Monday, October 29, 2007

Of Ikan Bilis and Baguette...

You must be wondering why I am giving this post a strange title. Ikan Bilis [anchovies] once known a the poor man fish, and Baguette a French bread, a speciality of the French. Well it is like this, both have one thing in common in that the prices of both has gone up. My first shock was when I went to the wet market at Datuk Keramat last week. I frequent this market to get fresh Chicken, Beef and other vegetables and the Ikan Bilis of graded varieties. Here I would choose the one which has been split into two and the head taken out. It has been cleaned and great for making quality sambal Ikan Bilis [Chilly fried gravy anchovies]. Everyone in our family including our grandchildren love this, so we are never without this Sambal Ikan Bilis. I believe every Malaysian of any race or ethnic group love the Sambal Ikan Bilis. Add some Petai and voila !! it became a Sambal of another kind. A wonder by itself and a great appetizer. Taken with white rice it is just delicious. And of course there can never be Nasi Lemak without this Sambal Ikan Bilis. So to us folks, the richest, the middle class or the poor, Ikan Bilis is real special.

But today at the market while browsing for that particular Ikan Bilis which had a price tag of RM25.00 per kilo, I could not find it displayed. I kept looking and looking but just could not see it but I saw the same kind of Ikan Bilis with a price tag of RM30.00. So I asked the stall owner where is the one that he normally sell at RM25.00. He said that the one that is priced at RM30.00 and that the price has gone up and he no longer could sell it at the former price. Well, it has gone up by RM5.00 a kilo, What a hike!!!. Anyway I bought a kilo and he gave me less RM2.00 for been a regular customer. We all know that the price of Chicken has gone up too, so are other items. I am just told by a friendly store owner that the price of our favourite Sardine Cap Ayam would be up next month. There it goes again foods for the common folks like us, up and up it goes. So folks add these to your list of what has gone up so that you do not get a shock like me when you next get to the market.

And as for that Baguette, I do not really buy Baguette often, only from time to time when I am around the vicinity of Delifrance. So today I bought one at the Delifrance nearby and guess what!. The price has gone up too. It now cost RM3.05 includes tax. Before it was just RM2.70. I ask the counter when this price changes. She said that just last month. This is not the end of my shock of the price increases.

Two weeks ago I went to the Supermarket to get some Cling Wrap, the one you use to cling foods for cooking or steaming in a microwave oven or just to keep food fresh in the fridge. Here again I got another shock, the normal one that use to cost RM5.80 or so is now RM8.60 plus according to the brand and some brand has gone up to more then eleven ringgit a roll. I decided not to buy this item at the Supermarket and would look at the other stores. I then went to the nearby Mamak Store and there I found the price is a bit less but still above the normal price that I paid for before. Since this item is often used in our home I then bought a roll there.

So as you can see consumers goods especially foods has gone up. With the cost of Ikan Bilis gone up I believe the cost of our favourite Nasi Lemak would be up too. I believe this all started with the increases of Patrol prices recently. Transport been a major aspect of all goods, thus the spiral effect of pricing on other goods and services. Indeed it is unfortunate for us all to have to spend more money on the same things.

To digress a little, I am still in a shock. People in the state of shock do not think clearly. People of my age takes time to adjust our thinking capability and at time it takes a while to understand of what is really going one. Getting old has its effect but one thing folks of our age do have is Wisdom. So excuse me for nagging on this issue that just comes to my mind. Everyone of us love Sambal Ikan bilis and I believe this includes Fishermen at sea or Space Traveller. Now I am getting more confused as to the economic of all these, the subject of much talks during the many Hari Raya open house last weeks. You have to excuse people of my generation especially me on the economic of things in the world of today. Is there any rational on this. I wonder!!. Well, I am still in a shock but as with everything else in life, Life has to go on come rain or shine. Have a nice day..


Anonymous said...

Assalamualaikum Pak Idrus!!

How are you? Thanks for writing in. If you comb through my blog you would find an email add

I don't have carpets all over the house only one misrable one, if not it would be too cold for our feet. At other places such as the bedrooms, dining, and the rest of the house, are not adorned with carpets. Asthma to me is triggered by the weather and food.

