Selamat Hari Raya! And no, please don’t give me that “Raya is over” crap. I didn’t get that memo and I don’t want to ever receive it so I’m out here just scarfing down Raya food left and right at every single open house I’m invited to.
The best thing about Raya, obviously, isn’t that we get to meet our family members again (although that’s important too), but that we get to eat Raya food! I get it, Raya food is like a treat because you get to anticipate and eat it once a year. But come on, some of these foods are just so good that you wonder — why can’t you just have it all the time?
I would like to state first and foremost that I prefer ketupat over any kind of nasi any day. I didn’t appreciate ketupat up until I was a teenager. After all, we only had ketupat to eat when it’s Raya kan? So why bother getting attached to it? Ketupat seemed to be a once in a blue moon kind of thing. But one day, I had a ketupat awakening because my mum didn’t buy any rice and ketupat was all we had left. I ate the ketupat with curry and kicap. It was then that I realised that it tastes so much better than normal rice and never went back.
You could eat it with literally anything and I don’t know, there’s just something about ketupat that makes a dish taste 10 times better. You can even goreng it, you know. Times like after Raya is when we have leftover ketupat and that’s when the experiments come in. I always like to eat ketupat with kicap, sambal and squeeze some lemon on top. Oh my goodness, mouthwatering. The best food combo ever.
Please let this be a staple in everyday life. Kuih Raya is one of the best things to ever be made and it’s a shame that we get to enjoy it or that it’s made available and popular during Raya time only. The best kuih ever (and you can’t fight me on this) is kuih bangkit. It’s so good and it just melts in your mouth the instant it touches your tongue. Hands down an all time favourite.
I used to hang out at my friend’s house all the time when I was younger and without fail, there would always be a balang of kuih Raya on their dining table. It’s always filled — that tells me that it’s either constantly refilled or maybe just untouched. But I don’t think it’s the latter because it’s always a different kuih every time I visit and also, who in their right mind would turn away kuih Raya? So, maybe we should all do that and put kuih Raya on our tables all-year around too. You know, just for the guests (*insert wink*)
Ketupat palas and ketupat are different, did you know? I didn’t. I thought ketupat palas were just shaped differently, but the taste is the same. But no, it’s completely different. It’s actually like lemang but shaped like ketupat. It’s also really good if you eat it with serunding and rendang tok. But it’s basically a meal by itself because of its lemak-ness.
I could eat a whole bunch of these in one go. Yeah, nag at me all you want with your “it’s not healthy!”, “slow down on the ketupat palas.” No. I know what I’m doing and I have 100% accepted the consequences. I understand that you can get these in some restaurants, especially the ones in kampung area but I’m a city girl. And it takes blood, sweat, tears and hours of roaming around before I even find a place that sells these. So, please, I beg, let it be easily accessible. For my sake.
Kuah Lodeh and Kuah Kacang
A combination made in heaven. And again, what a shame that we only eat this once a year. There are restaurants that sell these on their menu, I’m told, but it’s most often sold during breakfast. Which, for some people, may be a tad too early to be awake and eating lodeh. It’s also such a comfort food, you know? When you’re feeling down and upset, wouldn’t you want to have something that reminded you of a happy time like Raya?
I’ll be honest, I never really cared for kuah lodeh and kuah kacang during Raya because there were other things on the menu, like rendang and satay that I enjoyed a lot more. But since Raya finished, I wanted to eat some kuah kacang, but I can’t seem to find it anywhere (Satay‘s kuah kacang doesn’t count). You might argue that lontong is similar, but lontong is just kuah lodeh and sambal. Sambal, okay, not kuah kacang. It’s just not the same! I will die on this hill, don’t fight me on this.
I don’t know if this is true, but it feels like it is — Lemang is like the life of the party. Every house you go to mesti kena ada lemang or they aren’t cool enough and you won’t stay long there. Just a “Hi, no lemang? Okay, bye.” kind of situation, you know? Lemang is another staple that Malaysians have in their house every Raya. And if we’re lucky, after Raya pun ada lagi.
Lemang is one of those foods that take a long time to cook and require your constant time and energy monitoring over them. Maybe that’s why it’s just once a year? Because it’s too much effort? Nevertheless, it’s still so good and everyone looks forward to getting their hands on it. And everyone has their own favourite part of a lemang, like the middle part, the crusty part, there’s no part of a lemang that goes wasted. So why limit that kind of blessing to just once a year?
Eat Well, Friends!
It’s like people say, “Raya kan sebulan” but what if Raya food is setahun? Bukan lagi best ke? The feeling of eating Raya food brings comfort to me that no one can explain. It’s so nostalgic and the memory of our family being together and cooking Raya food and eating it as one just makes everything better.
Why don’t we just keep it on the menu forever, huh? What’s the harm in that? Maybe we need to start a restaurant that sells Raya food only on the menu so that whenever we crave them, we can just go there? The tagline can be — “Dalam ni, raya setahun!” I’m going to copyright that idea. Just give me credit for it if you decide to open one and I would also like a discount, please. Thank you!
And yeah, I know, Raya food is very berlemak and high in calories and all that but it’s worth it! Just for a taste of happiness. If you’re veering off of that route and looking for some Malaysian dishes that aren’t so high in calories, why don’t you try out some of these options instead?