Light and easy…

I was still feeling full after that lamb shank I had for lunch – I enjoyed that and had the lion’s share but my girl insisted on going out for something light and easy that evening.

She wasn’t too happy to see that my appetite had not been all that good these days and my taste buds had been acting kind of cranky. That was probably why I thought some of what we had for lunch were salty when the ladies said they were all right. In the end, I relented and we ended up here.

She asked for their beef spaghetti bolognese (RM19.00)…

…with their own-made bolognese sauce using lots of fresh tomatoes and Italian herbs. I do enjoy that too…usually, anytime a lot more than the commercially-available bottled sauces that come across to me like tomato ketchup straight from the bottle.

I did not feel like having that, of course and asked for their pomelo salad (RM8.00)…

…instead. This has not been available for a while now, since they reopened fully after the pandemic, so we just went for their Payung rojak most of the time. It sure was nice to be able to enjoy this again, very refreshing, indeed.

I also ordered their mashed potato (RM8.00)…

…which is different from the regular mashed potatoes elsewhere by virtue of the garlic and whatever ingredients added. That day, I was kind of turned off by the taste though so I just left it there. In the end, my girl finished it off for me – she enjoys it very much.

My missus had their mushroom roll (RM9.00)…

…and I did help myself to one. I thought it tasted great but like most of what I had for lunch, I thought it was very salty so I did not have any more.

I did not encounter a similar problem with the jelly pisang (RM9.00)…

…though when I helped myself to the jelly and the bananas (and the milk) but no, being on a low sugar diet, I did not touch the ice cream.

My missus and I just had drinking water on the house while my girl had their coconut milk shake (RM9.00). She insisted on picking up the tab, her treat for Father’s Day, and the total came up to RM62.00 altogether.

We finished early, at around 6.00 p.m. by which time, there were already three other tables – probably families there to celebrate the special occasion and there was a private function on the top floor upstairs that night, an appreciation dinner for the volunteers at the recent Sibu International Dance Festival 2022 so everyone was kinda busy at the time. I was glad to hear that they did enjoy brisk business over the two-week Gawai Dayak break too.

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.

Today’s special…

Yesterday was Father’s Day so we decided to go out some place for something special for lunch.

Ever since my sister shared a photograph of the lamb shank she had here

…on Instagram, we had been waiting for the chance to go there and give it a try ourselves.

We had the M (medium), RM39.00 and it was served with this what-they-called nasi mandi

The lamb was so very good, fall-off-the-bone-tender and so very flavourful, bursting with the fragrances of the herbs that it was stewed with.

We felt the rice was very fragrant too like one of those nasi Arab or Indian biryani rice but unfortunately, it was a little on the dry and hard side and there wasn’t much gravy/sauce to mandi (bathe, in Malay) it with and because we had ordered a lot, we left quite a bit of the rice behind.

Actually, we had no idea what nasi mandi was but a reader was kind enough to post a comment to enlighten me about it (See comment below). It seems that according to Wikipedia, mandi (مندي) is a traditional dish that originated from Yemen, consisting mainly of meat and rice with a special blend of spices, cooked in a pit underground. A Malay friend commented on my sister’s aforementioned photograph asking if it wasn’t nasi Mandy, whatever that was. Well, at least, we now know it is indeed something along those same lines as nasi Arab or nasi biryani, thank you, SW in the UK, whoever you may be.

The grilled chicken with ayam percik sauce (RM18.00)…

…would have been very nice too – we particularly loved the sauce/gravy, if only they had given us a lot more of it. The ladies thought the chicken was all right but I found it somewhat salty plus it was overdone, a little on the dry and hard side. I certainly enjoyed the lamb shank a whole lot more.

This plate of plain rice…

…came with the chicken and just as in the case of the lamb shank, it would have been a whole lot nicer if they had given us a lot more of the very nice ayam percik gravy to enjoy the rice with.

