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.

My pleasure…

Nothing beats getting together with loved ones on special occasions and that was why when my cousin invited me over to his Hari Raya Haji open house that day, I wasted no time in replying and telling him that it would be my pleasure and I would be very happy to be there with him and all in his family.

It so happened that his missus celebrated her birthday a few days earlier so when everyone was home, the daughter went and got a cake from none other than Marcus – just like us and everybody else, they love his cakes too – and got her to cut it, surrounded by all her grandchildren…

Birthday

It sure was a beautiful moment – one could feel all the love and joy all around.

Of course, there was a whole lot of food…

Buffet

I so loved the ayam masak merah

Ayam masak merah

…that I went back for more, twice, at least!

There was Sarawak laksa too, cooked by their West Malaysian daughter-in-law but by the time I had feasted on everything, I was way too full to go and have a try but I did try a bit of the broth from my daughter’s bowl and it was really very good.

My cousin will always get one caterer here everytime, the sister of the people at this cafe that is very popular for their kampua mee and they had that…

kampua mee

…in the buffet spread too. I did go for it and I would say it was a cut above their mee goreng

Mee goreng

I enjoyed the ikan terubok masin

Ikan terubok masin

…to the max and my cousin’s wife cooked this pajeri nenas

Pajeri nenas

…and it was very good too.

There were cakes and a lot of other things too and we sure had a great time there, sitting and chatting and laughing…and meeting other next-of-kin and old friends from the kampung.

Thank you so much to my cousin, his missus and all in the family for the invitation and the wonderful hospitality. I sure wouldn’t want to miss special occasions like this for the world!

Ties that bind…

Despite the not very conducive conditions at the school in the jungle and the horrendous hazardous journey on the yet-to-be-completed highway to go there and back, after over six years there, my girl did have some kind of bond with her colleagues there.

They are very nice people and they did help my girl out a lot of times…but when she left, it was kind of abrupt. The letter came and she had to report in her new school right away so there was a simple assembly that morning, the 12th of last month, before the pupils dispersed and all the goodbyes were said there and then and we left as soon it was done.

That was why I told her we could host a gathering and invite everybody to get together to express our sincere appreciation of the friendships made and the good times spent together over the years. We picked Sunday, the 21st of July, as Monday was a public holiday here, Sarawak’s Independence Day. It turned out that it was not really a good day as some of them had made plans to go home to the peninsula or to Kuching or go somewhere so not all of them could make it that night.

For the venue, we picked this place where I had my high school reunion parties in 2013 and again, in April this year and I picked my personal favourites here.

The daging masak hitam (beef)…

Li Hua masak hitam

…was a hot favourite. In fact, theirs is so good that people would specially order it to take home and serve, for instance, for Chinese New Year. They are selling it at RM60 a kg.

Everyone sang praises of the kiam sor hay (salty and crispy prawns)…

Li Hua kiam sor hay

…how fresh and how deliciously done they were. Those crustaceans that size sure do not come cheap here, around RM55 a kg.

My girl had quite a number of the honey chicken wings…

Li Hua honey chicken wings

…and I did have one or two as well and yes, they were nice too.

The curry was good…

Li Hua chicken curry

…though I was wishing there were a lot more potatoes in it. I love them in curry!

I did not try the mixed vegetables…

Li Hua mixed vegetables

I heard some people saying that it was good but everyone loved the cangkuk manis

Li Hua cangkok manis

…and I had quite a lot of it myself.

I asked for plain rice as some of those dishes would go well with it but I had a lot more of the fried noodles…

Li Hua fried mee

…and even packed what was left to take home.

There were fruits and some very nice agar-agar (jelly) in the buffet spread but I went and bought these coconut tarts

Aroma coconut tarts

…and also their mini sponge cake tarts…

Aroma mini sponge cake tarts

…for something a little bit extra special for dessert. They were a hit and no prize for guessing which one the kids loved the most.

My girl’s colleagues bought her a very nice cookware set……

Gifts

and I did invite some of my friends as well for what I called a makan selamat especially those who followed my posts on Facebook faithfully and never failed to wish us well on our perilous weekly drives up and down the Pain-Borneo highway over the years. Thank God we survived that without any untoward incidents or accidents, praise the Lord. Some of them did bring a little something for us though they shouldn’t have – thank you so much, and most of all, thank you to everybody for taking the time off to attend our simple get-together.

I sure enjoyed myself – the food, the company and also the karaoke singing. Should I have an excuse to host another party like this again, I most certainly would not hesitate to do so.

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.

Another year…

It has been two years now since the day my father passed on from this world – the anniversary was on Friday, the 12th of July. We had prayers at the house the previous night as there was something on in the church on Friday and it was not so convenient to get everybody together on the actual day.

My girl was working in the morning…

Morning

…so we could not go to my parents’ resting place…

Resting place

…to offer flowers…

Flowers

…and prayers till that afternoon on the aforementioned day.

