During a recent visit to Manila, my good friend Anyati Orcullo (or Mama Ann as we fondly call her), one of the most successful Pinays in Brunei, brought home an interesting pasalubong I never expected — a block of belacan, a Malay variety of shrimp paste, made from fermented ground shrimp, sun dried and then cut into fist-sized rectangular blocks.
a block of belacan, a Malay variety of shrimp paste, made from fermented ground shrimp, sun dried and then cut into fist-sized rectangular blocks.
The belacan (pronounced as bala-chan or blachan) is also one of the main ingredients of my favourite Malay dish — Kangkong Belacan, which I have been craving for the longest time since leaving Brunei three years ago. Kangkong Belacan is a spicy dish of stir-fried kangkong (water convolvulus or water spinach) with belacan or shrimp paste.
While preparing this dish to pair with Daing na Bangus and Lechon Kawali for one of our weekly lunch meetings in the orphanage, it suddenly occurred to me that even though this is one easy dish to prepare, I never really cooked it at all while I was still in Brunei!
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