Wrong address…

My cousin, the one who would come to Sibu every year with his parents and sister(s), sent word that he would be sending me something for Chinese New Year. The sister dispatched the parcel on Friday via courier service – no, not our national poslayu or poslambat, take your pick –  and tracking showed that it arrived in Sibu the very next day, Saturday. Soon after that, there was an update that afternoon saying that the address was invalid.

I called them but there was no answer so I drove to the place and I found that it was closed. I guess I had no choice but to wait till Monday morning and I was there as soon as they had started working for the day.

It turned out that my cousin did not indicate the lane in my address so they could not deliver it and there was an extra digit in my contact number so they could not call me either. They passed the parcel over to me without any fuss whatsoever and I took it home happily.

Ripping off the layers of thick brown paper with a FRAGILE sticker on  the outside revealed this box…

Toaster

…inside. Oh? I wouldn’t need a toaster anymore now that generally, we do not eat bread as it is not gluten-free.

Opening the box, it looked like I was getting some essence of chicken…

Essence of chicken

…or so I thought. Hmmm…perhaps they reckoned that this old guy could do with a little bit of energy boost especially after all that hard labour I had to go through harvesting my rambutans.

After removing the layers of bubble wrap, I saw this golden seal…

Golden seal

Nice touch! Signed, sealed…but almost didn’t get delivered! Hehehehehe!!!

Opening the box, I finally got to what my cousin had sent me…

Bacon jam

– the bacon jam that I got sometime ago from Phong Hong and out of the three that she sent me, I liked this one most of all. Oh? I noticed that one of the two had whisky in it – gotta try that one soonest!

Thank you so much, Jude and a Blessed and Happy Chinese New Year to you and your dear parents and sweet sisters. May God bless you all abundantly in this Year of the Dog…and thank you, Sabrina, for the very elaborate and meticulous packing and going through the trouble of sending it over to me. All’s well that ends well.  Cheers!!!

This is how it goes…

My blogger-friend from Brunei went to Kuching and the tempoyak (fermented durian) pork that he had swept him off his feet and he kept asking me about it. Pork? All I knew was that in the peninsula, they would cook fish with it, patin or keli usually, and on my part, I would prefer prawns, done in our very simple kampung-style.

He was also asking how tempoyak was made…which is, in fact, very simple and I said simple, not easy as it would be quite a chore opening the durians and removing the flesh from each seed and you may need to use a whole lot of durians just to get one little pot of the coveted stuff. Add salt, according to taste, and when the fermentation is taking place, it will “sweat” or in other words, there will be moisture/water coming out and that would have to be drained and poured away regularly. When you see “holes” in it, like those underground passageways made by ants or whatever, the tempoyak is done and you can put it away in the fridge for use as and when the occasion arises.

I tried cooking pork with it the other day and not knowing how it would be done, I just went about it my own way. These were the ingredients I used…

TP1

– sliced shallot and chili, a bit of belacan (dried prawn paste) and some ikan bilis (dried anchovies). serai (lemon grass) crushed at the end, a sprig of curry leaves, a teaspoon of sugar and of course, some tempoyak.

I fried the shallot and ikan bilis in a little bit of oil till golden brown before throwing in the serai and chili…

TP2

…and the tempoyak – two tablespoons of the stuff…

TP3

I mixed it thoroughly with the aforementioned ingredients and added a bit of water to dilute the stuff and to get a little bit of thick gravy.

Next, I put in the pork, sliced thinly…

TP4

…and added water as and when necessary as the gravy would thicken and dry up very quickly.

Finally, the curry leaves went in…

TP5

…to give the dish that extra fragrance and also the one teaspoon of sugar to counter the slightly sourish fermented taste of the tempoyak.

When the pork was done, I dished it all out onto a plate…

TP6

…and served.

So was it any good? I would most certainly say it was. We had that for dinner that day and my missus and I finished all of it…

TP7

…in just one sitting. It was very fragrant and tasty and the gravy went absolutely well with rice. Now that I know for sure that it would work out pretty well – the way I did it, I certainly would want to cook it this way again…and perhaps the next time around, I’ll try chicken for a change.

