Monday, May 19, 2008

Craving of the week

Yes la, I have cravings every week. I don't look pear shaped without effort you know. It’s harder than it looks mon cheri.

This time its the humble Keropok Lekor. The pride of the eastcoast state of Terengganu or as Awang Goneng reminisces, Trengganu. No doubt about it, I blame my current cravings completely on reading his Growing Up in Trengganu.

Made from wolf herring, (better known to the plebs like me as ikan parang) the keropok comes in two varieties - sausage shaped and chewy (the keropok losong), and thinly sliced and crunchy (the keropok keping).

Lekor was a late discovery for your truly. I do not remember having this delicacy as I was growing up in sleepy Taiping, until I was well in secondary school. Dipped in gravy, particularly hot from the pot gravy, one could well believe that ambrosia is made of fish and comes cheroot shaped.

When I was a kid keropok lekor was still rare in Perak and it was not something we could just buy from a roadside stall. The nearest keropok stall was at the night market next to the Kamunting bus depot, a 15 minute car ride from town. It was the only place I could get my fix, after our school canteen took it off the menu for whatever reason.

In KL today, the keropok has become common tea time fare alongside fried bananas, fried tapioca and whatever else they can coat in batter and deep fry to an artery wrenching crisp. Yet people still do take their lekor seriously as one guy who found it necessary to write to the national daily to complain about the dropping standards of lekor. Naturally the complainant is a native of Terengganu. Close to calling it an affront to state heritage, this man knows what he is talking about.

With devotion like that, how can I not crave a keropok lekor?

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