I am a kind of person who eats a lot of dish instead of rice. It is a normal thing for me to eat 1 senduk of rice with mountain of dish since I was a kid. Growing up in my family, all of those habit are bound with sharing. Emak and my elder sisters keep reminding me, “Ingat orang belakang” each time I was so like a possessed girl when I scooped dish into my plate.
As long as I can remember growing up in my family is the best thing ever happened to me. Ayah is the one that in charged of grocery, buying things from market, surveying chicken fish and meat price. Because emak doesn’t drive. Ayah was so particular about where and how to spend for household needs. And the thing about portion that still in my mind was, ayah, each time we asked him to buy outside food, he would say something that made us “Ahh couldnt agree more”. (even in most event we complaint). His words was, “Buat apa beli makanan luar. Dapat sikit je. Baik kita beli ayam, kita goreng sendiri. Puas makan”. (in case of ayam goreng we asked him to buy at pasar malam). And many other food, I remember ayah and emak tried hard to make murtabak for us, tempeyek, daging salai, sate and kerepek. Once in a while, he bought burger meat and bun so that his children can eat burger, home prepared. What a memory.
Now when I grow up, I realised the same thing especially when I was at Malaysia, restaurant, stall, cafe or pasar malam bought food are getting smaller in portion. You know a pasar malam nasi kerabu packed in polysterene container only have 3 slices of grill beef, 1 solok lada, half ekor of ikan kembung (smallest size) goreng tepung, around 3 spoons of kelapa goreng without any hint of fish meat inside and much tauge (represent the kerabu) maybe because taugeh is cheap. And sometimes the budu has already been diffused into the rice, with the only trace is smaller than 50 sen coin. So how much of budu did the seller put on the rice? I bet around 1 tea spoon.
Food in many halal restaurant in UK are big in portion. And the price are big too (if you like to convert). Say, if you have hankering for mamak style food. Go to restaurant that serves tandoori. They only have half or whole portion of tandoori chicken ( sorry but they dont sell in pieces, I dont know why). and the biryani they said for one person, dont be fooled. When the food came to your table you will realise it is enough to feed the whole family. i remember went to a restaurant near my house, and asked for naan bread. The bread came and to my surprise, it was very big. I can even wrap Aminah in it. My husband even said, “Boleh jahit buat baju roti naan ni punya besar”. It was somehow look like a giant underwear.
When I become an adult and have my own superpower in managing household spending, I realised ayah’s way is the best way I could ever learn. Even as a kid I always didnt agree, I rebelled and keep saying when I grow up I want to be rich and I will buy all those food that ayah didnt want to buy for me. Homecook meal is the best, no one can beat. You have your own say in quantity and quality. And that’s how someone like me, who was labelled by my family as “tak pandai masak” can cook my own hidangan hari raya, nasi briyani nasi daging, gulai lemak nangka, asam pedas tetel and many more. I guess as a mommy it just happened. Today you dont know how much salt you suppose to season in your kurma ayam, tomorrow you can even trace what ingredient you forgot to put inside by just smelling the aroma of your dish. What a chef !