Meet up…

An ex-student of mine, Wilfred, presently residing in JB and working in Singapore, got in touch with me via Facebook to ask if I was free and would like to meet up somewhere. Of course, I was and would love to and did not hesitate to accept the invitation right away. I had not seen him since that time when I was invited to his class reunion way back in 2014.

I think he did call me on the phone too, a number different from the one I had in my phone list, so I just deleted the call. These days, with all those scams and what not, I would not accept any “No name” calls that I receive. One just can’t be too careful when it comes to these things.

I picked this place here as it is not in the town centre, ample parking and it is free some more and the food is great and Wilfred suggested 10.30 a.m. which was past their peak hours when people would go for breakfast or for 10 o’ clock morning tea. We did go there once after church on a Sunday and waited like forever for our orders – that was why I never did want to go back there again.

Wilfred had the chao chai hung ngang

A One chao chai hung ngang

…and he insisted that I tried a bit of the soup. It was very good! I think we had that here before, or at least, it was my missus who ordered that and I bet she loved it – it was very sour, just the way she likes it!

I had something earlier that morning so I just had the pian sip (meat dumplings), dry…

A One pian sip. dry

…and yes, it was very good too just that I thought there were so few of the dumplings. Good thing I was not hungry or else that sure would not be enough for me. LOL!!!

We sat and chatted and we adjourned to the coffee place next door – that’s probably new and I did not even know it was there – to continue with our catching up. I sure am glad to hear that everyone of them, my ex-students, is doing really well but a couple fell sick and had passed away, may they rest in peace.

Wilfred got me these…

Tesco teas from Wilfred

…and right now, I’ve been drinking the peppermint which is very nice, more minty than the mint that I am growing in my garden. Thank you so much, Wilfred – it sure was nice to see you again. Do keep in touch, we’ll get together again sometime…somewhere. God bless!

A One Cafe (2.297428, 111.824346) is located along Jalan Tun Abg Hj Openg opposite the Kin Orient Plaza (aka old Sing Kwong) in the second block of shops. Coffee Court & Bateras Food Court are located in the first block nearer to the main road.

My pleasure…

Nothing beats getting together with loved ones on special occasions and that was why when my cousin invited me over to his Hari Raya Haji open house that day, I wasted no time in replying and telling him that it would be my pleasure and I would be very happy to be there with him and all in his family.

It so happened that his missus celebrated her birthday a few days earlier so when everyone was home, the daughter went and got a cake from none other than Marcus – just like us and everybody else, they love his cakes too – and got her to cut it, surrounded by all her grandchildren…

Birthday

It sure was a beautiful moment – one could feel all the love and joy all around.

Of course, there was a whole lot of food…

Buffet

I so loved the ayam masak merah

Ayam masak merah

…that I went back for more, twice, at least!

There was Sarawak laksa too, cooked by their West Malaysian daughter-in-law but by the time I had feasted on everything, I was way too full to go and have a try but I did try a bit of the broth from my daughter’s bowl and it was really very good.

My cousin will always get one caterer here everytime, the sister of the people at this cafe that is very popular for their kampua mee and they had that…

kampua mee

…in the buffet spread too. I did go for it and I would say it was a cut above their mee goreng

Mee goreng

I enjoyed the ikan terubok masin

Ikan terubok masin

…to the max and my cousin’s wife cooked this pajeri nenas

Pajeri nenas

…and it was very good too.

There were cakes and a lot of other things too and we sure had a great time there, sitting and chatting and laughing…and meeting other next-of-kin and old friends from the kampung.

Thank you so much to my cousin, his missus and all in the family for the invitation and the wonderful hospitality. I sure wouldn’t want to miss special occasions like this for the world!

Funny how time flies…

It felt like just yesterday when my old friend, Jasmine, presently residing in Adelaide, Australia, was home for a few days but that was actually 5 years ago in 2014! Funny how time does seem to fly these days!

