Deep-Fried Devils!February 21, 2011 at 5:52 am | Posted in iseng, katarsis, sekedar | 22 Comments
Tags: cakwe, Chinese food, Internet, trivia
On being smart in the age of Internet or why we the living should celebrate our pre-Internet stupidity when we used to eat cakwe and sate usus without worrying or thinking too much about what they really are except that they are cakwe and sate usus, and so damn tasty!
I’m craving cakwe now. Care to know why I crave cakwe? No, you don’t, but I’m going to tell you anyway. That’s because I just had chicken porridge served with a not-too-delicious sate usus for breakfast this morning; def it wasn’t the sate usus I would die for during my not-so-happy childhood years; as a boy who was neither strong, nor smart; but still it was a sate usus; and suddenly and inexplicably, when I ate it, I felt that painful longing for the old days when all the women I had a crush on were flat-chested and always broke into tears like a girl [well, they were girls, Gentole :|] when they watched that sappy, highly sentimental anime Candy Candy. I never miss those girls, but I do miss cakwe. What is cakwe? Cakwe is…food, a local dish. It’s a…I don’t know how to express how it tastes. Not that it’s ineffable or something, not that it’s so delicious words could never say how the cuisine tastes in your tongue. It’s just that…You’ll probably think I’m exaggerating if I tell you that the dish can give you a sort of tongasm [pronounced: tongue-gasm]; the moment your tongue meets the sour taste of its watery chili sauce; it’s heaven, monami. 😐 The reason for my incompetence in telling you what cakwe is like is actually that my English sucks. And I have never read any cook books. I don’t watch AFC either. Let’s just say, in Bahasa Indonesia, pokoknya enak! Hehehe. In my defense, even Obama can only say “semuanya enak!”
But this is the age of Internet, right? You can ask the stupidest question in the world and no one will laugh at you (at least not directly, on your face) or think you’re retarded. So I just typed “cakwe” and voila: Our Lord Google Almighty provided me with a list of links to articles explaining quite extensively about what cakwe is. And there you go; a few minutes a go you knew next to nothing about that particular dish except that it tastes good, now you virtually know everything about it; OMG, actually there’s a story behind the naming of the food and why it was made in the first place. And the story is as depressing as any other legends, though not as depressing as that poor Sangkuriang guy who killed his father — who by the way was cursed and turned into a dog — and screwed his own mother. You know, all legends and fairy tales are damn spooky and depressing; they always have witches and witches are the saddest creatures ever!! But the story of cakwe is a bit different. So, according to the Internet, cakwe or “Yu Za Kuei” is a Chinese food and also a Chinese phrase for, wtf, “Deep-Fried Devils” or in Bahasa Indonesia, “Setan-Setan Yang Digoreng”! Good Lord! I love cakwe. But, can you imagine all the kids eating “Deep Fried Devils”! No wonder lah drug traffickers can easily lure them into drugs; they’ve been eating Setan-Setan Yang Digoreng! But, why is it so depressing? According to About.com, cakwe is:
also known as “deep-fried devils,” crullers are twisted strips of dough – approximately twelve inches long – that have been deep-fried in oil. Their nickname, “deep-fried devils,” is derived from ancient legend. During the time of Confucius, a government official falsely accused Yueh Fei, a famous scholar and poet, of treason. Yueh Fei was subsequently put to death. The Chinese name for the dish, “Yu Za Kuei” translates literally into deep-fried devils. Frying the crullers in oil symbolizes the government official and everyone who participated in the scheme being deep-fried in oil for eternity.
Cakwe is a dish that was made to eternalize the death of a poet. Hoho, I never thought that cakwe can be that serious. I though it was only a food and had nothing to do with despotism, or martyrdom, or the world of literature, or anything that I would likely talk in places like Starbucks, or, well, tukang nasi goreng in front of my kosan. Wow. Cakwe. It’s about a poet who was unjustly killed by despots; it’s about crooked officials like Gayus Tambunan we hope will be deep-fried for eternity in a cakwe seller’s wok. Oh, my. Cakwe. Wow. I don’t know If I will ever feel the same again when I eat you. I’m myself an aspiring poet (doomed to fail, though); and I’m craving a food whose very existence was caused by the demise of a poet in the hands of the establishments. Ah, maybe the Internet really does change life as we know it. Next time you eat cakwe with your girlfriend you can act smart by telling her this story. She won’t be impressed, though. I believe she will like the food more than your babbling about a dead poet. But you just can’t help it, can you? In the age of Internet, you want to look smart because it’s easy to do just that. It’s a great story. And cakwe will just never be the same again. 😐