My routine on the wee hours every Raya morning is to go to the nearest market. For many years, we’d just ordering daging batang pinang from Pak Su. He knows how to get the best meat in my kampung. Now, he is not in this world, it is our duty to find the best meat for Raya. Sadly, most of the time we fail. The butcher in my place practised cronysm and nepotism when comes to distributing good meat on the eve of Raya.
My taste on meat is not expensive. But it is incomplete if you were to prepare rendang without good meat. There are few things in life that many people consider spiritually enhancing during Raya, and of course they are evergreen foodie: ketupat, rendang and now let me add one more that I learn while staying in Kelantan: serunding.
My wife would prepare a long list of ingredient to buy from the market. Last year, we purposely went to pasar borong. This year we are not sure whether the same pasar borong still exist in the same place as last year. This is a common dilemma for immigrant who had just come back once a year to celebrate Raya. There still be chances that pasar borong has been moved to cater more customers and fishmongers.
When I was young I used to sell fish with Pak Su. I knew most of fishes. Every morning Pak Su will buy fish and I will sell them. The choice was plentiful then. It is now funny to see how some fishmongers are selling just ikan kembong in the nearby market. I am good at using dacing, a triangular shape, manually operated weighing machine. The fishmonger, please don’t kelentong me.
As usual, the market on the final day of puasa is crowded and busy. From far, I can see people line-up to buy santan. Meat stalls are very popular with customers. We divided the duty. I went East, my wife, West. So we can cut short the time consumption and went back early. One thing I find interesting about this market is the different varieties of rempah giling. I remember when I was young, my mum used to prepare her own brand of rempah giling. It was simply delicious compared to even Babas or Adabi.
I walked out of the market into an open area where ketupat pulut was sold. It was RM16 per kilo. Of course, if my mum is still alive, I don’t have to even look at the ketupat pulut. Everything can be taken for granted then but not now.
By 8.30 am, we were back to continue the next stage of Raya preparation.