At the end of the holiday…

It was on Sunday, the last day of the week-long Chinese New Year holiday when we had to go out for lunch. My late cousin’s wife, whom we had met here and also here previously, invited us to dim sum here

Dim sum? I didn’t know they had dim sum there? I went and checked their Facebook page and it looked like they had just started in early January. Of course I was keen on going – hopefully, it was going to be good because the last time we went to the very good one here in Sibu, it turned out to be rather disappointing.

I met Iggy, my ex-student, now a practising lawyer, there – he was just leaving with his wife and daughter (and one more on the way) when I got there. Thank goodness!!! Otherwise before I knew it, he would have paid my bill for me like what he would do everytime we got to meet somewhere.

Also there that day was our very popular and most outstanding and pro-active politician, our YB Datuk Dr. who was having his lunch there with his parents and others in his family. My missus and his mother, both retired, were colleagues in the Sibu General Hospital many, many years ago (she’s 88 now) – she was the Nursing Sister and my missus was a nurse attached to the Nursery (the ICU for babies). My missus went over to their table to see her and yes, despite it being so long ago, she could still remember her.

I went over as well to thank our YB Datuk Dr. for all that he did to help when my girl was at that God-forsaken school in the jungle in Selangau, the one with no electricity nor water and everything was falling apart. All this while, we merely communicated via Facebook (and at times through his admin, probably his political secretary, on Facebook) – I never got to meet him personally face to face.

I wonder what the school is like now because it was shortlisted as one of those dilapidated schools in the state in dire need for repair, renovation and rebuilding. It sure was a relief when my girl got her transfer to a school in town and I had a feeling at the time that they couldn’t wait to get rid of her so the YB Datuk Dr. would not come breathing down their necks anymore. LOL!!!

Anyway, back to the dim sum, unfortunately, they had run out of their steamed char siu buns and their lotus lava buns. We only managed to try their mushroom buns…

…which were very good. The filling had a strong taste of shitake mushroom…

…and I loved the very nice pao skin. Hopefully, I will get to try the other two types of steamed buns the next time I drop by here for this.

The sui mai

…was very good! I certainly would want to order more than one storey (basket) next time so we would have more to enjoy.

My girl asked for the deep fried spring roll…

…and also the dumplings…

– things that she enjoys a lot!

My late cousin’s wife, our host, ordered the otak otak

…and she also insisted on ordering the satay

…and the fried kway teow (flat rice noodles)…

…from their regular menu.

The otak-otak was the Muar version – people in Singapore and the southern states of the peninsula would be familiar with this. I thought it was so-so – I prefer the one here, of course. The satay was nice and the fried kway teow was quite good except that despite there being so many cockles, they were hard and dry and were not all that nice.

I like how the drinks here are stevia-sweetened or as in the case of the iced soya bean milk (in the above photo) that I had, unsweetened.

While we were sitting there, chatting and eating away, one of the waiting staff came over to inform us that the YB Datuk Dr. had paid for our bill. Goodness gracious me! We felt so bad and of course, we went over to his table to thank him profusely for his generous gesture. If anyone should treat anybody, we should be the ones treating him for all that he had done for us. Thank you so much, YB – may God bless you and your family abundantly in the days ahead throughout the Rabbit Year.

And thank you, Ai Chang, for the invitation! It sure was a fitting end to a wonderful week. Even though we did not go anywhere and stayed at home most of time, all in all, I would say that we did have a great holiday.

PappaRich (2.291606, 111.821291)…

…is located at Lot 23-35, Jalan Lau King Howe in the block to the right of the Lau King Howe Hospital Museum, to the left of the Sushi King outlet there

One more for the road…

My niece, the one working in Singapore, was home for around one week for Chinese New Year but I hardly got to see her as she was working from home all day but the night before she left, she invited us all out for dinner here – her dad had never been here, she said so she would like him to go and give it a try.

I quickly browsed through my blogposts on what we had at that place to refresh my memory as to what we should or should not order. I remember we loved the babi tuno

…so we had that again. Yes, it was good – not as nice as the babi bakar here and a bit too fat that night but it was very good.

