Saturday, December 30, 2006

Ice Balls

One thing about operating a nostalgia blog like Good Morning Yesterday is that sometimes it is very difficult to help my younger readers visualize what I am talking about without pictures. A good example is the ice balls that we enjoyed as kids. Both my friend Victor and I have blogged about it earlier.

Last week, whilst visiting my in-laws in Ipoh, I spotted a roadside vendor selling chendol using the first generation ice shaver that Victor blogged about here. I immediately stopped my car by the roadside and bought 2 packets of chendol from him whilst my son, who happened to be with me fired away on his new Canon EOS400. I am pleased to share a few of the photos with you today.

Photo No. 1 – This vendor was selling chendol from a tricycle along Jalan Bunga Raya in Ipoh.

Ice shaver (4)

Photo No. 2 – A close-up of the first generation ice shaver.

Ice shaver (7)

Photo No. 3 – Can you make out the details of the price list which our friend has pinned on the tree behind him. Apparently, he has ‘choped’ this particular spot for his business. This is what it says:

Cendol Malaysia

1 Packet Cendol: RM1.20
1 Mangkuk Cendol: RM1.20
1 Packet Cendol campur Pulut: RM1.50
1 Pulut: RM0.30
Terima Kasih … K. Idrus


Ice shaver (8)

Photo No. 4 – Using 2 hands, he slides the block of ice back and forth over a blade mounted to the base. The right hand holds a wooden block with nails to grip the ice and the left hand restrains the ice to prevent it from slipping out of position.

Ice shaver (10)


Photo No. 5 -
Notice how rusty the nails are. I have a confession to make here. I took 2 sips of the chendol and discarded them when I got home; knowing that neither my son nor I have the same resilient stomach that I had from my kampong days. My older brother Chun Chew (Zen) will be able to testify to what an upset stomach can do to your holidays.




Photo No. 6 – This is a 2nd generation ice shaver. I took this photo in June 2006 along Jalan Pasir Puteh, Ipoh.

Ice shaver (1)

Related post: Our Kampong

29 comments:

zen said...

By modern standard, ice-based desserts prepared in the old fashioned way, is deemed to be very unhealthy, but then we kids practically grew up eating these stuff, no much harm done. Perhaps the anti-bodies in our system were very powerful, able to tackle food poisoning if there was any. Frankly speaking the Chendol then was like out-of-the world in term of taste. The coconut milk was thick, gula malaka solid (colour jet-black) red beans and other ingredients fresh, the whole concoction was blended perfectly, making it so unforgetable.

Victor said...

Good sequel to my earlier post on the same subject, Chun See. Just like Lei Dai Sor or Ah Gong telling stories, hee.

You are also confirmed die-hard blogger mah. (Some more can accuse Chris of the same.) While visiting your mum-in-law in Ipoh, you still can think of taking photos for your blog, both in June and December this year. I hope you have got your priorities right hor. :p

zen said...

Passion has gone into Chun See's system. Now when he see anything old, it would remind him of the good old kampong days. Not only that, if something strikes his mind, and he is unable to obtain it, he would source it from Malaysia, or perhaps further afield, smart guy, very adaptable to situation. I sense it that more articles on Malaysia would pop out in future.

Chris said...

Aha... so that's how a new generation ice shaver looks like. Were there other customers other than yourself, Chun See? The rusty nails are quite off-putting. Hee.

Zen, you're spot on about how kids of yore seemed to have stomach to sample unhygienic food and remain healthy. Some argue that kids of today fall sick easily because our environment is simply too clean.

zen said...

Chris - you are absolutely correct to say that our present environment is so clinically clean that present days kids could not tolerate third world country type of environment, even adults could not take it, I in particular. Last year I went holidaying in China (chiu-chai-kou), near Tibet, and nearly could not come back due to some horrific food poisoning, vomiting, high altitude (I have hyertension) and ill preparation for the unexpected intense winter cold. Luckily I went with my sister Pat and her husband KC who really took care of me and appreciate his caring effort. Though I missed quite a bit of the scenic spots, but overall still able to appreciate the whole trip, learning a big lesson in the process. As for details of the trip, it will require more story telling.

peter said...

