Good to see you again…

My ex-student, Raphael, contacted me to tell me he was home for a few days before going back to the States and asked if I was free to go out for lunch. Of course I was…and I saw on Facebook that he went on a holiday to Hong Kong/Macao and Vietnam/Cambodia too so I did not expect him to bring me anything like what he used to do but he did!!! Imagine him having to cart the stuff all over before coming home.

From Raphael

He read in my previous posts about my girl having to go on a gluten-free diet so he went out of his way to get these for me…

Gluten-free

…such a thoughtful and considerate boy. This looks interesting – chocolate/cocoa sauce for meat…

Mexican cocoa sauce

I would want to save them for some very special occasion so I guess I would reserve them for Chinese New Year which is just round the corner, anyway.

His mum asked him to pass me these tomatillos from her garden…

Tomatillos

You break open the pod and take it out…

Tomatillo

…to eat. They are very sweet, nicer than cherry tomatoes or for that matter, than tomatoes as well but they are very very very small.

(INFO UPDATE: I have neither seen nor tasted these before so I am just as ignorant about them as some of you but I have just received a comment on Facebook from my friend/ex-classmate, Robert’s sister that these are not tomatillos but are actually cape gooseberries or Physalis peruviana. Well, they certainly look the same as the ones in the photograph, if you click the link to go and see, except that those look more colourful, like tomatoes.)

In my mind, I reckoned Raphael would want to go for our local ethnic Dayak cuisine here especially when it would not be anything he could get there or at most places anywhere and yes, he was keen.

I picked the pansoh babi (pork cooked in bamboo)…

Anak Borneo pansoh babi

…and he loved it very much and we also had the fish with the sourish terung Dayak (Dayak brinjal)…

Anak Borneo terung Dayak fish
*Archive photo*

Somehow or other, it turned out that I did not take a photograph of that so I am using a recycled pic here.

Of course we had our favourite daun Bandong aka daun ubi (tapioca leaves)…

Anak Borneo daun Bandong

…and we tried the kasam ensabi (fermented/preserved vegetable) with pork…

Anak Borneo kasam ensabi

It was very nice, something like salted vegetables and I sure would want to have that again should I happen to drop by anytime in the near future.

We had their dabai (our local black olives) fried rice…

Anak Borneo dabai fried rice

…instead of the usual plain, white rice and Raphael liked that too.

It was not all that cheap though, everything altogether – the total came up to RM12.50 each! I did not see the price list where it used to be originally – perhaps they have moved it elsewhere – but 2 meat and 2 vegetables with rice would be RM9.50 so my guess was that they deducted RM1.00 for the rice and the dabai fried rice was RM4.00 per serving, hence the total but I do think it was value for money especially when we can’t get this easily around here plus we enjoyed what we had very much, and it was not oily and msg-free.

It sure was good to see you again, Raphael, and thanks so much for the goodies and thank you to your mum too for the tomatillos. I sure am looking forward to seeing you again on your next trip home next year. All the best, take care always, cheers!!!