It was almost 4.00 p.m. when we got back into town and we stopped by here for tea before sending my sister back to the house and going back home ourselves. It was a hot day so all of us had the ang tao peng or iced red bean (RM3.50)…

Ang tao peng

…with a special request for extra gula Melaka and it sure was very good. My missus, however, chose to have their cendol instead.

For want of something to eat, I ordered my girl’s favourites, the sotong kangkong, large (RM10.00)…

Sotong kangkong

…which seems to get increasingly expensive each passing year and the salad sotong (RM7.00)…

Salad sotong

…which was only RM5.00 in 2012 but never mind that the prices are escalating by the day, as long as we enjoyed our orders, that was all that mattered and we sure did.

SIBU THOMSON CORNER (2.296517, 111.840710) is located at Pusat Tanahwang, opposite Sacred Heart Secondary School, Oya Road or you can go to their other outlet on the 1st floor of the Medan Mall, Jalan Wong King Huo.

Papa…

For so many years now, we would celebrate Father’s Day a day earlier as on Sundays, we would have to make our way to my girl’s school in the jungle but of course, this year, it was different and we could celebrate the special occasion on the actual day itself.

My girl went and got me this lovely black forest cake…

Cake

…from this bakery round the corner from my house and she got me to cut it first thing in the morning and we had that for breakfast. 

After that, we went to pick my sister and we all went to our parents’ resting place…

Flowers and prayers for Father's Day

…to offer flowers and prayers to my dad especially, in conjunction with Father’s Day.

We got back into town at around 11.00 a.m. and we went for lunch at this Korean place here that we do like a lot – my girl’s special treat. Most places open at 12.00 noon and close at 2.00 p.m. and will reopen at 6.00 p.m. for dinner which makes me wonder why they bother to open for those two hours only. At least, they should open a bit early, at around 11.00 a.m. like this one and if they have to, they can close at 3.00 p.m.

We just ordered our favourites that day, dishes that we had had before and enjoyed a lot so of course, I insisted on having the galbi tang (갈비탕)…

Galbi tang

…the Korean beef short ribs soup.

As usual, we were served the complimentary refillable ban chan (반찬)…

Ban chan

…and my girl wanted the gun mandu (군만두)…

Gun mandu

…again and needless to say, the dolsot bibimbap (돌솥비빔밥)…

Bibimbap

…too.

We also had the moksal or neck meat…

Moksal

…and ate that wrapped in lettuce with garlic slices, Bombay onion, strips of spring onion with some special sauce and the spicy Korean tau cheo sauce…

Eat it this way

…and we also had this pork belly marinated with Korean red chili paste, the gochujang (고추장)…

Gochujang pork belly

…and ate it that same way too. I would say that it was just as nice and we sure would not mind ordering that again the next time we drop by here.

My girl insisted on picking up the tab and had to fork out over RM140.00, inclusive of drinks, for all that we had for 4 persons. If I remember correctly, the beef soup is already over RM40.00 and the two pork dishes add up to around RM50.00 but considering how much we enjoyed everything, value for money, we certainly would look forward to coming back here again. 

KIMCHEE KOREAN BAR.BQ (2.296883,111.825859) is located on the first floor in the block of shops to the right of the Old Sing Kwong Supermarket (Kin Orient Plaza) along Jalan Tun Abang Hj Openg.

Be one…

It was Pentecost Sunday…

Pentecost at St Mary's

…and in an effort to bring the members of the church closer to one another, the parish priest announced the declaration of the 10th of June, the Feast of Our Lady, Mother of The Church, the following day, Monday, as our Parish Day beginning this year and there was a little celebration

Come Holy Spirit

…that day including a pot luck breakfast in the parish hall after the Sunday service that morning.

There was a big cake, a very nice one with the fragrance of coffee and chocolate but they had already started cutting it up before I could take  a photograph of it and because it would be the parish priest’s birthday the following Sunday, they got him another cake, a smaller one…

Birthday

…specially for the occasion.

There were lots of cakes, swiss rolls…

Swiss roll

…fruit cakes…

Fruit cake

…curry and sardine puffs…

Puffs

…egg tarts…

Egg tarts

…and Portuguese egg tarts…

Portuguese egg tarts

…and I enjoyed the beef satay that somebody cooked, eaten with bread.

I brought these Jakar sio bee (meat dumplings)…

Jakar sio bee

…as my contribution to the party – two whole trays like the one in the photograph and they were gone in no time at all. Everybody loved them, it seemed and the good thing is these days, we can get them very easily from this shop round the corner from my house. My missus made cups of fruit jelly (dadih) and they were a hot favorite as well.

We certainly had a great time at the gathering, enjoying what everyone had brought along to share and chit-chatting and getting to know one another better, a step forward from the usual hello and goodbye each time we meet when we go for the weekly Sunday service in the church.