At the end of the holiday…

It was on Sunday, the last day of the week-long Chinese New Year holiday when we had to go out for lunch. My late cousin’s wife, whom we had met here and also here previously, invited us to dim sum here

Dim sum? I didn’t know they had dim sum there? I went and checked their Facebook page and it looked like they had just started in early January. Of course I was keen on going – hopefully, it was going to be good because the last time we went to the very good one here in Sibu, it turned out to be rather disappointing.

I met Iggy, my ex-student, now a practising lawyer, there – he was just leaving with his wife and daughter (and one more on the way) when I got there. Thank goodness!!! Otherwise before I knew it, he would have paid my bill for me like what he would do everytime we got to meet somewhere.

Also there that day was our very popular and most outstanding and pro-active politician, our YB Datuk Dr. who was having his lunch there with his parents and others in his family. My missus and his mother, both retired, were colleagues in the Sibu General Hospital many, many years ago (she’s 88 now) – she was the Nursing Sister and my missus was a nurse attached to the Nursery (the ICU for babies). My missus went over to their table to see her and yes, despite it being so long ago, she could still remember her.

I went over as well to thank our YB Datuk Dr. for all that he did to help when my girl was at that God-forsaken school in the jungle in Selangau, the one with no electricity nor water and everything was falling apart. All this while, we merely communicated via Facebook (and at times through his admin, probably his political secretary, on Facebook) – I never got to meet him personally face to face.

I wonder what the school is like now because it was shortlisted as one of those dilapidated schools in the state in dire need for repair, renovation and rebuilding. It sure was a relief when my girl got her transfer to a school in town and I had a feeling at the time that they couldn’t wait to get rid of her so the YB Datuk Dr. would not come breathing down their necks anymore. LOL!!!

Anyway, back to the dim sum, unfortunately, they had run out of their steamed char siu buns and their lotus lava buns. We only managed to try their mushroom buns…

…which were very good. The filling had a strong taste of shitake mushroom…

…and I loved the very nice pao skin. Hopefully, I will get to try the other two types of steamed buns the next time I drop by here for this.

The sui mai

…was very good! I certainly would want to order more than one storey (basket) next time so we would have more to enjoy.

My girl asked for the deep fried spring roll…

…and also the dumplings…

– things that she enjoys a lot!

My late cousin’s wife, our host, ordered the otak otak

…and she also insisted on ordering the satay

…and the fried kway teow (flat rice noodles)…

…from their regular menu.

The otak-otak was the Muar version – people in Singapore and the southern states of the peninsula would be familiar with this. I thought it was so-so – I prefer the one here, of course. The satay was nice and the fried kway teow was quite good except that despite there being so many cockles, they were hard and dry and were not all that nice.

I like how the drinks here are stevia-sweetened or as in the case of the iced soya bean milk (in the above photo) that I had, unsweetened.

While we were sitting there, chatting and eating away, one of the waiting staff came over to inform us that the YB Datuk Dr. had paid for our bill. Goodness gracious me! We felt so bad and of course, we went over to his table to thank him profusely for his generous gesture. If anyone should treat anybody, we should be the ones treating him for all that he had done for us. Thank you so much, YB – may God bless you and your family abundantly in the days ahead throughout the Rabbit Year.

And thank you, Ai Chang, for the invitation! It sure was a fitting end to a wonderful week. Even though we did not go anywhere and stayed at home most of time, all in all, I would say that we did have a great holiday.

PappaRich (2.291606, 111.821291)…

…is located at Lot 23-35, Jalan Lau King Howe in the block to the right of the Lau King Howe Hospital Museum, to the left of the Sushi King outlet there

Just two…

No, I did not get a lot of visitors this Chinese New Year, just a few students from one of the schools where I was teaching for 9 years after 5 years in Kanowit. I spent the rest of my 30 years in service at a boys’ school here in Sibu, the longest but unfortunately, none of my ex-students from that school dropped by.