Well, I did not get to see her when she got into town as she had other commitments lined up and we could only meet the evening of her second day in town when my good friend/ex-classmate, Robert and his wife Angela, hosted a dinner at a local restaurant and invited me to join them…

With Jas, Robert & Angela

We had this lovely dish of roast chicken served in that old school style, buried under pieces of some very nice keropok (prawn crackers)…

Golden Happiness roast chicken

…and we also had this huge plate of Foochow fried noodles…

Golden Happiness Foochow fried noodles

…and this mixed vegetable dish…

Golden Happiness mixed vegetables

This is called the Green Dragon vegetable (青龙菜) or the royale chives…

Golden Happiness Green Dragon vegetable

…which I hear is not available locally and is served at this restaurant by special order. I quite enjoyed it – it had a slight hint of the fragrance of regular chives.

By the time this steamed tapah

Golden Happiness steamed tapah

…was served, we were already filled to the brim so I just had a small piece of the fish and yes, it was very nice.

It sure was a lovely dinner and most of all, it is always great to get together with friends to chit chat and catch up with one another’s lives. Welcome home, Jas and thank you so much, Robert & Angela for the treat! Stick around for more of what mischief we were up to during Jasmine’s brief stay here.

金囍楼 GOLDEN HAPPINESS RESTAURANT (2.285042, 111.834017) is located at No. 5-7, Chengal Road Off Lanang Road, further in along that road where Kawan Hotel is.

It’s been a long long time…

It’s been a long long time since way back in the late 70’s when he…

Ex-student

…was my student in Kanowit. I did bump into him once for a while when he stopped by here on his way back to Kanowit for Chinese New Year. Well, he is now attached to the university in Penang and when he was here this time around for a few days, he managed to get in touch with me and invited me and my family to dinner. He wanted Chinese so we agreed to meet here that night. It sure was nice to know that at least, some of them do remember and care enough to want to meet up.

He brought this…

Korean ginseng tea

…for me – hmmmm…perhaps, that will make me as strong as a lion. LOL!!!

We had the restaurant’s signature dish, the butter scotch prawn balls…

Butter scotch prawn balls

…and this very nice claypot fish dish…

Claypot fish

…which was very nice though I wouldn’t mind a little bit more fish and yam and tofu puffs – the next time I order that, I will certainly ask for more of those and maybe, pay a little bit more.

We had midin (wild jungle fern)…

Midin

…fried with belacan (dried prawn paste) and cangkok manis fried with egg…

Cangkok manis

There was another vegetable dish – the Four Heavenly Kings, the one with the assorted beans, but I did not take a photograph of that.

My girl wanted one of her favourites here, their salted egg chicken…

Salted egg chicken

…so we had that too.

We sure enjoyed our dinner that night and of course, the catching up with things in his family, classmates and friends from those days gone by and I sure was glad to hear that many are doing well.

I have no idea how much the food was as my ex-student insisted on picking up the tab and he would not reveal the total. I am pretty sure the food would not cost all that much but because we all had fruit juices, kedondong and soursop (durian Belanda, which was nowhere near as nice as what I had here), it would probably add up to over RM100.

Thank you so much, Stephen, for the dinner and the gift – it was great to see you and I sure look forward to the next time when we will get another chance to meet again. Meanwhile, all the best and God bless always.

RUBY RESTAURANT  is located at No. 71, Jalan Kampung Nyabor right next to HOME COOK CORNER  (2.292756, 111.825335) with the AmBank Tunku Osman branch in the very next block.

Blow out the candles…

It’s my brother-in-law’s birthday today…

Cake by Marcus

…so of course, the daughter, my niece working in Singapore, came home over the long Easter weekend to celebrate the auspicious occasion.

This time around, we all gathered for dinner here and we had the fried mee sua (Foochow longevity noodles) with the golden eggs…

Fried mee sua and eggs

…and we also ordered the vegetables that my niece would not be able to find that easily over in the island republic, the midin (wild jungle fern)…

Midin

…and the cangkok manis

Cangkok manis

Well, everyone who drops by here would surely want to have their signature dish, the curry fish head…

Curry fish head

…and yes, we had that too. We thought it was a little too sweet but we did enjoy it nonetheless.

My brother-in-law pre-booked the roast duck…

Roast duck

…wrapped in the paper-thin egg wrapper with everything else…

Egg wrapper

…and yes, it was good too…

Roast duck, wrapped

There is a general consensus that the food here is not quite as good as before and can burn a hole in one’s pocket. The total for our dinner that night, 7 of us altogether, inclusive of rice and drinks, came up to RM276.00 but of course, since my niece was hosting, that was less than SGD100.00 so it was not too bad after all.

