NYT in love with BLAH-can?


While many star chefs discover their most prized ingredients in places like the Piedmont woods, Zak Pelaccio, of New York City’s Fatty Crab, found his at a wedding in Malacca, a city on the Malay Peninsula. There his hosts dug up the backyard, built a fire and prepared curries made with belacan (pronounced BLAH-chan). Pelaccio was instantly hooked. A dried paste of miniature shrimp cured in salt and fermented, sun-dried, pulverized and packed into compact shapes, belacan (also spelled belachan, blachan and blacan) adds a richness and a kick to a variety of Southeast Asian dishes. “It’s like using anchovies instead of salt, but it’s funkier,” Pelaccio says. [Malaysia’s Eastern Block. NYT. September 23 2007]

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