Just when I had almost given up hope of any of them showing up, I received a message from Raphael, telling me that he would be coming back all the way from the US to spend Chinese New Year with his mum and family and he hoped we could get to meet. In the end, I invited him to just drop by my house which he did, with Teo, another student of mine – his classmate in school, home from China for good…

Both of them looked good but unfortunately, there wasn’t much in the house to offer but they did enjoy what was left of the very nice, super-intoxicating fruit cake…

…from my Bintulu cousin that day and all the cookies and stuff. We sure had a great time chatting, catching up with one another’s lives.

As always, Raphael brought back a whole lot of stuff to give to me. There were these boxes of Annie’s pasta…

…that my girl loves a lot. We can buy them here but of course, imported from the US, they do not come cheap. Well, Raphael gave me so many of each so I am pretty sure those would last a very long time.

I never had the chance to stop by any Spanish restaurant anywhere to try their paella but we did cook our own once…

…or twice…

…just that I was not sure if those were anything like the real thing and I never got to try the one from this chef here at his restaurant that had since closed down for good.

Much to my delight, Raphael gave me a packet of this…

Hopefully, we shall be able to use that to cook our own version of the paella and fingers-crossed, it will be very nice and very much like the real thing.

Thanks so much, Raphael and thank you to you and to Teo, as well, for dropping by. Ah well! I guess two is better than none, wouldn’t you agree?

The fifth day…

Thursday was Day 5 of the Chinese New Year and school would reopen soon. We had been staying home almost all of the time so I suggested going out for lunch that day before my girl gets bogged down with all that schoolwork and everything all over again.

There is a sparkling new Japanese restaurant in town and we decided to go and check it out. Generally, it was quiet all over town, no jam, no crowd – I guess most everybody who was back for the festival had gone back home – until we reached the vicinity (Hanns Residence). There was a very long queue of cars going into the place but we were in no hurry so we just followed everybody else in the line patiently. We were in luck because a young girl was leaving and her car was close by and I was able to turn in the instant she vacated the space.

Unfortunately, when we got to the Japanese restaurant, we saw that it was packed and there was a whole lot of customers lining up at the door. We did join in for a while but it was not moving at all so I told the ladies that we might as well go to this place opposite…

…and have our lunch there.

My girl had their fish & chips (RM32.00)…

…and yes, it was very good. They use sea bass here and it came across to us like those very nice fish fillet that we bought not too long ago, the barramundi (ikan siakap) aka Asian sea bass. Unlike the battered ones at that place where we loved their version of this dish, here, they used bread crumbs and looking at the colour and the texture, it seemed like they made their own, not what came out of a box.

The mum had the sea bass fillet (RM32.00)…

…which did not look as good but yes, it was great! She said it was probably just grilled in butter in a pan but the fish was good – very fresh and sweet and there was no fishy smell.

Mine was disappointing – their classic pork chop (RM25.00)…

It was a bit hard and dry, probably because of the very lean cut that they used and though dipping it in their own-made black pepper sauce did help a bit, I don’t think it was anything I would want to order again the next time we drop by here.

My girl wanted to try the pork nuggets (RM23.00)…

…that she saw in one of the banners hanging outside – she has this soft spot for the chicken nuggets at McD or KFC. Unfortunately, they did not look that enticing, those huge chunks of what came across to us like their own-made luncheon meat. It was nice but no, it did not sweep us off our feet.

Our favourite here is still their babi bakar (RM25.00/200 gm)…

…which I also ordered to share and yes, we all loved it! No, we did not manage to finish the last two so I asked the girl to tapao (pack) them up for us to take home. It sure was a delightful lunch – the total, inclusive of drinks, came up to RM146.00. Service was great, very prompt and cordial and the sweet young things were conversant in English, no problem at all in communicating with them.

As we were walking back to the car, I noticed that the queue outside the Japanese restaurant was even longer than when we got there earlier. Looking through the window, I saw one empty table and one table where the customers had left but they had not cleared everything on it nor cleaned it yet – I guess the new brooms simply could not cope with the crowd and were not sweeping well. I sure would not bother to come back here, not so soon, that’s for sure!

OINKS Sibu (2.286075, 111.847044)… 

is located at Sublot 7-01, Ground Floor, Hann’s Commercial Centre, Jalan Wong King Huo.

