Our loved ones…

I’m pretty sure that everyone will agree that special occasions like birthdays are best spent with our loved and dear ones.

My uncle from Kuching, my mum’s youngest brother, turned 75 that day when he was in Sibu. He is a Dragon, one complete cycle older than me – I am a Dragon too. His whole family was here and also an aunt – my mum’s youngest sister and her daughter, and my auntie-in-law, the wife of a late uncle of mine plus a friend of my cousin, 9 of them altogether.

On the night of his birthday, we all went here, all of them plus me, my girl and the mum making up a table of 12 that I had gone to book earlier. My girl got a birthday cake…

Birthday cake

…specially for her koo-kong (grand-maternal uncle) from Marcus, the home-based baker at Delta Estate here and of course, everyone loved it. Marcus was already doing it a long time ago when my uncle and family were living in Sibu and of course, they used to order their birthday cakes from him too then. Needless to say, they were very happy to get to enjoy it again during their brief stay here. As a matter of fact, he made my wedding cake when I got married and more recently, he made one for my nephew’s wedding too.

It being a birthday celebration, this is a must – our traditional longevity noodles, the mee sua (thread/string noodles)…

Longevity noodles

…with a golden egg each. My uncle seemed a little surprised probably because nobody was serving it like this long ago when he was still living in Sibu and he probably was expecting the noodles served with the traditional red wine chicken soup.

However, he had had the chicken pie…

New Capitol chicken pie

…from this old-school restaurant then – the only one in town at the time. This goes back a long way to around the 60’s and unlike today, we never had any such thing at the time and this was held in high esteem. When I was invited to some home dinner parties at some elite residences, like for their children’s birthdays, I would surely get to see this pie in the buffet spread. My uncle was looking forward to eating it again, a walk down memory lane not only for him but also for me.

However, we thought it was nice but we certainly did not think it was really great especially now that we can get lovely chicken pies elsewhere…and even bake our own! I would say that the pie crust was very good, almost as good as mine but the filling…

New Capitol chicken pie, filling

…was watery and something like some Chinese stewed chicken, quite unlike the ones we are more familiar with these days. The waitress removed the pie crust and served it separately so it would not turn soggy – I guess that wouldn’t have been necessary if there had been less gravy and if it had been a lot thicker.

Of course, this was a hit – the Sibu Foochow-style sio bee (meat dumplings)…

New Capitol Sibu Foochow sio bee

…and there were a few left at the end of the dinner and my cousin grabbed them to take back to the hotel to enjoy later that night. That sure showed how nice they were and how much they loved the ones served here.

We also had the braised pork belly…

New Capitol braised pork belly & mantao

…eaten sandwiched between their own-made mantao (steamed buns) that were bigger than the ones we can buy around town, and were softer and fluffier too.

One of my cousins, my uncle’s daughter, saw this chess/checkerboard duck…

New Capitol checkerboard duck

…somewhere online and insisted that we must have those and we did! It seems that they cannot get this dish anywhere in Kuching.

This was sea cucumber…

New Capitol fried sea cucumber

…fried with egg and whatever else and we asked for asparagus…

Asparagus

…but got it with an assortment of other vegetables.

That certainly was a delightful dinner and even though there were 12 of us, we couldn’t finish everything so I tapaoed the leftovers home…except for the sio bee that my cousin wanted. Some of them had beer, a few cans, and inclusive of all the drinks, the bill came up to around RM300.00 only. We thought that was very reasonable and most importantly, we were indeed most happy to be able to get together to celebrate with my uncle and his family on the special occasion of his 75th birthday.

Once again, Happy Birthday, Uncle Paul, many happy returns and may God bless you and your family abundantly in the year ahead. Cheers!!!