Hey!!! Look at what came in the mail yesterday…

From TM

Twilight Man went to Chengdu, China on a holiday last month and that thoughtful guy went through all that trouble to take a selfie to send to me while he was there. Muahahahahahaha!!!!! Thank you so much, my friend – it sure is  nice to be remembered when one is out having fun. Cheers!!!

Superstition…

Among the Chinese, there are many taboos surrounding expectant mums though many today would simply brush them off as old wives’ tales and would pay no attention whatsoever to them.

One of these would be the insisting that whenever a craving arises, the one concerned must go all out to eat whatever she may be dying to have. Failure to do so would result in the baby, after its birth, salivating profusely. I guess we are all familiar with babies that are so cute and clean and smell so nice whereas there are other smelly ones, wet all over their faces and the front part of their clothes, those that nobody would want to kiss. In such an event, the old folks would put the blame on the mums for not eating what they were craving for while expecting.

Well, a friend went back to her hubby’s hometown recently and needless to say, they ate a whole lot of things while they were home but when they had gone back to their working places, she saw my photograph of some lay piang

LP1

…and realized that she had not eaten any…

LP2

…and she made a comment to that effect either here in my blog or on Facebook.

Well, just in case, I decided to send her a couple of pieces…

LP3

…so when the time comes, the baby will not be salivating all over. LOL!!!

Another one was home too and she too ate a whole lot of things during her vacation back here…and when she saw my photograph of the traditional Foochow Mooncake Festival biscuits…

PGTCP

…she exclaimed that she did not get to eat them when she was home. I quickly sent her two packets for her to enjoy but, no, I don’t think she’s expecting but the ethnic people here such as the Melanaus have this belief that if you want to eat something, you have to eat it or at least touch it when offered or some mishap would befall upon you.

Then, I have another friend who shared on Facebook about how her baby cried and cried non-stop upon reaching home after a very long trip. Well, the old folks would remind parents that when they take their babies out, when they want to go back, they will have to “call out” to the baby and tell him or her that they are going home…and keep doing that all the way home. Otherwise, once they reach the house, the baby would be quite a problem to handle. Well, she said that she prayed and the baby calmed down right after – good for her!

Now, anybody has any interesting stories to share about these superstitions?

It’s good…

My Jee-kim was in town for the family reunion recently, my 2nd aunt-in-law, that is, who was married to my 2nd maternal uncle, since departed, kim being the appropriate reference to somebody who married my uncle on my mother’s side. If it is on my father’s side, we would have to call her Tua-kor, Jee-kor, Sa-kor and so on. Wait a minute! That’s incorrect! Kor is used to address my father’s sisters…so what do I call my father’s brothers’ wives? It certainly is very complicated, I would agree, and I would say that there is a whole lot of truth in this video clip…

– you may have seen it already as some people were sharing it on Facebook but I guess there will be others who haven’t.

Anyway, getting back to my Jee-kim, when she was here, she wanted to go and eat mee sua in char bee lau chicken soup and I do know that they do it very nicely here except that they use pork leg/trotters instead of chicken and besides that, they only have it on alternate days – on every other day, they would have pek ting eyok instead. Upon one’s request, they would serve mee sua in the char bee lau soup and they would replace the pork pieces with the chicken from their Foochow red wine chicken soup which is available daily. Unfortunately, that morning when she went there, they had pek ting eyok too kha so she did not get to eat the char bee lau that she wanted so much when she was in town.

I did ask her why she would not cook her own at home and she told me that it was because none in her family would want to eat it so she has never bothered to do that. It did not cross my mind there and then to tell her that these days, one can buy those medicinal roots already cut into little bit and pieces and packed nicely in plastic bags…

CBL
*recycled pic*

…unlike in the past, when one would have to buy the roots whole and still caked with dried soil/earth from the Chinese medical stores and one would need to go through the chore of cleaning them really thoroughly…and after that, one would have to chop the roots up into small bits and pieces using a meat cleaver or chopper…or an axe! It is THAT hard, I tell you – I did try once and after doing that, I was totally worn out and did not have the energy to do much else…and was in dire need of extra doses of the soup which they say is good for those feeling ching heck which I believe, is Foochow, meaning lethargic or exhausted or something along those lines.