Help yourself…

When my ex-student and his Singaporean wife were at my house that day, they were very impressed and sang praises of the pineapple nuggets that I bought from here…

They seemed to know quite a bit about pineapple tarts and the rest – in fact, they have tried these…

…from Kuching before even.

These pineapple delights are a must for Chinese New Year because pineapple is “ong lai” in Hokkien and “ong” can be either king or good luck while “lai” means to come so it is believed that having these in the house will bring good luck.

I cannot remember when I started buying these pineapple nuggets…

…from the aforementioned bakery but yes, I was still teaching at the time so it would be before 2007 and I have been doing so every year without fail. I think I did not manage last year as they were all sold out so this year, I went early and was in luck! My brother-in-law went a few days later and went home disappointed.

This year, they also came out with this variety…

…that had cheese added. My guests from Singapore said that the original would win hands down and I must say that I absolutely agree. The taste and fragrance of the cheese in the pastry was somewhat overpowering and it drowned out the much coveted taste of the pineapple jam in the filling.

As a matter of fact, I bought two jars/bottles of each of the two but when my nephew, home from Shanghai, China, invited us out for dinner, I had nothing in the house to give so I just grabbed these to give to him, one of each. Otherwise, I could have given them to these connoisseurs of pineapple tarts from Singapore. Sorry, better luck next time! LOL!!!

I did try the pineapple tarts, rolls and nuggets from some other bakeries but they all paled in comparison. These…

…from Louis Bakery in the next lane from my house came in a close second. They made all three there and I got all of them in this very nice gift pack that my friend/ex-student, Alex, gave me…

…that day.

And talking about these festive cookies and stuff, I feel that the homemade ones were better because of the reduced amount of sugar added. For instance, if I am not wrong, my sister gave us the ones from this girl…

…who runs her own home-based business.

I loved her Nestum…

…a lot more than her oats…

…because of the coarser cereal used.

Other than these cereals, the use of nuts and seeds and whatever seemed to be catching on these days, for instance, in those Florentine biscuits…

This was the third one that we got to enjoy and they were pretty good as well. My missus bought them from this bakery…

…on the other side of town and she had nuts in these cookies…

…that she made herself as well.

Good grief! Gone are the days when cookies looked so elegant, so dainty and pretty – these were more like the ones I saw people abroad making using what they called “the spoon method”. Never mind the appearance, a cousin of mine who made hers using this method, told me. What is more important is the taste.

My missus also made these cheese biscuits…

…with chocolate rice added. With the extra cheese in them plus the Golden Churn butter used, they were very nice indeed. Unlike in previous years, she only made two types this time around. Instead, she just went and bought a whole lot from the aforementioned bakery.

The kuih momo

…were all right, nothing like when they first came into the scene. Those used to be so nice with the fragrance of the ghee used in the making, something we simply can’t detect at all anymore these days. It may be because of the ghee – those available at the shops and supermarkets these days aren’t nice at all. That is why I do not bother to buy and use when I cook my yellow rice (nasi kuning/nasi minyak/ghee).

Incidentally, these were called kuih makmur when they first appeared on the scene. How on earth did it get lost in translation and become kuih momo? Our midin (wild jungle fern) is often called “million” in the menus in Chinese restaurants and the other day, I saw one that has it in the list as “merlin“. Good grief!!!

Anyway, back to the cookies, my girl loved these butter scotch ones…

At one time, the butter scotch bread from Gardenia was the craze among the people here – so good you can eat it on its own! She also loved these cheese sticks…

…and yes, I must say that I wholeheartedly agree. They were really crusty and would snap when one bit into it, plus who can resist the delightful fragrance and taste of cheese?

I used to love those peanut cookies a lot, the ones at another bakery in town but I did not bother to drop by and check it out this year. My missus got these…

…but I was not impressed. They did not have much of that peanut taste and fragrance that I loved so much.

One thing we had not bought for a very long time would be this red, sweet, spicy and super-smelly sotong (cuttlefish)…

My missus bought some that day but I did not notice it until the son of some guests of mine opened the bottle/jar to eat. Goodness gracious me! The stench filled the whole living room! The instant they left, I simply had to go and help myself to it and it sure took a lot of effort to stop!

