From Borneo and Around

This blog is all about Borneo (and sometimes elswere) as I experience it. It's about places, people, fauna, food ... and anything I find pleasantly worth sharing in words and pictures.

Monday, June 7, 2010


The Sungai at Ko Ko Wangi

To the Chinese and Feng Shui practitioners, choosing a location for their own home requires the study and investigation of its surroundings. Assessing a location before deciding to build a home on it involves the consideration of natural phenomena like the direction of the sun, the soil type and if the area is susceptible to floods; of the immediate environment, such as proposed road and building developments, previous land use and the type of neighborhood; of positive surrounding features, like street lighting, a park, a school and shops; and of negative surrounding features too, like factories, noisy night entertainment venues, an airport, a cemetery or even a crematorium.                                     We built Ko Ko Wangi, our family home, in a valley where a Sungai (river) runs from the heights of Padawan. The Sungai, after meandering through the jungle and the countryside, actually crosses our property bringing very good energy, and because it feeds into a large fish pond, it accumulates chi in front of our house. In Feng Shui, the river is the dragon and I find it extremely romantic to think that we live nestled in a Dragon Vale!

The Sungai is not the only dragon in Ko Ko Wangi; in fact we have lots of them. Some are white and some are purple-red. The Chinese call the white ones lóng zhū guǒ "dragon pearl fruit", and the red ones huǒ lóng gu "fire dragon fruit". Indeed our dragons are really pitahaya and the fruits of a cactus specie called Hylocereus which is native to Central and South America and is now quite widely cultivated in Asian countries and, well, in my garden. The Hylocereus blooms only at night, which is rather a pity since its large white flower is absolutely magnificent; it has two names, “moonflower” and “Queen of the Night”. I personally prefer to think of it at a moonflower created so beautiful to please the feminine star, and perhaps, who knows, it is only fair that something from Earth should add beauty to the night so that we may come out and gaze into the heart of a flagrant flower and not just at the stars?

The pitahaya appeared on the Kuching markets only a few years back yet it is rather odd to observe that most local people will only buy the fruit with purple flesh while Caucasians much rather eat the white, less sweet and firmer dragon fruit. As for me, I love both types with a preference for the white one when I want to serve with style as it is extremely neat to cut. Both types are great for juice, some people like to liquidize the skin together with the flesh; I even have a few friends who eat the whole thing and leave nothing in their plate!
The Dragon fruit is a versatile one. As I often prepare natural bath salts for my friend Helen’s salon, I started experimenting with the red Dragon fruit and while I was baking the salts mixed with the purple flesh in the oven, I was delighted with a very appetizing aroma. The results of the experiment as bath salts were a total success, especially with the tiny black seeds acting as an additional and oh! So natural exfoliating agent. Yet, with this leading to that, I just could not resist creating a tart, and so I did last Sunday with Hubby hovering over my creative work in progress. I had in mind to puree the red flesh and lay it on top of a sweet dough. Hubby argued that I should not puree but slice the fruit instead. French diplomacy “oblige” I made two tarts, but before it was time to place the fruit flesh on top of the dough, I stroke genius: I spread a layer of melted dark chocolate, then I added the fruit on top. Voila! And who can resist a dragon au chocolat?

Note: The Dragon fruits and other fruits cultivated at Ko Ko Wangi are organically grown. For any information on Organic fruits, food and products, I recommend my Kuching friends to check with my friend Mady of Mady Organic & Natural Food Store, a beautiful and inspiring all new shop at Green Height Mall.