There’s no need…

I do not know about the other Chinese dialects and races but among the Foochows, it is considered good manners when somebody gives you something to say, “Nei ah! Nei ah!!!” (No need! No need!) What I do know is in western societies, it is not like that – if somebody gives you a gift, you are supposed to open it right away and sing praises of the gift and declare how much you love it – I guess you also do that out of good manners even though you do not like it. LOL!!!

Well, Eric, the guy behind The Kitchen Food Sibu Instant Kampua, once went and paid some money to a fine dining restaurant here and asked me to go and eat…and there was some change and the people there paid me the money as they did not want to keep it. That was because I was blogging about his noodles and sending them to friends near and far to help promote his venture and that was his way of expressing his appreciation, that nice guy.

The other day, I blogged about his new product, the Sarawak laksa ramen and I also helped publicise it on Facebook. He sent me an invitation to breakfast and I replied no, thank you. Then, I shared some promotion at a café here and he said, “Let’s go!” and once again, I said no.

I will always help promote my friends’ cafés and restaurants, products and events but no, I never expect anything in return though there are some very kind and generous people who will always give me stuff or treat me to something nice and even give me special discounts when I go and eat at their place.

Mine is not a money-spinning blog nor am I one of those who call themselves influencers – mine is just a personal lifestyle blog, a diary of sorts and I will blog about what I do, where I go to eat, things that are nice…or not so nice and so on and so forth and if something is not nice, I will say so, maybe a little subtly usually.

But this Eric would not take no for an answer. Finally, he said, “I’ll give you some fish!” I just assumed that he would be one of those who would go out to sea and fish as a hobby so I said, “Right here waiting!” Then, the other evening, he messaged me to ask for my address as he would want to give me some prawns. I asked if he caught them but he said no, he just received some fresh ones, most probably from Sabah, and in no time at all, he was at my house to pass me these…

Tiger prawns

Good grief! Those tiger prawns were so big that just one would be enough for a bowl of laksa but this one…

Huge

…is humongous!!! I don’t think I have a bowl that big!

Thank you so much, Eric…but no, don’t do that again! I will go on blogging about your products or anybody else’s for my own personal enjoyment – the pleasure is all mine but don’t send anything over, please. Nei ah! Nei ah!!!

It’s your day today…

It was Andy’s birthday, Friday, the 27th of September and it sure made me very happy to be invited to the café to celebrate his special day.

Peter, the boss, went and got him this special high-fibre cheese cake…

Secret Recipe's high fibre cheese cake

…from that Malaysian cake franchise shop. It was very nice but it was near impossible to cut. With all those nuts and everything in it, it crumbled the moment the knife went through it…

Birthday boy

A friend of Andy’s brought him this chicken floss cake…

Chicken floss cake

– she said it was very nice, homemade, but it was not cut on the spot so I did not get to try it.

And that’s not all!!! A Kadazan friend in Sabah sent him these gifts…

Special delivery

…via special delivery. No, that tall and handsome guy is Andy’s friend, the chef at the Indian Muslim restaurant round the corner – he was only helping him to carry the gifts and I could see there was another cake from that same place where Peter got his and no, we did not get to eat that one either.

We couldn’t possibly eat so much cake at one go because we had all the Indian delights Andy brought back from India and we had the very special and so-very-nice mee sua

Happy birthday mee sua

…in the traditional Foochow red wine chicken soup plus an egg each, our customary symbolic wish for good health, wealth and longevity.

Thank you so much, Andy for the invitation! It sure looked like you had a great start to the year ahead – here’s wishing you once again the very best of everything. Cheers!!!

Going to India…

Andy went home to India a couple of weeks ago and Peter, the boss of Payung, went with him so the café was closed from the 6th till the 17th of September.

When they came back, Andy brought a whole lot of things from there including these Indian sweets…

Indian sweets 1

Somebody gave me some from the peninsula sometime ago but they were extremely sweet so I would not say I would want to go for them ever again.

These Made-in-India ones were very nice – I liked the pumpkin…

Indian sweets 2

…and the pineapple but they were just as sweet, very rich milky taste like they were made from condensed milk, undiluted.

I am sure many would be familiar with this…

Indian snack

I think it is a very popular Indian snack, more commonly found here, there and everywhere in the peninsula where there are a lot more Indians than here and these biscuits/cookies…

Cookies

…were quite nice but they were what they were, cookies.

No, this chutney…

Chutney

…did not come from India. Peter learnt how to make it from Andy’s mum and when he came back, he made his own. I did not like it initially, eaten with salted crackers but it sort of grew on me and after a few bites, I started to enjoy it very much. I do not know what went into the making other than coriander leaves and yogurt and I am pretty sure there was green chili too as it was slightly spicy.

No, these…

From Singapore, made in India

…did not come from India and no, they were not among the things Andy brought back. They were made in India, that much is true but we got them from my niece, the one working in Singapore, when she came home that day – obviously, she bought them there. My girl did try one box the other day, the masala rice and it was very nice, something like what I got from the airline the other day – I did try a bit and yes, it was good.

We enjoy palak paneer very much and sadly, we cannot get that at the Indian restaurants here – we sure are looking forward to giving that a try.

Double…

This was around two weeks ago when my niece, the one working in Singapore, came back to Sibu on the 13th instant for the Mooncake Festival. Her parents were out of town, gone on a holiday, so we asked her to join us for a steamboat dinner that evening, just a simple one as we were going to have something a little bit more special the next day.

She brought along these…

Starbucks mooncakes 1

…but she shouldn’t have because I am very sure they did not come cheap – nothing from there is cheap plus they…

Starbucks mooncakes 2

…were small, hard and dry. The tiramisu one tasted nice and surprisingly, I quite liked the matcha one even though I am not into anything green tea but on the whole, I would much sooner go for the very cheap and very much nicer homemade ones from the neighbourhood shop.

The following day, the 14th, was her birthday and my girl’s was a few days later on the 17th so we decided to have a double celebration and we ordered two cakes, one for my girl…

Cake by Marcus

…and one for my niece to cut and then take back to Singapore to enjoy it slowly there…

Double celebration

Instead of going to the same ol’ restaurants everytime somebody celebrates a birthday, my missus said she would cook some special dishes for the dinner that night.

I only cooked the chicken in traditional Foochow red wine soup for the mee sua (longevity noodles)…

Mee sua

…and an egg each for all of us.

Unfortunately, the photos I took did not turn out too well and I only had this one of the roasted rack of lamb…

Rack of lamb

…and this one of my missus’ version of the ayam masak kunyit

Ayam masak kunyit

…to show. This was the first time she cooked a rack of lamb – she did cook lamb shank a few times before – and yes, she certainly did a very good job with all the herbs and spices and yogurt that went into the cooking.

My niece sure enjoyed the home-cooked food to the max. It has been sometime since she last had the opportunity, not since Chinese New Year, I think.

Well, once again, here’s wishing a VERY belated Happy Birthday to the two girls, may God bless you both abundantly with good health, endless joy…and blue skies and everything nice. Cheers!!!

I apologize…

Here, I would like to apologize to all those who got in touch with me to invite me out during my brief stay in Kuching. I was there for the sole intention of attending my ex-Kanowit student’s daughter’s wedding and over those few days, to have a reunion of sorts with the classmates who were able to be present.

I was able to go for lunch with my cousins upon my arrival in the city and dinner with my aunt and her family that first night in Kuching. Other than that, on the final night, Saturday, I managed to go out with a very old friend, his parents were friends of my parents too. It was his birthday before I flew over so I sent him a birthday message. He replied saying that he would be in Sibu in a couple of weeks and if we could, perhaps we could meet for dinner or something.

I told him that I would be in Kuching over the next few days and right away, he asked me when I would be free. I did not know what my ex-students had planned then so I said I was not able to commit but he tentatively picked Saturday night and we would confirm it later.

It turned out that there was nothing on that night so we ended up here for dinner. There was another restaurant here before, a certain Mr. Ho, a West Malaysian franchise and we ate there once and quite liked the food but it looked like they had called it a day or moved elsewhere.

We shared the Gana Club salad (RM15.00)…

Salad

…which was all right and my friend had their chicken cutlet with barbacue sauce (RM19.00)…

Chicken

…and he did not say anything so I guess it was all right too.

I picked the Argentise lamb (Argentine chimchurri) served with homemade Argentine sauce (RM32.00)…

Lamb

…or at least, that was what it said on the menu and I thought it sounded promising. Unfortunately, I did not think it was anything spectacular, a little on the tough side and quite a hassle to wrestle with it to get it off the bone

I liked the place though, not many customers and very quiet so we could chat to our heart’s content, no need to shout to be heard and service was great – the people were very nice especially the sweet girl who waited at our table. I would say it is a good place to meet friends for drinks and to talk.

I sure enjoyed chatting with my friend – both our parents were gone now and after all these years, there sure were a lot of things to catch up with in our lives, our families, our friends and memories of the good ol’ days a long long time ago to recall. Thanks so much, Jon, for the lovely evening – it sure was great to see you again.

GANA GARDEN BISTRO (1.551153, 110.369299) is  located at G02 Ground Floor, Crown Square Shopping Centre, Jalan Pending in Kuching.

A mother’s son…

My ex-Kanowit students had planned a get-together at their classmate’s restaurant that Saturday afternoon after the wedding on Friday before going our separate ways.

However, we were there just two nights ago and I did hear that my ex-student, the owner of that restaurant, has a son…

Kenny

…who has branched out to open his own restaurant…

Kwang Chin Seafood

…so I suggested going there instead and everybody…

With ex-Kanowit students and colleagues

…agreed.

While waiting for the food, they took out their old photographs…

Old photographs
*Ex-student’s photograph*

…and everyone was stunned to see that after 40 years, I could still remember the names of so many of their classmates when I asked them where so and so was at this point in time. Sometimes, I truly amaze myself! LOL!!!

Ah Lee brought along yet another tengalan but I was at the back of the restaurant at the time and by the time I got back to the table, the waitress had cut the fish up…

Tengalan

…so it was not a pretty sight. Nonetheless, it was really good and all of us enjoyed it to the max.

The fried midin (wild jungle fern)…

Fried midin

…and mani chai/cangkuk manis

Fried cangkuk manis

…were all right, pretty much like what one can get anywhere and everywhere else but the prawns…

Prawns

…and sweet and sour pork…

Pork

…were really great and very much to my liking.

However, it was the claypot yam…

Claypot yam

…that I enjoyed the most and I kept going back for more till there was none left.

They were saying that they would use the money left over from the reunion they had some years ago in Penang to pay for the lunch but the mother of the bride was free to join us that afternoon and she quietly went and paid for everything!

She even insisted on giving me a BIG ang pao even though I said that I was fine and could pay for all my expenses and just being invited to her daughter’s wedding was such a special honour and privilege already. Not everyone would remember their teacher, much less want the old fogies around for their special occasions. Gee!!! She gave me more than enough for the air fare and the hotel as well, thank you so so much, Sok Hiong!

Thank you also, Ah Lee, for the tengalan and everybody for everything and not forgetting Pek Suan for the Tan Kim Hock durian dodol

Durian dodol

– so thoughtful of you to bring all of us one each all the way from Melaka.

Hopefully, the plans for the next reunion there next year will materialise and we will all get to see one another again. In the meantime, take care and here’s wishing one and all blue skies and everything nice! God bless, everyone!

KWANG CHIN SEAFOOD 广进小厨 (1.530845, 110.367471) is located at the ground floor, Sublot 3, Lot 33, Soho West Phase 2, Jalan Wan Alwi in Kuching, two doors away from CS Supermarket, Kuching Soho branch. 

Mama’s little girl…

I did mention in my earlier posts that I was in Kuching for my ex-Kanowit student’s daughter’s wedding. She contacted me sometime ago or maybe it was another ex-student, her classmate who told me about it first as they were all arranging some kind of reunion, getting all those in their same year together. Much as I would love to be there, I could only give a tentative yes at the time because of my chauffeur duties between my girl’s school in the jungle and home.

When she got her transfer to a school in town, I let the latter know that I could go…or actually, she contacted me to ask me to confirm whether I could be there and I told her yes. She must have informed the mother of the bride or everybody in their Whatsapp group because she got in touch with me right away for my address and in a day or two, somebody sent the invitation card to my house! Gee!!! That was fast! She asked me where I would like to stay and I told her the name of the hotel and she said she would make the booking and pay for my accommodation but I insisted on doing it all myself.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, there I was on the 6th of September at the wedding of mama’s little girl…

The newly-weds and their parents

…at St Joseph’s Cathedral in Kuching and this is the photograph of me and the rest with the bride and the groom…

Us & the newly weds and the bride's parents

…and the parents of the bride on the extreme right.

That night, the grand reception was held at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching, otherwise known as the BCCK and here, you can see everybody enjoying the cocktails outside…

At the BCCK

…before entering the ballroom…

Ballroom

…when most everybody had arrived.

There was this wishing tree…

Wishing tree

…for family and friends to write their good wishes and blessings and hang on the branches and this was the main table…

Main table

…arranged in a semi-circle, not the usual round one which I thought was good, as they would be able to look at the guests instead of at one another only and this was the backdrop on the stage and the wedding cake…

Backdrop & wedding cake

At our table, we were all given the door gift, the wedding cake…

Door gift & note

…and a thank you note.

The food…

One of the dishes

…was very good and the service was excellent, a far cry from the wallflowers we have at some of our hotels in town.

I did not take snapshots of all the dishes that we had though as the lights were kind of dim plus I was too busy enjoying myself with everybody…

One for the memory

…who was there that night.

Congratulations once again, Jason & Gladys! May God shower you two with everlasting love and happiness all the days of your life together as man and wife and congratulations also to the proud and happy parents, Sok Hiong and hubby, Danny and thank you so much for inviting me to join you all on this joyous occasion – I certainly was glad I was able to make it. Cheers!!!