These…

…were nice too but not as nice as those really smelly ones. Both were RM26.90 for 200 gm, RM134.50 a kilo. *faints* In my childhood days, I used to buy from my school canteen, 5 sen a palm-sized piece of rolled sotong/cuttle fish, red or plain (orange) with a generous sprinkling of fine sugar. Those were the days!

It’s Day 6 into the Chinese Lunar New Year today. I don’t suppose there will be people dropping by but of course, if there is anybody thus inclined, you are most welcome! Come! Come! Come and help yourself!

Day 2 day…

Usually, Day 2 of Chinese New Year would be a very busy day. If I am not wrong, people say that Day 1 would be for visiting one’s immediate family and everyone would start visiting their friends from Day 2 onwards.

It was very quiet though throughout most of Day 2 – nobody came until mid-afternoon when I got an sms from my ex-student, Dr. Toh, saying that he was on the way. He came soon after that with his lovely wife and handsome young son and he brought his younger brother, also my ex-student, and his wife home for Chinese New Year from Singapore. They and also, Dr. Toh’s younger sister, are faithful followers of my blog and the latter would go and try whenever she sees anything that I say is very nice. Yes, she went all the way too and loved the fish and chips here and yes, she also came to my house that day with her two pretty daughters.

There were a few more in 2020

*Flashback: Chinese New Year, 2020*

This time around, some of the kids have gone for further studies or were sleeping at home after staying up all night for the fireworks and firecrackers!

Much to my surprise, the parents showed up a little bit later. I met the mum before…

*Flashback: Chung Hua School Centenary Celebration, 2016*

…but this was the first time I had seen the father. He said that he had often heard his children talking about a certain Mr. Wee so he wanted to come and meet me personally. I certainly felt so flattered by the compliment and he even insisted on giving me an ang pao (red packet containing money)…

…as he was leaving and the children gave me one too!

I had a photo taken with his grandchildren (the children’s children, the 3rd generation)…

I must say that he is truly blessed to have such good and filial (and capable) children and such endearing grandchildren too! Thank you so much to all for dropping by! May God bless everybody abundantly with good health, wealth and all that is good in the Year of the Rabbit!

In the meantime, my cousin in Bintulu was in town for Chinese New Year and some kind of reunion in the family of one of her hubby’s brothers. I guess they were busy and were caught up with everything going on so they did not drop by my house – they used to do that, the whole family with the brothers and their families. Of course, I was delighted when she called me on Day 1 of the new year and told me that her daughter (I drove all the way to Bintulu for her wedding in 2014) and her family would be driving over from Bintulu the next day and she would like to invite my family and I to join them for dinner here

…that night. She also asked the wife of her brother, since deceased, to join us.

I am not sharing any photographs of the food that we had that night because the snapshots did not turn out nice in the very dim light there. We had some of the usual stuff we would order but the problem was they had run out of many of the dishes. It was good that they were open throughout Chinese New Year and the response had been really good, so much so that they started running out of a lot of the dishes and since all the shops and supermarkets were closed, they could not go and buy the ingredients needed to cook some more.

Nonetheless, dinner was great and so was the company that night. Thank you so much, cousin Pauline and family, for the invitation and thank you for giving us this…

– some more of your gorgeous, super-intoxicating fruit cake…

I should be on a no/less sugar diet but I could not refrain from helping myself to a lot more than I should!…

Yum! Yum! LOL!!!

A new dawn…

Yes, it was a new dawn, a new day…a new year – the Year of the Rabbit in the Chinese Lunar Calendar!

We went to church, first thing in the morning…

It was not mandatory, not what we call “a holy day of obligation” but lately, we would go…and start the new year on the right foot.

In the past, we would have our longevity noodles, the mee sua and then, we would drop by my parents’ house and after that, my in-laws’ but we do not need to do that anymore as all of them are no longer around. These days, we would come home and have the noodles…

…for our brunch and for the rest of the day, we would just help ourselves to the cakes and cookies and whatever…or the leftovers from the previous night’s Reunion Dinner.

I did mention in yesterday’s blogpost that my niece, my brother-in-law’s daughter, came home for Chinese New Year and she brought this huge box of abalone…

…for us.

