My favourite things…

I’ve mentioned this takeaway food stall in my previous post but just in case some of you missed it, it is along Jalan Bandong at the car park in front/behind the shops and food centre. It opens around lunchtime only and a lot of people on their lunch breaks will stop there to buy on their way home.

Sibu's Bandong stall 1

They do sell the food economical fast-food style with rice but I did not ask how much they charge for that. There are some barbecued items as well – chicken wings, fish…but I don’t fancy those stuff that much, maybe just once in a while.

Sibu's Bandong stall 2

One thing that I like about this place is the fact that the food is tightly covered and they will only open up when somebody wants to buy something…

Sibu's Bandong stall 3

I must say those eating stalls across the road opposite the teacher-training institute in Sg Petani, Kedah should emulate this good practice, and I’m sure it will not take much effort nor incur a lot of extra expenses.

Oh dear! They’re running out of chicken kurma, it seems…

Sibu's Bandong stall 4

…but never mind ‘cos there are still a lot of other things to choose from – around 20, I reckon. Now, should I buy this Siti Nurhaliza’s “secret recipe to success” – ayam masak merah…

Sibu's Bandong stall 5

…or my all-time favourite – this tempting-looking rendang hati (liver rendang) ? I think I’ll just go with the latter…

Sibu's Bandong stall 6a

…and this is RM5 worth of it…

Sibu's Bandong stall 6b

…and perhaps I should buy some fish as well; the black pomfret curry (kari ikan bawal hitam) does look pretty nice too…

Sibu's Bandong stall 7a

Kari ikan lima ringgit, encik!” (RM5 of fish curry, mister!)…

Sibu's Bandong stall 7b

…plus RM3 worth of fried midin (jungle fern)…

Sibu's Bandong stall 8

Gee! RM13.00 altogether and that certainly is a lot of food for two for one meal (…but of course, I had a bit on my own for lunch – couldn’t resist “sampling”! LOL!!!). I think I’ll just save the fish for the next day…

So what’s for lunch today? Going to Bandong, anybody?

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No more (1)…

At one time, imported canned food from China used to be very cheap, and relatively cheaper than that from other countries overseas and at times, even cheaper than our own locally-manufactured stuff, but not anymore!!! Despite all the horror tales that I heard and knowing about the high salt content and extensive use of artificial preservatives, I still went on buying and consuming regardless, but not anymore!!! No more!!!

I used to love the Ma Ling luncheon meat and the Great Wall corned beef but the quality had dropped so much that they had become quite inedible. I was forced to turn to other alternatives like Linkz or Celebrity corned beef that cost around RM5-6.00 a can and I thought that was so expensive until the other day when I bought this can of Gulong stewed pork chops…

China's stewed pork chops

Good grief! That cost RM8.50 a tin!!! Daylight robbery!!! Well, that is it! No more! I am NOT going to buy canned food from China anymore after this! Gee! RM8.50!

The other day, I went to this foodstall here and bought RM5 worth of daging masak hitam and got a substantial amount, probably more than what we can find in that can of meat! And the best part was – it was very very nice! I also bought RM5 worth of ikan parek (stingray) curry and got one pot full. My missus and I had it for dinner, together with the masak hitam, and we had this much left over – enough for another meal…

Stingray curry

Now where is this foodstall, some of you may want to know? It’s at Bandong. They set up the stall around lunchtime and a lot of people going back on their lunchbreak will stop by and tapao home. I went again today and bought this yummy vegetable soup dish of cangkuk manis and ketola for only RM3.00…

Cangkuk manis and ketola

I didn’t exactly know what that was but one thing’s for sure, it wasn’t masak lemak as there was no trace of santan (coconut milk) and all the better too! Too much of santan isn’t healthy owing to its high cholesterol content. The ladies’ fingers masak sambal was absolutely delicious though! Two thumbs up! I really love it!

Ladies fingers masak sambal

That was RM3.00 worth. I added the hardboiled eggs myself for extra protein and just in case, the stingray curry was not enough for the two of us. So without including the price of the eggs, today, I only spent RM6.00 for dinner for two persons, and RM10.00 the other day. Cheap, eh?

In the face of the economic recession, we should be thinking along these lines – how to scrimp and save and not spend like there’s no tomorrow. Bank interest rates have dropped by 0.2% and I hope it will not slide further as I have to depend on the interest to supplement my measly pension! I shouldn’t have believed the crap I read in somebody’s blog on the EPF and withdrew every sen – at least, they give some 5% or so per year. Sigh! I wonder if they will let me put the money back in or not…

Happy together…

Last night, I went to a birthday gathering and the food was from the Sweet Family Restaurant at the Sibu Bus Station commercial area (Jaya Li Hua). I have featured this food outlet twice before – here and here.