Thanks for writing in to me though, so very sweet of you.

Oh yeah about the price hike, why don't you try shopping at tesco, the baguette costs only 99 cent and cling wraps is cheaper than what you have encountered. I buy lots of tesco and giant products, and they work just fine and I get to save a lot at the same time.

Pak Zawi said...

pak idrus,
Its just the beginning of the price hike. More price hike can be expected come Nov 1st when the new price of flour is officially announced. Then there will be the gas price hike, the electrcity price hike and come next year the fuel price hike. Imagine what the price of things will be after all those price hikes.
I may revert to eating ubi just to servive. Even if the price of ubi goes up, at least it will benefit the rural farmers directly.

Unknown said...


I knew there are hikes on prices. But THAT much???
And Pak Zawi said that this is not the end....( I do like ubi bakar, but not for everyday meals!)

My mum won't be happy about this.

Pak Idrus said...

wiz, thanks for the visit. Well I thought I saw the email address sometime ago but forgot about it. Would use it the next time. Well it is indeed a pleasure to drop by and say a few things that might help.

As for the shopping at those big Hyper or Supermarket, I never like to shop at these stores cause I thence to spend more then I needed, so I choose to buy at the nearest store whenever I need things. I have stop buying things in bulk.

As for baguette. The Delifrance's still taste the best to me. Have a nice day.

Pak Idrus said...

zawi, thanks for the visit and the comments. Well it looks like it going to be up, up and away. It is OK to go back to the Ubi Kayu now that we have supplements to avoid malnutrition like what happened during the Japanese Occupation when folks had to eat Ubi Kayu to survived. Well, that is life. take care.

Pak Idrus said...

akmal, thanks for the visit and the comments. Well, it is like that with life. Prices always goes up but never down. Your Mom must be well aware of this by now. Take care.

Unknown said...

Pak Idrus

Do you have any means taht I can use to make contact with hi&lo? He seems quiet interested with the insects and my post is already there.

Pak Idrus said...

akmal, No. hi%lo is one of the cyberpal who frequent my blog but want to remain anonymous. That we all have to respect. From reading his comments I deduced that he is an intelligent and articulate person. A great person to get to know, even as a cyberpal.That is the beauty of cybersphere.

Just write your stuff and I believe it would get to him.

This Akmal is the culture of cybersphere, our world without boarders which we are progressively began to understand. By the time you get to my age, it would have evolved beyond our wildest dream. Have a nice day.

Unknown said...

Well, cyberspace sure is a great place.(",). By the way, drop by at my site if you happen to hae some time.
And thanks for that quick reply.

Rita Ho said...

Hi Pak Idrus ... very nice post on two of my favourite foods. I crave for ikan bilis often as it is not easily available here, not the dried ones anyway. Most come in bottles, soaked in oil, nasty if you have not acquired the taste. Baguette is also what I would order whenever I go to Delifrance which was often when I was working at the Mid-Valley Megamall.

I think we forego baguette anytime but everyday life will never be the same without ikan bilis.

What is the price of petrol in Malaysia these days? Is it still regulated? They call it gas here and prices are not controlled, but rise just the same. Somehow, it does not affect our groceries by much or perhaps I just don't notice. I tend to buy things in bulk because the difference in price is a lot. Our food saver machine and the cooler weather helps with shelf life.

What size roll are those cling wraps? Are the ziplog bags more expensive. Both don't cost much here. $2-3 for hundreds of sq ft. Might be worth it for me to send you a box one of these days? :)

Pak Idrus said...

akmal, thanks. I did visit you site. You are doing great there. Keep blogging. Have a nice day.

Pak Idrus said...

rita, thanks for the visit and that great comments on the buying power and the prices of goods. Well, It look like Malaysian are going to get use to the hike from now on onward.

I did not like to buy in bulk from the Hyper or Supermarket because I thence to spend more then necessary when doing purchases in such store. Since I do have the times in the world, I preferred to shops all the times and enjoy doing it.

