Have you ever (1)…

Have you ever seen one so big? It was about the size of my lower leg!!! Well, what I am talking about here is the freshwater fish that we can catch in the Rejang River that flows by Sibu town. In Hokkien, it is called sai seng, a name probably derived from the fact that a multitude of them would come to feast on what dropped into the water in the bygone days of floating toilets. The local name for it is ikan buris.

The sad thing is that these days, they are no longer so easily available, probably because of the polluted and mud-clogged water in the river. Sometimes we may get smaller ones of about 1 foot long and the biggest so far was about the size of my forearm. I do not know why there were so many at the market the other day; perhaps it was the spawning season…but there were at least 5 or 6 huge ones, going for RM28.00 a kilo.  I bought two of almost 2 kilos each, so that came up to around RM100.00. I admit that was being extraordinarily extravagant but I probably will not come across anymore THAT size as long as I live. There were smaller ones at RM20 a kilo though…but I did not buy those.

So I cooked one of the two that I bought. I deep-fried a section for my father…

STP's deep-fried ikan buris

He is not very adventurous in his eating habits, so he prefers it simple as such. I had cut off the tail and I cooked it together with the top one-third of the fish, including the head, with kunyit (tumeric) and assam keping kering (dried tamarind slices)as a sourish soup dish…

STP's ikan buris masak kunyit

I gave that to my mum, saving a bit for myself and my missus for dinner. But that was not all! There was still the middle section of the fish. Now, the other day, I bought a pais ikan buris (the fish cooked in banana leaf) for RM2 at the Ramadhan Bazaar. When I opened the packet, there was A fish inside the size of my thumb with sliced Bombay onions and serai (lemon grass). It was very delicious but there simply was not enough to satiate my craving. So, I decided to try and do it myself… 

STP's baked ikan buris - before

I did not have any banana leaf, so I used aluminum foil instead. Chef Wan, on one of his shows, said it would be ok…but I’m sure it would be much nicer if I had used the leaf instead. After rubbing the slab of fish with salt, I placed it in the foil, put the sliced Bombay onions and serai (lemon grass) and a few cili padi (fire chillies) over it, wrapped it up and put it in the pre-heated oven…and turned off the heat. After an hour, I took it out and this was what it looked like…

STP's baked ikan buris - after

Gosh! It was SO very sweet and SO very lemak (fat…but then fish fat is supposed to be good for health). Nice, very very nice indeed! And if you noticed, that was all from ONE fish. I still have the other one in the freezer and maybe I’ll cook that with daun bandung (tapioca leaves) and baby corn but that will have to wait till another day… Stay tuned! LOL!!!

Sorry seems to be the hardest word…

Hari Raya greeting
Image from http://adlisyahril.blogspot.com

No man is an island
Everyone is everyone’s neighbour
A slip of the tongue is all it takes
To get someone into a lot of trouble
We must be sensitive
To the feelings of others
We must not use harsh words
Or make brash remarks
For what has come out of one’s mouth
Can never ever be retracted
So we must look before we leap
And think before we speak
But we are all humans
We all make mistakes
So in a moment of insensitivity
If I have said anything
That may have hurt your feelings
I plead for your forgiveness
For we are all brothers and sisters
And what better time than this
To say that I am truly sorry.

SELAMAT HARI RAYA AIDILFITRI
MAAF ZAHIR DAN BATIN.

Malaysians in harmony
Image from http://www.hospitals-malaysia.org

Burning love…

I love barbecues…or to be more specific, I love the food. The last one I went to was way back in April. However, I must say that I cannot stand the heat so I would prefer it if there is somebody around to do the barbecuing instead of me…

Barbecue 1

It is much nicer overseas in the temperate region as it is cooler…and in places like New Zealand, you get to enjoy the thick, juicy steaks of beef or lamb. Here, all we have are imported frozen lamb and beef and even though we may be able to get hold of some fresh supply of the latter, usually we will not have the luxury of such generous cuts of the meat. Well, never mind for at least, we can have all the chicken we want. The least we can expect to find at barbecues here are frozen sausages and chicken wings as well…

Barbecue 2

…or some pork belly or spare ribs even. When nicely grilled till they turn a nice golden colour, they can be absolutely delicious…

Barbecue 3

But with all the meat, it would be advisable to prepare some coleslaw to go with it…

Barbecue 4

…or some potato salad and rojak timun (cucumber)…

Barbecue 5

My apologies to all those who do not consume pork because of religion or for whatever reason, but for the rest of you who are not quite convinced that barbecues are your kind of thing, perhaps the photo below of the huge slab of pork belly will convert you…

Barbecue 6

Can you honestly tell me that you are not drooling? ROTFLMAO!!!