If the way they shave ice ball with nails is frightening, then wait till you go to the wet market and observe how they moved blocks of ice from the lorry (ice blocks were covered with wooden saw dust)to the fish mongers in those days. They literally drag the ice blocks on the road and pavements with a "Captain Cook hook". Today they use metal trolleys to move the ice blocks. I agree today's parents and kids will die of shock to see such things.

When my second son was about6 years old we brought him to Penang for holiday. As usual Singaporeans love sea food and so we headed for "The End of the World Seafood Restaurant" at the end of Tanjung Bungah. The place was like Tuas Village but this was the 1990s in Penang. We even had a rustic charm like sitting on wooden stools and facing the toilet over the waterfront.

Naturally my son lost his appetite. Because the toilet had half-swinging doors, you literally saw the droppings into the sea as you eat. My son also kept putting his legs off the ground for fear of getting dirty. BUT THANKS TO NS, our boys need not fear: we never have to wash our hands after using the toilet.

Victor said...

I like his very colourful umbrella - just like the multi-coloured syrup he drenches his ice balls in.

Victor said...

In a way, the ice ball man whom I knew when I was young was more hygenic - he used a folded 'Good Morning' towel instead of a wooden block with rusty nails to hold the ice. But I don't know if he used the same towel for other purposes.

zen said...

A few years back, my wife and I walked the AMK hawker centre, opposite the now defunct Broadway theatre, and saw a banner hung across the place, announcing that it had won one of the top positions, as a model hawker centre in Singapore. We were astounded, as we personally rated it as one of the dirtiest eating places around. In fact, not too long ago, I saw a big rat strolling casually across a char kway teow stall hunting for food. So how could this eating place won a prize ? basing on what criteria ?

eastcoastlife said...

Ice balls!!! Wow! That brought back memories. I was in K1 and I had a taste of an iceball when I was let off early from school. Mom would never buy me one because she found the hawkers unhygienic.
I would like my son to try it one day.

Lam Chun See said...

Quiz time:

1) Do you know how they preserve the ice blocks before they had refrigerators?

2) How do you 'chop' the ice into smaller blocks?

PS - Just got back from a kelong fishing trip near Pulau Sibu on East Cost of Malaysia. No internet there.

oceanskies79 said...

I wish I had the luck to try such ice balls.

By the way, I like the new skin. :)

Could you please share with me your experience of switching to Blogger Beta? I am still deciding whether to make that switch.

Lam Chun See said...

I think the ice-ball experience is only applicable to our time. If kids today were to taste it they will find it quite lousy becos it is actually nothing but ice and syrup; occasionally they add red beans in the centre.

Bear in mind it was a different world. Those days, chicken was only served on big occasions, and Chinese New Year was great fun partly becos there was ample flow of soft drinks ('Holland Water'), and most kids never saw a refrigerator before.

Lam Chun See said...

Answer to the quiz question above: Ice blocks were kept 'buried' in saw dust which apparently is a good insulator. We liked to watch the coffee shop owner wash away the saw dust to reveal the ice.

To break the ice, they used a serrated (saw-tooth) knife and knock it into the ice until it split neatly along the fault line.

Lam Chun See said...

Oceanskies79. I think you shd switch to the new version of blogger becos there are many improvements. Just to name a few:-

Easier to manipulate the font and background colours to 'design' your own skin.

Easier to upload your photos directly instead of linking to an online photo album.

Much easier for the reader to find an article becos you just click on the arrow and the list of articles for that month appears. Plus easy to create labels for categories.

In other words, more suited to the less IT-savvy people like me.

chuck said...

Chun See, why do you call the soft drink 'Holland Water'? Are they from Holland or just a common name?
I understand at that time, it is known as 'Pok Chui' in Hokkien.

zen said...

Chuck- We discussed this topic during lunch. Chun See may be able to give a correct answer. As for me, what I know is this - the Cantonese called soft drinks as: Ho Lan Shui, meaning 'Holland water', for the Hokkien, soft drinks are used to be called 'pok chui'. As for names, and its origins, are anybody guess. One thing is certain, the original manufacturers of soft are likely to be Ang Mo, notably Fraser & Neave, but why 'Holland', I wish some bright sparks would come forward and enlighten us.

oceanskies79 said...

