 21-May-2008

0 memories:


web statistics