The sotong goreng ala tempura or fried calamari (RM16.00)…

…was, to me, a little on the salty side but the ladies were fine with it. It turned out that they used the giant frozen sotong (squid) which is usually a little hard and rubbery and not all that sweet and nice.

The Penang-style char kway teow (RM12.00)…

…never came and in the end, we asked for it to be packed for us to take home. I never got to try it so I can’t say how good it was but actually, I insisted on ordering it as when we entered the restaurant…

…I saw somebody eating fried kway teow with a whole lot of prawns and it sure looked very enticing! It turned out to be another item on their menu – the seafood noodles where you have a choice of noodles and whatever seafood you would want in the dish. Perhaps I will order that next time.

Service was excellent – the young Malay girls were very nice and friendly, very efficient and fast and there was a Chinese man in charge (the girls told me he was the manager and the place is Malay-owned).

We did not have to wait very long for the dishes to come out of the kitchen (except for the char kway teow) and if I had a bone to pick about anything, the thought did cross my mind that they could vary the presentation of each dish a bit. All of them had more or less the same things by the side.

There was a huge cauldron of chicken soup – I went and asked and yes, as I had suspected, it was complimentary but nobody ever said anything about it and there wasn’t any sign to let the customers know. There was a jug of iced water with slices of lemon and glasses by the side – I think one can help oneself to that FOC too…but nobody said anything about that too. My missus’ teh tarek (pulled tea) was RM6.00 a glass while the plain water that my girl and i had was on the house.

All in all, we did enjoy the lunch and yes, we would not mind going back there again…especially for the lamb shank that I did enjoy tremendously.

OLE OLE KAMPUNG by ROOK 3 (2.291155, 111.821081)…

…is located at Lot 8, Lorong Lau King Howe 1.

The 5th…

It’s the 3rd of June today, the 5th Day of the 5th Month in the Chinese Lunar Year, the day of the Double Fifth or the Duanwu or Dragon Boat Festival (端午節), fondly known as the Chang or Dumpling Festival. The Chinese eat zongzi or chang on this special day because they are considered a symbol of luck, as the pronunciation of zong is very similar to the pronunciation of zhong (中). This character has a positive connotation, used in words such as 中奖 (winning a prize).

I found this piece of information from this website rather interesting. During the early hot days of summer, people would easily fall ill and epidemics spread. This made the month seem evil, so people in ancient times regarded it as an important time to prevent diseases and keep evil spirits away. Therefore, the Dragon Boat Festival was originally regarded as a traditional medical and health festival. It is traditionally a festival for people to ceremonially come against diseases and poisonous insects. As the coronavirus pandemic continues across the world, this year’s Dragon Boat Festival has a renewed focus on health.

Well, every year, since time immemorial, my very dear friend, Richard, would make his own homemade nyonya chang and he would always give me some. This was last year, 2021 and this was in 2020 and in 2019 and yes, he does it without fail year after year after year. My mum used to make them but these days, unless Richard makes and gives us some or we manage to get some from Kuching…or Singapore, we would not get to enjoy this special Peranakan version of the meat dumpling.

Earlier this year, however, I received word from Richard informing me that he would not be making any as his mum said they would give this year a skip owing to the outbreak of the swine fever that day. I was thinking that perhaps I could just go and buy one or two from the neighbourhood shops or from here to eat so as to uphold and preserve the tradition, our heritage.

Before I got down to doing that, my sister gave me some very nice ang tao chang (red bean dumplings)…

…that she got from her cleaner. They were very nice, no alkaline water (kee) so they were white…

…not yellow or orange and not jelly like as in kee chang (碱水粽/枧水粽). I thought they tasted like basong, the Malay pulut/glutinous rice delight that I like a lot…

I decided to save them for the actual day of the festival so I just stuffed all of them in the fridge – I guess it would not matter one bit if it was red bean…

…not meat dumplings.

