For Penang Chinese womenfolk, mastery of the classical Jiu Hu Char was one of the requisites that maketh a bonafide homemaker. If a wife failed in that skill, she would probably be retrenched and served fried cuttlefish — 被炒鱿鱼. Just kidding.
When my Mum was around I used to help her, slicing the “mengkuang” and red carrots into thin sheets and then further into fine strips (these days we use a shredder) — and also cutting dried cuttlefish into fine slivers.
With added strips of meat, mushrooms, onion, garlic and of course, the cuttlefish slivers, the whole lot was well stir-fried with some bean paste. The final mesh of supreme savoury delight was sure to send taste buds quivering in sensational expectation.
Better still was to have a handful wrapped in raw lettuce laced with sambal belacan — rasanya betul2 meletup !