The lokan was good so we had it…

…again. My girl loved it – she liked that raw seafood taste…

…but I had one and that was it! LOL!!!

The umai (our Sarawak Melanau sashimi)…

…was my favourite. They used ikan perang here and many would tell you that that is the best fish for this dish. Yes, it is raw, raw fish skillfully filleted and deboned before they cut it into strips and slices and add lots of calamansi lime juice (the acidity would cook the fish), chili and sliced Bombay onions. I believe they add tuak (ethnic Iban rice wine) to the one here too…and it was so so so good, great with rice!

The midin (wild jungle fern)…

…was good too. According to the menu, there was langkau in the dish – that’s another ethnic rice wine and it’s supposed to be stronger, a lot more potent than tuak but somehow or other, I could not detect all that alcohol in the dishes here. If I am not wrong, it evaporates in the process of cooking so if you want to get the kick, you should add some more upon serving, prior to eating…like our mee sua in traditional red wine & ginger chicken soup or the super-intoxicating kacang ma chicken here.

The brinjal…

…was served whole in the photo and looked a lot better. It was, to me, all right but my girl loved it – she loves brinjal! I do think the one we had here was very much nicer.

My missus suggested ordering their kasam ensabi buah kepayang but of course, I stopped her right away. We had that once and it was extremely sour, almost inedible! I thought their daun ubi gosok, the mashed tapioca leaves, was too green – not cooked enough so we did not order that either…and yes, we stayed away from their extra-sour tempoyak (fermented durian) as well.

This…

…is a typical ethnic/Dayak dish – pork belly with pig’s intestines, tongue and all the rest, fried with dried chili and soy sauce and yes, they do it really well here. I certainly would order it again the next time we come here.

These barbecued chicken wings…

…are a must at any Dayak barbecue alongside the pork (babi tuno) and everything else. My sister-in-law was talking about barbecued chicken wings marinated with gula apong – I wonder where she got to eat those. I loved those at a stall at Simpang Tiga here but they are no longer doing it there. Perhaps they are selling them at the pasar malam (night market) or some place else.

All in all, the bill for the 6 of us that night came up to RM139.00, pretty reasonable for the delightful dinner, very much to everyone’s satisfaction, thank you so much, Mary, for the treat! I certainly wouldn’t mind coming here again – I had stopped after the disappointment that last time.

MAK BORNEO (2.301301, 111.843548)…

…is located at No, 21, Ground Floor in the block of shops behind Nam Heong Ipoh/Kim Hock Premier Food Court, Lorong 4D, off Jalan Dr Wong Soon Kai (formerly Jalan Pedada).

Let’s have another round…

I did mention in an earlier post that they would have this nasi pengilan every week on Friday and yes, we did hop over once again the other day last week for another round (RM15.00, with a complimentary drink)…

Once again, it was very good, very much to our liking and satisfaction and yes, as they had promised, they made sure that they had different items in the platter this time around.

The ayam masak merah

…was very good but personally, I am not so into masak merah anything. Gimme our Sarawak’s own daging masak hitam

…anytime and yes, I must say theirs was very good, better than many of the rest. However, even though this was very nice too, personally, I would prefer the curry and the kurma that they had in the set last week.

I loved the pajeri nenas

…though and yes, theirs, if compared with all the rest all over town, would win hands down just that I was wishing the whole time that they had been a bit more generous with it, the same thing with the salted fish pickle…

…that we enjoyed so much the last time. It looked like they had given even less this round!

The rice…

…was even nicer this time, more flavourful, a lot more fragrant and tastier.

My missus had what I had but my girl wanted something different for a change. She tried their nasi goreng pattaya (RM11.00)…

…but she found the rice a little on the hard side…

…so she did not finish it. As for her drink, she had their teh tarek ais (RM4.00).

And now the question is: Will we be going back for more next week? I’m afraid the answer is no because we would want to go back to our usual no-meat Friday, now that Chinese New Year and everything is over and the season of Lent will begin soon on Ash Wednesday, February 22nd, a day of fasting and abstinence.

