Glory of love…

I guess some of you would be familiar with this product…

Glory

What I know is come Chinese New Year, there are people who would buy this and roll it in those frozen popiah (spring roll) skin and deep-fry to serve as snacks. Well, I would say that it tastes great on bread and crackers too and with the astronomical price of our straight Rajang hay bee/udang kering (dried prawns), this would be a sufficiently-nice alternative instead of making our own. Even the cheaper variety of those dried prawns ain’t that affordable anymore these days.

This isn’t all that cheap either actually – one bottle would cost more than RM10.00 now but the other day, I saw some on special offer at around RM9.00 only so I bought a bottle…and among all the things that I did, I used it to cook some fried rice. Of course, I would need the usual ingredients for that…

ingredients

…and having fried a handful of ikan bilis (dried anchovies)…

ikan bilis

…till golden brown, I put in the sliced shallots and garlic…

shallots & garlic

…and after those, the rice…

rice

Then, I threw in the sliced chili and chopped spring onions before adding three spoonfuls of the serunding udang

chili, spring onions & serunding udang

…and fried it altogether, making sure that everything was mixed thoroughly and evenly. Lastly, I added the eggs…

eggs

…and once they were done, I dished out everything and served – with a sprinkling of more serunding udang on top…

Fried rice

Frankly, I did think it could do with a lot more of the serunding udang in the frying but at that price, I guess one would have to use it sparingly and be happy with it. Of course, it would be a whole lot nicer to pound one’s own sambal hay bee and use to fry the rice but these days, I guess we do not have much of a choice but to do without all those luxuries.

Well, on a brighter note, it’s National Day today…so Happy National Day to all fellow-Malaysians and do enjoy the weekend, everyone, here in our home…

Hotter than fire…

Ok, it was VERY hot…but not that hot – actually, I’m exaggerating a bit there but it WAS hot and that much, I would say, is true.

Well, if you’re wondering what this is all about, I’m referring to the instant noodles that I mentioned in my previous post – the one I got from Annie-Q

PWCN 1

…who went through the trouble of sending it all the way from KL.

This is the Penang white curry noodles, My Kuali brand, made in Bukit Mertajam in Penang…

PWCN 2

…and if you remember, some guy came out with a list of the top 10 instant noodles of all time and he thought the ones from Singapore – the laksa and the curry were the No. 1 and No. 2 respectively. He blogged about this one here and it is No. 7 on his list of the top 10 spiciest instant noodles of all time and in his own words, “I’m very pleased with this one – 5.0 out of 5.0 star” and he also said that this was Malaysia’s first time on any of his top ten lists.

Ok, say what you want but as far as I’m concerned, the test of the pudding is in the eating and I wasted no time at all in getting down to cooking a packet to give it a try. There were three sachets inside…

Sachets

– the curry paste, the seasoning and what is that – a non-diary creamer! I suppose that’s santan or coconut milk powder so it is indeed a non-diary creamer – I’m quite sure it isn’t what you add to your coffee or tea in place of milk.

As always, I cooked the noodles first and drained them thoroughly and after that, I cooked the broth and poured that over the noodles…

PWCN 3

…and served, together with one poached egg.

Well, as you can see, it wasn’t in any way white! That was red to the max…and good grief! It was so very hot that I felt like I was blowing fire and I was pretty sure my lips were as thick as Angeline Jolie’s – it was THAT spicy but I really liked it a lot! My missus tried a packet too and she loved it to bits – she loves anything that is spicy hot (LIke the hubby? Wink! Wink! Hehehehehehe!!!!) and she went as far as to say that this was much nicer than the ones from Singapore.

If I’m not mistaken, this is not widely distributed so it may not be available at the supermarkets here…or in KL. Annie said that she got it from the Taman Tun market or some place but they get sold out very quickly and is not always available so if you’re heading out right away to search for this, good luck!!!

Ok! Ok! I know – my poached egg turned out looking quite miserable…

Poached egg

…worse than the previous time even but rest assured that I will keep on trying till I get…the perfect poached egg, you can count on that. Hehehehehe!!!!

I got mine…

It’s about two weeks away – the Mooncake Festival aka the Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋節) or as we call it in the Hokkien dialect, pek quek tong chiew (the 8th Month Autumn Festival)…and as in previous years, the mooncakes do not come cheap, not at all and even our pretty good local made ones were kind of pricey last year – I’ve yet to drop by to check them out this year but I can bet my bottom dollar that the prices can’t possibly have gone in any direction other than up…up…and up. Tsk! Tsk!

