Never had it so good…

After the disappointment that we had at this place, we made it a point to drop by here for the beef noodles the other day.

Time passes, things change…but some may stay the same, it seems, and like on our last visit, Melissa had the soup version…

AhSian beef noodles soup

…with beef only, no tripe, no tendon – she wouldn’t touch those and she’s not a fan of kampua noodles either.

My missus and I had the kampua kosong – just the noodles without any meat…

AhSian kampua kosong

…and the cheng

AhSian gu bak cheng

– the soup with the beef, tripe and tendon but without any noodles.

While we were there, I saw this advertisement on the wall…

Ngo Kian 1

…and that took me on a trip down memory lane.

The kids today are such a fortunate lot – they can have all the fizzy drinks anytime, anywhere they want. I remember going for kampua noodles after the church service on Sunday mornings and we would only have the noodles and nothing else – no drinks, most of the time, that is…but that was good enough for me. Just getting to eat the noodles was like heaven on earth and the complimentary plain clear soup seemed so very nice in those days unlike what we would get today.

At the time, how we longed to be invited to some relative’s wedding so we could drink the aerated water, as we called them then, like there was no tomorrow. We would only get those, bought in big wooden crates during festivals like Christmas and Chinese New Year but with instructions that they were meant for the guests/visitors and we had to be restricted to a limited number of bottles. There were CocaCola and Red Lion orange, later F&N, as well but those were meant for the more distinguished guests but somehow, at the time, we did not give two hoots about that – whenever we could get to drink the local made ones, that was more than enough for us.

The most popular made-in-Sibu brand then was this one…

Ngo Kian 2

It used its full name at the time – Ngo Kian…ngo meaning a swan or a goose. I don’t know why they have reduced it to just the initials – NK. Perhaps, it has changed hands and has since been renamed, I wouldn’t know.

There were orange, sarsaparilla aka sarsi and cream soda which we somehow would call ice cream soda, for whatever reason, and there were also the cherry and the banana that were red and green in colour respectively. We were so tickled then that after drinking those, our teeth would be red or green in colour depending on what we had. You can imagine the amount of artificial colouring in the stuff but people in those days did not bother one bit about such things. As they say, ignorance is bliss.

And talking about those long gone days, I can also recall the bottle of orange cordial or grenadine in the fridge. I remember one called Cascade which was blackcurrant, something like Ribena. Of course those were meant for guests dropping by the house and we were not allowed to touch them at all…but kids being kids, more often than not, we could not resist the temptation and when caught red-handed (like when the amount in the bottle was getting noticeably less and less), it was time for…the cane!

What a deprived lot we were then and today, when I see the youngsters or the parents with their little kids in tow, feasting away in those fast food joints, it really makes me wonder how lucky they all are and what it would be like for them and the generations to come as time goes by…