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!!!

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Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

24 thoughts on “Our loved ones…”

  1. Yes, I agree that special occasions are best spent with loved ones. Was the filling for the chicken pie always watery or it used to be thicker and less gravy but the standard has dropped now?

    I can’t jolly well remember now, that was so long ago. Around half a century, mind you! Can only remember how we loved it, and how it was so very nice. It is still nice though…except that it is not like chicken pies, the ones we have now.

  2. Thank you for arranging the lovely dinner, Arthur. We all have a good time and Dad was very very happy. I love the cake. Our favorite baker in Sibu. It sure brings back sweet memories.
    Wishing you and love ones Blessed Christmas and Happy New Year!
    Cheers!… xoxo Iba

    Thank you. Glad you all enjoyed the dinner. I guess that certainly was a worthwhile trip…especially with the carload of goodies you all carted home from here and from along the way. Come again soon, road is good…great for a slow and pleasant drive with the stops at all the “places of interest” along the way.

    Blessed Christmas and New Year to all.

  3. Such big portion and for 12 persons at only rm300..really great value uncle Arthur. Can’t get anything close to that value at that price in Kuching for that matter anymore…what a wonderful celebration and it must have been such nostalgia, having the same baker that baked your wedding cake make so many subsequent cakes to mark subsequent milestones in your lives.

    Yes, second to none – this guy’s cake. We would willingly go through the chore of placing the order days ahead…and going to collect from his house on the day at the stated time.

    We sure had a great dinner, nice food, great company and all the nostalgic stuff to help us recall the good ol’ days.

    Yes, nothing this cheap in Kuching, I hear…but we did not have prawns or fish – without the two, it will not be expensive, eating at most places here.

  4. Yes, special occasions are best to spend with loved & dear ones especially those we seldom get to meet. Nice birthday cake & great dInner. Am eyeing at the sio bee & checkerboard duck. Happy Belated Birthday to your uncle.

    Thank you.

    The sio bee here, not to be missed, should you ever drop by Sibu. My cousin loved them so much, not satisfied with just eating all he could there, wanted to tapao back to the hotel – they are that nice, really! πŸ˜€ Coming anytime soon. Road’s good, slow leisurely drive…will get here in no time at all.

  5. Happy Belated Birthday to your Uncle…

    If i eat the braised pork belly, i will only eat the lean meat…

    Thank you. No problem for you, you zumba zumba all the time, burn all the fat away.

  6. Sea Cucumber with egg and ham????? I’m confused.

    Ham? What ham? Dream on!!! Long ago, it was sharks’ fins – and this dish was what we called the dry version of the sharks’ fins dish, fried…not the regular soup version and long ago, we had ham – real ham!!!

    Now, the fins are no longer affordable so sea cucumber is used instead – those animal activists would be delighted, I’m sure. It is perfectly ok by me as it tastes exactly the same…but now, instead of ham, they use those cheap chicken slices for sandwiches sold at the supermarts. I am not a fan of those – would prefer it if they had just left it out completely.

  7. So so grand. Yes. Such special occasion best spend with loved ones.

    I am eyeing your chicken pie. Looked good.

    You remember the ones I bought for you from the bakery here – I think I like those a lot more. This one was nice too, just that it did not sweep me off my feet, unlike those days when we were so deprived, never had chicken pie and eating this was like going to heaven! πŸ˜€

  8. Happy birthday to your uncle, and what a great selection of dishes. I agree the gravy of the chicken pie should have been thicker. And the chess duck will make me go to Sibu one day!

    Thank you. Come, come…when are you heading this way? Just let me know and I’ll roll out the red carpet to welcome you. πŸ˜‰

  9. The pie crust looks great from the outside, but when you open it up it seems like there’s too much gravy. Happy birthday to your uncle!

    Thanks for your birthday greeting.

    Yes, the crust was good, nicely done…almost as good as mine just that the filling was…let’s just say, different. Tasted ok, quite nice but not something that I would be running back for more.

  10. Another family gathering, so nice! Everything looks delicious. If only the pie filling was not so watery.

    Yes, let’s just say that is their own style – Chinese fusion chicken pie. Hehehehehe!!!! It’s nice though, very nice but I guess we are more used to the ones we are more familiar with these days.

  11. i now suddenly crave CAKE! πŸ˜€ nom nom nom.

    Bet you’ve got lots of nice ones where you are… I love cakes too but I’m not into those rich creamy cheese ones.

  12. Hehe, I’m Dragon too… so you’re two cycle or three cycle older than me??

    Must be 3, you’re 27 now…a year older than my girl. I am sure you’re not 39 already, not so old. πŸ˜€

  13. Wow…the food looks so different and I am eyeing each of the dishes above… makes my mouth water especially it is going to be lunch time now.. even the cake looks so tempting.. !

    All, right here waiting…for you to come again and enjoy!!! Simply the best!!!

  14. that’s some lovely food for a birthday celebration.. you’re right, best spent with family. We just celebrated Martin’s 3rd birthday 4 days back in Penang.. he was so excited.

    3 years old already, your handsome boy? Gee!!! How time flies. Belated birthday greetings, Martin…hope you had a great day, what expensive present did your rich papa get you? Wink! Wink! Hehehehehehehe!!!!!

  15. Thats an interesting pie we usually have it thicker here not runny like that, must be an interesting texture.
    BTW I am 1 year apart from being a dragon but my daughter is

    We’re the opposite. You’re a snake then, like my girl. πŸ˜€

    Well, let’s just say this is the 60’s local version of the chicken pie, bet you were not even born then…much less have eaten a chicken pie. Have to give credit where it is due – we thought it was really nice then, when we knew no other to know better…and it is still nice, just not the same as the ones we are familiar with now and it was too watery.

  16. Happy Birthday to her uncle… and LOVE the christmassy feel of this blog. (let it snow! πŸ˜› )

    “your”, you mean? Thanks. It snows here every year, throughout the whole of December.

  17. I’m amazed by that chicken pie!

    I’ve never seen anything like it before – it almost looks like a traditional clear Chinese style soup but with a pie crust. I wonder how much it is and how big the portion is? It seems a bit too large for two pax considering the size comparison with the serving spoon.

    I would love to eat it with my dad for something a little different.

    Definitely too big for two. It’s RM75 each and you would have to pre-order. Ok if having a Chinese sit-down dinner for say, 10 people. For us, it was the nostalgia, a walk down memory lane. Imagine we had that in the 60’s and we loved it so much then and we had not had it since. That was why we got all excited seeing it on the menu so we simply HAD to order one for old times’ sake.

    1. Thanks for the information mate!

      I told my dad about it last night, he’s never had it before. Me neither, I wasn’t even aware New Capitol were serving such a dish. It looks nice and the backstory you wrote (back in the days the richer families were serving this at home etc) fleshes it out, it seems to a lot of nostalgic value (even for me who’s never heard of it) and more importantly, a rich tradition that’s local to Sibu.

      I wouldn’t mind paying RM 75 for that pie, problem is with finishing it. I wonder if you can order it and pick it up to eat at home like a restaurant turkey? Seems like you can coz you mentioned people were serving it in homes last time?

      You can, I think. Will take ages to finish but should be all right if you take it to your grandma’s house for everyone to enjoy together. It was worth the walk down memory lane but no, I do prefer the chicken pies we are more used to now. The ones at Aroma Bakery, Dewan Suarah area, are pretty good.

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own.

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