Saturday, October 08, 2016

see hum

Day likes to take risks. In his school work, in his choice of recreational pursuits, in his gastronomic adventures.

When it comes to food he is by far the most gung-ho child. Anything goes, whether it be sucking out the marrow from bones with a straw, to smelly cheese, to embracing strange fermented bits of food in Korea. He’s got a wide-open palate.

I his mother am far less brave when it comes to food, but one of my greatest delights is cockles. See hum. The dirty clam that reputedly lives in drains. My love for see hum is perhaps the inevitable result of seeing Mum feast on a plate of just-boiled see hum dipped in nothing but garlicky lime-y chilli sauce at the old East Coast Park hawker centre and joining in.

The dark blood pushing against thin shiny membranes, the delicate serrated lace of the cockle edges, the crunch of the warm plump flesh when it enters my mouth and the moment when my teeth break the membrane and blood explodes together with the chili. That lovely slightly smelly (like shit) bloody taste was one I had not savoured – outside of pathetic overcooked bits in laksa and char kway teow – in two decades, thanks to fears of hepatitis.

Day has tried see hum. In, well, laksa and char kway teow and once, an entire plate smothered in sauce which might have given him a tummy ache because the sauce masked the rotten ones. He wanted to try more.

Gong Gong heard about this and, service-oriented as always, bought a kilogram of see hum from the wet market for $5. He poured nothing but boiling hot water over them and served them together with chili and lime.

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* Halfway through

My two brothers ventured into the kitchen and backed off when they realized what the dinner appetizer was. So did Jo. Between Gong Gong, Por Por, Day and I, we nearly finished that kilogram. The see hums were small, not quite fat enough, but fresh.

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Day's see hum reaction video, which he intends to send to his friends because he doesn't think many of his friends would have eaten it. Or rather, their folks would not have let them eat it.

* I have learnt how to put subtitles in the video! (must be turned on by clicking Subtitles though. How annoying)

Day, after multiple unsuccessful attempts to wash the shitty smell of his fingers, mused, “Eating this is a bit like Russian Roulette isn’t it? You never know when one of the cockles will make you sick.”

Well that’s why you like it, boy.

2 comments:

a reader said...

Wow. He's such a remarkable boy. So articulate too. Is it me or is his voice starting to break?

I've never liked cockles. They eh...smell like menses blood. Haha. Wish I knew how to appreciate them, though. I've seen people secretly gathering at the back alleys of Geylang to chow down on cockles and I've always thought that being able to derive such enjoyment from a food item that's cheap and so simple to prepare is a blessing.

Sher said...

wa WHAT blood?? goodness now i'm not going to be able to eat cockles without imagining THAT smell!

day is articulate only when its not oral exam haha. no i dont think his voice has broken yet.