Monday, December 3, 2007

Origins of Ketchup and Kicap

Tomato sauce is popularly known as ketchup. According to Wikipedia:

"Originally this sauce was made out of pickled fish. It originated in Eastern Asia; the word ketchup is used in Chinese, Malay and Indonesian (e.g., kecap manis - traditional spelling 'kitjap manis'). English and Dutch sailors brought the Asian ketchup to Europe, where many flavourings, such as mushrooms, anchovies and nuts, were added to the basic fish sauce."

Ketchup does not necessary means tomato sauce. Ketchup may refer to a general term for sauce. Sauce in Malay is called 'kicap'. It is typically made of mushrooms or fish brine with herbs and spices. Mushroom ketchup is still available in some countries. Now the term 'kicap' is mainly used for thin sauce.

Ketchup is a Cantonese term where 'ke' means tomato and 'tchup' means sauce. It was reported that Kuala Lumpur was once the main hub for manufacturing ketchup. The factories were located at Jalan Petaling, Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown.

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