My missus did add one of the two packs inside…

…to her broccoli dish and despite being from that same brand of abalone from our growing up years (in a tall pink and blue can), the ones in the pack turned out to be quite small, a bit too chewy/tough – definitely not as nice and sweet as the ones long long ago. I guess these are still VERY popular, much coveted because of the exorbitant price that gives it its snob appeal.

My niece also gave us these…

…also from the same brand…

…and these truffle oil-coated prawn rolls…

I am not a fan of truffles in anything but these prawn rolls were very nice with the lovely sambal hay bee (dried prawns) inside. The fragrance was rather overpowering though so I could hardly detect the presence of the truffle oil.

I do not know what is so special about these noodles…

I suppose I will find out sooner or later when I get down to cooking it.

She did see my recent photographs on Facebook or here in my blog and yes, she thought I had lost so much weight so she went and bought me this t-shirt, Harry Potter, no less…

Thank you so much, Mary – the red colour sure makes it very appropriate to wear during Chinese New Year.

We did not have a lot of visitors on the 1st Day of Chinese New Year, just one – my ex-student who eventually became an English teacher and taught in my sister-school and has since moved to a school in Sarikei. She came with her husband, also my ex-student, her classmate…and their two sons. Their eldest, a daughter, has left home for further studies so you can imagine how old I am. Just like my niece, she too was alarmed when she saw how thin I had become in my recent photographs. It certainly was so sweet and thoughtful of her to want to come to see how I was getting on and they even brought along these dragon fruits…

…from their fruit farm for me, thank you so much.

Plenty…

Yes, we had our Reunion Dinner at home last Saturday evening – my missus insisted on cooking for everybody herself instead of going out somewhere for the very auspicious feast. We asked my in-laws – my brother-in-law, his wife and my niece, home for the occasion from Singapore, to join us and of course, my sister as well, seven of us altogether.

As they say, Nian Nian You Yu (年年有魚) or abundance year after year, so we had this steamed barramundi…

…and this sweet and sour or chio (ikan bawal hitam/black pomfret)…

…both served whole, like how they say it should be done. Filleted fish don’t count, I’m afraid. They also say that we must not finish all the fish – there should be some left over to be eaten over the subsequent days. Well, we did have some of that barramudi left but by the end of the dinner that night, there was nothing left of the or chio, other than the bones. My missus must have done a very good job with it – not even the sauce was left.

She also made some ngó͘-hiang (meat rolls) or lor bak as it is called at some places in the peninsula…

Traditionally, they symbolize wealth and prosperity probably because of its golden colour after frying plus all that meat, with prawn or crab meat added, inside.

My girl asked for this – our giant freshwater prawns with pineapples cooked with kunyit (turmeric) and everything else…

Without the prawns, it is something like the very delicious Malay dish, the pajeri nenas.

For our vegetable dish, we had this broccoli with mushrooms…

…and my missus threw in the abalone (New Moon brand) that her niece brought home from Singapore and we had this very lovely refreshing fish maw soup…

…with quail eggs. I did buy some sea cucumber but she forgot to throw them in. I guess those will have to wait till some other day then.

I bought this super-intoxicating kacang ma chicken…

…from Payung and needless to say, it was a hit. Andy gave me some pomelo salad…

…to which I added some Mandarins/ponkam and served and we also grilled the lamb chops…

…that Anthony & Nica Plus gave me that day. Yes, they enjoyed them very much but I did not touch it this time around as I have to abstain from red meat. Everyone sang praises of the one with rosemary and garlic.

My sister got this traditional Chinese salt-baked chicken…

…from a friend and she brought it along to share with all of us.

Goodness gracious me! There sure was plenty…

…to go around that night, don’t you think?

Believe it or not, we finished almost everything – there was only a bit left so there was no need for us to struggle to finish off the leftovers in the days that followed. Hopefully, that is the foreshadowing of what lies ahead for us in the Year of the Rabbit, everything in abundance, ciak pa pa (eat to our hearts’ content), fingers crossed!

Cycles…

A Blessed and Happy and a Bountiful Chinese New Year to one and all!