Now that this most difficult part has been done for you, all you need to do is to get one pack and use the amount you need according to how much chicken you are going to cook. For one serving/person, maybe you would need to use half a pack or less for perhaps a chicken leg (thigh & drumstick) or two. Boil the roots with some ginger, sliced or in chunks, bruised, in a bit of water and also some dried cuttlefish – this is a MUST as it will give the soup that special fragrance and sweetness and counter-balance the bitterness of the char bee lau – and some pre-soaked and softened dried shitake mushrooms. When the flavours have come out of the ingredients and your whole house is filled with the fragrance, you can add the chicken and pour in as much Foochow red wine as you like, according to taste. Simmer till the sweetness has come out of the chicken…and the soup is ready…

CBL soup

Cook some mee sua…and serve it with the soup…

CBLMS

…or you can eat it with rice.

In the past, my mum would boil the roots separately first and then use the soup to cook the chicken with the rest of the ingredients. We took the easy way out and dumped everything into the slow-cooker and turned it on but lately, it seems that the chicken sold at the market is often too soft for such intensive cooking and would disintegrate and we do not quite fancy shredded chicken soup. That is why we cook it as I have described above and add the chicken last.

It certainly is a lot easier these days and should I happen to hop over to Kuching anytime soon, I must remember to bring my Jee-kim a pack or two of those chopped char bee lau roots and maybe, a piece or two of the dried cuttlefish (they do not come cheap anymore these days) and some dried shitake mushrooms as well for her to cook some of her own to enjoy all by herself.

And I am telling you…

Yes, yes…I heard you and you and you loud and clear! People kept telling me that they found the gu tor kampua mee here…

GTK shop

…very nice and insisted that I should drop by and try. This shop has no name or none that I’ve noticed and is located in the rows of shops beside the Sibu Gateway traffic lights junction (GPS: 2.288613,111.831361). Huo Ping Road is immediately behind the shops, the back of which faces the right hand side of Garden Hotel. The first shop is a car accessories and glass tinting shop (Ocean) and this one is the second from the left.

Well, if you don’t know what that is, gu tor is tripe in Hokkien, beef tripe to be exact and here, they serve that in a small bowl of clear soup…

GT soup

…and you can dip the strips in their very nice chili sauce…

CSdip

…and eat.

This is served with a plate of kampua noodles, plain…

KPM

– without meat, that is. I suppose you can request for it to be tossed in dark soy sauce or chili sauce but I would prefer it this way so I would be able to taste it unadulterated to determine whether it was any good or not.

So, what did I think about it? If you’ve noticed, they use the original more authentic noodles which are slightly bigger and also straighter than the thinner, more curly version that we also have these days. Some people prefer this type but I don’t really mind either one though perhaps, I do like the latter a little bit more. My main concern would be the taste and yes, this one has the fragrance of the lard that has been used to fry the sliced shallots till golden brown…but it would be nicer if that had been a little bit stronger.

As for the gu tor soup, the tripe was very nicely done – not tough or rubbery but I did not really enjoy the soup as they added vinegar to it. They had vinegar on the table so they should just serve it and we can add it ourselves if we’re fond of that – I’m not. I think I prefer what I had here a long long time ago but I have not dropped by for a very long while and I don’t know it they’re still there or not and if they are, whether they are still selling this or not. Even their chili sauce dip was nicer.

It did not come cheap though – RM3.80 – I guess that was the total, adding RM1.80 for the noodles…and RM2.00 for the gu tor soup and at that price, I suppose everyone can jolly well guess whether I would be heading back there again or not.

