Day tripper…

My cousin in Kota Kinabalu flew over in the morning that day as  he had some work to see to in town. The MASwings flight was delayed for an hour and he was duly informed the day before. It was around 10-30 – 11.00 a.m. before I managed to get to see him and he passed me all the stuff that he had so very generously bought and taken the trouble to carry them all the way for me.

There were some dried prawns and ikan bilis (dried anchovies)…

Dried prawns & anchovies

…and some fresh prawns too – still frozen in ice…

Frozen prawns

…and no, these were definitely not the Twin Towers…

Singapore-made luncheon meat 1

…but the made-in-Singapore luncheon meat!

Singapore-made luncheon meat 2

I have not tried them yet so I would not know whether they’re better than the Gulong brand that we can buy here or those made-in-Canada Ma Ling ones.

He also brought me the Lonely Planet-accredited and Asian Food Channel-featured ngui chap (beef soup)…

Kah Hiong ngui chap, KK

…from Kah Hiong in Kota Kinabalu. I’ve had this every time I dropped by the city and I must say that there is none, never mind where, that I have had that comes anywhere near it – not even close. The soup, or perhaps I should call it the broth, is so richly thick, so full of beef flavour that just one sip of it will convince you that there can be no other better than this! To me, it is simply the best…but they were telling me that there’s another place in the city that they prefer. Hmmm…I really must hop over there one of these days to try that.

This is the fiery chili dip, made from cili padi, to go with the ngui chap

Kah Hiong ngui chap chili dip

…but do be forewarned that it is extremely hot and after eating that, I could feel the burning in my mouth and I was quite sure that my lips were all swollen up and looking like Angeline Jolie’s. Imagine the suffering I had to endure when I went to the toilet the next day! LOL!!!

Well, his flight back to KK was supposed to depart at 6.15 p.m. that same day and at around 4, he received an sms again from the airline saying that it would leave at 7.30 p.m. instead…and I gathered from him that it finally left Sibu at around 8.00 p.m. and he got home late…at around 10.00 p.m. This is really simply outrageous, don’t you think?

First, the airline has the monopoly around here for flights from Sibu to Bintulu, Miri and Kota Kinabalu…and the airfares are really astronomical! More often than not, it is a lot cheaper to fly to KL and elsewhere instead…and it would not be so bad if the service had been good – regular with minimal delays and cancellations but unfortunately, despite the “new” aircrafts that have replaced the old Fokkers, things do not seem to have changed one teeny-weeny bit.

Is it any wonder at all that most people here would rather catch a bus to Bintulu and Miri…and think many, many times and would not bother to go to Kota Kinabalu unless they absolutely cannot help it? Really, MASwings, no doubt you have been not very flatteringly and somewhat insultingly categorised as being a “rural air service” ,  a reputation that you certainly seem to live up to, but don’t you think it is about time you pull up your socks and get yourselves out of the miserable rut that you seem to be stuck in?

The verdict. Taste, 100% and the fragrance, also 100%. It was so fragrant that the smell filled the whole house the moment the can was opened, what more to say while cooking and it tasted much nicer too – better than the original China-made Ma Ling that I loved so much while growing up…

Singapore-made luncheon meat 3

…HOWEVER, the texture was a bit too soft, unlike the made-in-Canada Ma Ling or Gulong or even SPAM. Perhaps if I try doing what I usually do – dry-frying the cut slices on a non-stick pan to melt away the fat first, it would become harder and more to my liking then. Will try that sometime…