I was delighted that day to see my favourite busker (the girl in a wheelchair) there entertaining the lunchtime crowd. She probably read my blogpost the last time because when she saw me, she started playing Teresa Teng’s “Yeh liang tai piao woe ti sing” right away and of course, I went and gave her an ang pao…and she said Kong Hee Fatt Choi. She sang a lot of English songs while we were there, enjoying our lunch and the music – my favourite, of course, was this favourite song of mine by Adele/Bruno Mars. Well, in the words of William Shakespeare, “If music be the food of love, play on!

MAT LAKSA (2.308351, 111.820696)…

…is located at No. 67 & 69, Jalan Kuda 2, Kampung Nangka, right across from Cabe Ijo in the next block, both facing the main entrance of Bisonte Grocer & Deli.

Only at night…

I’ve heard about the or chian or the oyster omelette, our Sarawak/Kuching style ones…

…or what they call the Kuching or Sarawak pizza, here at this coffee shop but somehow or other, I never got round to dropping by to check it out until that day sometime ago.

Unfortunately, the stall was closed. I asked the people around there and they said that it would open only at night. From the banners and the ads all around, it sure looked like this was some kind of watering hole where people would go in the evenings for drinks and they would probably order the things from the stalls to munch.

I had not gone there…

…since 2014, believe it or not and it sure had changed quite a bit. The ang kau kampua mee stall is no longer there – somebody else is running it now but it had called it a day when we dropped by at around noon that day so I was not able to give it a try.

The kway teow stall (the one on the right in the above photograph) is still alive and kicking – I did try it that last time I was there and that day, it seemed to be one of the two that were still active at that time of day.

The ladies gave their tom yam hung ngang (RM7.00)…

…a try but according to my missus, it was the worse they had ever had. Oh dear!!! I must say that it did not look very enticing – the soup was so murky and they did not even finish half of what was in the bowl.

I asked for the beef tripe and tendon noodles but they had run out of tendon so I was served the beef and tripe with the noodles (RM8.00)…

…instead. It was all right, a little mild/bland – I sure wouldn’t mind a richer and stronger beef broth/soup and a little bit less noodles but yes, I did manage to eat it all up in the end.

I also went to the other stall (the one on the left in the above photograph) to order the sotong kangkong (cuttlefish with water spinach). There were three sizes available, RM5.00, RM15.00 and RM20.00. I did not know which one to order so I just asked the guy to prepare something for three and this (RM15.00)…

…was what we got in the end. Yes, it was very nice – we loved the very thin crisps…

…whatever they were, probably deep-fried wanton (piansip) skin, but I wouldn’t mind a bit more of the delightful sauce though.

Well, that was our lunch for the day. Ahhhh!!! I remember now! We didn’t want to cook that day and had something outside because that night, we were going out to dinner with my sister to celebrate her birthday. Well, I’m afraid what we had wasn’t anything to get us running back for more, not at all.

AH CHING KOPITIAM (2.305198, 111.848080)…

…is located at Lorong Pahlawan 7 in the vicinity of the Sibu Bus Terminal.

I was hoping…

…that the claypot noodles (RM7.00)…

…from this stall…

…at this coffee shop/food court would be something worth having but unfortunately, it did not sweep me off my feet. At best, I would say it was all right but it turned out to be as unimpressive as the stall itself – no nice glossy photographs of what was available, just a very brief list of the things the lady was selling.

So why did I go and order the claypot mee then, you may ask? Well, sometime ago, a friend of mine had that but at another coffee shop, not this one and I had been wanting to go and give it a try all this while. I can recall some of the very nice ones that I had around town long ago but I had not seen any at those places that I had been to lately. I was thinking that perhaps it had died a natural death and no one was selling that anymore.

Well, I happened to be in the vicinity that morning and I decided to walk around to see how everything was since I had not been there for a long while now. The Penang char kway teow stall was not there anymore and the Bintangor lady’s popiah stall had gone missing in action for a long time now. The chee cheong fun guy was around but I did not feel like having that and I settled for the claypot noodles…

…in the end.