*CNY gifts from my dear cousin, Mohd Syaiffuddin Suyong and wife, Saliah Japaruddin and all loved ones in the family, thank you so much*

It’s the Rabbit Year this year so that means it is the end of the 6th cycle in my Chinese zodiac – next year, the Dragon Year, I will be 72!

We are keeping it somewhat low key this year so we have not been busy doing all the preparations. I have not put up any decoration – the idea of having to climb up and down the ladder to hang up the lanterns and everything else sure does not appeal to me, not at my age and in my condition!

But worry not! We do have quite a lot of things in the house. My missus insisted on cooking for our reunion dinner even though I asked her not to bother. She did not make any nyonya acar (pickles) though so I went out and bought a bottle…

…to eat with all that keropok (prawn & fish crackers)…

…in the house. She did make some cookies – two types and some light snacks such as that seaweed wrapped in popiah skin that my girl likes a lot. Other than those, she did buy some pistachios and baked some cashew nuts too and I got a whole lot of groundnuts and kuaci from my ex-student that day.

Other than those that she made herself, my missus did buy some cookies from our local bakeries and I went and bought these pineapple nuggets…

…from the bakery not far from my house. Yes, they…

…are still as nice as the first time I bought them from that same shop many many years ago when I was still teaching but of course, they do not come cheap anymore these days. There were jars and jars on the racks when I went but when my brother-in-law dropped by as Chinese New Year drew near, they were all sold out! He did not manage to get any at all!!!

My missus did not make/bake any cakes but my girl’s coursemate, Mona, dropped by the house to give her these…

I last saw her in 2011 when they were coming back from Wellington, New Zealand! Now teaching in Daro, she was driving home to Bintangor to spend the week-long Chinese New Year break there. How thoughtful of her to drop by to pass the cakes and whatever else to my girl! I did get two from my friend/ex-student, Alex that day and one from one of my cousins from Kuching (and some cookies as well) that day…so there should be enough cakes to serve to any family members or friends who care to drop by.

In the meantime, my girl also got these cookies…

…from her good friend, Dayang. Thank you so much to the two of you, Mona & Dayang!

Because of the widespread ASF (African Swine Flu) in West Malaysia, the import of pork bak kua from there is banned at this point in time. I did not feel like buying any of our local ones or those from Sabah either but I did grab a couple of boxes of the chicken bak kua from Loong Kee…

…which isn’t too bad as well.

And talking about West Malaysia, I sure had a pleasant surprise when my ex-colleague/student, Richard dropped by my house. He is home from Johore for Chinese New Year and it sure was so very sweet and thoughtful of him to give me this HUGE box of honey ponkam (oranges)…

…thank you so so much, Richard! The last time I saw him was when our borders first reopened in 2021 after the pandemic.

I must say that I am so very glad and thankful, praise the Lord, that I survived this past year. I actually thought I was going to kick the bucket and join the Heavenly Choir when my health was not too good and I had no strength to do anything nor the appetite to eat anything and started losing weight like nobody’s business. Thankfully, I am a lot better now – it sure looks like I’d still be around for a while.

Now that the brand new year is here, let us pray that God will bless and protect all of us with good health, blue skies and everything nice in the days ahead throughout the Rabbit Year. Do drop by if you’re in town – there should be enough for everybody to munch, don’t you think?
新年快乐!…恭喜发财!…身体健康!!!

Came all the way…

I was at their wedding, my nephew, Nick and Jean’s, in Kuching in June, 2016 and in April, 2018, they did come all the way to Sibu. The pandemic in 2019 put an end to any kind of travelling, near or far, across land and sea and all this while, they were stuck there in Shanghai, China.

Finally, at long last, they opened their borders and Nick and Jean and this time around, with their little cute and endearing boy, Nathaniel, were finally able to spread their wings and fly! They stopped in Hong Kong before proceeding to Singapore and from Singapore, they took the now-available direct flight here to Sibu! Nick’s mum now residing in Kuching flew over to join them here before going back together to Kuching, all of them, for Chinese New Year.

Of course I was delighted when Nick sent word inviting me and my family and my sis to dinner while they were in Sibu so I went and booked a table for all of us that evening. I made sure the menu that night would include some of our local delights, such as our Foochow fried noodles…

…for instance and our wild jungle fern, the midin

Nick was delighted that what we were served that night was fresh, plump and crunchy! It looked like they had something quite disappointing elsewhere.