Just when I’ve resigned myself to my fate of not being able to afford any to eat this year, I got these…

LMC 1

…from my kind and generous friend, Annie-Q!!!

Oooooo!!!! Lavender! I love their layer cakes, very buttery and very nice…and I bet their mooncakes…

LMC 2

…would be great too. Of course, it goes without saying that anything from that celebrated bakery does not come cheap so I’m saving them till the actual day of the festival to uphold the age-old Chinese tradition which means that I will only be cutting them then to savour and enjoy, nibbling bit by bit. If I remember to take the photographs, I will blog about them again and show you what they look like inside.

Annie also sent me a pack of these made-in-Penang instant noodles…

PWCN

…to try but I will leave that till the next post.

Thank you so much, Annie, but you simply must stop sending me things or at least let me know when your mum would be going over so I can send a little something to you then. Thanks to her too for bringing the things back for me, so sorry for troubling her all the time.

Incidentally, I also received this a week or two ago…

PC from TM

…from Twilight Man when he was at some resort in Hatyai for a holiday retreat. Thanks a lot, my friend – so nice of you to remember me and take some time off to go through the trouble of buying and writing and sending a postcard.

Hmmm…there is an English saying that it never rains, it pours and if I’m not mistaken, it means that when bad things happen, they do not stop with just a few but they would be followed by a whole lot of the same. Well, I must say that in my case, this would refer to the good things that I’ve been getting from so many people…like it is never gonna end. Why, this box of goodies just came all the way from the UK…

McVitie's

I love McVitie’s! Their digestive biscuits are my favourite and their Scottish shortbread is very nice – once selling at over RM6.00 but I think they’re around RM8 or 9 now, still cheaper than the other more popular brands. Hmmmm…I just can’t wait to sink my teeth into these but I guess I will have to nibble and nibble them slowly too and not finish it all in one sitting – despite what it says on the box, I really mustn’t be so indulgent now, right? Muahahahahaha!!!! Thanks, Xavier – you’re a gem! It certainly is so sweet and thoughtful of you to buy that and carry it all the way home to give to me.

Thank you, thank you so very very much, one and all!!!

Quite alright…

If you remember, I mentioned in an earlier post that my missus went out and brought home this particular brand of made-in-Thailand instant noodles…

Yum Yum

…and I liked the green curry one. She also bought the shrimp flavour one which I tried but did not really like – though I did not mind the fact that it was extra-spicy, I found it to be a bit too sour. I guess she doesn’t like it very much either seeing that the remaining packets are all still there in the pantry.

What I did not know then was that she also bought a pack for Melissa – the seafood one and she complained that it was too sour and spicy too. Well, when we went over that day to spend the night at her quarters in her rural/jungle school, I ate one for breakfast and thought it wasn’t too bad…so I took the remaining packets home since she would not be eating them.

I had another one for breakfast the other morning and as what I would do these days, I boiled the noodles first and drained them thoroughly…

Boiled

…and then I cooked the soup and poured that over the noodles…

Soup added

There wasn’t much of anything in the fridge or the freezer so I decided to cook an egg to go with it.

Well, when it comes to cooking eggs, they call me an eggs-pert but that is only true when it comes to half-boiled or hard-boiled ones or fried eggs, sunny side up or omelette. I love poached eggs but so far I have yet to master cooking them like those at the breakfast places – the nice-looking ones on their Egg Benedict or the other dishes.

They told me that I would have to stir the boiling water vigorously and break the egg and drop it into the swirling “whirlpool”. I’ve tried that before but no,  I was not successful but the other morning, I did it again in the soup that I was cooking and it turned out quite well, I would say…

Poached

No, it did not come out looking very nice like a little pouch or purse but at least, that was an improvement from my previous attempts and the egg yolk…

Runny

…was runny and exactly the way I wanted it. I wonder if anybody has any idea what I did wrong and how I would be able to get my poached egg to be absolutely perfect.

Moving on, this has got nothing to do with the above but I thought some of you might be interested in these seeds…

seeds

I did grumble about my curry leaf plant once – how it would grow out of control but this is the first time I have ever seen the seeds myself and I guess I’m not the only one.

