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!!!

Up the river…

On Saturday, the 6th of April, the third day of our Sacred Heart & St Elizabeth’s 50th Anniversary Reunion celebration, we went on a cruise in this old-time motor launch…

LINDA

…up the majestic Rejang River, the longest in the country to this very nice wooden house…

Our destination

…about an hour away. You can click THIS LINK to their Facebook page to find out more about it or THIS LINK to watch the youtube video.

We had a group photograph, one for the memory…

Group pic
*Photo from Robert’s Wooden House Facebook page*

…at the jetty before we left on the boat ride. Not everyone signed in for this event because in that brief weekend in town, they had other commitments so they did not have the luxury of time for everything.

I was attracted to the artworks on the walls of the employees’ quarters…

Wall art 1

…the moment we landed – they were all so very nicely done…

Wall art 2

…I must say. They should do the same…

Wall art 3

…here and there in the town to brighten up the place a little – we do have  a few scattered here and there, usually not noticeable enough to grab the attention of people passing by.

At the house…

Robert's wooden house

…one can get to see all kinds of interesting antiques…

Antique telephone

…and stuff – I did take a lot of photographs of quite a lot of them…

Old school food cupboards

…and shared them on Facebook and while we were there, those in the know…

In Robert's wooden house

…shared some very interesting stories of the place, the history, the culture and even the politics of the people, the town, the state and the country.

Lunch was included, catered by the people here who have now relocated to where our one-time favourite Thai restaurant was. There was the fried rice…

Fried rice

…and the fried noodles…

Fried mee

…and this was either chicken or fish…

Chicken or fish

…I don’t quite remember now and there was Japanese egg tofu…

Japanese egg tofu

…and a dish of mushroom and broccoli…

Mushroom broccoli

…and fruits…

Fruits

…and needless to say, this…

Kompia

…was the main attraction and all were gone in no time at all.

It certainly was a delightful excursion, a pleasant experience indeed…but we could not linger around longer as after that quick lunch, we had to make our way back to town to go back and rest before the grand finale that night…and that will be in tomorrow’s post! Make sure you come back for that, ‘kay?

Six years…

We were here six years ago, my 1969 Form 5 classmates in Sacred Heart Secondary School and the girls from our sister school right next door, St Elizabeth’s but this time around, there were a lot more people…

Reunion group photo

…than the previous time, this being our 50th Anniversary, 50 years since we left school and went our separate ways.

This was on Friday night after our lunch here and because I was abstaining from meat, I did not touch the lamb nor the chicken but that wasn’t much of a problem as I could have the fried noodles…

Fried mee and bihun

…in the buffet spread and the vegetables in the mixed vegetable dish…

Mixed vegetables

…and also the fish fillet with its very nice sourish sweet sauce…

Fried fish fillet

…and the prawns…

Prawns

Angela, my good friend/ex-classmate, Robert’s wife made these mini angku kueh (紅龜粿)…

Ang ku kueh

…with yam and peanut filling and I so loved her grated coconut-coated  ti kew or kueh bakul, aka nian gao (年糕)…

Ti kwe

I’m not a fan of the traditional sticky cake but hers was an exception to the rule. I sure feasted on it as I enjoyed it a lot!

Among the dessert selections from the hotel, there were fruits and these lovely cream puffs…

Cream puffs

I did not find out if they made them themselves or they got them from some bakery in town but they were very nice and I had at least half a dozen. LOL!!!

On the whole, I felt that the buffet dinner we had here the previous time was much nicer but this one was fine with us. After all, we were there to enjoy one another’s company and we sure had a whole lot of fun, singing and dancing the night away.

Day 3 of our 50th Anniversary Reunion celebration coming right up next…

LI HUA HOTEL RESTAURANT (2.284477, 111.8316940) is located on the 1st floor of the hotel at the T-junction of Lorong Lanang 2 and Jalan Maju.

The next round…

After the splendid dinner and party the night before which sure was a fine start (well, I missed the lunch that they had here – one commented that what they had was not the same as before anymore so it was kind of disappointing) to our Class of ’69 50th Anniversary Reunion, I must say, we all gathered for lunch here the following day.

It was our no-meat Friday in the season of Lent so I told my dear friend/ex-classmate, Robert, that I would join nonetheless to mingle around and I could just eat the vegetables, not a problem at all. I don’t know if it was because of what I said that he arranged for all the non-meat dishes except for the steamed chicken…

New Capital steamed chicken

…for the very popular chicken rice here. After all, I am quite sure there were quite a few of us, all ex-Catholic school students, also observing the day of abstinence.

We had one of their signature dishes, the kampua mee

New Capital kampua mee

…which was very nice but I think it had been cooked for a while already before it was served so the strands of noodles all stuck together and it was quite a task to toss and shake them loose.

Needless to say, we enjoyed their fried filleted white pomfret…

New Capital fish

It was as good as always, certainly a dish not to be missed.

The wasabi prawns…

New Capital wasabi prawns

…were really very nice except that the batter was a bit too salty. I likes how there was just a slight hint of the wasabi in the dressing – anything more than that would have put me off as I am not really into that.

For our vegetable dishes, we had the taugeh (bean sprouts) fried with salted fish…

New Capital taugeh salted fish

…and of course, the midin (wild jungle fern)…

New Capital midin

…and everyone loved the mango desserts, this one wrapped in mochi-like exterior, coated with grated coconut…

New Capital mango mochi

…and this one in chee cheong fan skin…

New Capital mango chee cheong fan

…and between the two, everyone’s voted went to the latter. We all thought it was much nicer.

It was all about getting together that afternoon, chit-chatting and catching up with what has been gong on in one another’s lives and enjoying the food – there was no singing and dancing but we certainly had a lot of that when we got together for dinner that same night – coming right up in my next post. Stick around!

New Capital Restaurant 新首都酒家 (2.288619, 111.830057) is located at No. 46, Lebuh Tanah Mas, off Jalan Kampung Nyabor, in the block of shops opposite the Sarawak House/King’s Trioplex/Premier Hotel at the very far end on the right.