Much to my surprise, the other day, however, Richard appeared out of the blue at my gate with these, his nyonya dumplings…

…for 2022! He said that his mum had a change of heart and gave the green light so he made some and went round distributing to family and friends.

There were two, tied with string…

Richard said that those were chicken and of course, I could not resist taking those out the very next morning to steam and heat them up…

…to enjoy and appease my craving!

Yes, as always, never mind whether it was chicken or pork…

…it was so so so good with the fragrance and taste of the ketumbar (coriander) plus the slight sweetness of the other ingredients in the generally savoury filling.

I had to resist the temptation to heat up some more to eat and thankfully, I was able to control myself so I do have some today that I can heat up and enjoy…

…to observe this age-old traditional Chinese practice during this time of year.

I hope you all have some at hand, never mind if you made them yourselves or bought them from somewhere or some good friend gave them to you. Thank you so much, Richard, for the ones that I shall be enjoying today…and to all of us celebrating this auspicious occasion, a very Happy & Blessed Duanwu or Dragon Boat Festival! May all of us be abundantly blessed with good health and good fortune!

Two birds, one stone…

It was my missus’ birthday on Friday, the 6th of May and Mother’s Day was on Sunday, the 8th so we decided to kill two birds with one stone and have a double celebration. We invited my sister to join us, my girl’s godmother, so there were 4 of us altogether.

We made a reservation here

…two days earlier and we were mighty glad we did as the place was packed even at around 6 in the evening.

One look at the piggy banks…

…on display and their logo…

…of a pig in that Jane Fonda (or was it Burt Reynolds’) pose…

…here and there in the place would give anyone an idea of what would be in store there.

We ordered the bacon and walnut salad (RM29.00)…

…because we wanted a change from the usual Ceasar Salad that we would order at this kind of places and of course, the word bacon was an added attraction!

We sure were glad we did because it turned out to be really very nice. I don’t know what dressing they used – there were these little black bits of whatever and I did see balsamic vinegar in fine print in the list in their menu. We all agreed it was good and we sure wouldn’t mind having a go at it again the next time we drop by here.

There were a lot of eager beavers among the very young waiting staff, all Dayaks (I wonder how they will manage when Gawai comes around!), all very pleasant and polite and helpful and they seemed to know a lot of everything they had on their menu. An ex-student of mine was here sometime ago and he loved the bacon steak so I asked the girl what was so special about it – she said it was just 3-layer pork and I could gather from the tone that it wasn’t anything to shout about.

She suggested their signature pork ribs with BBQ sauce (RM39.00)…

…and she added that we could ask for their half serving in which we would get four pieces of the ribs, just nice for the 4 of us, and that was what we did! It sure seemed VERY popular – everybody else was having that but personally, I thought it was, at best, just all right – I have had ribs a whole lot nicer elsewhere in town.

What stole the show was the babi bakar (grilled pork) which we paired with aglio olio by the side (RM32.00)…

It was so very tasty, like very well-caramelised char siew and all of us loved it and promptly added it to our list of must-order items should we happen to come back here to dine again. Unfortunately, the pasta could do with a little bit more cooking that night – that needed a bit of improvement.

The girl taking our orders suggested two of their most popular sausages – the deluxe Nuernberger ring sausage (RM28.00)…

…and the deluxe cheese ring sausage (RM28.00)…

I loved the latter – it was very nice with the very delightful creamy cheese oozing out as we cut into it but I was not too comfortable with the taste of the former with all the herbs that went into it. My girl and my sister were fine with it though.

Basically, this Kuching-original eatery serves German cuisine so you can place an order for their German pork trotter two days in advance, if you are craving for that. I saw the price in their menu – it was over RM100.00 so probably that would be quite big, enough for a number of people to share. We may go for that one of these days.

My girl insisted on picking up the tab that night and no, it was not cheap, dining here. The total for what we had that night was RM168.00, best reserved for special occasions for its very nice dining experience and great food (if you know what to order) and they played some very nice music (English songs) at just the right volume (louder if you’re seated outside) here and that sure made the ambiance of the place rather conducive for anyone looking forward to spending a great evening ahead.

