The times they are a-changing…

When I was a young boy, kampua was 50 cents a plate with meat and 30 cents without and coffee was 20 cents a cup. One could enjoy breakfast for less than one dollar (That was the currency we used then!). Gradually, it went up to two ringgit and then three…and the other day, I stopped by a coffee shop to have a plate of mee goreng Melayu (fried noodles Malay-style) and kopi-o peng (black coffee) and it cost me RM4.20…

Mee goreng melayu

The worst thing was that neither the noodles nor the coffee were that great…and they certainly were not worth the money. With that consideration in mind, I think from now onwards, I would just prepare my own breakfast at home…and eat out once a week after the church service on Sundays. Like yesterday, I had this bowl of Sarawak laksa at Sibu Thomson Corner and gee! The price had gone up to RM4.70! Good grief!!!

Sibu Thomson Corner laksa

Eating out once a week on Sundays would be exactly like how it was when I was little. Life was a lot simpler and cheaper (and healthier?) then. These days, we eat out with the family so often that it has ceased to be anything special. During our younger days, we would hope and pray that somebody in the family would get married so that we would be able to tag along with our parents to the wedding banquet. Nowadays, the kids would sulk and say, “Not again!…Boring!” They are not in the least interested and I guess we can’t blame them!

So it’s back to home-cooked meals for me…and for breakfast, I can have fried rice if there’s any leftover from the previous day, or I can select from an array of choices…

Oodles of noodles

I can have instant noodles or kway teow, or some mee sua perhaps…or I can use the egg noodles to make something like kampua (with soy sauce). For example, I cooked myself this bowl of kway teow soup…

kway teow soup

It only costs 80 sen a packet and if you add the cost of the egg – say 30 sen, that will only cost RM1.10 (excluding the coriander leaves). Incidentally, two half-boiled eggs at Thomson Corner here cost RM1.40, that is 70 sen each!!! Goodness gracious! That’s more expensive than gerrie’s free-range eggs!!!

Anyway, to get back to what I was rambling about – making and eating breakfast at home, that is, I have taken out my 27-year-old coffee percolator to brew my own coffee…

Fresh coffee brew

How much is kopi-o peng now in the shops? RM1.50 a glass? If it is nice, like Ruby’s, then it isn’t so bad…but then more often than not, it tastes like dark-coloured sugar syrup. I won’t say that it tastes like ditch water (even though it sometimes looks like that) as I’ve never had that before! Anyway,I used to take instant coffee as I was too lazy and when I was working, I did not have the time (nor the patience) but now I have all the time in the world, and instant coffee is getting way too expensive too! Here in Sibu, we can get very nice ground coffee at around RM15-16 a kilo at Mui Hock; in fact, Ruby also buys the coffee powder from there. Incidentally, there are more expensive and cheaper varieties, if you’re interested, but a friend of mine gave me 1 kg beginning of last month…or was it towards the end of May? Now that will last for quite sometime before I’ll have to go out and buy my own. Ah! Just like old times…when I was a kid, and every morning, my mum would have a pot of freshly-brewed coffee on the dining room table and the fragrant aroma would fill the whole house! Ummmm!!!!…..Some things don’t have to change!

Some like it hot…

Well, I most certainly do! That was why when my mother-in-law gave us two huge pieces of bay ka or ikan tenggiri (mackerel) that day, we used those to cook some assam (tamarind) fish curry. It seems that my in-laws do not like fish which, of course, works in our favour. Well, we did not bother to go out and buy the usual veg for this dish – ladies’ fingers, brinjal, pineapples – and to replace all that, we just threw in some durian flowers that we got from her as well.

Assam fish curry

To go with that, I had some four-angle beans so I pounded some sambal belacan (prawn paste with chilli)and had that for ulam (dip). That was yummy!!

4-angle beans ulam

However, instead of taking the veg raw, I steamed it first…like what I would usually do with ladies’ fingers and brinjal when I have them for ulam. Don’t!!! Not with four-angle beans! Just take it raw like cucumber…Nice and crunchy!!!

