Di Bawoh Rang Ikang Kering
Random Ramblings of A Retired Retainer


Monday, March 20, 2006

Thanks to CETONG who suggested this post.

I am in a hurry this morning because I am a guest on Nasional FM as part of RTM's 60th Anniversary celebration. So much for their good taste.

I have read somewhere that there are separate taste buds on our tongue. Different buds for different tastes. Each taste bud is actually a cluster of 100 specialized cells and taste buds live only for 10 days each. Young people can have up to 10,000 taste buds. They diminish by the age of 45. Old people like me have only about 6,500 taste buds although we would still be able to distinguish tastes that touch our tongue.

Somehow,in Terengganu, the tongue does not feature prominently as far as tastes are concerned. People who do not have a discerning taste in food are labelled tadok tekok (no throat) instead of tadok lidah (no tongue).

Putting aside the usual tastes that food should not be like tawo hebe lembor (bland), pahit leppang koang (bitter), massang rebang or massang purreet (sour) and manih letteng (sweet), there are two words that cooks would not like to hear their dishes described. One is cegho (also cegho begho) which rhymes with the English "raw" and the other is lecah where the ah is nasalised a bit.

Cegho and lecah are usually used to describe liquids such as soups, curries and gravies. Cegho is when the stuff is too thin to pass as whatever it is supposed to be. A cup of coffee can be cegho when there isn't enough coffee in it. Ditto for very thin curry that looks (and tastes) undernourished because it is not fortified with enough santan (coconut cream) to give it a decent body. I am willing to bet my last bit of kepala santan that you, in the course of your culinary journey, came across cegho stuffs at least once. It would be more if you are the babel (stubborn) kind and keep going to bad eateries.

Now we come to lecah. Lecah is not to be confused with lecoh. Lecoh is usually used to describe a ground (or other real estate) that is squishy wet but not flooded. When it is flooded, it is no longer lecoh. Lecah is when the taste is not easily defined. It is not salty, it is not spicy, it is not sweet and it is not even tawo. It is nothing like it is supposed to be. It is a cook's ultimate disgrace. Most of the time my blog posts are very lecah. They are only good for people who tadok tekok.

I shall go now and leave other tastes like pedo and maung to Derumo and other readers to explain.