Wednesday, September 04, 2013

#Eatsomethingnice article 5 - Pisang Goreng

proudly a part of #Saysomethingnice
image credit: Veronica Ng

It's easy to get addicted to the mouth-watering king of Malaysian snacks, the pisang goreng (banana fritters). As you bite into a piece, you taste the slightly salty crunch from the crispy coating first, followed by the sweet, juicy and pulpy fried banana. Pisang Raja is the most popular kind of banana used for pisang goreng.

For this article we visited a very popular stall in Petaling Jaya and chatted with the owner. We got to watch the pisang goreng turn a golden brown in a deep-frying basket as Kak Ena controlled the heat on her gas stove, cooking the batter-coated bananas until they were done just right.

Oblivious to the heat, she mufti-tasked by deftly wrapping piping-hot pisang goreng in newspaper and plastic bags for a group of very patient customers while keeping an eye on the contents of the wok and chatting with two busybodies – one taking notes on a tablet and the other armed with a camera.

According to the camera shy Kak Ena (Malu, saya tak pakai mekap lah!) about 500kg of bananas are used up every week and she sells about 8,000 bananas every month. On average, about 300 customers visit her stall daily, but on rainy days this figure drops to between 50 to 100 pisang goreng diehards who are willing to brave the rain to buy her snack.

Kak Ena literally bursts with pride as she declares that her customers come from all walks of life. They include VIPs, celebrities and the man on the street. Hers is truly a 1Malaysia stall.

Asked if there were any difficulties she faced, Kak Ena lamented that unfortunately there were unscrupulous hawkers who cooked popular snacks like pisang goreng and keledek (sweet potato) with melted plastic, creating a health scare and giving legitimate businesses like hers a bad name.

She’s right as we remember receiving numerous emails on the unethical practice that have been circulating to warn people of the potential health hazards of eating extra crispy fried snacks including fried chicken.

The emails described 1st person accounts of how some hawkers had been seen adding plastic straws and bottles into boiling oil before frying their snacks so that they would remain crispy for several hours.

Interestingly, Pisang Goreng was introduced in 1511 by the Portuguese who had banana fritters as a breakfast staple. Prior to the coming of the Portuguese, bananas were never cooked but eaten raw. The Portuguese introduced flour for the first time into the Malaysian diet which enabled fritters to be cooked. (source: Wikipedia)

Pisang goreng is a snack food mostly found throughout Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines (where it is called pritong saging in Tagalog) and Singapore. In Singapore and some parts of Malaysia it is known as "goreng pisang" due to direct translation from "fried banana".

Here we’d like to address a common mistake that many people make. Pisang Goreng means “fried Banana”. Goreng Pisang means “frying Bananas”. Goreng is a verb when used in front of a noun (pisang), but when it is used behind a noun, it is an adjective, so pisang goreng is the correct name for this snack.

Lastly, whether you call them fried plantain, banana fritters, pisang goreng or goreng pisang, it doesn’t change the fact that Malaysia’s favorite tea time snack is absolutely lip smacking delicious.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds delicious. Where is Kak Ena's stall?

2:51 am  

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