So, apart from the nitty-gritty ingredients used, basically it was a free meal. My foster-cousin in the kampung gave me those four-angle beans. In view of the rising prices of things, she (and my aunt in the kampung too) have started planting vegetables around their houses…which works in my favour as well for they will always spare me some.

It certainly is good to see some positively-inclined people taking measures to enable them to sail through the economic slowdown without feeling the pinch that much. If you still insist on carrying on the way you are used to regardless, shopping and dining and spending like there is no tomorrow, then that is your prerogative; just don’t grumble about the escalating expenses that you incur. It all boils down to a matter of having the right attitude and sense of responsibility and self-control and setting priorities. We should be able to differentiate between our needs…and our wants!

Oops! Sorry I digressed…..

Hello goodbye…

Well, sort of…for we just met up for a while on Thursday night. Sarikei blogger, willchua, was in town and wanted to meet everybody so it was arranged that we would meet at Kokoberry which is slowly but surely becoming the bloggers’ HQ, it seems. Here, you can see the very generous towkayneo-who-would-not-want-to-be-called-towkayneo promoting her products to willchua…

willchua at Kokoberry

Kuching blogger, kongkay ,was also there…and it turned out that he was someone I had known since a long, long time ago! Oh dear! That was a dead giveaway, wasn’t it? Now you all know he’s no spring chicken…like me! LOL!!! But he’s much younger than me though, if that’s any consolation!!! By the way, all you food lovers should visit his blog as he has a lot of that, and recipes too!!! Poor kongkay! It seemed goolooloo was pre-occupied with the cappucino she was serving willchua at the time…

Kongkay at Kokoberry

Too bad, ladies! Both the guys are camera shy…so you’ll have to be satisfied with their backsides. Oops! What I mean is you can only see their backs in the photographs! LOL!!!!! And that leaves you all with not much choice other than to feast your eyes on this eye candy

Huai Bin at Kokoberry

Hahahahahahaha!!! Being quite a regular in my blog lately, he certainly needs no introduction and wow! Just look at him doing what he does best!!! ROTFLMAO!!! He was having “Traffic Light”, one of the drinks available at Kokoberry. It is actually their version of the angtau cendol and I was the one who ordered it first. This was what I got…

Traffic Light at Kokoberry

Notice the difference? What traffic light is that? No colour at all! And look at Huai Bin’s! His was so nice and colourful!!! Humph!!! Unfair!!! Discrimination!!! When you’re not young and handsome, you do not get the same treatment from the sweet young things at the counter, it seems! Hahahahaha!!! Anyway, what’s my verdict? Well, it was very nice and I think I liked it more than the cappucino that I had the last time goolooloo gave us a treat…just that it was not colourful! Humph! Humph! Humph! Good grief! Am I turning into a grumpy old man? LOL!!!

Well, we stayed around there until the mall was about to close, chatting with the two visiting bloggers and getting to know one another, and bengbeng of mylongkang.com was there for a while too but had to leave earlier owing to prior commitments. In the course of the conversation, goolooloo asked Huai Bin why his bedsheet was so cartoonish for a 27-year old. Well, how do you like mine, goolooloo?…..

Bedsheet for insomniacs

That would be the perfect bed linen for insomniacs, don’t you think?…..They can spend their time counting sheep!!! LOL!!! It was nice meeting the two…and I certainly hope it will not be one of those “hello goodbye” kind of thing. Till we meet again…..

Where have all the flowers gone (1)…

Well, some people have eaten them…and yours truly is guilty as charged. As far as I know, many people love durians while some cannot stand the smell. I don’t mind durian…but I absolutely love it served as a dessert, Thai style with pulut (glutinous rice) and santan (coconut milk). Drool! Drool! Other than that, I also like unripe durian cooked sayur rebus style. Anyway, this post is not going to be about the fruits…but about the flowers.

emblatame's photo@www.flickr.com

You can collect the flowers when they have dropped from the tree and then, taking the stamens, you have to remove the anthers, leaving only the filament.  You must not wash the flowers prior to that or else, the anthers will become sticky. For this same reason, it is better not to collect the flowers if it has been raining.

