I’m sure the locals are familiar with this. I called it “o-ka-na” in Hokkien, direct translation in English is “black olive”. The correct name is “dabai” for the natives but how does the Chinese called it? I’m not sure. I know many Foochows(a Chinese dialect group in Malaysia) like this a lot. They usually served them with dark soy sauce.
I called it “o-ka-na” because I saw it for the first time when I’m still a little girl. It’s given to us by my aunt’s boss from Sibu. It’s black in colour and my mom told me it’s a type of olive, so that’s how I invented the name 😛
Some people don’t like dabai because it has a peculiar taste. Hmm… But I don’t think it tastes strange. Dabai tastes like an olive to me hahahah… Just like those olive on the pizza except it’s a bit more stronger. You do not need to cook it, you just need to soak them in a pot of hot water until soft and they are ready for consumption.
My way of preparing is by boiling a pot of water with salt. After that, soak them and cover the pot with the lid until they are soft. That’s all. I don’t add anything to it. The saltiness of the salt and the flesh of the dabai is heavenly. Yummy… The saltiness is up to you, there is no fixed amount of salt used. I don’t like it with soy sauce(dark soy sauce right?) as it’s very messy and the taste of the soy sauce is too empowering.
By the way, the inside of the seed can be eaten too. Just “hammer” the seed and eat the inside. Sometimes it tasted a bit raw sometimes it’s tasteless. The texture is a bit like boiled peanuts.
By the way, you can’t get dabai all year round, it only comes out at certain time of the year, I’m not sure when but the last time I had it was December 2006. One more thing, I heard that dabai is very high in cholesterol. Is it true?