Thursday, May 1, 2008

traditional malay kuih - tepung gomak

there is this malay kuih that i like very much. it is one dusted with green bean flour. when i saw it being sold at a malay food stall outside sheng siong at tenth mile junction, i pointed to the kuih and asked the stall-holder repeatedly for its name. she told me it is called 'tepung gomak'. to help me remember its name, she said it sounded like 'gombak' as in bukit gombak.

the last time i had eaten this kuih was some four decades ago when i was living in a kampong. in those hazy days - hazy because i cannot remember clearly and not because of suspended dust particles in the air - it cost 5 cents a piece. today, its cost has increased ten-fold, to 50 cents.

back in those kampong days, there was a roadside market along the main road leading into the kampong. the makeshift market operated in the morning only. aside from providing the grocery needs of housewives, there were also mobile stalls selling cooked food like yong tau foo, fried carrot cake, fried bee hoon and noodles and this malay stall selling traditional malay kuih.

i can count three reasons why i like eating tepung gomak. first, it is the sweetened grated coconut filling. second is the soft, chewy glutinous rice that covers the filling and last, but not least, the powdery green bean flour on the outside.

i think tepung gomak has another meaning in malay; i suspect it has something to do with the face.

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