If you have watched Pretty Woman, I bet you might remember the scene where Julia Robert and Richard Gere had a candlelight dinner. RG wore his tuxedo, JR wore this red fancy dress. She looked breathtakingly gorgeous:)
Being someone from the lower class made it difficult for her to adapt to the dinner. So, when they ate, the butler had to catch the "flying food" because JR did not used her tongs properly. JR giggled and she looked cute. I wondered what happened to that butler's white glove. It must have been dirty:)
That food, if I'm not mistaken - was Escargot.
What is Ercargot?
Escargot is a dish of cooked land snails, usually served as an appetizer. The word is also sometimes applied to the living snails of those species which are commonly eaten.
How many types of land snails do we have in Malaysia? I know we have siput sedut, but that's from the river. Siput sawah - some called siput godeng is from the paddy field. Please correct me if I'm wrong regarding that.
And another one - Siput Babi.
The direct translation for that would be - Pig Snail;)
Anyone having trouble pronouncing the name of the snail in Malay?
Anyone having trouble of putting Escargot on their plate?
I haven't done that much of justice towards Siput Babi when I was young. My parents and ustazah taught me that we must not eat any part of pig. When there was an exchange student from Australia came to the school, I asked Stephanie this question, "Stephanie, do you eat pork?" This was because I saw the westerners eat pork chops in TV. So, I thought pork or pig is the food for the people in tv. Stephanie looked like the people in TV. So, I thought it was right to ask her that question. I was just eight years old at that time.
In order for me to go to school, I had to walk to the bus stop early in the morning. It was very cold and I was walking with my younger brother, Shahmi. Shahmi at that time was my opposite. He was timid, I was a rascal. So, I would chase after the chickens and he would follow me. I was the leader for those monstrous acts. Killing spiders, keeping ants in the jar, sweeping frogs and cutting cockroaches' legs.
But there was one more activity I loved.
Since it was a BABI, I loved to kick the snails.
"Yeaaaaahhh...sepak dia Mi! Dia babi!!!"
And my brother would follow my order and actions.
There was one area with lots of snails. Every morning, when we passed that area and the snails got in our way, we kicked the slimy snails. Ergghhhh...
"Babi! Babi! Sepak dia! Babi tak boleh dibiarkan! Haram!"
One day, there were two snails attached to each other. Shahmi and I were gaping at them.
"Kakak...kenapa dia cantum? Macam dia cium? Berbuih-buih. Eeeeeee...."
"Hmmm...dekat kolam sekolah, ada katak buat macam tu jugak. Semalam, cicak pun buat macam tu kat siling."
"Eeeeeee..." Shahmi showed a disgusted face.
"Tak boleh dibiarkan!" I said. My brother nodded.
So, we kicked that slimy snails and they detached from each other. Poor snails. I didn't know they were making love. I hope nobody would do that to me one day. Huiyyooo...can't imagine that.
When we got home, we talked about it. Ibu was in the kitchen so she didn't hear properly. She only heard the word "babi".
Paaannggg...she slapped both me and my brother without asking. We cried. Ibu said, "Ibu tak ajar korang cakap babi! Jangan sebut babi lagi!"
I didn't dare to tell ibu that we were saying Siput Babi and not Babi. Since then, we just called those snails Siput. With no Babi at the back.
More than 20 years after that, I found Escargot pictures in flickr. Someone told me we can eat Escargot because it is just snails. The problems with us is the word Babi behind the word Siput. Since Pig is prohibited in Islam, this Pig Snails are automatically not accepted by the Malays. Not because it is really prohibited, but because of the language effects. I even heard that the Arabs eat Escargot. (correct me if I'm wrong again)
The word Babi or Pig is sensitive for the Malays. Recently, I have learned that the word is becoming sensitive to non-Malays as well.
A teacher faced a complaint about the usage of the word "babi" in her class. She then asked the principal about the parents who complained about her. She thought that the parents were Malays. The principal told her that the parents were Chinese.
She defended herself by saying, "Kalau sensitif kenapa you makan? Tak boleh cakap babi tapi boleh makan babi ke?"
So, my question is:
Siput Babi. If you can pronounce it, will you eat it?
* Can we eat it in the first place?