Moving away from the tripe and noodles, perhaps some of you are familiar with the song in the title of this post – I super love the breathtaking rendition by Jennifer Holiday & Jessica Sanchez on American Idol but have you seen this before?

That Will Smith is really hilarious! LOL!!!

Have a lovely Sunday, everybody!

Quite alright…

If you remember, I mentioned in an earlier post that my missus went out and brought home this particular brand of made-in-Thailand instant noodles…

Yum Yum

…and I liked the green curry one. She also bought the shrimp flavour one which I tried but did not really like – though I did not mind the fact that it was extra-spicy, I found it to be a bit too sour. I guess she doesn’t like it very much either seeing that the remaining packets are all still there in the pantry.

What I did not know then was that she also bought a pack for Melissa – the seafood one and she complained that it was too sour and spicy too. Well, when we went over that day to spend the night at her quarters in her rural/jungle school, I ate one for breakfast and thought it wasn’t too bad…so I took the remaining packets home since she would not be eating them.

I had another one for breakfast the other morning and as what I would do these days, I boiled the noodles first and drained them thoroughly…

Boiled

…and then I cooked the soup and poured that over the noodles…

Soup added

There wasn’t much of anything in the fridge or the freezer so I decided to cook an egg to go with it.

Well, when it comes to cooking eggs, they call me an eggs-pert but that is only true when it comes to half-boiled or hard-boiled ones or fried eggs, sunny side up or omelette. I love poached eggs but so far I have yet to master cooking them like those at the breakfast places – the nice-looking ones on their Egg Benedict or the other dishes.

They told me that I would have to stir the boiling water vigorously and break the egg and drop it into the swirling “whirlpool”. I’ve tried that before but no,  I was not successful but the other morning, I did it again in the soup that I was cooking and it turned out quite well, I would say…

Poached

No, it did not come out looking very nice like a little pouch or purse but at least, that was an improvement from my previous attempts and the egg yolk…

Runny

…was runny and exactly the way I wanted it. I wonder if anybody has any idea what I did wrong and how I would be able to get my poached egg to be absolutely perfect.

Moving on, this has got nothing to do with the above but I thought some of you might be interested in these seeds…

seeds

I did grumble about my curry leaf plant once – how it would grow out of control but this is the first time I have ever seen the seeds myself and I guess I’m not the only one.

Then, just the other day, I was trimming it AGAIN and I spotted these…

Flowers 1

Gee!!! It flowers too!!!

I am sure many of you have never seen these either…

Flowers 2

Well, I’ve got the trimming done but rest assured that it will grow and grow out of control again very soon and I would have to go through the chore all over again…and that reminds me of a joke about a teacher:

She entered the classroom one day and was shocked to see the word P***S written in very small print on the blackboard. Needless to say, she was furious but she kept her cool and quietly wiped it off.

The next day, she saw it again – a little bigger this time and again, she just rubbed it away calmly.

The third day, there it was – that offensive word again…and even bigger than the previous times. Angrily, she scolded the kids, “If I see that word on the board again, I would not stop till I get hold of the culprit…and if I fail to do that, I would punish the whole class!!!”

The next day, she went to class as usual and lo and behold! There it was – that word on the blackboard in BIG letters and this was written right below it, in smaller print, “You silly woman! Don’t you know that the more you rub, the bigger it gets?”

Well, the moral of the story is – perhaps I should not keep on trimming my curry leaf plant…seeing that it does seem to stimulate its growth so much. LOL!!!

Numbers…

Gee!!! I’ve gone past a million views and I did not even realise it…

One million

Well, I shared a photo like this one on Facebook that day and Claire asked how she could check.

I am not too sure about Blogger but with WordPress, you have this on your dashboard…

Site stats

…that you can click and that will get you to this page where you have all the statistics and other information. There is a bar graph that shows you how many views you have each day…

Graph

…and if you place the cursor on the day in question, you can see how many views you have on that particular day. This was around 8.00 a.m…

Views

…and it showed that I had a total of 222 views so far.