Thanks Chun See. After reading your suggestions, I went to attempt to switch my blog to blogger beta, but I realised that I can't do so. According to the information given, my blog is too large to switch at this point in time....

Victor said...

Since so far nobody has tried to guess the origin of the term "Holland Water" for "soft drinks" and Chun See has not yet given an answer, let me hazard a guess.

Using my power of imagination, I guess the term originated from the Hokkiens this way:

When some guests (probably Cantonese) visited a Hokkien family, the host said to a member of his own family, "Hor lan chui." (This is an instruction meaning "Serve the guests drinks.")

Soft drinks were then brought for the guests. So the Cantonese ended up mistaking that "soft drinks" was called "Hor Lan Shui".

The Hokkiens ah, always so misleading one. Muahahahaha.

So do you think that the above explanation is credible?

fr said...

Hahahaha...sounds credible
Cheers for Victor!

Lam Chun See said...

Victor, I think creative writing not you forte. Better stick to the other subject.

Victor said...

But Frannxis seems to have thoroughly enjoyed my creative writing leh.

Admit it Chun See, you're just not my fan. Like what eastcoastlife would say, "It is very hard to squeeze a compliment out of you", Frannxis hor? :)

Well okay, at least I blog better in the other subject. (I read that as a rare compliment.) You can or not? :p

zen said...

HK people are so stressed by their work, environment, housing, and personal life that just have to leave their worries behind, at least temporarily. So they go to the cinemas to destress and like to see films that they would 'hee hee ha ha' away their worries, at least for a while. The films that appeal to them most is the Mo Lei Tou type, acted by the famous Stephen Chow. After finding his niche, Stephen laughs himself to the bank, while the whole world critise him and his shows. Does he care when these films get good returns ? and furthermore one film even won him the golden horse award recently. It even made it to cinemas in the western countries.

Lam Chun See said...

I rented the Shaolin Football dvd and watched with my kids. 1/3 thro the movie, we couldn't take it anymore. I went with my brothers to watch the other one - the kungfu one. At the end my brothers were full of praise. So Chun See, how did you find it? Me: Er .... er.. not bad lah. Give the 3 Stooges anytime.

zen said...

Like all commercial undertakings, film producers go for profits, watching box office takings like a hawk, scrutinzing what the publc wants, sword-fighting ? -ok more such films, sex-oriented ? - produce more, ghost films? -more of them, and production-according-to-trend will be on-going, with film companies, big or small jumping into the bandwagon. For example, a famous HK director (Mr Lee) famous for making epic films had to churn out films like musical, sword-fighting, kungfu, sex-oriented, commedy and so on, according to the taste of film-goers. There was a HK slogan that realistically says that in the film world 'red will over-shadow white', meaning that successful artistes (making money type) will always call the shots, while failures will be shown the exits.

Australian Migration Planners said...

The ice kacang/chedol man may have been a danger to my health when I was young in S'pore, JB etc. I still long for the chendol/ice kacang and Tumasek in Parramatta in Sydney where I am makes excellent desserts - but the cost is a danger to my financial health! You guys are just lucky.

Lam Chun See said...

Yeah that's true. In Spore, you can get chendol everywhere for $1.50. In Msia maybe half of that.

jc said...

My guess on the origin of "Holland Water". The first carbonated drink was probably produced by Schweppes. Though Johann Jacob Schweppe who developed the carbonated water was a German, and Schweppes produced the soda water in London, "Schweppes" sounded and looked like a Dutch name.

The British were not the first Europeans to reach southern China. The Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese had contacts with Chinese more earlier than the British.

jupilier said...

Besides ice-ball, there is another called ice-bag ("Sng-Pao" in hokkien). It is a frozen drink contained in clear plastic bag. The drink is consumed by biting the tip of the bag and sucking it as the ice melts inside.

Mum forbade us to take "Sng-Pao" as we walked back from school those days, as it was before dinner; and we used to deny having the "Sng-Pao" despite our clearly froze swollen lips! :)