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!!!

This is the day…

We celebrated our girl’s birthday earlier that weekend when the cousin was home and on the actual day, the 17th of September – the registration people got it wrong and it came out as the 18th in the birth certificate and we never bothered to get it rectified – we went out for dinner here…

Tasty Hotpot

This place has been around for quite sometime now and I think I did hear people saying that they quite liked what they had here but for no particular reason, we never went to give it a try.

There aren’t that many things on their menu – I guess that is because this…

The main attraction

…is their main attraction. You pick how you would like it done out of a choice of four – we chose spicy, moderate which according to the girl, is their signature style and then we went to pick the meat…

Meat

…from the freezer and the vegetables and mushrooms and what not…

Add-ons

…from the containers beside it. Everything here is calculated by how much per 100 gm but those were not our picks – I only took the photograph as they were still there at the counter whereas ours had already gone into the kitchen to be cooked.

This was what it looked like…

Ours

…when it was done and served. The ladies enjoyed it very much – let’s just say I was not all that impressed as it came across as one of those spicy Korean dishes with kim chi and chili paste and everything and no, I am not a fan of those.

The chicken soup with scallop and mushrooms…

Soup

…was a little more up my alley. It was kind of mild and I thought it was quite good.

My girl ordered the dumplings, plain and with chives…

Dumplings

…and she enjoyed them to the max, the latter especially.

I wanted these…

Pork

…their Thai sauce pork which was nice except that it tasted more like chicken with honey so much so that I even had to confirm with the girl that it was actually what we ordered.

Service was great and the place was comfortable enough. All in all, the total came up to over RM70.00 and of course, as long as my girl enjoyed herself especially since it was her birthday, I was fine with it.

TASTY HOTPOT (2.296817, 111.825706) is located along Jalan Tun Abg Hj Openg, beside the old Sing Kwong (Kin Orient Plaza) in the same block of shops as the KimChee Korean BBQ which is on the 1st floor at the other end.

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!!!

Remember the day…

I am sure many will always remember 9-11.

I, for one, will always remember that date because it was my late mum’s birthday. Born on September 11th, 1930, she would have been 89 this year. Of course, we made our way that day to our parents’ resting place to offer flowers and prayers and to wish her a Happy Birthday but we had to go in the afternoon as my girl was at work in the morning.

That morning, I went to my regular florist at Rejang Park to buy the flowers and this time around, I decided to buy some carnations, pink and red. I bought a dozen and made two bouquets, six carnations each together with some golden showers and ferns from my garden…

Bouquets for mum

…for the two vases there.

My sister went to another florist and got this lovely floral arrangement…

Flowers from sis and brother

…and my brother in Auckland, New Zealand asked her to get a rose for our mum – you may spot it amongst the rest of the flowers.

While I was at Rejang Park, I decided to stop by here for breakfast. I used to enjoy the claypot noodles from the kampua mee stall in front but after they called it quits, for no particular reason, I don’t think I ever went back for anything from that stall since and if I am not wrong, it had changed hands a number of times.

Now there is a couple running the stall…

Happy Hours stall

…and I ordered the kampua mee kosong

Happy Hours kampua mee

…and the pork balls soup…

Happy Hours pork balls soup

– the set costs only RM4.00 which I thought was relatively cheaper than other places where they usually charge RM6.00 for a set like this or to the cheapest, RM5.00.

Both the noodles and the soup were good and I sure would not mind going for it again should I happen to be in the vicinity.

HAPPY HOURS CAFE 欢乐阁 (2.307023, 111.837357) is located among the shops in the Rejang Park Commercial Centre facing the big parking area beside the surau there.

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!!!

Happy enough…

Well, it’s that time of the year when I see the shops and supermarkets flooded with mooncakes, mostly from the peninsula but sadly, they are not all that affordable, the cheapest being AT LEAST around RM15.00 EACH going up to over RM20.00 and beyond…and those are the cheap ones!!!

When my parents and my mother-in-law were still around, I would go and pick one of those popular celebrated brands packed in their very nice special boxes or tins for them to enjoy. No, I would not buy any for myself. At best, maybe I would just grab a few of the local made ones, not very nice but at least, I got to observe and preserve the tradition.

