For you for me…

I was looking for a shop in Padungan, Kuching that used to look really old and dark with a counter in front with all the stuff for sale and a man, not very young, who was always shirtless or wearing a pagoda singlet. My parents loved the phong peah from that shop in particular and my mum enjoyed their kee chang (alkaline glutinous rice dumpling) so I wanted to buy some to take home for them.

Then, I found it!!!…

Sin Hian Chia, Kuching

It looked completely different from what I was familiar with in those long gone days. In fact, I hear it is now a pit stop for tourists visiting Kuching – the buses would stop here for them to buy what they want to take home…

Sin Hian Chia

When I was there, I saw a guy and some family members of his, probably from Singapore – they bought so much that the helper had to go next door to ask for a carton box for them to use to carry the things so I had to wait quite a bit for them to be done before I could pay for my purchases.

I would not have known that THIS was the shop if not for these…

Kee chang & ang tao chang

– the kee chang and the ang tao chang (red bean dumplings) except that I was quite put off upon seeing that they now use those nylon strings instead of thread to tie them. I am not too sure as to how safe it is to boil the dumplings tied with those strings…but nonetheless, I decided that I would make an exception this one time since we cannot get any nice ones in Sibu and I bought some to take back home for my mum.

I did ask the lady in order to confirm that this was the right shop and when she heard my description, she exclaimed, “Aiyor!!! Lu kui chap nee to bor lai liao?” (How many decades have you not come here?) Once I was sure I was at the right place, I bought the phong peah

Phong peah

…for my parents and I also bought these tubs of lek tao kor

Lek tao kor

…which was very good but more expensive and not as nice as the ones in Sibu that we bought for Chinese New Year – these were a bit sweeter but on the whole, I thought they were good enough, not bad at all. After all, beggars can’t be choosers – this traditional delight is very hard to come by these days, especially the really good authentic ones.

There were people who bought things me for as well when I was in Kuching and that included Nicholas’ aunt, my cousin, who flew over all the way from Brisbane, Australia to attend the wedding. She gave me a very nice XXXL t-shirt which fitted me like a glove and these…

Tim Tam strawberry champagne flavour

…which were very nice with the distinct strawberry fragrance plus a little bit of liquor taste.

With the Dumpling Festival just round the corner, I went with one of my cousins in search of nyonya changs to buy and take home but unfortunately, the Green Road old lady selling my favourite was nowhere to be seen. Maybe it was because it was a public holiday that day or she had not resumed business since the Gawai Festival…or she had taken the time off during the 2-week school holidays…or she had a whole lot of orders and she was too busy at home making those dumplings.

In the end, my cousin stopped by here to buy some of theirs for me to try. No, theirs were not nyonya but the big ones with the sweet or nee (yam paste)…

Or nee

…tasted a little like it.

My! My! There was so much meat inside…

Lots of meat

…and it’s all lean. Actually, I do like a bit of fat in my Chinese dumplings…and I do love salted egg…

Salted egg

…in them.

The small ones just had the meat and a whole lot of peanuts…

Peanuts

…in them. I heard somewhere that these dumplings with peanuts are the Hakka version. Anybody in the know can confirm this? For one thing, I do know for a fact that there were a lot of Hakkas in Kuching before the Foochows invaded the city. Hehehehehe!!!!

Another cousin got me these special homemade ones…

Homemade

…with lots of meat and chestnuts…

Meat & chestnuts

…and salted egg too…

Salted egg

…and I liked how they were tied with thread…

Thread

…not those plastic nylon strings.

Yes, they were all very nice and yes, I sure had a lot of changs this year to enjoy over the Dumpling Festival season but my favourite would still be the nyonya ones…and thanks to my friend, Richard, I did get to enjoy those this year and I had a few stashed up, saving them for the actual day.