Rojak–the Penang-style salad with fresh cucumber, crunchy jicama, pineapple, jambu (water apple/rose apple), bean curd, and cuttlefish in thick, gooey, and pungent Hae Ko (dark prawn paste)–is the only salad that I would eat without being forced to. The Hae Ko sauce is also one of the few sauces that I would dabble with my fingers (even lick with my tongue), leaving not a single drop. The taste of Rojak is something that one must experience to fully appreciate.
The secret of this homemade Rojak lies in a small plastic container of Sambal Rojak. If you are in Southern California, be on the look out for “Shrimp and Boy Brand Fruit Dressing Sambal Rojak” at Hong Kong Supermarket in Rowland Heights, West Covina, or Monterey Park.
While the taste of this homemade Penang Rojak is not as good as the real ones you get from hawkers in Penang, I have to say that it’s 80% close to the real taste. I am just very happy that I can now savor something I truly miss even though I am thousands of miles away from home.
And no, I didn’t lick my plate dry this time.