Have you ever wondered why the words Ketchup and Kicap sounds similar?
Well, there's a story to that
As a young boy I was always told by my uncle that ketchup originated from The Malay Land when an Englishman asked a Malay man about the condiment that he was having on his food. The Malay man simply answered "kicap". The Englishman later brought back the idea and created Ketchup.
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Another story that was told to me happened in 18th century Terengganu where an Englishman was walking around a village accompanied by a Malay man. They then stopped at a stall where a local villager was selling some sort of condiment. The Englishman asked the Malay man about the stuff. Being unsure himself, he asked the seller if he could have a taste of the condiment. He said to the seller, " Meh nok kecap!" (Let me have a taste). The Englishman thought the Malay was telling him the name of the food, so he went " Ooo... Ketchup!". He then went back tu his country and created Ketchup.
Having thought that the stories were always part of my uncle's funny jokes, I always regard the stories as tales to be taken with a grain of salt. But something I didn't know back then was theres a fact in what he had told me. But then again, I don't think he knew either. Hehe.
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The history goes like this, Ketchup hasn't always be based on tomato. In the 17th century, The Chinese mixed together a concoction of pickled fish which they called ke-chiap or koe-chiap (鮭汁) which means the brine of pickled fish or shellfish.
It then made its way to the Malay Archipelago in forms of pickled soy beans and came to be known as kicap or kechap. During the British occupation of the Malay Peninsula, this Chinese condiments were brought to the west. Soon, alternative ingredients such as mushrooms, anchovies, oysters and walnuts were used to make ketchup. Tomato was not in the picture until the year 1801 when a certain someone named Sandy Addison came up with the recipe for tomato ketchup.
The tomato ketchup's rise to fame was fueled by the Americans' enthusiasm for tomatoes thus making it a national phenomenon. Soon after that, companies like F. & J. Heinz began to ride the wave by producing the world famous Heinz Tomato Ketchup.
Apart from being turned into ketchup, the original ke-chiap may have not gone away at all. Ke-chiap in its original form also found its way to most part of South East Asia and eventually to the west. In Thailand and Vietnam its is currently known as Nuoc Mam and in Malaysia as Budu.
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So there you have it. Ketchup came from kicap and both kicap and budu are related and came from a common ancestor, the ke-chiap. haha