Exploring the Irresistible Delight of Cucur Udang: A Culinary Journey Back In Time 

by Rahim Said

Photo credit: adamhopmelendez.blogspo,com

Growing up in Alor Setar in the 1950s, one of my fondest childhood memories revolved around the tantalising aroma of cucur udang, lovingly prepared by my mother. This delectable snack, deeply entrenched in the culinary heritage of Northern Peninsula Malaysia, holds a special place in the hearts of many.

Occasionally, when my pocket money allowed, I would treat myself to a visit to The White Palace, a charming food outlet nestled by the river next to The Royal Theatre, renowned for serving the most divine cucur udang paired with refreshing root beer on tap.

Cucur udang, affectionately known as prawn fritters, is a beloved snack cherished by locals, particularly in the Northern regions of Peninsular Malaysia. However, its popularity has transcended geographical boundaries, making its way down South, where it is referred to in polite circles as “jemput udang,” signifying a tiny pinch of batter, often served in small portions reminiscent of its humble origins.

This savoury delight is crafted by mixing fresh prawns with a flavourful batter, complemented by onions, scallions, and bean sprouts, resulting in a crispy, golden colour when deep-fried to perfection. Served with a delectable peanut sauce reminiscent of satay condiments, cucur udang tantalises the taste buds with its harmonious blend of flavours and textures.

The origins of cucur udang can be traced back to the vibrant tapestry of Malaysia’s multicultural heritage, with influences from the Indian community notably prominent.

Iconic stalls, such as the one found at Chowrasta market off Penang Road, are still operated by descendants of Indian immigrants, preserving the authentic flavours and traditions associated with this beloved delicacy.

In today’s digital era, the allure of cucur udang continues to captivate food enthusiasts, as evidenced by a recent TikTok video posted by @ahmadtahbranni. The video features a seasoned proprietor with over 45 years of experience, showcasing his culinary prowess at Penang Famous Chowrasta Cucur Udang.

Priced at an affordable RM4.50 per plate, patrons are treated to a plate of crispy fries paired with a refreshing glass of ginger milk tea, as highlighted by Ahmadtahbranni himself.

The true testament to the culinary excellence of cucur udang lies in the satisfied expressions of patrons, with one customer aptly describing the taste with a single word – “surr,” a local slang signifying a gratifying and flavourful experience that transcends mere words.

In conclusion, cucur udang stands as a testament to Malaysia’s rich culinary heritage, blending tradition with innovation to create a gastronomic experience that delights the senses and fosters a sense of community and cultural pride.

So, the next time you find yourself craving a taste of Malaysia’s culinary legacy, indulge in the irresistible delight of cucur udang – a dish that truly captures the essence of Malaysian cuisine.

Dr. Rahim Said is a human behaviourist and regular contributor on digital media platforms. He is a professional management consultant, a corporate trainer and an executive coach specialising in coaching of senior executives and individual entrepreneurs with the purpose of modifying their behaviour in the pursuit of their cherished missions. (The views expressed by our columnist are entirely his own)