Haji Salleh Yap, always feeling young and energetic in front of the wok.
I am fascinated by how Salleh Yap makes his business last. When I was a young student in the early 70's, I used to drop by at Mr. Yap's stall situated next to the Rex cinema in Kuching. Sounds familiar? Those were the days of the cinema and films, and he was in his twenties joining force with his father to conduct a simple yet unique business of selling fritters at the back lot of the Rex cinema. When I met him today at his stall nearby the Kuching divisional mosque, I found that he is just one year my senior. He has been in the business of selling fritters for the last forty five (45) years. The name "Rex Fritters", or in the local Malay lingo - cucur campur rex, was proudly displayed on a one-page menu at the table where I sat. It was all light- heartedness, friendly atmosphere and laughs when I intervened in short conversations his busy movements while he completed an unending list of orders from customers and many who lined up to buy some as take-aways. At RM 5.00 I had a plateful of fritters served hot according to my choice. The choices are many. There are fritters of fish ball, prawns, yam, sweet potatoes, sausages and bean curds. The beauty of eating the fritters at the stall is that it is served hot out of the frying pan. With a magical sauce that has remained consistent over more than four decades, he remains the N0. 1 fritter seller in Kuching. And was I surprised? He how runs courses on making fritters, the Rex style. Now I can understand why the 4 Cs he sells has kept him forever busy and wealthy- Convenience (location), Class (quality), Cheap and Culture (common cuisine). All mixed the 4 Cs has been a winning menu for people from all walks of life who have like me associated Rex fritters as an original Kuching brand over many decades.