OINKS Sibu (2.286075, 111.847044) is located at Sublot 7-01, Ground Floor, Hann’s Commercial Centre, Jalan Wong King Huo.

66

It was my better half’s 66th last Friday but we had an early celebration the previous Sunday so we had a birthday cake and the longevity noodles, mee sua, fried.

She wanted to cook some chicken soup in our traditional Foochow red wine with lots of ginger for our mee sua breakfast on the actual day but I told her not to bother. I told her I would go out and buy for all of us instead and that was what I did.

We had this…

…that morning from my favourite mee sua stall in town…

here.

I was early – I went there just after 7 and the nice lady had just arrived from Kanowit and was setting up her stall to start her business for the day but yes, she was willing to take my orders and get down to them right away.

The mee sua I had here once swept me off my feet but I heard that the lady had call it quits so now, this is only one around…

…that, to me, is a cut above the rest.

Like everything else, the price has gone up – it used to be RM7.00 only but it did not matter one bit as it was as good as ever…

– very strong on the traditional Foochow red wine and the ginger and the poached egg was done to perfection, the yolk still runny and I also loved the super fine and smooth mee sua used.

This was provided FOC…

…and I liked that they used the environment-friendly bamboo tissue paper instead of the usual, especially those horrendously pink-coloured serviettes that they use at many Chinese restaurants.

There was a new guy running the stall in front and yes, I did stop by to try some of his dishes a couple of times but that morning, I noticed there were new people at that stall and also the second one…

I did not walk over to have a look at what they were selling but if I am not wrong, the second one is the one selling the kampua mee in that coffee shop now. I asked the mee sua lady but she said that they just left without a word so she did not know whether they had moved elsewhere or they had just decided to stop for good.

Thankfully, the mee sua stall is still going on strong. So far, I find that the rest that I tried may be quite good but one is as good as the other, none that is outstanding in any way like this one.

NEW HEE’S FOOD CORNER (2.311365, 111.846638) is located along Jalan Pedada, now Jalan Datuk Wong Soon Kai, the very first one in the block of shops to the left of the Delta Mall, with the Astro Sibu office at the other end of that same block.

Before leaving…

We were here exactly a week ago, the previous Sunday, but because my niece, the one working in Singapore, suggested dropping by again for an early celebration since my missus’ birthday is just a few days away and she would have left town by then, we were back there again for dinner the other night.

Personally, I would prefer to go some place else for some other kind of cuisine other than Chinese, perhaps but since everybody was o.k. with the suggestion, I just followed the crowd. And talking about crowds, that was the Labour Day weekend followed by Hari Raya Aidilfitri and the place was packed even though we got there before 6 in the evening.

When we were there, we saw people coming in but they were all turned away. Obviously they could not cope with too many. Luckily, I had made a reservation a day earlier – I called at 5.30 p.m. and the boss seemed rather impatient like he was so very busy, too busy to stay on the line for too long! We also saw a lot of orders for home delivery too – perhaps many could not manage to get in so they ordered the food from here to eat at home.

Of course, I ordered all the dishes that we did not have the week before like their very delightful pandan chicken…

…for instance, different from those elsewhere and so very nice! For one thing, theirs are very much bigger and they marinate the meat really well first – I can taste some serai (lemon grass), kunyit (turmeric) or whatever before they deep fry it. The special chili dip to go with it is really nice too, very compatible!

The butter scotch prawns…

…were good too but I was quite pissed off by the use of those plastic plates instead of their sparkling new white ceramic ones.

So it was too with their lemon mayo grilled lamb…

…another favourite of ours and yes, it was still as nice…despite the plastic plate! Tsk! Tsk!