P.S. Try that with sambal belacan (prawn paste). Ooooo…I assure you it is absolutely divine!!! Slurpsszzzz!!!!

A different corner (1)…

Whenever I went to the area behind the Rejang Medical Centre here in Sibu, I would usually go to Mitsu Tea House for the dim sum or the coffee shop across the road for the beef noodles or the char kway teow or even Sushi Tie for Japanese food whenever my daughter was back in town. But there is another coffee shop, the Sing Long Cafe, at a different corner in one of the blocks of shophouses in the area. I had gone there once before a long time ago when I heard from people that they had very nice homemade fish balls (mackerel/ikan tenggiri) and I remember having had some nice char siew noodles there…but I have not been there since. For one thing, it is usually very crowded and I do not fancy having to wait for a long time.

However, I saw Huai Bin’s recent post on it, and today being a Sunday, I decided to drop by the shop again to check it out. So there we were, my missus and I, after the church service this morning and we had this bowl of yong tofu for RM6.00…

Sing Long Cafe's yong tofu, Sibu

It was very nice and I particularly loved the fish balls but I wished they had not put the seaweed in the soup as I did not really fancy the taste despite the fact that people say it is good for health. My missus had this plate of char siew noodles…

Sing Long Cafe's char siew noodles, Sibu

…while I had roast duck noodles, at RM4.00 per plate…

Sing Long Cafe's roast duck noodles, Sibu

(Nice plates! Unfortunately, they’re melamine!) The noodles were nice…but I do not recall them using those huge Hokkien-mee noodles in the past. I think I would prefer the smaller wanton-mee or kampua/kolo mee variety. For one thing, despite the crowd, our orders came in a jiffy…so that was not a problem at all.

On the home front, not much has been going on. My missus cooked a huge bowl of steamed minced pork custard with soy sauce, so we had to have that for 3 to 4 days. I keep reminding her that there are only two of us in the house but she has fixed recipes and does not know how to adjust according to the number of people eating. But on no-meat Friday last week, I cooked this dish of steamed fish in Foochow ang chiew (red wine)…

STP's steamed fish in Foochow red wine

…and prepared this ladies’ fingers’ ulam belacan

STP's ladies' fingers ulam belacan

I know! I know! The two dishes were not quite compatible…but I was too lazy to fry the veg…and I love blanched ladies’ fingers eaten with sambal belacan (prawn paste dip) and we finished all of that! I guess you can just call it the blending of the cultures.

Well, I bet those of you who have not taken the whole week off and are still going back to work tomorrow, would be quite happy that it’s not going to be a long, dreary one as you will be getting a few days off for Hari Raya!!! Whatever it is, do have a nice week, everybody! 

9 to 5…

Many people moan and groan about their jobs. I bet many of you have heard the parody of James Blunt’s “You’re beautiful”. Well, if you haven’t, then you can click this link and see how much actually applies to you…especially that bit about surfing the internet! LOL!!!

Those of you who are familiar with Max Ehrmann’s poem, DESIDERATA, would probably remember this line, “Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.” (Those of you who somehow, have NEVER heard of the poem can click this link and listen to it being recited by a US talk-show host, Les Crane. It was very popular on the airwaves in the early 70s.)

Be grateful that you have a job; many do not. Be happy that your job is a lot easier than many others. And be thankful that you will not find this on your desk when you get back to work on Monday morning…

MEMO: New Office Policy

Effective 1 October 2008

DRESS CODE

You are advised to come to work dressed according to your salary.

If we see you wearing Prada shoes and carrying a Gucci bag, we will assume you are doing well financially and therefore do not need a raise.

If you dress poorly, you need to learn to manage your money better so that you may buy nicer clothes, and therefore you do not need a raise.

If you dress just right, you are right where you need to be and therefore you do not need a raise.

 

SICK DAYS

We will no longer accept a doctor’s statement as proof of sickness. If you are able to go to the doctor, you are able to come to work.

 

PERSONAL DAYS

Each employee will receive 104 personal days a year. They are called Saturdays and Sundays.

 

BEREAVEMENT LEAVE

This is no excuse for missing work. There is nothing you can do for your dead friends, relatives or co-workers.  Every effort should be made to have non-employees attend the funeral in your place. In rare cases where employee involvement is necessary, the funeral should be scheduled in the late afternoon. We will be glad to allow you to work through your lunch hour so that you may be allowed to leave one hour earlier.

 

BATHROOM BREAKS

Too much time is spent in the toilet. There is now a strict three-minute time limit in the stalls. At the end of three minutes, an alarm will sound, the toilet paper roll will retract, the stall door will open and a picture will be taken. After your second offense, your picture will be posted on the company bulletin board under the “Chronic Offenders” category. Anyone caught smiling in the picture will be sectioned under the company’s mental health policy.