Browsing through some old blogposts of mine, I discovered that I did have the claypot noodles…

…there once in 2016 (and it was only RM4.50 at the time) but it did not look quite the same and from what I wrote about it then, I was not impressed with it either. These were the words that I said then: It tasted all right though but with all the choices at this particular place, I probably would not be ordering that again.

Coming back to this present day and time, there was yee mee

…in the one I had that morning. I remember some places would just use our local Sibu Foochow alkaline and smell-free light yellow noodles and I was hoping that would not be the case here. Somehow or other, I felt that only the ones with this yee mee would be what claypot noodles should be or in other words, the real thing!

There weren’t a lot of added ingredients, just some fried fish balls and green vegetables and one small piece of those imitation crabsticks that I never liked. There wasn’t any meat – no chicken, no pork and of course, for RM7.00, I was not expecting to find any prawns in it. I was wondering about those taugeh (bean sprouts) though – do they usually have those in claypot mee? Actually, in my opinion, if there had been some bits of Chinese cabbage, that would probably help enhance the taste a little.

There was an egg…

…at the bottom but because of the intense heat in the claypot, the yolk was no longer runny.

The overall taste was somewhat mild, a little on the bland side but I was glad that there wasn’t much msg in it, if there was any at all. The lady gave me a blue plastic bowl in case eating it straight from the claypot would be too hot for me to handle. Of course, I did not want to use that!!! No way!!!

While I was there, I saw the lady serving a bowl of mee sua to a customer at another table and it looked quite good. I guess I would not come back for this but I sure wouldn’t mind giving her mee sua a try if I happen to be around this part of the woods again.

JIALI CAFE (2.292140, 111.841524)…

…is located among the shops behind Medan Mall, Jalan Wong King Huo, a few doors away to the right of Junction Cafe, facing the road leading to the Medan Hotel there.

Just two…

No, I did not get a lot of visitors this Chinese New Year, just a few students from one of the schools where I was teaching for 9 years after 5 years in Kanowit. I spent the rest of my 30 years in service at a boys’ school here in Sibu, the longest but unfortunately, none of my ex-students from that school dropped by.

Just when I had almost given up hope of any of them showing up, I received a message from Raphael, telling me that he would be coming back all the way from the US to spend Chinese New Year with his mum and family and he hoped we could get to meet. In the end, I invited him to just drop by my house which he did, with Teo, another student of mine – his classmate in school, home from China for good…

Both of them looked good but unfortunately, there wasn’t much in the house to offer but they did enjoy what was left of the very nice, super-intoxicating fruit cake…

…from my Bintulu cousin that day and all the cookies and stuff. We sure had a great time chatting, catching up with one another’s lives.

As always, Raphael brought back a whole lot of stuff to give to me. There were these boxes of Annie’s pasta…

…that my girl loves a lot. We can buy them here but of course, imported from the US, they do not come cheap. Well, Raphael gave me so many of each so I am pretty sure those would last a very long time.

I never had the chance to stop by any Spanish restaurant anywhere to try their paella but we did cook our own once…

…or twice…

…just that I was not sure if those were anything like the real thing and I never got to try the one from this chef here at his restaurant that had since closed down for good.

Much to my delight, Raphael gave me a packet of this…

Hopefully, we shall be able to use that to cook our own version of the paella and fingers-crossed, it will be very nice and very much like the real thing.

Thanks so much, Raphael and thank you to you and to Teo, as well, for dropping by. Ah well! I guess two is better than none, wouldn’t you agree?

The fifth day…

Thursday was Day 5 of the Chinese New Year and school would reopen soon. We had been staying home almost all of the time so I suggested going out for lunch that day before my girl gets bogged down with all that schoolwork and everything all over again.

There is a sparkling new Japanese restaurant in town and we decided to go and check it out. Generally, it was quiet all over town, no jam, no crowd – I guess most everybody who was back for the festival had gone back home – until we reached the vicinity (Hanns Residence). There was a very long queue of cars going into the place but we were in no hurry so we just followed everybody else in the line patiently. We were in luck because a young girl was leaving and her car was close by and I was able to turn in the instant she vacated the space.

