Tham Jiak means in some way "love to eat" in Hokkien. I am a Malaysian Hokkien and truly love to eat.

Friday, September 21, 2007

In the Term of Food

It was after my work hours yesterday, but I was still at office at that time surfing through the net to de-stress by reading about, what else, food. Then I came across one of my all-time favourite blog, Traveler’s Lunchbox, she mentioned in regards to the term of food-loving people calling themselves foodie. Ah, such is the wonder of human, where terms are formed to describe what usual words cannot. But when it started the common usage of it by everyone, ironically, it might be entirely differently for each of them who expresses it.

A quick search through my 2 year old blog and I found that I had subconsciously used the term in two entries. Well at that time, the term is hot, I read it everywhere, I coined the meaning in my own terms to my vocabulary, and it just spilled off to my writings. What did I meant at that time when I used that term? I certainly do not mean that I’m a food-snob for sure, far from it in fact.

Then later on, in so many posts, how did I manage to describe myself then without using the political term foodie? A quick self-reflection and I found that I had indeed found the term to call myself for someone who loves to cook and experiment in bringing tastes together, thrilled at the thought of seeking good food, revel in reading food stories and recipes, excited when trying out new myriad of tastes, eyes lit up in sight of food, and loves to tuck in to good food. I had this term right at the birth of this blog itself, yes the term, tham jiak. Although it might not encompass all the above mentioned attributes, true hokkien linguist might say, but to me it somehow does. Let me quote now “term lies in the heart of the speaker”.

The term tham jiak, as per the anonymous comment in my self-introduction post, he/she mentioned that it actually means a person who greedily wants to eat. That would not be wrong, but it certainly does not mean just that. We call someone tham jiak, when he/she springs to food stalls, eye looking greedily but not necessarily eats it. We call another tham jiak, when his/her eyes lit up when we bring them food gifts, but not necessarily eats it all greedily but instead shares good food around. We call another tham jiak, when the person discusses about food excitedly, promotes where and where to eat, as well as seeks out more information on where to get good food next. We call one tham jiak, if he/she reads about a food, not knowing where to get it, but literally wants to taste it, and goes all the way out just to make it so that able to try it and then definitely, if good, shares it with loved ones. I would say Remy in Ratatouille, is a tham jiak rat, as how he defines food in such a way, but of course with talent to boot. It’s like how one would go all the way out just for food, in any way. Just look at his picture above, the ultimate tham jiak face, as one of my friend once said.

After the inception of my blog, where I start to be more open of my tham jiak-ness, yet though many acquaintances of mine still do not know I am the writer behind this blog, I had somehow been coined with the term tham jiak. It is like self fulfilling prophecy I might say. Anyhow, I am proud to be tham jiak, I would still religiously keep adding recipes in my ever piling up to-do list, hoping someday I would have the time and place to try it all out while having loved ones appreciating it with me. I would still keep on continue searching for good food out here in Malaysia and beyond as well, traveling to many places, trying out food as the locals eat it. Faling in love with new dish as well as learning to cook in new ways. Ah, what a life that would be for a tham jiak girl.

2 comments:

teckiee said...

Remy is indeed a tham jiak rat

Big Boys Oven said...

hi rokh. just drop by and say hi!, u will see us more often!

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