It’s my brother-in-law’s 66th birthday and he insisted on having 66 candles on the cake. I do not know what he wished for before blowing out the candles but 6622 came out first prize that very night…and he did win something even though he bought his birthdate, 2626 but he did “box” or whatever they call it. Lucky guy! That sure was a great start to the year ahead and once again, a very Happy Birthday to him, all good wishes and God bless.

SHERATON RESTAURANT (2.298521, 111.830619) is located along Brooke Drive, on your left soon after Telekom Malaysia, if you are coming from town.

Wake me I am dreaming…

I started my blog on the 7th of March, 2008 so that means it is now a little over 11 years old. I just do it for fun, just to keep a record of things going on in my life and to stay mentally active so I will not turn senile or suffer from dementia all that soon.

No, despite many people urging me to do so, I simply refused to monetise my blog – once you do it for the sake of money, it will lose its character and its charm and here, you do not get invited to events like food tasting, the opening of a new eatery in town or the launching of a new menu and the like, not that there are many/any.

Wherever I go and eat, I will have to pay out of my own pocket s0 what I think is good (others may think otherwise), I will say so and when it is not that great (and others may think otherwise too), I will try to put it across gently by highlighting what may be praised and mention subtly what is not or may need some kind of improvement.

For one thing, over the years, I have made a lot of friends from all over the world through blogging. There were many who were with me when I first started – most have fallen by the wayside, no longer active and only a couple remain. In the meantime, through the years, there were others who came and went and lately, not that many people will drop by every day, less than 1,000 but that does not deter me in any way. As long as I am enjoying it and there are still people who are interested around, I shall keep on doing what I’ve been doing for so long now.

I have a friend in Perth – I think he’s originally from these parts but he lives there now. I first met him in 2014 at one place that I used to frequent a lot before, when he came back for Chinese New Year and had gone there to enjoy the food. He came over and introduced himself and asked if he could have his photo taken with me. That sure was a pleasant surprise and of course, I could not say no. He was back again the following year, 2015 and we met on board the plane when I was on my way to Kuching, just fancy that.

He was back here again in 2016 and because I was always complaining about there being no fresh beef here, just the frozen imported ones, tough like leather, he brought me some all the way from Australia, believe it or not.

I did not hear from him anymore after that except for the not-very-frequent posts he would share on Facebook once in a long while and I sure was taken by surprise that day when he messaged me via Facebook saying, “I will be going back this Saturday. Have bought some goodies for you. Ok for me to pass to you on Sunday afternoon? I know you need to send your daughter to her school in the jungle.” I was puzzled, of course as I understood that he was here, going back to Perth on Saturday so how on earth would he be able to pass me the things on Sunday when he had already left town.

It turned out that he was in Perth, coming back here on Saturday and yes, he dropped by my place around 5.00 p.m. on Sunday like he said he would – I got his message right after I had got up from my nap, via Facebook to let me know he was coming. We would usually get home at around 3-4.00 p.m. after we have dropped off my girl at her school…and when he came, goodness gracious me!!! Wake me, somebody! Pinch me! I must be dreaming!!! This time around, he brought a big bag filled to the brim with all sorts of goodies from Australia just for me.

There were these biscuits and stuff…

Biscuits and stuff

– I have tried the Arnotts Shortbread Cream and they were very nice. We do have that supermarket in town that will stock up on imported goods and we may get these from Arnotts but I will usually wait till the expiry date draws near when there may be some special promotion whereby these will be going at more affordable reduced prices.

This one’s for me…

Cappuccino

now even more indulgent, indeed and I’m letting my girl have this…

Salted caramel hot choc

…for her night cap in her quarters. She usually buys Milo or chocolate milk and brings it along – now she can get to enjoy this.

I bet she would love these…

Pasta

…too, the gluten-free pasta and those instant ones. Macaroni cheese, that’s her favourite! Incidentally, she went for a blood test, over RM1K and they had to send everything to KL to be done and the results came back after quite some time and it turned out that whatever allergies there were, it would be very minimal…so we reckoned it was an overdose of oats, breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper that triggered what looked like symptoms of gluten intolerance. Now she has gone back to eating the regular wheat stuff but I told her to do so slowly as she had been off those for around a year already, at least and the body would need to re-adapt to its re-introduction.