It being a birthday, we had fried mee sua (thread/string noodles)…

Sweet Family's fried mee sua

…but from my personal point of view, I think Ruby Restaurant does it better, and we also had butter fish fillet which was not bad…

Sweeyt Family's butter sweet fillet

…and the house specialty – Philippine pork leg which I had the last time I ate there…

Sweet Family's Philippine pork leg

…and here, you can see my friend, Jimmy, from Bintulu, carving the trotter into manageable pieces…

Jimmy and the trotter

Oops! You forgot to breathe in, Jimmy! LOL!!

We also had some fried baby kai lan, sea cucumber soup and fruits for dessert. I could not stay too long as I had to rush home just in case the flood waters rose again…and thankfully, nothing of the sort happened!

Don’t let the sun go down on me…

If I remember correctly, the last time it happened was way back in 1993 – December 25th, Christmas night. It poured buckets the whole night through and at 4.00 a.m. my neighbour called telling me to move my car quickly. I bolted out of the house, drove the car to higher ground and waded back home in the knee-high flood waters. When I entered the house, I saw that the water had come into the living room – the Christmas presents, the Australian sheepskin floor rug were all swimming around.

I alerted my wife and the maid (I had one then) and in a jiffy, we moved the refrigerator and the gas cooker upstairs and then started to shift the other things to a higher level. The water subsided the next day when the rain stopped…but by evening, it rose to an even higher level – up the split level until two steps up the staircase. We were stranded for three days but at least, we could do the cooking as the two most essential items were salvaged in time. (After the flood had subsided, I had to call  10 young and strong students to the house to get the refrigerator down! Amazing what strength one may have in an emrgency!) All my neighbours could not save anything – their refrigerator, piano…all those were submerged and damaged in the flood that year. What had caused it then? Well, they were constructing a bridge or doing some works along one of the tributaries of the Sungai Merah and had obstructed the drainage. There wasn’t any flood in much of the other parts of town that were not within the vicinity of the watershed.

Well, it has happened again this year – January, 2009…and I’m not really sure what the reason is this time. For one thing, it had been raining cats and dogs non-stop for the last three days. On Sunday morning, a friend of mine from the Ulu Sg Merah/Nang Sang area had driven through the flood and he and his family were safely on dry ground before his Unser broke down. They took refuge at my house the whole day and by evening, when the flood had worsened and the rain showed no sign of abating, he hired a lorry to send them back to their house, leaving his car at my place.

By nightfall, the water had reached my place and this was the scene from my water-filled car porch when I woke up on Monday morning…

Sibu flood January 2009

(Looks familiar, Stanleycarter? LOL!!!) Just an inch or two and the water would have entered the house…

Sibu flood - January 2009 2

By afternoon, the water had subsided and the sun came out for some three hours or so. At least, there were glimpses of blue sky among the clouds and other than some slight drizzle now and then, it did not actually rain for the rest of the day.

Sibu flood - January 2009 3

Like in 1993, much of Sibu town including the flood-prone Lanang Road was not affected, so I reckon it has got something to do with the drainage into Sungai Merah, aggravated by the king tide at this time of the month. All I could do was to pray that the weather would hold all through the night and the wretched flood waters would not be back…

I think it did rain a bit in the night but the water level is much lower this morning. It looks like the worst has passed…

P.S.
You can hop over to victorkiu.com to see photos of the more severely-stricken areas.

Do that to me one more time…

I had mentioned somewhere that I would be going for dinner at the Blue Splendour Restaurant here again one week after the birthday celebration I attended recently. This time, it was the wedding reception of my ex-student, Clement, whose mother was my ex-colleague in Sacred Heart until she and her sons migrated to New Zealand for the kids to further their studies there.

Thankfully, the dishes, though similar, were a bit different. Many were surprised that the fruits were served first but if I’m not mistaken, it seems to the the proper thing to do – healthwise, that is. Then, we had the Four Seasons platter…

Blue Splendour dinner 1

The items were not exactly the same as what we had a week earlier, and after that came the not-to-be-named soup and it was green in colour!