I did not forget the cangkok manis fried with egg…

…either and the Foochow tauhu tear, the tofu with canned oysters soup…

I could not resist ordering the dishes that I fell in love with when we were here on our previous visit a few days earlier – the kangkong (water spinach) fried with pork fat crusts…

…and the sweet and sour spare ribs…

Yes, Nick said that they do have kangkong in China, thick, huge leaves with big hard stalks, definitely not as palatable and enjoyable as what we had that night.

I did not miss out my girl’s favourite, the lemon chicken…

…which we all feel is the best in Sibu and I also ordered the or chio (black pomfret/ikan bawal hitam) with taucheo (fermented beans) sauce…

A friend, a retired teacher like me, had it here and she said it was something not to be missed and it certainly was good, very very good! She was the one who got me to try the pek chang kay (steamed/poached chicken) here, saying that it was addictive…and true to her word, we had been coming back here for more again and again since. I did not include that in the menu that night though as we already had chicken in the list.

Nick’s mum’s eldest sister, residing in Sibu, joined us for the dinner that night and the wife of another cousin of mine, since deceased, as well. We had a group photo taken towards the end of the dinner…

The empty plates on the table would bear testimony to how good the food was that night.

Nick insisted on picking up the tab but I did ask the lady boss and she told me that the total, inclusive of rice and drinks, came up to RM297.00. That was very reasonable, don’t you think?

Thank you so much, Nick & Jean for the treat. It sure was good seeing you all again and I enjoyed the company so much, all the chit-chatting and catching up with one another’s lives, that I hardly felt the time fly by! I don’t know when we will meet again – in the meantime, may the good Lord bless and keep all of you wherever you may go throughout the coming Rabbit Year. 恭喜发财 新年快乐!!!

Y2K CAFE 千禧餐馆  (2.294220, 111.825753)…

…is located at No. 16, Jalan Tunku Osman, round the corner from that block of shops where the branches of AmBank & RHB Bank are located, with its back entrance facing the side (right, not the main one) entrance/exit of Methodist Secondary School.

He did it again…

A sweet young thing dropped by my house the other morning. I could see from the box…

…she was carrying that she was delivering the festive gifts from Anthony & Nica Plus

He did the same thing not only for Chinese New Year last year but for other auspicious occasions as well like the Mooncake Festival, for instance.

Inside the box, there were two packets of these marinated lamb chops…

…and two of these…

I remember I did mention in my review then that the kambing perap istimewa was really good and if one were to go and buy just one of the very wide selection, this would be the best choice!

Anthony also gave me what they call their “Rolling Fortune Set” that costs RM258.00! Gasp!!! It includes their curry chicken…

…beef rendang

daging masak hitam

…and a new addition this year, their yogurt lamb curry…

I certainly am looking forward to trying the latter!

Thank you so much, Anthony and everybody at Nica Plus! Here’s wishing you all a Happy, Healthy & Bountifully Prosperous Chinese New Year!!!

In the meantime, my ex-student, Dr. Toh, also dropped by my house to give me these peanuts…

…and these canned ones…

…as well. I went and googled and found out that in the Chinese culture, peanuts symbolise vitality, longevity, riches and honour, the unshelled ones, in particular.

Dr. Toh and his wife are the people actively involved in helping the special people at the Agape Centre and he enlisted my help in editing the books they are publishing for those special children. Of course I was only too glad to be able to lend a hand in some small way – “Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.  And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:45-46)

Dr. Toh also gave me these kuaci (melon seeds), black and white…

…as well as the flower (chrysanthemum) seeds…

A BIG thank you to you too, Teck Hock and your missus for the auspicious gifts. Wishing you and all your loved ones endless successes, good health and lots of wealth in the Rabbit Year!

NICA+ or NICA PLUS (2.296883,111.825859)…

…as it is called, is located on the ground floor of the block of shops, the first one to the right of the Old Sing Kwong Supermarket (Kin Orient Plaza) along Jalan Tun Abang Hj Openg.