SNOEK AND SALOMI.

I posted the following on Wordorigins yesterday:

In a (delightful) New Yorker article focused mainly on a South African friend’s quenchless craving for snoek (“He thinks about fried snoek and grilled snoek and dried snoek and snoek made into pâté…”), Calvin Trillin brings up another culinary item, using a word of whose existence I can find no other trace:

I took advantage of the stop to buy something I’d come across on a previous trip to Cape Town, a dosa-like object called a “salomey”—a sort of pancake filled with, in this case, chicken and potato. Jeffrey, who had never heard of a salomey, loved it. I told him to consider it a gift—not that particular salomey but the whole concept of salomies.

I was immediately suspicious because of the aberrant plural salomies; the plural of salomey should be salomeys. The fact that Google knows the word only as a given name (apart from this article) [this turns out not to be true] heightened my suspicion, and it’s not in any of my dictionaries (no, not even the Afrikaans one). I no longer trust the magazine’s once legendary fact-checkers. So: anybody know this word, or the dish in question under a name that might reasonably be mistaken for this?

One of the good folks at Wordorigins (thanks, Dutchtoo!) discovered that it was a Malay dish in origin and the usual spelling is salomi (cf this post, which refers to “a salomi, the original wrap of roti or flatbread filled with your choice of curry and salad”—and if your interest in food is wide-ranging, you’ll want to check out the blog, Kitsch’n’Zinc: Culinary musings from Cape Town), so I thought I’d ask my readers if anybody knew the etymology of the word. (Myself, I’d like a good salomi, but I’ll pass on the snoek; I don’t eat any sort of seafood.)

Update (Jan. 2021). I wanted to update the post, but not only is the Wordorigins link dead, but the Internet Archive says “Sorry. This URL has been excluded from the Wayback Machine.” Bah.

Comments

  1. BTW, I’m back – no fuss 😉

  2. No fuss, but I’m sure glad to hear from you!

  3. Yow, no seafood?!! Palates like yours (and my sister’s) I do not understand…

  4. AS YOU SEE MY NAME IS SALOMI AND I WAS ALWAYS TRYING TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT MY NAME. (THANK YOU FOR HELPING ME)SALOMI ACTUALLY IS AN ANCIENT NAME. YOU CAN FIND IT IN THE BIBLE.
    THANK YOU

  5. Wiktionary now includes salomi… but no pronunciation or etymology!

  6. Qistibi is roasted flatbreads with various fillings inside.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qistibi

  7. PlasticPaddy says:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roti_canai
    The dish is now called roti canai in “Dutch East India”. There is an alternative name or variant roti maryam said in the link to have an Indian Muslim origin or to be popular among Muslims. Maybe there was also a roti salomeh (Maryam’s sister).

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