Blue Splendour dinner 2a

Don’t ask me why it was green because I do not know! Even the waitress did not know and some people at the same table were speculating that they added wheatgrass…

Blue Splendour dinner 2b

There were bits of fish maw in the soup as well. It tasted a bit different from the usual but it was nice (But I would prefer the original recipe though!). The steamed fish was next…

Blue Splendour dinner 3

…and more speculation ensued, this time as to what type of fish it was. They thought it was “ikan semah“, one of those freshwater fish from upriver that is worth its weight in gold – some RM200-300 a kilo…but they were of the opinion that this one was from a fish farm as it had a slight “mud” smell to it. They do rear this type of fish these days and others like “ikan tangadak” but they do not come cheap either. I encountered it once at the market and it was going for RM50 a kilo. I’d much sooner go for snowfish and the like. This came after the fish…

Blue Splendour dinner 4

…braised sea cucumber and broccoli. I’m not really into this dish but it was okay. I’d rather have sea cucumber stuffed with minced meat and braised in thick soy sauce and five spice powder. But I loved what came next – braised pork belly with man tao (steamed plain buns)…

Blue Splendour dinner 5

Ooo…it was absolutely delicious and unfortunately, they only had a bun per person at the table so I could not have a second helping. Then came this dish of scallops, water chestnuts, mushrooms and celery…

Blue Splendour dinner 6

…which was, in my point of view, just so-so. But I loved the cereal prawns which was a welcome change from the ones last week that were coated with sesame seeds…

Blue Splendour dinner 7

I had a few of those and quite a number of spoonfuls of the “or nee” or yam dessert…

Blue Splendour dinner 8

It was not sweet, my compliments to the chef! Those at other restaurants are way too sweet to my liking and this one was also different as it had slices of sweet potato in it and some seeds at the top. Very nice!

Well, that should be the last of the sit-down Chinese 8-course dinners for the Rat Year…unless something crops up unexpectedly, but with Chinese New Year coming in a couple of weeks, I guess dieting and slimming down (a bit) will have to be temporarily put on hold. LOL!!!

My little girl…

I stumbled upon this song by Tim McGraw on youtube and I wanna share it with everybody. The lyrics go like this:

Gotta hold on easy as I let you go.
Gonna tell you how much I love you
Though you think you already know.
I remember I thought
You looked like an angel
Wrapped in pink so soft and warm.
You’ve had me wrapped around your finger
Since the day you were born.

When you were in trouble
That crooked little smile could melt my heart of stone
Now look at you, I’ve turned around
And you’ve almost grown.
Sometimes you’re asleep, I whisper “I Love You!”
In the moonlight at your door.
As I walk away, I hear you say,
“Daddy Love You More!”.

Someday, some boy will come
And ask me for your hand.
But I won’t say “yes” to him unless I know
He’s the half that makes you whole
He has a poet’s soul
And the heart of a man’s man.
I know he’ll say that he’s in love.
But between you and me,
He won’t be good enough!

[Chorus:]
You’re beautiful, baby, from the outside in.
Chase your dreams but always know the road
That’ll lead you home again.
Go on, take on this whole world.
But to me, you know you’ll always be,
My little girl.

Mel's 18th birthday

I guess anyone can tell why I fell in love with the song…..instantly, and here, I’d like to share it with all of you! Hugzzz!!!!

Honesty…

I was driving to my tuition class the other afternoon when I heard this song on RedeFm – the RTM station in Kuching. They have English programmes from 10.00 a.m. till 4.00 p.m. and you can get to hear a lot of very nice songs – from my point of view, at least.

This was the first time that I’ve heard this song which, if I’m not mistaken, was released in 2003 and I liked it instantly. Nope, it’s not the one with the same title by Billy Joel. This one is about an estranged married couple breaking up and getting divorced and I think the lyrics are really nice. You can click the link on the song title to listen to it and I have the lyrics for you as well below…

Single cd cover

Honesty (Write me a list) – Rodney Atkins

He said, “Just think it over,and write me a list
So we can figure out what we both deserve”
She hardly could believe it, their love had come to this
Dividing and deciding his and hers
But she grabbed a paper napkin and asked the waitress for a pen
And one by one, she wrote down what she wanted most from him

Honesty, sincerity, tenderness and trust
A little less time for the rest of the world
And more for the two of us
Kisses each mornin’, I love you’s at night
Just like it used to be
The way life was when you were in love with me

She reached across the table and placed it in his hand
And said, “You know this isn’t easy for me”
As he thought about the new car, the house and the land
And wondered what that bottom line would be
And a thousand other things that she’d want him to leave behind
But he never dreamed he’d open up that napkin and find

Honesty, sincerity, tenderness and trust
A little less time for the rest of the world
And more for the two of us
Kisses each mornin’, I love you’s at night
Just like it used to be
The way life was when you were in love with me

Well, he fought back the tears as he looked in her eyes
And said, “I don’t know where to start”
And she said, “Everything on that list in your hand
Is written somewhere in your heart”

Honesty, sincerity, just like it used to be
The way life was when you were in love with me

Do post a comment to tell me whether you like the song or not. I would think that this is certainly something that all husbands and wives, as well as everyone intending to tie the knot, should take note of.  Have a nice weekend, everybody!