Then, just the other day, I was trimming it AGAIN and I spotted these…

Flowers 1

Gee!!! It flowers too!!!

I am sure many of you have never seen these either…

Flowers 2

Well, I’ve got the trimming done but rest assured that it will grow and grow out of control again very soon and I would have to go through the chore all over again…and that reminds me of a joke about a teacher:

She entered the classroom one day and was shocked to see the word P***S written in very small print on the blackboard. Needless to say, she was furious but she kept her cool and quietly wiped it off.

The next day, she saw it again – a little bigger this time and again, she just rubbed it away calmly.

The third day, there it was – that offensive word again…and even bigger than the previous times. Angrily, she scolded the kids, “If I see that word on the board again, I would not stop till I get hold of the culprit…and if I fail to do that, I would punish the whole class!!!”

The next day, she went to class as usual and lo and behold! There it was – that word on the blackboard in BIG letters and this was written right below it, in smaller print, “You silly woman! Don’t you know that the more you rub, the bigger it gets?”

Well, the moral of the story is – perhaps I should not keep on trimming my curry leaf plant…seeing that it does seem to stimulate its growth so much. LOL!!!

Make sure you’re sure…

My missus and I were out and about the other day and we went back here for lunch. We would do that sometimes when Melissa is not at home – it sure saves us the trouble of having to rush home to cook something for lunch or dinner.

I wouldn’t say their kampua noodles are my favourite or what I would consider to be the best in town but my missus had that the last time around and she said it was nice and was only RM2.30 a bowl which would mean that it is cheaper than most other places here where they are selling at RM2.50 a bowl or more.

This time around, she wanted the noodles again, tossed in chili sauce…

HK kampua

…and yes, it is indeed RM2.30 a bowl, 10 sen more than here…but the serving’s really huge and for not-very-big eaters, that one bowl can easily be shared by two. As for the taste, I would think this one’s a bit better than that other place.

Well, since she was having the kampua noodles (and I could sample a bit to see what it was like), I decided to go for something else – their kolo mee

HK kolo mee 1

For the uninitiated, kolo mee is to Kuching what kampua mee is to Sibu and they taste entirely different from each other…and no, I was not hoping it would be anything like the very nice ones that one can find in Kuching – I have given up on that long ago. Most that I have had here have been at best, kampua mee buried under all the ingredients. It would look like kolo mee with the kampua mee taste…and since those ingredients aren’t exactly something to die for, one might as well go for a plate of kampua mee instead…at almost half the price.

This one was good though…

HK kolo mee 2

No, it did not taste like kolo mee nor did it taste like our kampua noodles. I thought it had its own very unique and pleasant taste like the noodles had been tossed in oil in which they had fried some garlic and not shallots as in the case of kampua noodles and I would say that I did enjoy that! It did not come cheap though (RM4.50) and even though the serving was huge too and they were obviously very generous with the ingredients added, I probably would think twice about having that again.

To wash all that down, we shared a bowl of pian sip (meat dumplings) soup (RM2.30)…

HK pian sip

…but I did not think it was any good. The skin was thick and the pian sip was quite tasteless, and the soup bland…and if that is what it usually is like, I would suggest you give it a miss should you happen to drop by there.

We saw a lady making dim sums and steaming them so we decided to give it a try as well. The siew mai (RM3.00)…

HK dim sum 1

…tasted nice but it was meaty and did not have that fish ball kind of chewy texture that the usual dim sum siew mai would have…and because it was all minced meat, it was not in any way like our local Foochow sio bee either.

This one, also RM3.00 for a basket…

HK dim sum 2

…had a rather peculiar taste – like it had salted egg inside though I could not see any trace of it. It would have been very nice, I thought, if they had used good salted egg but unfortunately, what they had in the ones we ate was a bit off and in fact, my missus did not like it at all.

I don’t think we would want to have those again nor the other choices that the lady has at her stall but it did appear to me that a lot of people liked them a lot – I could see those at quite a number of tables having those. Well, like I always say, one man’s meat is another man’s poison and what I do not really enjoy, there may be others who will find it very much to their liking. To each his own!