Unfortunately, when we got to the Japanese restaurant, we saw that it was packed and there was a whole lot of customers lining up at the door. We did join in for a while but it was not moving at all so I told the ladies that we might as well go to this place opposite…

…and have our lunch there.

My girl had their fish & chips (RM32.00)…

…and yes, it was very good. They use sea bass here and it came across to us like those very nice fish fillet that we bought not too long ago, the barramundi (ikan siakap) aka Asian sea bass. Unlike the battered ones at that place where we loved their version of this dish, here, they used bread crumbs and looking at the colour and the texture, it seemed like they made their own, not what came out of a box.

The mum had the sea bass fillet (RM32.00)…

…which did not look as good but yes, it was great! She said it was probably just grilled in butter in a pan but the fish was good – very fresh and sweet and there was no fishy smell.

Mine was disappointing – their classic pork chop (RM25.00)…

It was a bit hard and dry, probably because of the very lean cut that they used and though dipping it in their own-made black pepper sauce did help a bit, I don’t think it was anything I would want to order again the next time we drop by here.

My girl wanted to try the pork nuggets (RM23.00)…

…that she saw in one of the banners hanging outside – she has this soft spot for the chicken nuggets at McD or KFC. Unfortunately, they did not look that enticing, those huge chunks of what came across to us like their own-made luncheon meat. It was nice but no, it did not sweep us off our feet.

Our favourite here is still their babi bakar (RM25.00/200 gm)…

…which I also ordered to share and yes, we all loved it! No, we did not manage to finish the last two so I asked the girl to tapao (pack) them up for us to take home. It sure was a delightful lunch – the total, inclusive of drinks, came up to RM146.00. Service was great, very prompt and cordial and the sweet young things were conversant in English, no problem at all in communicating with them.

As we were walking back to the car, I noticed that the queue outside the Japanese restaurant was even longer than when we got there earlier. Looking through the window, I saw one empty table and one table where the customers had left but they had not cleared everything on it nor cleaned it yet – I guess the new brooms simply could not cope with the crowd and were not sweeping well. I sure would not bother to come back here, not so soon, that’s for sure!

OINKS Sibu (2.286075, 111.847044)… 

is located at Sublot 7-01, Ground Floor, Hann’s Commercial Centre, Jalan Wong King Huo.

Help yourself…

When my ex-student and his Singaporean wife were at my house that day, they were very impressed and sang praises of the pineapple nuggets that I bought from here…

They seemed to know quite a bit about pineapple tarts and the rest – in fact, they have tried these…

…from Kuching before even.

These pineapple delights are a must for Chinese New Year because pineapple is “ong lai” in Hokkien and “ong” can be either king or good luck while “lai” means to come so it is believed that having these in the house will bring good luck.

I cannot remember when I started buying these pineapple nuggets…

…from the aforementioned bakery but yes, I was still teaching at the time so it would be before 2007 and I have been doing so every year without fail. I think I did not manage last year as they were all sold out so this year, I went early and was in luck! My brother-in-law went a few days later and went home disappointed.

This year, they also came out with this variety…

…that had cheese added. My guests from Singapore said that the original would win hands down and I must say that I absolutely agree. The taste and fragrance of the cheese in the pastry was somewhat overpowering and it drowned out the much coveted taste of the pineapple jam in the filling.

As a matter of fact, I bought two jars/bottles of each of the two but when my nephew, home from Shanghai, China, invited us out for dinner, I had nothing in the house to give so I just grabbed these to give to him, one of each. Otherwise, I could have given them to these connoisseurs of pineapple tarts from Singapore. Sorry, better luck next time! LOL!!!

I did try the pineapple tarts, rolls and nuggets from some other bakeries but they all paled in comparison. These…

…from Louis Bakery in the next lane from my house came in a close second. They made all three there and I got all of them in this very nice gift pack that my friend/ex-student, Alex, gave me…

…that day.

And talking about these festive cookies and stuff, I feel that the homemade ones were better because of the reduced amount of sugar added. For instance, if I am not wrong, my sister gave us the ones from this girl…

…who runs her own home-based business.