Anyway, back to what my friend brought me, there was this…

Golden curry

…too and I sure can’t wait to try cooking that. It sure looks like Japanese curry, that photo on the box – I’d probably use lamb or the very thinly-sliced beef, the one they use for their steamboats or hotpots…and there were these cans of SPAM too…

SPAM & chicken

…and chicken – I know Hienz, we get their baked beans here.

I did not have anything in the house to give in return except for a packet of the Sarikei Jakar sio bee (meat dumplings) and I thought that would do, not expecting my friend to bring SO MANY things! I actually felt quite embarrassed to give him that but I did not have a choice since I did not have much else at that point in time. Thank you so much, my friend, for carting all that stuff all the way to give to me – that was so kind and generous and so thoughtful of you but please, next time, a little something will do…or some nice words like what you said that evening, “I read your blog every day!” That sure made me day, thank you!

Finale…

Finally, after three days of merry-making, feasting and endless chattering, so much fun and laughter and thousands of selfies and wefies, we reached the end of our Sacred Heart & St Elizabeth’s Class of ’69 50th Anniversary Reunion celebration.

Somebody went and complied a souvenir booklet…

Souvenir booklet

…to commemorate this auspicious event and inside, you will see, in alphabetical order, photos of all of us who took part  and a short write-up of what went on in our lives after we left school in 1969.

Well, my name starts with an A so there I was, right in front…

Front page

…with my family photograph taken six years ago at this same event

Family

– the Sacred Heart (SHOSA) & St Elizabeth’s (SEOSA) Old Students Association Annual Dinner at a leading hotel here. Of course, we grabbed the chance and had another snapshot taken together again this year for remembrance.

We only had two tables that time but this year, we had a record-breaking eight tables altogether…

Altogether now
*Friend/ex-colleague’s photograph*

…including spouses and in my case, I did bring my girl along the whole time over the past three days as well.

We had a group photograph of us boys taken too…

Just the boys

Sadly, not everyone came back to join in and I can think of a few residing right here in Sibu who, for some reason or other, were not with us.

I did not spend time taking photographs of the food…

Steamed fish

…but I thought it was not as nice as on previous occasions when I had dinner here, whatever the occasion was. I guess it all depends on how much you are willing to fork out per table but anyway, we weren’t there for the food – it was a night of happy reunions with classmates, schoolmates, ex-colleagues and even, teachers. There were two of my teachers there that night!!!

The previous time, I was feeling kind of bored so I marched up to the emcee and told him that we would like to sing…and we did (song starts at 1:00) and brought the house down. This time around, I heard from our organising chairperson, Robert, that the emcee informed him that we would be given the privilege of singing not one but three songs, probably because we were the largest group…so over the three days, we went through a number of songs and finally, decided on three.

The first one was not all that exciting and probably, that was when this photograph was taken…

Singing
*Friend/ex-colleague’s photograph*

It was some kind of a warming up before the ladies took over the frontline for a song from the disco era, the late 70’s and early 80’s – somebody behind me asked me to call my daughter to go up on stage and join us and so I did. That was why she was up there with us at the time…and for our third and last number, we went all the way back to our time, the rockin’ and rollin’ 60’s and sang this song by The Beatles! (I think if you are my Facebook friend, you can click the links to go to my posts there to watch the video recordings of us singing. Just click the PLAY icon!)

No, we’re not such great singers, that much I would say, but nobody cared – it was the spirit of togetherness, all of us getting up on stage to sing our hearts out and have a whole lot of fun – just like in the good ol’ days back at high school and that mattered the most to us. We most certainly did have a ball and it was something we would remember for a long long time.

Well, all good things must come to an end and that climax brought our grand celebration to a close. On behalf of everybody, I would like to extend a BIG thank you to the people in the organising committee and all who have helped in one way or another to make this memorable event a  roaring success. Till the  next time we get together again, next year perhaps, may the Good Lord bless and keep us all. Cheers!!!