The cling wrap are those imported one, it is the product of petroleum, thus the prices went up. Have a nice day and take care.

Anonymous said...

Pak Idrus,
Thanks for the info on the song.
I enjoy your blog.

My mak says time was when ikan bilis was the poor man's meal. At the rate things are going, she's wondering if she can go on feeding five of us kodok bilis for tea or breakfast. My mum makes the best of kodok in the world, a lot of ikan bilis and onions (whose price too are going north).
What no kuih kodok for tea? I don't want scones, thank you.
Ariff J

Pak Idrus said...

ariff J, thanks for the return visit. How wonderful to know that everyone love that cekodok bilis or bawang, that we inherited from our forefather/mother. Me, I love it too and do you know why your mom makes the best kodok in the world like you said. There is a little add on that she put to make the best kodok, I know what she add on but do you!!!. Have a nice day.

NaNa said...

Pak Idrus,

Ikan bilis is one of the 'must buy' items in my groceries list. I especially like the small white one (I think they call it Japanese ikan bilis or something) which I normally add to my vege soup. And of course, I also buy the splitted ones for my sambal.

I know there is an increase in price but never really bother to check as I usually buy the packed ones sold at the hypermarkets. Just grab them and put in the trolley...:) It is a bit of a surprise to me to know that it has increased to that much. Thanks so much for the info. I guess from now on I should be more alert.

Well, I guess we have to be prepared for further increase next year, when the petrol price increases again. Hmmm....

Pak Idrus said...

nana, thanks for the visit and the comments on the recent price hike. Prices has surely gone up and we have to be extra careful when making purchases, so as not to be over charged. It is best that we check on prices and not taking things for granted.

As far as Ikan Bilis is concerned since we use it often, it is best to buy it by kilo. Have a nice day and take care.

Anonymous said...

Salam Pak Idrus,
Miss 'semalam di malaya'... good excuse to visit your blog after a while. Talking about the spiralling prices of ikan bilis, etc., well I still have a few months stock of it in the freezer... here in Saudi kena ada a few months stock, otherwise tak dapat rasa nasi lemak sambal bilis (maybe sambal unta as substitute?). Inflation is rife in the GCC countries... understandable with their petrol-based economies... in Malaya? I wonder what the supposedly smart-#@%& oxbridge-educated team in Pak Lah's govt. buat? Tak boleh ke figure out less painful policies for the rural masses? Take care & salam.

Pak Idrus said...

dhahran sea, thanks for the visit and sharing your thoughts on the subject. Well what can we ordinary folks do except to be smart in our purchases.

When they could spend millions of tax payers money on a fancy trip for a space traveler, anything could happen to the economy.

Have a nice day and do visit again. take care.

Fauziah Ismail said...

Salam Pak Idrus
I was told that in France, the government controlled the price of the baguette, as it is noted as the country's staple. The prices of other bread and pastries can be skyrocket up to space but not the baguette.
Maybe the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry can look into this especially controlling the price of bread loaves, for instance.
Besides rice, bread is a staple in most households.

Pak Idrus said...

fauziah, thanks for the visit and sharing your thoughts on the subjects. If folks like us who live in the city with a reasonable income felt the pinch, I wonder what those folks with a lower income especially those in the rural areas felt.

I am not sure of what is happening in the country but prices of almost every goods and services are going up and up.

I agree with you that the price of bread should be control. If the producer need subsidies then they should be given.

Have a nice day and take care.

Anonymous said...

I came across your post while searching for information on Ikan Bilis.
That was amazing how prices of these 2 items have increased over time.
I am a Malaysian living in London. If not your post, I wouldn't know valuable how Ikan Bilis are now!

Pak Idrus said...

mycookinghut, thanks for the visit and the comments.

Well, almost every goods and services has gone up. This month the price of a loaf of Gardenia white which was RM1.90, now is RM2.10, Sardin Chap Ayam the big tin is now RM5.20 before is was just RM5.00. Service such as sending newspaper to the house up to RM2.00 from RM1.00.

Well, life is like that, we have to live and be careful of our spending. Have a nice day, do make a return visit. take care.