A Lost Tradition – Ais Sagu (Sek Lau Zhi) @ Pasir Pinji, IpohDecember 29, 2009 | 12,409 views
Recovered from a dastardly bout of food poisoning, no thanks to some stale prawns that I ate the night before. Yesterday was almost a fully-detoxifying day, with no more than 2 bowls of oats for meals, plus some crackers here and there. And I slept the whole day through. All 10 or so hours of my day. And thank goodness they were broadcasting some rather good shows on TV (The Incredibles was shown on TV2 in the afternoon !!!!), hence lessen the bore. I could not bring myself to surf the Net, nor read food blogs, for the sight of food was too revolting. Yes, I even felt like puking when I was viewing my own blog. Imagine that …. 😉
The Red Rubies (Sek Lau Ji), the Bee Tai Bak (the wriggly strands made from rice flour), and the condiments of coconut milk (santan) and syrup.
Hence, I’ll share something which I have always been intending to, but somehow various distractions and barriers stopped me from doing so. Have you heard of “Sek Lau Zhi”, or “Bee Tai Bak”? In Malay, this bowl of refreshing dessert is called Ais Sagu. In all of Ipoh, and even all throughout the many decades of my life (remember, I am from the Jurassic age okay?), I have only tried this particular version at a pushcart stall at the corner of Jalan Prince and Jalan Pasir Pinji in Pasir Pinji of Ipoh. Since I was a toddler, really. And since moving away from Pasir Puteh, I hardly returned to this Chinese-populated area, unless for some Big Tree Foot’s goodies aka Fried Liew, or Poh Lee Fried Chicken.
Passing by one evening, while on the way to Peng Tau for dinner, my eyes set sight on this stall, a most heart-warming sensation overwhelmed me. For it has been many, many years since I have relished and longed for that same old bowl of heavenly sweetness. I thought somehow this tradition has been lost with time, paving the way for the more common Ais Kacang (or ABC aka Ais Batu Campur), Cendol, and such. But to be able to witness the crowd standing around this simple, unassuming stall at a corner of a junction, happily tucking into their bowls of Ais Sagu? Priceless.
The stall is currently owned and run by the daughter of the original proprietor, whom in turn has been running his stall since the 70’s. The daughter’s name is Ah Ngan, and she only operates on weekends and public holidays, from 1-6pm only. Very short and exclusive time frame, hence be there early to avoid disappointment, as she may closes early once sold off.
Tastewise? Nothing mind-blowing, unlike those Durian Cendol, or even those vibrantly-colourful Mixed Fruit Ice. But the sheer authenticity of it all, and the perfect requiem for the scorching weather; The shaved ice concoction flavoured with sugar syrup and coconut milk, with chewy bites offered by the red rubies (sek lau zhi, made from tapioca flour and they’re not ‘sagu’/Sago) and strands of ‘bee tai bak’ (made from rice flour with artificial colourings) render the experience a most satisfying one.
Those staying in Pasir Puteh/Pasir Pinji or at least grew up in the area must be familiar with this stall. Back then, when Ah Ngan’s father was peddling around the residential area, he used to shout “Kickapoo! Kickapoo!” and “Bee Tai Bak!!” to attract the crowd. We did not require blaring horns, fanciful music nor neon spotlights back then. Those fond memories ……..
Ais Sagu stall
Corner of Jalan Pasir Pinji and Jalan Prince
31650 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
This shop is located right in front of this famous Fried Liew (Yong Tau Foo) Shop
Opens from 1pm – 6pm on WEEKENDS and PUBLIC HOLIDAYS ONLY.
And here’s a GOOGLE MAP to the Ais Sagu stall.
Okay, a proper post to come soon enough …. Now let me grab a bite, before I faint from all the bland oats. 😉