 

LUNCH BREAK

Skinny people get 30 minutes for lunch as they need to eat more so that they can look healthy.

Normal size people get 15 minutes to get a balanced meal to maintain their average figure.

Chubby people get 5 minutes for lunch because that is all the time needed to drink a glass of Tummy Trim!

 

Thank you for your loyalty to our company. We are here to provide a positive employment experience.  Therefore, all questions, comments, concerns, complaints, frustrations, irritations, aggravations, insinuations, allegations, accusations, contemplations, consternation and input should be directed elsewhere.

 

THE MANAGEMENT

 

…ROTFLMAO!!!

 

 

(Memo received via email. Original source unknown)

Love is blue…

When I was younger, I used to entertain a lot. I loved having friends over to the house as I loved having company coming over and besides, it would be an opportunity to show off my culinary skills. Thus, I had a few sets of crockery that I would use on such occasions but by far, my favourite is my blue and white collection.

I did not buy all the items in a set; I actually collected them one by one, so it is in fact a collection in the true sense of the word. I got this soup tureen as a wedding present from the Willie family in Kota Kinabalu…

Blue & white collection 1

…and I have a pair of this. They were the free gifts for two consecutive years with the bottles of brandy that Gerrie’s late father would give me every Chinese New Year way back then…

Blue & white collection 2

I have six pieces of these that came free with Jacob’s biscuits…

Blue & white collection 3

…but only one of this…

Blue & white collection 4

My wife got it free with Indomie…but by the time I found out about it and rushed to the shop, it was already out of stock. This one came with one of those Made-in-China chicken essence…

Blue & white collection 5

I think I bought it for somebody in maternity confinement…and I kept the gift! LOL!!! It is kind of different from the rest as it has that Chinese antique kind of look. I also have a few of these Chinese-looking bowls that came free with something but I cannot recall exactly what, probably toothpaste…

Blue & white collection 6

…but this one is obviously not Chinese. I got it from my late aunt who used to stay in that kampung house that I had featured in an earlier post. I cannot put my finger on the exact occasion…but my guess is it was for my 50th birthday…

Blue & white collection 7

…or was it from her foster daughter? I can’t remember exactly now. Well, I do not use them at all these days as it would be less of a hassle to entertain guests in restaurants…and on festivals like Chinese New Year, I would just pack my bags and go with my family to some place and relax in a comfortable hotel, coming home only when the festivities are over.

I suppose I can just keep them, especially those that were given to me by ones so dear…to cherish the fond memories of them and ever hold them close to my heart.

It’s not over…

Now, if you think that all the food in my previous post was it, think again. It definitely was not over yet, and that very night, they all went to The Heritage, a recently-opened restaurant in Kuching for dinner.

From what I gather, the place was originally the very popular Tsui Hua Lau or something…but a change in management brought it down and the chefs left, the food was not good, the service was poor and  it eventually closed. Now the former chefs or something got together to open this new one, so one would expect the food to be as good as before!

So, what did they have that night? I guess it started with this…

Dinner @ Heritage, Kuching 1

…followed by this soup, and before some individuals start protesting, my guess is it was probably fish lips which are very popular in Kuching (and getting expensive too!)…

Dinner @ Heritage, Kuching 2

…after which, they had fish…

Dinner @ Heritage, Kuching 3

…as well as duck…

Dinner @ Heritage, Kuching 4

…and whatever this is…

Dinner @ Heritage, Kuching 5

Ooo…my daughter loves these! She calls them “money bags” (and please, she was not talking about me! LOL!!!)…

Dinner @ Heritage, Kuching 6

…which was followed by this dessert dish which, if I’m not mistaken, is made from egg white and deep-fried…

Dinner @ Heritage, Kuching 7

…plus a plate of fruits. I’m sure everyone has seen fruits before, so I will not post a photo of that. All that came up to only RM360.00, believe it or not! Real cheap, I should say…and my only complaint is the excessive use of those wafer flowers (usually used by amateur cake makers who do not have the skill to pump nice floral icing) for decoration. LOL!!! 

Now! Now! Look at what they had been doing…

Dinner @ Heritage Kuching 8

Ah well, it is claimed that red wine is good for health, for the heart in particular…so I guess they may be excused and if you are wondering who all those people were, that could eat so much in one day, here they are…the partners in crime! ROTFLMAO!!!

Dinner @ Heritage, Kuching

They include my uncle and aunties…and my cousins, plus a nephew. There is Stella – all the way from Melbourne and her sis from Brisbane, Pollie from Bintulu…and there’s Gerrie and Gundot and Cooking4stp and Sophia and Lindy and of course, the very eligible KNB (No! Not the one that looks like Raja Petra!!! LOL!!!!). See if you can guess who’s who in the photo!