I wanted to order the longevity noodles, the mee sua, in chicken soup but my girl said she would prefer to have it fried so her wish was my command…

We could see the difference between what we were served that night and the one we had a week ago. This was a shade darker and they said it was not as nice – as for me, I thought it was all right, just that the eggs were over-fried and slightly burnt in places.

For the soup, we had the Foochow tofu tear

…soft bean curd with canned oysters, and it was all right as well, just that we thought the ones we always had here were a bit better.

The midin

…was a disappointment. I did not like the belacan (dried prawn paste) used – perhaps I should have ordered it ching chao (fried plain with garlic) or with Foochow red wine instead.

So it was with the Four Heavenly Kings…

– the four types of beans in a plate though I could not understand why there was brinjal in it. LOL!!! It did not taste that great – we could not taste the hay bee (dried prawns) and there did not seem to be any in the dish at all.

There was quite a lot left of these two vegetable dishes but no, we did not bother to tapao them to take home since we did not really think they were all that nice.

Of course we had another cake from Marcus…

– his cheese-coated butter cake. My niece ordered one for my missus to cut and for everybody to enjoy. This was not as sweet as the one we had the previous week, minus the sweet icing – as a matter of fact, it was a bit salty from the cheese and also the salted butter used in the making of the cake.

The total for the food came up to RM175.00 (SGD55.00) for the 6 of us, a little bit more than the week before, probably because we had prawns and lamb this time around.

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.

Two years on…

The last time we got together at this very restaurant like this was in 2019, the last time my niece, the one working in Singapore, was able to come home to celebrate her parent’s birthday and that time, it was her mum’s. Since then, because of the pandemic, for over two years, she had not been able to fly back – not for anybody’s birthday nor for Chinese New Year.

Finally, things ain’t so bad right now and she managed to come home again on Sunday and of course, we wasted no time in getting down to celebrating her father’s birthday, my brother-in-law, at that same restaurant, just like in the good old days.

We had the longevity noodles – the fried mee sua

…with the auspicious gently-fried “golden” eggs and boy, how I missed their Thai mango chicken…

It was so good that I just could not stop helping myself to it again and again…and again!

The butter spare ribs with salted egg…

…paled in comparison and as a matter of fact, I thought it was a bit too salty for my liking.

Their own-made tofu…

…was very good, as always and luckily for my food blogger friend from Penang, he could get to enjoy the much coveted midin

…when he dropped by this very restaurant the night before. I was sure my niece was so very disappointed that it was all sold out that night, considering that she had not enjoyed the wild jungle fern for over two years!

In the end, we settled for the cangkuk manis

…which was a consolation as what they have elsewhere (including the stunted sayur manis from Sabah) isn’t exactly the same and some will insist that ours here is nicer!

The sea cucumber soup…

…was so very good that night. It tasted like there was some special Chinese cooking wine in it but the ladies insisted it was black vinegar and yes, it got their nod of approval as well.

I was pleased to note that except for the mee sua, they have switched to using those lovely ceramic plates and bowls instead of those horrendous no-class-at-all gaudily-coloured plastic or melamine ones.

Of course, we had our favourite cake from Marcus…

… but I heard my brother-in-law and his daughter and her friend talking about what transpired when they went to order and collect the cakes – it seemed that somebody in the house is unwell so word has it that Marcus may decide to stop making his awesome cakes for good. That is so so so sad as there can be no denying that his cakes are second to none.

It sure was a delightful gathering that night and we sure am glad that we could get to see our niece again after all this time. When we got there earlier in the evening, there was only one table and they had almost finished eating – they probably went very early! We placed our orders and everything came out of the kitchen super quick and boy, the servings were HUGE!!! We did not specify the number so I guess they just cooked for 8, all of us together that night. The bill came up to only RM155.00 for the food, around SGD50.00 only!

While we were there, the customers started to trickle in and by the time we were leaving, the place was almost full and everyone had settled down at their tables and was starting to get comfortable. I bet it would be quite noisy considering that it was rather crowded by then – thankfully, we were leaving already!