I loved her Nestum…

…a lot more than her oats…

…because of the coarser cereal used.

Other than these cereals, the use of nuts and seeds and whatever seemed to be catching on these days, for instance, in those Florentine biscuits…

This was the third one that we got to enjoy and they were pretty good as well. My missus bought them from this bakery…

…on the other side of town and she had nuts in these cookies…

…that she made herself as well.

Good grief! Gone are the days when cookies looked so elegant, so dainty and pretty – these were more like the ones I saw people abroad making using what they called “the spoon method”. Never mind the appearance, a cousin of mine who made hers using this method, told me. What is more important is the taste.

My missus also made these cheese biscuits…

…with chocolate rice added. With the extra cheese in them plus the Golden Churn butter used, they were very nice indeed. Unlike in previous years, she only made two types this time around. Instead, she just went and bought a whole lot from the aforementioned bakery.

The kuih momo

…were all right, nothing like when they first came into the scene. Those used to be so nice with the fragrance of the ghee used in the making, something we simply can’t detect at all anymore these days. It may be because of the ghee – those available at the shops and supermarkets these days aren’t nice at all. That is why I do not bother to buy and use when I cook my yellow rice (nasi kuning/nasi minyak/ghee).

Incidentally, these were called kuih makmur when they first appeared on the scene. How on earth did it get lost in translation and become kuih momo? Our midin (wild jungle fern) is often called “million” in the menus in Chinese restaurants and the other day, I saw one that has it in the list as “merlin“. Good grief!!!

Anyway, back to the cookies, my girl loved these butter scotch ones…

At one time, the butter scotch bread from Gardenia was the craze among the people here – so good you can eat it on its own! She also loved these cheese sticks…

…and yes, I must say that I wholeheartedly agree. They were really crusty and would snap when one bit into it, plus who can resist the delightful fragrance and taste of cheese?

I used to love those peanut cookies a lot, the ones at another bakery in town but I did not bother to drop by and check it out this year. My missus got these…

…but I was not impressed. They did not have much of that peanut taste and fragrance that I loved so much.

One thing we had not bought for a very long time would be this red, sweet, spicy and super-smelly sotong (cuttlefish)…

My missus bought some that day but I did not notice it until the son of some guests of mine opened the bottle/jar to eat. Goodness gracious me! The stench filled the whole living room! The instant they left, I simply had to go and help myself to it and it sure took a lot of effort to stop!

These…

…were nice too but not as nice as those really smelly ones. Both were RM26.90 for 200 gm, RM134.50 a kilo. *faints* In my childhood days, I used to buy from my school canteen, 5 sen a palm-sized piece of rolled sotong/cuttle fish, red or plain (orange) with a generous sprinkling of fine sugar. Those were the days!

It’s Day 6 into the Chinese Lunar New Year today. I don’t suppose there will be people dropping by but of course, if there is anybody thus inclined, you are most welcome! Come! Come! Come and help yourself!

Day 2 day…

Usually, Day 2 of Chinese New Year would be a very busy day. If I am not wrong, people say that Day 1 would be for visiting one’s immediate family and everyone would start visiting their friends from Day 2 onwards.

It was very quiet though throughout most of Day 2 – nobody came until mid-afternoon when I got an sms from my ex-student, Dr. Toh, saying that he was on the way. He came soon after that with his lovely wife and handsome young son and he brought his younger brother, also my ex-student, and his wife home for Chinese New Year from Singapore. They and also, Dr. Toh’s younger sister, are faithful followers of my blog and the latter would go and try whenever she sees anything that I say is very nice. Yes, she went all the way too and loved the fish and chips here and yes, she also came to my house that day with her two pretty daughters.

There were a few more in 2020

*Flashback: Chinese New Year, 2020*

This time around, some of the kids have gone for further studies or were sleeping at home after staying up all night for the fireworks and firecrackers!

