Monday, September 20, 2010

The smells of home

Fresh, almost flowery scent of rice steaming slowly on the stove top.

Oily fried fish wafting from downstairs, meaning that the neighbours' dinner will be better than mine.

Pungent earthy smell as a heavy cloud discharges passing showers. Quick flurry of windows being closed in the block opposite. Now I know who's home at this time of the day and who's not.

Doggy smell on my finger tips after I've scritched Roop's chest.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Eid feast

The nicest thing about being the only Chinese family in a corridor of Malay households is that we feast better during Eid/Hari Raya Aidilfitri than on Chinese New Year.

Weeks before the festival even, the next-door neighbour started the ball rolling with a jar of home-made cookies. Come back for more, she added, when we've finished this.

It's just that there were other things to occupy us. At lunchtime on Hari Raya, the neighbour across the landing had us over for for a meal of longtong, rendang, tahu in sambal, chicken curry with stringhopper pancakes.

At dinner time, the neighbour down the corridor came bearing a tray of more longtong, tahu sambal and chicken in a spicy tomato sauce. More longtong is inaccurate, a different type of longtong is more like it. The lunchtime version was local, the dinnertime version was Indonesian (the neighbour's Indonesian uncle did the cooking, he runs a restaurant there -- which means the food was restaurant-standard yummy).

At supper time, L went across the landing after the neighbour's last guests had left, bearing a food container and offering to be neighbourly with the leftovers -- he wasn't shy and the neighbour did say that she overestimated the amount of food, they had industrial sized pots sitting on their stove and how could you let anyone live with days of leftovers on end? :)

(And why do pictures of perfectly good curry and rendang always turn out like shots of upchuck?)