A very Happy Birthday once again to my brother-in-law, God bless always and thank you to my niece for the scrumptious treat – it sure was great to see you again after all this time!

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.

The last night…

Chap Goh Mei is a Hokkien term that means the 15th night of the New Year. As its name implies, it is celebrated on the 15th, the last night of the Chinese Lunar New Year Festival. In Mandarin, it is called Yuan Xiao Jie (元宵节), which means Prime Night Festival. It is also called the Lantern Festival, which can be confusing to Malaysians seeing how we refer to the Mid-Autumn Festival as the Lantern Festival as well.

That night, the whole family would sit down together to enjoy a lavish dinner, not unlike the Reunion Dinner on Chinese New Year’s Eve, together but for a change, we opted for a steamboat dinner instead and yes, of course, we invited my sister to join us.

These were what we had in the hotpot…

the giant freshwater prawns (tua thow hay/udang galah) that I bought recently, the abalone that the nice lady at my favourite fish & seafood stall gave to me sometime ago, my girl’s favourite seafood tofu cubes and quail eggs, fish maw, fish balls and fried fish cake that my missus made using the fish paste from Jakar and fish slices/fillet that I bought from the aforementioned fish & seafood stall that morning itself.

I wanted to buy the somewhat expensive pek chio/ikan bawal putih (white/silver pomfret) seeing how it was a special occasion (even though we are not entirely fond of that fish) but there was none and I saw some fish that had been filleted so I asked the lady about it. She said it was “white fish”, great for fish soup and fish noodles – I told her we would be having steamboat and she said this would be perfect for that!

True enough, we loved it a lot, very smooth with no fishy smell at all…and no bones. We did not use all that I bought for the steamboat that night so I told my girl that we would use the rest to make our own fish & chips one of these days. I do think that will be nice.

We also had this pork belly, specially sliced thinly for hotpots…

…some Romaine lettuce and mushroom…

…and tang hoon (glass noodles)…

Once it started boiling and after letting it simmer for a while…

…we started to dig in…

Although it may not be as labour intensive as having to cook all the dishes one by one, it is not that easy getting everything ready for a steamboat dinner. My missus started off with the stock and that entailed boiling a lot of pork bones and simmering the soup to get the flavour out. She also added the water used to cook the fish balls and fish cakes (before frying them lightly) and after all that simmering when it had started boiling, you can imagine how very nice the soup was, so very sweet!

While major activities during Chap Goh Meh for people in China include eating tangyuan (glutinous rice balls) over a grand meal, Chap Goh Mei is the last day that families can toss yee sang together, a symbol of all things auspicious. Of course, we did not have yee sang – that is not the usual traditional practice here in this Foochow town and this was the first time I saw anything about eating tang yuan during Chap Goh Meh. I thought we would only do that once a year during the Dongzhi or Winter Solstice Festival around December.

My sister also saw this on social media so she went and bought these matcha durian ice cream mochi (from Walls)…

…for our dessert, in place of the tang yuan. Yes, it was very nice, very generous with the durian inside but to me, it was very sweet. You will not see me rushing to the shops for more, not when I am on a low-sugar diet.

Another new thing that I’ve learnt this year is how the Peranakan community would eat pengat once a year on Chap Goh Meh. For the uninitiated, you can watch this Youtube video to find out all about it. I didn’t know that because when I was at the fish & seafood stall that morning, the nice lady gave me some yam and tapioca. She said that her ethnic employees went home during the Chinese New Year break and brought back some for her. She insisted on giving me some and if I had known, I could have gone and bought some sweet potatoes and t’nee koi (kuih bakul) to cook out own pengat to eat. Ah well! Next year, perhaps!

Long live…

On the 1st Day of the Year of the Tiger, of course we had to have our longevity noodles, the mee sua (thread or string noodles) in the traditional Foochow red wine and ginger chicken soup…

…and of course, we had the hard-boiled eggs…

…to go with them.