Much to my surprise, the parents showed up a little bit later. I met the mum before…

*Flashback: Chung Hua School Centenary Celebration, 2016*

…but this was the first time I had seen the father. He said that he had often heard his children talking about a certain Mr. Wee so he wanted to come and meet me personally. I certainly felt so flattered by the compliment and he even insisted on giving me an ang pao (red packet containing money)…

…as he was leaving and the children gave me one too!

I had a photo taken with his grandchildren (the children’s children, the 3rd generation)…

I must say that he is truly blessed to have such good and filial (and capable) children and such endearing grandchildren too! Thank you so much to all for dropping by! May God bless everybody abundantly with good health, wealth and all that is good in the Year of the Rabbit!

In the meantime, my cousin in Bintulu was in town for Chinese New Year and some kind of reunion in the family of one of her hubby’s brothers. I guess they were busy and were caught up with everything going on so they did not drop by my house – they used to do that, the whole family with the brothers and their families. Of course, I was delighted when she called me on Day 1 of the new year and told me that her daughter (I drove all the way to Bintulu for her wedding in 2014) and her family would be driving over from Bintulu the next day and she would like to invite my family and I to join them for dinner here

…that night. She also asked the wife of her brother, since deceased, to join us.

I am not sharing any photographs of the food that we had that night because the snapshots did not turn out nice in the very dim light there. We had some of the usual stuff we would order but the problem was they had run out of many of the dishes. It was good that they were open throughout Chinese New Year and the response had been really good, so much so that they started running out of a lot of the dishes and since all the shops and supermarkets were closed, they could not go and buy the ingredients needed to cook some more.

Nonetheless, dinner was great and so was the company that night. Thank you so much, cousin Pauline and family, for the invitation and thank you for giving us this…

– some more of your gorgeous, super-intoxicating fruit cake…

I should be on a no/less sugar diet but I could not refrain from helping myself to a lot more than I should!…

Yum! Yum! LOL!!!

A new dawn…

Yes, it was a new dawn, a new day…a new year – the Year of the Rabbit in the Chinese Lunar Calendar!

We went to church, first thing in the morning…

It was not mandatory, not what we call “a holy day of obligation” but lately, we would go…and start the new year on the right foot.

In the past, we would have our longevity noodles, the mee sua and then, we would drop by my parents’ house and after that, my in-laws’ but we do not need to do that anymore as all of them are no longer around. These days, we would come home and have the noodles…

…for our brunch and for the rest of the day, we would just help ourselves to the cakes and cookies and whatever…or the leftovers from the previous night’s Reunion Dinner.

I did mention in yesterday’s blogpost that my niece, my brother-in-law’s daughter, came home for Chinese New Year and she brought this huge box of abalone…

…for us.

My missus did add one of the two packs inside…

…to her broccoli dish and despite being from that same brand of abalone from our growing up years (in a tall pink and blue can), the ones in the pack turned out to be quite small, a bit too chewy/tough – definitely not as nice and sweet as the ones long long ago. I guess these are still VERY popular, much coveted because of the exorbitant price that gives it its snob appeal.

My niece also gave us these…

…also from the same brand…

…and these truffle oil-coated prawn rolls…

I am not a fan of truffles in anything but these prawn rolls were very nice with the lovely sambal hay bee (dried prawns) inside. The fragrance was rather overpowering though so I could hardly detect the presence of the truffle oil.

I do not know what is so special about these noodles…

I suppose I will find out sooner or later when I get down to cooking it.

She did see my recent photographs on Facebook or here in my blog and yes, she thought I had lost so much weight so she went and bought me this t-shirt, Harry Potter, no less…

Thank you so much, Mary – the red colour sure makes it very appropriate to wear during Chinese New Year.

We did not have a lot of visitors on the 1st Day of Chinese New Year, just one – my ex-student who eventually became an English teacher and taught in my sister-school and has since moved to a school in Sarikei. She came with her husband, also my ex-student, her classmate…and their two sons. Their eldest, a daughter, has left home for further studies so you can imagine how old I am. Just like my niece, she too was alarmed when she saw how thin I had become in my recent photographs. It certainly was so sweet and thoughtful of her to want to come to see how I was getting on and they even brought along these dragon fruits…

…from their fruit farm for me, thank you so much.