These days, however, there are people making their own at home for sale and it sure looks like they are getting very good at it. I got these…

Mooncakes

…from the shop near my house, only RM6.00 each, but the problem was though I am quite conversant in Mandarin, when it comes to the writing, I am buta huruf – I do not know how to read it. That was why I had to depend on the boss there to tell me what each one was – there were pandan, coffee, matcha (green tea), the one with a lot of nuts and what not inside and so on and so forth.

In the end, I settled for the pek tao sar/mung bean…

Mung bean

…and what I guessed from the sound of what the guy was saying in Mandarin, hazelnut…

Hazelnut

Both were very good but I probably picked the wrong pack from the stack. I must have got all confused because there were so many flavours. What I thought was hazelnut came across to me like pandan with a hint of matcha (green tea), not too strong or I would not have enjoyed it…and it was a little less sweet than the former.

I am sure the self-proclaimed true blue die hard mooncake connoisseurs would be up in arms declaring in horror that the skin was way too thick. It seems that one criteria by which they would judge mooncakes would be how thin the skin is, the thinner the better.

I went back a few days later and this time, I made sure I got the hazelnut, or at least, that was what I thought it was…

Hazelnut

It was more expensive, RM10.00 each and inside, the filling was a shade of black…

Hazelnut, filling

Obviously, it was not hazelnut but hēi zhīma (黑芝麻) – black sesame which actually sounds a bit like hazelnut in Mandarin. LOL!!! It tasted really great and the guy did say it was not as sweet as the rest and that was quite true, I must say. It was sweet but not that sweet and nice…and one can see from the second photograph that the skin was not thick but for RM4.00 more, I think I’d settle for the cheaper ones.

Well, I, for one, love the skin. I do enjoy the pastry with the filling and it helps in some small way to balance the sweetness. If they want the skin to be paper thin, almost not noticeable, they might as well just buy the filling and eat it like that, don’t you think? Yes, I am happy enough with these that I bought, no need to pay through my nose to buy those ultra-expensive ones and burn a big hole in my pocket.

They do have red bean paste too but my missus insists she has some kind of allergy and cannot eat it – it makes her giddy so I would never buy anything with that filling, be it buns or steamed paos. I certainly would go back and buy the aforementioned mooncakes to stock up for when the festival comes around just in case there will be no more left by then…but no, I would not be buying to eat between now and then – whatever it is, they are sweet, best to just nibble a bit each time.

SWEE HUNG (2.316161, 111.840441) is located along Jalan Ruby, in the block of shops on the right – next to a hair salon at the extreme end…and on the other end, to the left is the Kim Won Chinese Medical Store and Mini-supermarket. Kim Tak Co. and Ah Kau Cafe are located in the other block on the left.

The mother…

…was celebrating her birthday that day, my sister-in-law, so of course, her daughter, my niece working in Singapore, came home to celebrate and yes, we were invited to the dinner here that evening.

There was, as always when it comes to birthdays and other auspicious occasions, the longevity noodles – our mee sua, but fried and served with those golden eggs…

Mee sua and eggs

…and yes, it was very nicely done that night – everyone enjoyed it.

For our meat dishes, we had this claypot pork with dried chilies and salted fish…

Pork

…and the simmering venison on a hot plate…

Venison

We also ordered the lamb with lime sauce…

Lamb

…and I only found out that night that they had mayonnaise in it with the lime. It was nice but I think it was nicer when we had it before – the meat was not grilled that well enough.

My brother-in-law wanted his omelette…

Egg

…and we also had this own-made tofu served with mayo…

Tofu

For our vegetable dish, we had this – the Green Dragon vegetable (青龙菜) or the royale chives …

Royale chives

…which seems to be the current craze, available only by special order and I noticed that every table was having that. I had that before here but I would not say it got me all excited. Personally, I think I would prefer our own local midin or paku or mani chai/cangkok manis.

Needless to say, we had to have a birthday cake from Marcus…

Cake by Marcus

We had half of it, 7 of us altogether, and my niece took the rest back to Singapore to enjoy it slowly there. The sweet girl picked up the tab that night and the total for the food came up to RM165.00 only, around SGD50.00 only.

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.