Tuesday, 23 June 2009
030509 Curry puff at Hock Seng Two, SS2 and durian van & man
There is no feeling similar to that of being in SS2 (the centre of the Universe). The smells, sights and sounds are unique, though sometimes not that palatable, especially when the bin men have not been around for a while.
Took some pictures of the daily bustle, with short narratives below them.
This is one of the rows of shop houses that make up the SS2 square. You can find almost anything and everything in these shops. If you can’t find it here, you’ll probably find it in the market.
The tao foo fah stall in the market, which seems to be quite popular as the soy bean milk in the red and transparent container is completely sold out. Although there are 2 of these stalls almost next to each other, one of them clearly gets more customers than the other one. Word of mouth is the main mode of advertisement in the market, and if someone says that the first stall is better than the second one, that’s the one people go to.
The fruit stall sells mainly local fruits, and if you’re wanting to buy imported fruits, you’d best be going to the supermarket for it. The conversations mainly go like this.
‘Hey, are the fruits today nice?’ asks the customer.
‘Only the best and the nicest!’ says the fruit seller.
As far as pointless questions go, this has to be at the top of the list.
Bananas, probably as nice and as sweet as the pineapple if you ask the seller.
This is the putu mayam seller, who goes around selling his items around the square. Putu mayam is similar to rice vermicelli eaten with brown sugar and shredded coconut. The common knowledge is that you should only buy this before noon as the sun tends to make the coconut go bad if it’s been in the metal container for too long.
This lady is frying yau char kuay (Chinese crullers) in the huge wok, and the thing she’s holding in her hand is what she uses to turn them around in the oil so that they get an even frying. The metal container by the side of the wok has been fashioned from a used oil tin, and is now used as a holding tray for the freshly fried crullers, to allow the oil to drip away.
Crispy on the outside, and if freshly cooked, soft and fluffy on the inside, these Chinese pastries are really delicious when dipped in hot black coffee or Milo. The stale (well, not mouldy stale, but just not so fresh) versions are usually cut into bite sized pieces and dipped in Bak Kut Teh (herbal pork soup).
This is a packet of nasi lemak. Not just any common packet of rice, this is the nasi lemak bought from Norrul, the man on the motorcycle who goes around selling these things almost every other day.
It’s much tastier than it looks.
Commonly eaten for breakfast, it consists of coconut-flavoured rice topped with sambal (chilli and onion mix), fried anchovies, hard boiled egg, peanuts, cucumber slices, and there is the option of adding either chicken or beef if you’re one of those greedy ones who like more (like me).
Contrary to the (by now) stale joke, this is not what you get when you mix a Mariah Carey soundtrack and a Puff Daddy song together (Carey-Puff, get it?).
It is actually puff pastry containing a curried chicken and potato mixture, commonly eaten as a snack. It looks similar to the English pasty, but doesn’t feel as dense when eaten, possible because it’s puff pastry as opposed to the shortcrust pastry used in the Cornish pasties.
The King of Fruits – Durian. Or more commonly known as fermented socks.
To the wimps, that is. I love it, and don’t understand why some people don’t.
Inside the thorny shell, there are little yellow parcels; each one wrapped in a transparent yellowy film of skin, enveloping sweet, bitter, creamy flesh, with texture similar to that of creamy mash potato.
You don’t usually see these ting-ting sweet sellers these days. The round tray at the back of the bicycle contains hard, stalactite-like sweets which is chiseled away, bit by bit, when a customer requests for a portion. The sound made by the metal chisel against the sweet is ‘ting’ which is why the sweet is called the ‘ting ting’ sweet.