Written by @Lan (Photos by curiostraveller.com)
Thought of the day-“Part of the secret to success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.”-Mark Twain
Rempeyek is deep-fried savory said to be originated from Java. In Malaysia, it’s widely being made and sold in small to bigger packets. Simply put, a ubiquitous sight of it, everywhere. People of all ages love it. It’s thin with crunchy Peanuts and Anchovies. Amazingly delicious I say, much different from other type of snacks, a bit salty but once you have it, you will crave for more.
In English, Rempeyek is best translated as Peanut and Anchovy Cracker. I am addicted to Rempeyek for its crunchiness and saltiness. It’s one pungent snack, in a good way of course. Perhaps the spices contributes to it’s distinctive taste. The presence of that sliced Curry Leaves gives that unique smoky flavor.
Impromptu chat with RidwanH
“I am proud to be one of the Rempeyek suppliers in Kota Kinabalu, ” said RidwanH. It was few days ago that I saw him with his many boxes being unloaded from a bus. He explained to me that he’s delivering Rempeyek, ordered by a third party seller. I suddenly had the interest to know more about the Rempeyek he’s making.
The only way to beat my curiosity was to invite him for a chat. He agreed and in minutes we were at a Kopitiam nearby. While sipping his coffee, he religiously described how he got himself involved in this business.
“I moved to Sipitang years ago and worked at a large canteen in a factory. I was a Chef. The factory was under construction and years later, there it is, fully erected and start to fully operate. With that completion, the canteen had to ceased operation and I became jobless,” he explained.
“It took me about a month or so before I realized that I still have the passion in cooking and since my grandmother has taught me the ‘secret recipe’ of her delicious Rempeyek, I decided that it’s time to become a small entrepreneur, well, at least I will become the boss,” he said.
He added “I have always wanted to produce Rempeyek on a smaller scale, homemade Rempeyeh that is. My wife is there to support me and I am glad she agreed to my plan. Now she still continues to help me.”
RidwanH further explained that he and his wife takes turn in frying the Rempeyek and together they will pack it according to customers wish. Getting the ingredients is easy but ensuring that they are able to meet demands is one of the many big challenges.
“We are able to buy ingredients in the nearby local market, that’s easy as well preparing things prior to cooking. However, as orders keep coming in, we are not sure if we have enough time and manpower to cope,” RidwanH said.
“Currently, orders come from as far as Negara Brunei Darussalam! We are blessed to have that trust from new customers but at the same time it does makes me nervous. I hope I can please them with my product.” He added “Both me and my wife always ensure that we keep producing high quality Rempeyek.”
Ridwan explained that making Rempeyek is one easy task but to make crunchy and delicious Rempeyek is another thing. He told me that he wouldn’t mind sharing the recipe but he reminded me firmly that different hands produces different kinds of Rempeyek no matter how much the recipe is being ‘copied’.
His reminder ably to made me abandoned my plan to replicate his recipe. I am sticking to my habit of keep buying and eating Rempeyek produced by others. It’s easier, I think. No hard work is needed.
Our time at the Kopitiam came to an end and to my surprise he gave me 3 packets of Rempeyek. “Regard it as a gift from me,” he said, to which I gladly accepted, with big smile. There’s no better way to enjoy eating that Rempeyek other than doing it at my own place.
It was the same day that someone at home cooked aromatic and alluring Chicken Curry. I decided to try something new by getting a small bowl of that delicious curry gravy and dip one Rempeyek into it, bit by bit. It was amazing, the taste and texture were definitely great, something new for me. It brought out that pungeont taste of sliced Curry Leaves. The many different tastes were playing in my mouth.
I tried many new ways eating that Rempeyek. I put on some Chili Sauce on the Rempeyek and the taste was all right, not that great but not that bad either. My action was imitated by the young children at home, they enjoyed eating that Renpeyek with that hot Chili Sauce.
Next, I had a cup of hot tea with some of the Rempeyek. I had it just like that with no dipping sauce. It’s the preferred way among Malaysians, having tea (or coffee) while ‘biting’ Rempeyek, bit by bit as if eating chips, start from the edge to the middle part. One piece is normally not enough, one can keep going on having Rempeyek without realizing how many pieces have gone into the mouth!.
I was made to understand that RidwanH produce and pack Rempeyeh in different sizes and each size has its own price. A small packet is priced at RM5 and bigger pack will cost RM25 while a large container is set at RM80. There’s really no serious standard term when it comes to packaging as customers may tailor their own desired size and method. RidwanH is open to any request.
Eid or Aidilfitri is to be celebrated in less than 3 months. Having to know that RidwanH is accepting bookings, I rushed to my phone and called RidwanH. I placed large order, 2 large containers as I know it’s going to be a hassle in finding Rempeyek suppliers once Ramadhan month start.
RidwanH gave a complete recipe of the Rempeyek recipe. However, deep inside I know that I won’t be able to make identical Rempeyek especially in terms of taste and texture. It needs years of practice to be an expert as RidwanH. Having that in mind, I better be the consumer rather than trying to imitate others ability. I am getting 2 large containers soon anyway so no need to be in the kitchen, playing with the snack’s mould and ingredients.
Rempeyek is one of that many Malaysian favorite, a snack that is popular be it in the morning or even late at night. Though it’s widely known in Malaysia (and of course Indonesia!) as well as in some other Asian Countries, I do believe the suppliers ably to globally market it. All that they need is creativity in making it looks more ‘international’.
If you feel like cooking Rempeyek, there are plenty of ways in getting high quality Rempeyek. All of em’ are in google, here is the LINK.
Thinking of getting RidwanH Rempeyek? Simply call or text him:
+ 60 11 1958 0506 (WhatsApp available)