Home is where the heart is…

As the two-week Hari Raya cum school holidays were coming to an end, we had to send Melissa back to her rural/jungle school a bit earlier – on Saturday as she had to conduct extra classes for the Year 6 students before the forthcoming UPSR (Primary School Assessment Test). No, she’s not teaching those examination classes but it seems that it is the school policy to rope everyone in to do something for the kids, not just the actual teachers of those classes. I, for one, would not want that as I would not know how to help pupils that I am completely unfamiliar with…and besides, if I had prepared them well and thoroughly, I would not want any other teacher to come and talk crap and mess things up.

She was given the whole of Saturday afternoon and she did not want to go all the way back to Sibu for one night and make her way back there again the very next day so we decided to spend the night there with her since all the other teachers were not around or had not come back yet – only the Year 6 students and the warden on duty.

Melissa has moved to the new teachers’ quarters now…

TQ - SK Sepiring

– in the concrete block at the far end to the right of the above photograph. For one thing, it is a lot more comfortable – very nice and a whole lot better in more ways than one than those poorly-maintained dilapidated wooden ones.

She and a colleague are sharing one unit…

Door sign

…which has a spacious living room, kitchen and dining area and 3 bedrooms and one is still vacant at the moment plus there are ceiling fans here, there and everywhere so it definitely is very very much cooler than in the old place – I would feel like coming down with a heat stroke everytime I lingered around a bit longer there.

While she went to do her part with the students, we helped her sweep, clean and mop up the place – after two long weeks, there certainly was a lot of cleaning needed! Later, we cooked some rice and heated up the food we had brought from home for dinner and these were what we had for our first dinner ever at Melissa’s school/quarters – chicken curry with potatoes…

CC with P

…and durian flowers fried with sambal udang kering (dried prawns)…

DF with SU

The next day, we had lunch before we left and there was ayam pansoh

AP

– the local ethnic Dayak delight and my missus made these fritters with french beans and ikan bilis (dried anchovies) added….

CS & IB

Soon, it was time to make our way back to Sibu…and I could see that Melissa was very touched and so happy we stayed there with her for the night and I told her that we would love to do that again as and whenever necessary.

Pit stop…

If you’re travelling between Sibu and Bintulu and beyond or to Mukah, you would pass by the Selangau bazaar. Long long ago, it was just a row of wooden shophouses and the buses would stop beside it and you could just enter any one of the shops and go straight to the back to answer nature’s call…and you could grab something to eat or stock up on snacks for the rest of your journey.

I was on my way to Mukah once and I did what everybody else was doing and went into a shop there. There was a woman doing the laundry and she said that the toilet downstairs was occupied and asked me to use the one upstairs. Gee!!! I really felt uneasy as I would not be accustomed to having strangers coming into my house and going upstairs to the living quarters some more, no way!

Well, eventually, they built some nice concrete shophouses at the location where the bazaar currently is and all the people there were asked to move. If I remember correctly, there were objections from left, right and centre at the time – I guess they would lose the business of the passengers on the many buses that passed by every day as those huge vehicles would not be able to turn into the bazaar proper for people to go and patronise the shops there.

These days, they  have what they call rest stops – two big ones…and some smaller ones like this one…

SRA

…where we stopped for brunch that day when we were sending Melissa back to her rural/jungle school, some 20 km. or more from the bazaar.

Of course, they’re nothing as nice as the ones along the highways in the peninsula, not even close but at least, one would get to use their VERY CLEAN toilet, free of charge…and have something to eat. They even serve western cuisine at this one such as, according to the menu displayed, mix grill and lamp chop [SIC] but I guess it is most convenient to have the chap fan (mixed rice) and since we were quite early, everything was all still hot from the wok…

Chap fan

I particularly appreciated their effort in placing everything in a covered cabinet like this…and not in the open, all exposed to flies and what not like what I have seen in some places.

Melissa had this…

CF1

…while the mum had this…

CF2

I did not want rice so I opted for the fried noodles instead…

FN++

…but they turned out to be not particularly tasty – I guess it was cooked Foochow-style which would pale in comparison with the much more flavourful Malay or mamak ones. The chicken wing was all right and I liked the long beans – crunchy and sweet and not overcooked till so very soft.

The bill came up to RM23.00, inclusive of drinks, so it certainly seems that things are not all that cheap at such places…or not at this one, at least. After all, we only had chap fan mostly unlike what we had here and I did not expect it to go beyond RM20.00.