Thursday, March 19, 2009


Okay, I think I'm a rather 'clean' guy. At least from legal standpoint. The one other time I actually broke the law was when I was driving 110 89 mph in my old Honda (got me a hefty speeding ticket that day). But anyways, that aside, there is something I do illegally, on a routine basis, I'm ashamed to say.
And you know what? Before you go shaking your head and pointing your finger at me, go take a good look at yourself. I daresay 99% of EVERY EXPATRIATE MALAYSIAN I know have at least once indulged in this activity.
The smuggling of contraband out of Malaysia.
Drugs from the Golden Triangle? Pirated software? Tsk tsk. That's for simpletons. Ladies and gentlemen, this is what I'm talking about: Food. Glorious, PRICELESS Malaysian food!
And thanks to Buddy's parents, who snuck in Tow Sah Piah from Penang, who then mailed from Minnesota to me here, I'm in heaven!
Every trip home I make, I make sure I leave plenty of room in my luggage for packs and packs of foodstuff. Though most are processed and probably legit, some such as kaya (coconut-egg jam) probably aren't. Though my own mom wins the prize for BS-ing when the customs officer in LA asked her suspiciously what was in Auntie Rosie's Kaya, and if contained egg. Mom kept a straight face, and said, "No eggs, this is coconut jam".

This, with an obvious picture of an egg right on the container itself. The officer must have been a smart one to not mess with my mom. Don't mess with my mom.
It's true. Ask any Malaysian what they miss most about home, and 'Food' probably ends up within the top 3. I have rackfuls of Brahims and Maggi spices and curry mixes and whatnots. And being priceless, the expiration dates on the packaging is usually ignored. I tell my wife these are merely 'recommendations'. Kristin values her life, and our marriage, and she knows better than to toss my expired Malaysian foodstuff.
So, if you're Malaysian and you're now based outside of Asia, before you judge me, go check out your pantry and I'll bet you have what I'm talking about.

(Psst, wanna trade some year-expired Ayam Masak Merah mix for some satay sauce?)


Blogger cute little angel said...

I was studying overseas and I can totally relate to you :)

11:11 AM  
Blogger Greenapple said...

i am not sure whether do you know this website:

kaya available from them!

12:52 PM  
Anonymous abby's mummy said...

Your post made me laugh out loud! i live in australia and i have a whole cupboardful of expired maggi pastes and 4 boxes of expired maggi mee... :lol: oh, and bak kua too (dont ask)

4:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Vagus,

Kaya is easy to make and just take a drive up to Southern Ontario where you can find Maggi sauces and pastes at the regular supermarkets. ~smiles~

11:20 AM  
Anonymous -lyn.l- said...

I've got some precious cargo stuff I carried back in my last couple of trips back, especially open-faced pineapple tarts, pouches of mango pudding (the durian ones are -yum- gone), some durian dodol, Maggi and various Peranakan spices, authentic Cadbury's (non of that Hershey's crap!), prawn crackers... Had to throw out the New Year Cake last month (sob!). Kaya's one that I haven't had the guts to try to bring back...

It's great that I'm married now -- I can pack our clothes into 1/2 a suitcase and bring another 3 for various foods! ;p

11:47 PM  
Anonymous -lyn.l- said...

ps. Your mom's amazing at getting through customs!

11:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you need a game plan to go through customs. once you cross the line, it's like VICTORY! feels good, then you regret not bringing more of this and that and that and this XD

i'll never forgive that officer who confiscated my bak kut teh herbs and chicken floss :'(

3:21 AM  
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