Gotta go home…

Everybody here would try their utmost best to come home for the Chinese New Year holidays despite the ridiculously astronomical airfares, never mind whether you are flying budget or on the self-proclaimed five-star airline. No matter what, many would make the way home to be with their loved ones – their family and friends during this auspicious festival in the year.

One of them is my ex-student, Xavier, who flew all the way back from the UK – he is currently in Cambridge and though he arrived a few days ago, we only managed to meet up the day before yesterday for tea here. Actually, I had something I had to see to so I had to drop by that afternoon and since we were there, I thought we might as well go there instead of making our way through the horrendously heavy traffic in town to go some place else.

Much to my surprise, all the bottles of kuih bangkit that I blogged about here had all been sold out…and they did have quite a lot! Truly, I am amazed!

Anyway, back to our tea, we had their garlic bread (RM8.00)…

Payung Cafe garlic bread

…which we enjoyed very much – even Xavier commented that the bread was great and I bet he had his share of some very nice ones over in England. I know the bakery where they get their loaves from but theirs are on special order, according to their requirements – one can’t just walk into the place and buy the same off the shelves. My girl had a slice by the side when she had their chicken chop not too long ago and she loved it too – that was why I went to ask where they got their bread from. The chicken sauce dip that came with the bread was very good as well and went very well with the bread!

Xavier wanted to try their rojak (RM10.00, small)…

Payung Cafe rojak

…so we had that…and he had my girl’s favourite – the pineapple ginger soda (RM8.00).

As for me, I decided to try their durian milkshake (RM8.00)…

Payung Cafe durian milkshake

…which was very rich, thick and creamy though I would have loved the durian fragrance to be a little stronger…but I may be biased as I am not really into milk-based drinks or drinks with milk. Personally, I would very much prefer their durian ice cream.

We were there for a long time, chatting away about anything and everything and that is what I like about this place – you can sit as long as you like – nobody will bother you. In fact, once I saw a Caucasian lady there, sitting by the side all by herself, having coffee and reading a book.  It is never crowded and noisy and there is no free wifi so you do not get a lot of those in groups, all engrossed in their own smartphones.

It sure was nice seeing you again, Xavier, and thank you for the somewhat intriguing box of chocolates…

Chocolates from Xavier

…all the way from, my guess, Heathrow. LOL!!! I’ve yet to open it though, saving it till all the festivities are over when I can sit down, relax and enjoy them slowly…one by one.

Another one who’s back in Sibu for Chinese New Year is Teck, all the way from Perth, Australia. He reads my blog regularly and comments too sometimes and he must have seen me lamenting about how we cannot get fresh beef here in Sibu and we have to buy the expensive imported frozen ones from Australia or New Zealand (or the smelly ones from God knows where…and some have been frozen so long that they have turned black and are beyond recognition) so he brought me some fresh beef…

Fresh beef from Australia

…all the way from Down Under. Goodness gracious me! Imagine him going through all that trouble to do that and he even drove to my house to pass it to me. Isn’t that so very nice?

I have not decided what to cook yet – since it is fresh, curry and the like would be out of the question. It would have to be something without all those overpowering ingredients so we would be able to savour the freshness and the sweetness of the meat. Thank you so very very much, Teck – and thank you for dropping by regularly to browse through what I share every day…and I do appreciate your thoughtfulness and good intentions but please, don’t trouble yourself so much in future. It really is such a hassle bringing fresh/frozen perishables especially when travelling, what more to say when one is flying long haul.

My niece is home too, from Singapore and she brought us these…

From Mary & Wilfred, Singapore

…and also the can of almond cookies from another ex-student, currently in Singapore and sadly, he is not able to come back this year. It most certainly is so sweet and thoughtful of you to send me something for the new year, Wilfred, a really nice gesture indeed – thank you so very very much.

Yes, it’s Chinese New Year’s Eve tomorrow. Everybody ready for the big bash?