Friday, November 05, 2004

A salute to childhood junk food

Three cheers for junk food Posted by Hello

Remember walking with your parents or grandparents to go get groceries round the neighbourhood sundry shop? As they purchase the weekly essentials, you run around with the sole aim of junk food hunting? Well iblogme certainly does. Yes the retinue of assorted junk food available of yesteryears serves to bring back so many memories. To get it, we bawl, we howl, we put up a scene until our accompanying adult relents in paying the few cents for some peace of mind. How many of us were sitting by the steps opening a packet of Ding Dang, those blue boxes with a picture of a deformed Doraemon on the front and quickly searching inside for the plastic sealed round choc balls but more importantly for that free little plastic toy inside? It’s like a cheap version of our Happy Meals and serves to bring a smile to any child’s face :)

Then the other competitor was of course Tora, presented in a white box with it’s mascot of a pencil with wheels blowing a pipe! Same concept here; teeth rotting chocs, cheap plastic toy and hours of fun for kids. Of course no one can ever forget Mamee, the lovable Barneyish blue monster (somehow it reminds me a lot of Cookie Monster from Sesame Street). Ready to eat, deep fried crisp noodles, nothing with so little nutritional value has ever been so loved. Free inside every pack, a little non-permanent tattoo or sticker, you can just hear the kids bawling their parents to get them a pack. Others of the same category would be Chikadees, Jojo, Double Decker and Twisties all good for when friends need a light snack when watching movies, at the beach, midnight snacking or on a trip. Junk food, never mind that they do not contribute anything towards our daily nutritional needs, that the preservatives and sugar content often leads to cases of tooth decay and other health related problems later in life or that the toys given are worth probably a few cents and manufactured in some obscured factory in China, we as kids still loved them all the same to the consternation of adults. Come to think of it most of the yesteryears shows on TV were full of advertising for these products; Mamee monster dancing on and of kids opening a packet of junk food with a smile and later enjoy playing the toy in lavish make believe scenes like some cheap B-grade movie.

Other less advertised but old time favourites would be our own local brand of sweets and junk food. I remember whenever school was out there was always the makcik with her tumbler cooler waiting outside for the rush of kids. Rushing up everyone would be shouting out, “durian satu”, “bagi oren punya”, “nak jagung nak jagung”, “Cik, lima batang berapa?” What are they referring to? Well its ice pops, those colourful little sticks of frozen flavoured ice packed in a time glass shaped plastic funnel. Bite open the top and suck the ice as it melts under the hot sun and you’re in heaven. Plus at 20 sen it was cheaper than any McDonald’s cone you can get. Another variety is the one sold by the old man riding his bike. Stopping, he would ring his bell aloud and shout “Mai mai mari beli, ais krim ais krim”. Ais krim potong, nothing can beat these! Blocks of cut up chunks of delectable dessert served on an ice cream stick. Flavours usually consist of jagung, kacang merah, durian and cendol. Also available are ice cream sandwiches, scooped ice creams and even the imported fancily wrapped variety by Walls and Kings if they are in stock. He would usually also stock other foodstuff such as keropok, kacang putih, assorted sweets, kerepek ubi and pop corn as well if you’re lucky. Not forgetting our jeruk, preserved pickles that can be found in any pasar malam.

Mmm sadly nowadays it seems the more health conscious kids are straying away from these (or is it the more discerning parents are steering them away from them?) and more and more are losing prominence with other establish junk food such as Mr. Potato and Pringles. The makciks and pakciks with their peddle bicycles or vans are seldom seen now as well, replaced by the Paddlepop motorized tricycles plying the neighbourhood. I still wonder if there is still some kid out there smiling in wonder as he opens a packet of Ding Dang just as I was in the past. What did you all subside on when you were kids?

Ais krim : ice cream
Cendol : rice flour strips with sweet palm sugar
Durian : a local fruit, tastes kind of like custard
Jagung : corn
Kacang merah : red beans
Kacang putih : assorted Indian sweetmeats
Kerepek ubi : tapioca slice crackers
Keropok : crackers
Makcik : old lady or elderly woman
Oren : orange
Pasar malam : night markets
Potong : cut

No comments: