Where did the time go…

Where did all the time go? In the blink of an eye, all the years have flown – the kids have grown into men and we would have grown much older ourselves while some would have gone ahead before us.

I was at my nephew’s wedding in Kuching and though it felt somewhat recent, that was 2 years ago in 2016 and I had not seen him nor his brother since then. That was why when they called me and asked me to join them for a get-together, I accepted the invitation without a second thought even though I had had my dinner already, an early one that evening.

There I was with the boys and their mum and the grandson plus the wife of one of them, a cousin of mine – the brother of their late father – and his wife, three generations altogether…

Gathering with the Ong's

…at this hotel café – every place else was full that night, the Ching Ming/Good Friday and Easter weekend. I was here a long time ago, in 2011 to be exact, after they had given the place a fresh new look but I was not very impressed by what we had so we had never come back since.

As I have said earlier, I had had my dinner already so I wanted something light and what looked kind of small in the photograph in their menu turned out to be huge, their club sandwich…

Bamboo House club sandwich

It was all right, nothing great – I had club sandwiches a whole lot nicer elsewhere.

My cousin and the nephew had this Cantonese fried kway teow

Bamboo House Cantonese fried kway teow

…and they were unhappy with the fish fillet in it – they said it had a smell like it wasn’t fresh so they left it by the side. Probably that was the frozen fish fillet we can get everywhere around town – I am never a fan of that.

They certainly were not very generous with the lamb chops…

Bamboo House lamb chop

…unlike what we would get here – I shall not compare the prices as one is just a coffee shop and yes, we do need to fork out extra when we choose to go to some place nice.

The satay, beef…

Bamboo House satay

…and chicken, were not well done enough but it sure made up for the lack of the charred fragrance by whatever they used to marinate the meat. It was bursting with flavours and I thought they were very nice and their peanut satay sauce was really good too. I sure would not mind coming back again just for this.

They did order a lot of other things but owing to the dim light at the place, the photos came out blur and anyway, we weren’t there with the sole intention of eating and leaving but more to chat and catch up with one another’s lives and enjoy the company. This, I must say, would be a great place to do that as it was not as busy as elsewhere, and not as noisy as many places as well…and like what my cousin said the two hours plus went by so quickly that it felt like 10 minutes!

Thank you, Nicholas and Edgar, for including me in the gathering – I sure had a delightful time and I sure am looking forward to the next time we can get together like this again.

BAMBOO HOUSE is located at the ground floor of the Premier Hotel (2.288946, 111.830218)…

Premier Hotel Sibu

…right beside the lobby, at The Sarawak House along Jalan Kampung Nyabor.

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Love of Siam…

Jos, the authentic Thai chef here, went back home for a week-long break the other day. I don’t know whether Mary went with him or they met in Bangkok but they came back together on the same flight as Peter, the Payung boss who also happened to go over around the same time on a holiday. What a coincidence!

The next morning, Mary messaged me asking me to drop by her restaurant to get the things that she had bought for me…

From Mary

…including these durian tarts as well…

From Jos

…while the durian cake (dodol) came from Jos. Aren’t they sweet?

Around that same time, Peter called asking me to drop by his place to collect the miang kam

Miang kam from Peter

…that he had bought for me. It cost only 60 baht…

Only 60 baht

…around RM7.50 for everything all conveniently packed in a plastic bag. I said I would drop by for lunch and eat it then and share with everybody there and yes, it was very nice – we certainly enjoyed it very much.

Peter bought these from Thailand too…

More Thai delights

– all the very spicy Thai delights and we only had to order some rice for us to enjoy these together with it.

There were also these fish balls…

Thai fish balls

…something along the same lines as the tod mun pia or Thai fish cake. I particularly liked the one with some herbs inside – Peter said that would be the limau purut (kaffir lime) leaves, cut into really fine thin strips.

That certainly was a most delightful meal – with all those goodies from Siam, the old name for Thailand, we did not have to order anything else.

Thank you so much, Peter…and Mary & Jos. That was so very sweet of all of you to remember me while you were in the Land of Smiles. I would love so much to make a trip there myself one day – hopefully, I will be able to do that…soon.

PAYUNG CAFÉ (2.284049, 111.833014) is located at No.20F, Lanang Road, Sibu, Malaysia, back to back with the multi-storey car park of the Kingwood Hotel which faces the majestic Rejang River & FLAVOURS THAI KITCHEN (2.292836, 111.828287) is located on the ground floor of the ORCHID HOTEL, along Brooke Drive at its junction with Jalan Tunku Osman. You can use its main entrance at the back of the hotel building (facing Brooke Drive) or go through the lobby past the reception desk if you are using its hotel entrance.

Mama…

Today marks the 7th Day after the passing of my dear beloved mum…

Flowers 1

She was into her 11th year, bedridden as a result of a backbone and nerve problem that caused her so much pain that she was unable to walk. My father, who was around at the time, decided not to go ahead with the surgery as the risks were high as she had heart problem, diabetes and anything and everything but knowing her for who she had always been, she put up with it all and was always cheerful and got on all right with her condition.

Of course, over the years, it got worse and the pain she was suffering from got more chronic and intense and she was somewhat depressed, especially after my father died and that badly affected her emotionally, her appetite, her physical strength and everything. There were all kinds of problems and ailments along the way…so much so that we are indeed thankful to God above that He has seen it fitting to grant her relief from all that she had endured all these years…

Flowers 2

We were always very close during my growing up years probably because I was the second of her two naughty boys and it was not until 9 years later that my sister came along.

Flowers 3

I was the one in the kitchen with her, doing all the peeling, cutting and chopping, all the pounding…and beating the eggs and the cake batter using that brass thing that looked like a spring and she had me keep an eye on the rice. We did not have a rice cooker then so we cooked that on a kerosene stove, later a gas cooker and I was thankful for that – in 1994, when I was in the UK, we did not have a rice cooker either and I could easily cook the rice without any problem at all – when the other guys in our house in the university campus did it, it would turn out uncooked or it became porridge.

I was the one who would accompany her to the market, carrying the rattan basket and everything she bought was wrapped in newspapers in those days and was placed in the basket which got heavier and heavier as we went along from stall to stall and at the end of it all, we would take the bus home.

I was the one who would accompany her to watch those Malay movies from Shaw Brothers and Cathay Organisation as well as the Hindi movies, the afternoon matinee at 2.00 p.m. I guess my dad was not into those, only the English and the Chinese ones that we would go and watch together at night – he had to work, running his business, during the day from early morning till late afternoon.

I was the one who would go to a pengillan with her, the Malay/Melanau wedding receptions at the kampung, go and nanggok in the stream beside our house with our maternal grandma – her mum, our maternal grand-auntie – my grandma’s sister and her sisters and cousin – my aunties. At the end of it all, all of us would gather around and sit on the floor to enjoy the fruits of our labour. How I enjoyed eating the luit, those little shrimps, still alive and jumping around, with the sambal that she would prepare.

Flowers 4

Of course, boys will be boys and there were times a-plenty when we got on her nerves and pushed it a little too far so we had to be taught a good lesson. Spare the road and spoil the child, so they say. I remember my dad as the sole breadwinner and yes, he provided for us very well all through the years but I do not recall him being the disciplinarian that my mum was but even so, he would just sit there and we would not dare make a sound. On the other hand, despite all the scolding, the caning and everything, we drove our mum up the wall!

She was a superwoman who did everything – the cleaning, the washing, the laundry, the ironing, the cooking from dawn to dusk, the gardening and mowing our massively-expansive lawn with no less than 10 rambutan trees in just one section of it, among all kinds of trees that we had all over the land where our house was sited and yes, she was the one climbing up those trees, harvesting the fruits for sale…and of course, I was there to lend a hand. Shudders! She even single-handedly slaughtered the chickens to cook for us and her chicken curry was simply the best – family and friends would flock to our house without fail every Christmas  and Chinese New Year just to enjoy it!

Come Christmas, my aunties – her sisters – would give us cloth by the yard, not the kind of gifts little kids would fancy and look forward to…and my mum would make identical shirts on her sewing machine for my brother and I in time for Chinese New Year when the two of us would don those shirts like identical twins, not that we looked anything like each other. No, we did not buy clothes from departmental stores then – there weren’t any at the time.

Flowers from Melissa to grandma
*Flowers from my girl specially for her dearly beloved grandma on the 7th day of her passing*

No, I would not say she had a hard life – I do think she found joy and fulfilment in all the things she did and yes, she loved us well. I could go on and on about the happy times, the wonderful memories from all those years – there is so much to remember and cherish and sad though I may be that she has left us, after all those times, watching her in pain, feeling so helpless as there was nothing much we could do other than to comfort her and be around for her and to pray,  I am thankful to the Lord that by His Will and His Mercy, she would have to suffer no more.

Eternal rest, grant unto my mum, o Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. God bless her soul, may she rest in peace.

Mother of mine…

The Good Lord has seen it fitting to welcome His daughter, Julia – my beloved mum…

Mother of mine

…into his Heavenly Kingdom yesterday, Sunday, the 4th of March, 2018 at around 3.00 p.m., thus granting her relief from her long years of suffering and pain. She had been bedridden for over 10 years, now into her 11th year already.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. God bless her soul, may she rest in peace.

As a mark of deep respect and profound love and affection, there shall be no updates in my blog till after the funeral on Tuesday, the 6th of March, 2018. Please say a little prayer for the repose of her soul. Thank you

Got to be there…

We went out for dinner with my cousin and her hubby from the UK that night before they left town early the next morning and of course, it got to be that Thai restaurant here that I frequent and have blogged about quite a lot.

We had the steamed lokan

Flavours Thai Kitchen steamed lokan

…which were rather small but they loved that very much and also, their creamy seafood tom yam

Flavours Thai Kitchen creamy seafood tom yam

…my girl’s favourite.

They enjoyed the pad Thai

Flavours Thai Kitchen pad Thai

…as well and they specifically mentioned that they enjoyed the exotic tastes of the coriander leaves and the Chinese parsley/celery and what not in the seafood glass noodles salad…

Flavours Thai Kitchen glass noodles seafood salad

My cousin liked the miang kam

Flavours Thai Kitchen miang kam

…but it wasn’t quite what was to the hubby’s liking. Literally translated as a “one bite wrap”, these are supposed to be starters but I’ve noticed that, for some reason, it has always been served last. Obviously they would need more time to chop all the condiments into those tiny bits, I suppose.

Dinner came up to over RM135.00, around £27 or £7 each and my cousin insisted on picking up the tab this time. Thank you so much, Eleanor, for the dinner treat.

Mango was not in season and we could not have the Thai mango sticky rice for dessert so after dinner, we adjourned to this sparkling new place

Outright Coffee 1

…just opened a few days before Chinese New Year…

Outright Coffee 2

…by the guy who was running this place previously for coffee…

Outright Coffee latte 1

…and cakes.

It was way too dark to take any decently nice photographs…

Outright Coffee latte 2

…so I guess I will have to drop by again in broad daylight in order that I can have some snapshots that will do this place some justice.

FLAVOURS THAI KITCHEN (2.292836, 111.828287) is located on the ground floor of the ORCHID HOTEL, along Brooke Drive at its junction with Jalan Tunku Osman. You can use its main entrance at the back of the hotel building (facing Brooke Drive) or go through the lobby past the reception desk if you are using its hotel entrance and OUTRIGHT COFFEE (2.290935, 111.820953) is located at 24B, Jalan Lau King Howe, Sibu, Sarawak in the vicinity of the so-called Twin Towers of Sibu.

Blue…

My cousin and her hubby from the UK were out with another cousin of ours here in Sibu the second day they were in town so I did not get to see them again until the 3rd day by which time she had unpacked her suitcase so she was able to pass the gifts she had brought all the way from the UK…

Gifts from the UK

…specially for me, thank you so much, Eleanor and Phil.

Long before she came, she had seen my photographs in my blog or on Facebook of the nasi kerabu here and she was very keen on giving it a try. According to her, there is a craze for this bunga telang or blue butterfly pea flower tea over in the UK as word went round that it has some health benefits and it was sold out in no time at all.

They all had the nasi kerabu ayam percik, drumstick (RM6.50)…

Warong Cafe nasi kerabu ayam percik

…and yes, they loved it a lot – the exotic flavours and fragrances and its mild spiciness!

That was on a Friday so I had the fish (RM6.00)…

Warong Cafe nasi kerabu ikan celup tepung

…and yes, I enjoyed that very much too.

After that delightful lunch, I took them to see my mum and an aunt of ours and her family, after which, we stopped by the Lau King Howe Hospital Memorial Museum…

Lau King Howe Hospital Memorial Museum

They found many things of interest there, all the information, the history and what not and they spent a long time there. It was hot and sunny when we got there…

Sibu on a sunny afternoon

…but by the time they were done, it suddenly started pouring cats and dogs so I did not have much choice but to send them back to their hotel and to pick them up later for dinner…but that would be in the next post. Stay tuned!

WARONG CAFE (2.318841, 111.831732), formerly Sri Tanjung Cafe, is located among the shops in between Jalan Tapang and Jalan Tapang Timur towards the end of Jalan Kampung Nangka – RTM Sibu is located right across the road on the right.

 

Briefly…

In my previous post, I mentioned that I went to the airport to pick my paternal cousin and her hubby from the UK…and by the time we were on the way to the hotel, it was already around 4.00 p.m. and that was a little too early for dinner so we stopped by here along the way for a little something in the meantime.

Peter, the very nice and generous boss, had these miniature dabai (our local black olives)…

Miniature dabai

…for lunch and there were some left over so he let me try. My cousin was delighted that she got to try the dabai, small though they were, as the season was over and it would be difficult to come by any at this point in time.

They were very nice, rich and creamy, just very small…and guess what! Peter gave me what was left of those he bought that morning, half a kilo, at least, to take home. When I shared the photograph on Facebook, my maternal cousin in Kuching said that our grandma used to call these dabai seluang, seluang being those small freshwater herrings that we used to get in abundance in the river that flows by our town.

My cousin and her hubby was first here in 2009 and then, she came again in 2014 and again in 2016. They did not come last year and this year, they were back. Usually, she would go to Miri every year for Chinese New Year – her mum lives there with her brother and her sister would be there too…and when she came that day, she brought along for me…

Fruit cake from David & Patricia

…this delightful fruit cake…

Fruit cake

…that her sister-in-law made. My! My! Even before I removed the layers of wrappers, I could smell the liquor from within. Yum yummm!!!

Anyway, back to the brief stop we made, Phil, the hubby had their coconut shake…

Payung Cafe coconut shake
*Archive photo*

…that I like a lot and yes, he loved it too – very rich and creamy, he said.

We also shared the durian ice cream…

Payung Cafe durian ice cream

…and yes, theirs is not those artificially durian-flavoured ice cream but ice cream with fresh durian cream. While we were there, Eleanor, my cousin, also grabbed hold of one tub of the kuih bangkit – there were still a few left.

We just had their pomelo salad…

Pomelo salad

– they had those pink ones that day – as we were saving our tummy space for dinner that night and talking about dinner, that will have to wait till the next post. Stick around!

PAYUNG CAFÉ (2.284049, 111.833014) is located at No.20F, Lanang Road, Sibu, Malaysia, back to back with the multi-storey car park of the Kingwood Hotel which faces the majestic Rejang River.