There are also other bits of information including the most frequent commenters based on the most recent 1,000 comments…

Commenters

…and this shows you what terms people use to search for your blog…

FAT

Wait a minute!!! Don’t tell me that you google “fat teacher” and you will get here? @#$%^&!!!! And how many times do I have to stress that it is not SI- tuapui (dead fatty) but SUI-tuapui (good looking fatty)? Grrrrrrr!!!! Is this so difficult to remember? No wonder the teachers in the schools find it so hard to drum stuff into the students’ heads! Simple thing, also cannot get it right! Tsk! Tsk!

Hmmmm!!! And I do wonder what the”most nice balls” are… Any idea, anybody? LOL!!!

Love is all around…

This came via courier service last week, DHL no less…

From Huai Bin 1

…from my dear friend and fellow-blogger, Huai Bin

From Huai Bin 2

He went to the Philippines sometime ago and it really was so sweet of him to remember me when he was over there having a ball of a time. He actually went through the trouble of buying a couple of things that he wanted to give to me the next time he came home. Unfortunately, he has not had the opportunity to come back to Sibu lately so he decided to send the things over to me instead.

Inside, there was a packet of dried mangoes…

Dried mangoes 1

…which were very nice – not pickled, just dried…

Dried mangoes 2

…and other than that, there was this as well…

Chicaron

Chicaron? I did not know what that was so I had a look at the ingredients…

Chicaron - ingredients

Eyewwww!!!!!! My goodness gracious – pork skin!!!

But come to think of it, when we go to eat those slabs of roast pork belly at the char siew places, don’t we love the crispy skin or what they call the crackle? I am supposed to put this into the microwave and let it pop…and then I can eat it but unfortunately, I have not got round to doing that yet so I would not know how good that actually tastes. We will just have to wait till one fine day when I can manage to pluck up enough courage to get down to doing that. Hehehehehehe!!!!

Anyway, thanks so very much, Huai Bin…and at the same time, I would like to thank my very dear old friends, old in every sense of the word, Vivien and Mary, for the lovely birthday card that they sent me…

Birthday card

 It arrived the day after I got the stuff from Huai Bin and this is what it says inside…

Birthday card - inside

I quickly texted them to thank them and I added, “My eyesight is failing already so you two will look real gorgeous to me, no worries!” God is indeed fair and merciful, don’t you think? LOL!!!! Well, thank you so much for the card, ladies. I love it, I really do! It not only made me smile – I actually LOLed when I opened and read it. And just in case anyone is wondering, no, it is not my birthday yet – there are still a few days to go before I hit the big SIX-O!!!

And if you think that is all, think again for you are indeed very very sadly mistaken. Annie-Q‘s mum who just got back from KL, dropped by my house yesterday afternoon to pass me this…

Exclusive from Starbucks

Holy Moses!!! A birthday present – something exclusive from Starbucks!!!

Birthday present from Annie

Oooo…thank you so so so much, Annie! I saw somebody’s photos of it on Facebook and I was wishing and hoping that I would get one…and yippee!!!! My wish has come true!!!!

But wait a minute! She also sent me these yummy stuff from Marks & Spencer, including my favourite All Butter Viennese…and a Christmas present for Melissa as well…

More goodies from Annie

Thanks, Annie, on her behalf – so sweet of you to get something for her too.

Then there was Yi Ling as well – an ex-student of mine in one of my English tuition classes sometime ago. If I’m not mistaken, she was in the same class as Huai Bin’s sister…and presently, she’s married with 3 kids and is based in Johore. I did get to meet her when she came home last year but this time around, she just had her 3rd one so it was not convenient for her to come out. Still, that did not stop her from sending her father to deliver these…

From Yi Ling

…to my house. Thank you so very much to you too, Yi Ling and also to your father for sending the stuff over.