When eating these noodles, we are supposed to slurp them all in one length without biting and breaking them – eating these long noodles in this way is believed to be a sign of good luck and the key to a long life.

Other than that, we just eat all the leftovers all these days following our reunion dinner on the eve of the festival and will continue to do so till we have finished everything and no, we have not gone anywhere outside to eat. For one thing, most of the shops would be closed and the few that are open would be so packed with customers especially those who have come home from afar and simply must have their fill of kampua mee before they leave town.

Anyway, we are never short of things to eat at home with all the things that I’ve blogged about – the cookies, the nuts, keropok (crackers) and so on and so forth and yes, we have cakes too even though we did not buy nor bake/make any.

We had those given to us by my cousin and also the ones from my girl’s coursemate/friend and my sister gave us some of the very lovely blueberry cheese kek lapis (layer cake)…

…that her friend gave her. The blueberry is very sweet though so each time I eat, I shall have to confine myself to just a slice or two.

My brother-in-law gave us these – the chocolate cake topped with almond slices…

…and this coffee kek lapis (layer cake)…

…from this bakery.

It appears to me that many of the bakeries in town have gone into making kek lapis (layer cakes), once a domain dominated by the Malays, be it at a shop or stall or at home. We did get to try some nice ones the other day but I am afraid I can’t say the same about this one or all the rest that I am not all that keen to try because of the high sugar content.

Abundance…

Sumptuous and abundant, the family reunion dinner served on Chinese New Year’s Eve is undeniably a major highlight of the festive season. It brings a joyful family together around a full table and symbolises the hopes for prosperity in the year ahead.

I ordered a few dishes from where else if not Payung Café for our dinner…

…this year so that my missus would not have to slave all day in the kitchen during those few days leading to the festival.

There was their most delightful belimbing prawns…

…and my girl’s favourite, their lamb masala

I also placed an order for another favourite of ours there, their Thai green curry…

…instead of their kacangma chicken because my missus insisted on cooking her own…

…to give to her sister-in-law and she also cooked this very nice beef curry…

…so she could give it to her brother too – he loves her curry so much that everytime she cooks whatever curry, she will always give him some to enjoy.

He gave us the daging masak hitam and my girl’s good friend cooked us some ayam masak merah, both of which I featured in yesterday’s blogpost so my girl asked the mum to cook this yellow/butter rice…

…that goes so well with such Malaysian/ASEAN/Asian culinary delights. In the past, we used ghee to cook the rice but these days, the brands that we get here are not so nice, not very fragrant so my missus would use butter instead.

Actually, I asked my missus not to take everything out – we would do that one at a time in the days that followed so we could enjoy them slowly but it all fell on deaf ears. Well, at least, she did what I told her for some of the dishes, which was to have smaller servings of each dish instead of serving the whole lot at one go.

She only served two of her ngor hiang (meat/spring rolls)…

…her specialty and yes, she does it really well and I did ask for a vegetable dish…

…specially for this dinner and everyone loved her collagen-packed hu phio (fish maw) soup…

…with quail eggs so much.

Of course, there has to be fish – nián nián yǒu yú (年年有餘) which means, “May you have abundance year after year!” The word ‘abundance’ is ‘yu (余)’ which is pronounced the same as fish in Chinese.

For our dinner that evening on Chinese New Year’s Eve, we had “soon hock“…

…or marble goby in English, ikan ketutu in Malay. reputed to be among the Top 5 most expensive fish in Malaysia! My sister gave us one sometime ago but we had not had an occasion to cook it until now and yes, it was very nice – we all loved it!

Of course I invited her to join us that evening and she brought along her casserole of sate pork belly but unfortunately, the photo that I took of it turned out blur – it is in the main snapshot above, to the right of the broccoli.

There you have it, 12 dishes altogether for the 4 of us and no prize for guessing what we shall be eating over the next few days. LOL!!!