Chap Goh Meh, literally translated as the 15th night…

Chap Goh Meh Rooster Year

…marked the end of the Chinese New Year festivities for the year.

It was not really due to the fact that we were juggling between taking care of my dad at their house and my mum at the medical centre that we did not have time to cook for our Chap Goh Meh dinner – we usually have steamboat on this auspicious night every year so we decided we would have that again this year…but at my parents’ house so my dad could enjoy it with us.

I bought 1 kilo of our local freshwater prawns, large and that cost me RM60.00 a kilo only to remember later that my dad would not be eating those for fear of a gout attack so we had to keep them to cook and eat ourselves some other time. The extra large ones were going for RM75.00 a kg that day and the medium and anything smaller, RM50.00 and below.

We could not have any of the paper thin slices of meat, pork or beef would be nice, as I do not think my dad would be able to chew those. That was why we only had minced meat balls…

Chap Goh Meh steamboat 1

…and I went and bought one ikan tenggiri (mackerel), over RM20.00 and my missus used that to make her own fish balls which, needless to say, were heaps nicer than anything sold outside especially those factory-made ones.

We also had quail eggs – my girl loves those – and I bought some sea cucumber which cost a bomb, RM120.00 a kilo but it is believed that they have a lot of health benefits. I also got some beef tendons from the same stall at the wet market. Those were cheaper, RM20 a kilo, if I remember correctly and the very nice seller just charged me for a few big ones and he threw in a lot of the bits and pieces into the bag and I went home happily with a bagful of beef tendons. I bought three of the best quality sea cucumber – I understand they were from Papua New Guinea and the guy gave me one extra, from Sabah. Of course, I kept insisting on him picking the softer ones, sea cucumber and beef tendon, so my dad would not have any problem chewing.

Other than those, I also got some dried fresh fish maw, over RM40 a kg, and we also added some bean curd sticks, tofu, wombok or Chinese white cabbage and glass noodles…

Chap Goh Meh steamboat 2

…and my dad was fine with everything except the bean curd sticks which he could not chew. My missus would just soak them in hot water to soften while I would usually boil some water and use the really hot boiling water straight from the kettle so that they would be very much softer.

 I also went and bought some chicken rice…

Chicken rice

…from here as I know jolly well that my dad would want rice at every meal and yes, he enjoyed the steamboat to the max and had two plates of the rice with the lovely clear soup and what was in it.

I was afraid that my dad might not enjoy the steamboat so I went and bought this very big ikan bawal putih (white pomfret)…

Steamed white pomfret

…RM50.00 each (the seller said they had not reduced “the Chinese New Year prices” yet) and had it steamed for him to enjoy. Yes, he did eat quite a bit of it but he was fine with the steamboat, actually and sang its praises the whole time while we were having our dinner that night and he kept saying that it was anytime nicer that the stuff they would usually order from the restaurants outside for such special occasions.

All in all, I would say it certainly was worth the effort going over and having this simple steamboat dinner with my dad.