Gosh!!! I must have done something really good in my previous life or what to be so blessed and so very much loved in my present one by all the wonderfully kind and generous friends that I have all over, praise the Lord. May God bless you all abundantly each passing day of your lives…

Apologise…

I really must apologise if you find that I have not been dropping by your blogs that regularly to comment or worse, if I’ve inadvertently missed out yours altogether. You see, last Tuesday night, my mum was admitted into a medical centre here so I was caught up with shuttling here and there – staying with her to keep her company and do whatever I could during the day and at night, I had to camp out on the couch at my parents’ house as my sis would be keeping vigil at the centre and we did not want to leave my dad to sleep on his own at home. Thankfully, she is all right now and has been discharged so our lives have more or less gone back to the normal routine.

You can categorise it as an occupational hazard, something that English teachers would have the natural tendency to do for while I was at the centre, one thing that I did was taking note of all the errors in the signs like this one, for instance…

silent VS silence

I guess everybody knows that they should have used the noun, silence, instead of the adjective, silent and this next one is a common error really – the confusion between lost and loss (as well as lose and loose)…

loss vs lost

My students used to confuse the two as well and also in the case of this one that I saw in the notice in the washroom, reminding people not to dispose off their sanitary napkins into the toilet bowls. I guess somehow off seems to convey the idea of throwing it away but if you think of getting rid of something, perhaps you will never ever get it wrong again.

In this one, they should have used the past participle-adjective, closed, instead of close

close vs closed

…but there can be no denying that English is indeed a mind-boggling language as for some reason or other, we would say – leave the door open…and not opened. Thus, the centre was officially declared open and not opened

open vs opened

Sigh!!!

This one tickled me a bit as I was wondering when I saw it, whether the buds would eventually blossom into cigarettes…

butts vs buds

…and I was not surprised that dustbin had been spelt without the consonant t. Many are not too bothered about pronouncing these sounds clearly when they speak the language and I would think that actually, ashtray alone would suffice.

There wasn’t any error in this one though…

Thor

…but it made me imagine going into the consultation room and there he was – that muscular sledge hammer-wielding comic hero. That would be interesting, don’t you think? LOL!!!

Anyway, I’m back now…so you WILL give me a little time to catch up with things, won’t you?

A beer is better than a woman…

I had a really pleasant surprise yesterday when this came in the mail…

From Quay Po Cooks 1

…and inside was something wrapped in Robinson’s wrapping paper, no less…

From Quay Po Cooks 2

Oooo…I would never be able to afford anything at that departmental store, I’m sure…and when I unwrapped the parcel, I found this card inside…

From Quay Po Cooks 3

It told me that she had bought it for her hubby but it was too small for him. Gee whiz! There ARE people bigger than me! LOL!!! And since there is no other in her family that comes anywhere near our sizes, she has decided to send it to me.

That’s how I ended up receiving this very delightful t-shirt…

From Quay Po Cooks 4

…from Quay Po Cooks.

Thank you so much, my friend – I really really love the t-shirt a lot and the best part is that it fits me just right – XXX Large! Now, what shall I send you in return? Sighhhhh!!!!

And if anybody’s interested, here are the lyrics of the song which gives a lot more reasons why a beer is better than a woman:

A beer is much better than a woman, I’ll tell you why I’m right
A beer will not get mad if I stay out and drink all night
A beer will go down easy, a beer is always wet
Do I want a wife? No, thanks! Another beer? You bet!

A beer won’t fake a headache, a beer won’t tell me stop
A beer will not get angry when I take off its top
A beer won’t call me selfish, a beer will understand
If one night I prefer to have it in the can

I love my beer, let it be said
I guarantee if you pour it right, you’ll always get good head
I love my beer, there is no doubt
If beer goes flat, just toss it out

A beer is much better than a woman, now this is understood
You don’t have to wash a beer to make it taste real good
A beer won’t get premenstrual, each month of the year
And I won’t pay alimony if I decide to dump my beer

I still drink beer, I’ll never quit
When a beer is getting pissed, it’ll never throw a fit
Is that beer cold, hell, I don’t mind
A fridged beer is the best kind

I love my beer, let it be said
I guarantee if you pour it right you’ll always get good head
I love my beer, there is no doubt
If beer goes flat, just toss it out
If beer goes flat, just toss it out…