Now, there are several ways of cooking the flowers and one of which is with kunyit (tumeric) masak lemak (with santan/coconut milk) 

Durian flowers kunyit masak lemak

or you can fry them with sambal udang kering (dried prawns)…

Durian flowers with sambal

A friend of mine once bought from the market some of the pounded ingredients for cooking curry and she just fried that in oil before adding the durian flowers and salt and msg. She let me try a bit and it was also very tasty.

Well, no-meat Friday is here again, so if I can have a dish of durian flowers to go with the rice, plus a bit of this umai (Melanau-style raw fish), that would definitely be a feast to behold… 

Melanau-style umai

Anyone care to join me…? LOL!!!

Footnote: The umai is from 3-Q Takeaway, located in the middle block (ground floor, to the left) at the Sibu Medical Centre. The food there is very nice (available for takeways only) and I love the kacang-ma. The only drawback is that there is no fixed menu so one will never know what they will cook on which days.

Welcome to the black parade…

Gundot emailed me this photo sometime ago…

Unique ceiling

It is actually a lounge for smokers with a very unique but somewhat morbid ceiling. I wonder who came up with that idea! LOL!!!

To be honest, I smoke too…but not at the expense of others. When I am at airconditioned public places, I will make it a point to go outside to smoke. Thus, when Sophia took me and my family to dinner at The Junk in Kuching, a relatively posh place with relatively high prices, we were somewhat put off when a guy at the next table started smoking. The management said that people could smoke there as the windows were open, but giving due consideration to the other diners, they should have smoking and non-smoking zones. After all, they have tables along the five-foot way outside, so those who wish to smoke can just go there.

Freaky Nami's photo@www.flickr.com

Here in Sibu, a place that I frequent quite regularly is the coffee house at Garden Hotel because the food is nice and comparatively cheaper for places like that. But unfortunately, I have encountered somebody smoking on more than one occasion. They have a nice and comfortable open air section with ceiling fans…and yet, those inconsiderate individuals simply refuse to eat there. In the past, the place doubled as a pub after 9.00 p.m. with Filipino bands playing ear-splitting music. There was a sign that stated that smoking was prohibited except after 9.00 p.m. but when I had lunch there, there were people puffing away like a chimney. Once, I complained to the captain on duty but she said diners were permitted to smoke. Then, when I asked her about the sign, she just walked away with an expression on her face that seemed to imply that I was the fuss-pot, the bad guy!!!

Elfleda's photo@www.flickr.com

Anybody else has had some unpleasant experiences like these?   

Hello again…

Hello, my friend, hello…! Well, it was good to see you again, Bongkersz, even though it was just a fleeting visit.

That’s right! He was in town for a while on Sunday, reaching here at around 8.30 a.m. and I took him for breakfast at Grace Cafe in the Dewan Suarah area to appease his craving for dianpianngu. Here’s a photo of him saying grace before he licked the bowl clean…(Don’t let your imagination run wild now eh? LOL!!!)

Good grief! Just a couple of weeks in Kuching and don’t you think he has put on weight? Somebody must be feeding him very well! Look at those cute, chubby cheeks!!! Like a fat baby’s that people love to cubit-cubit!!! ROTFLMAO!!

Bongkersz saying grace

The following mylongkang’s photo was uploaded onto flickr by cibol; it was taken when they were in Sibu earlier this year around Chinese New Year. Don’t you think Bongkersz was slimmer and younger then…..and he looked much better with hair? Hahahahahahaha!!!!

bernard.archibald's photo@www.flickr.com

Anyway, to get back to what I was talking about, Huai Bin (sixthseal.com) and Mary (goolooloo.com) joined us later. Umm…actually Huai Bin came first because the towkay-neo (lady boss) had some business to attend to…and then, instead of heading to where we were, she went to the original dianpianngu place in the town centre and since it was already past 11 then, we decided to meet at Ruby Restaurant instead.

Since his last trip, Bongkersz had been yearning for the butter scotch prawns at the Ruby Restaurant here in Sibu;all his efforts to find a place in KL or Kuching that cooks prawns that same way have been in vain…so I decided to let him have another go at it.

Ruby's butter scotch prawns again

I also ordered his favourite cangkuk manis

Ruby's cangkuk manis again

Huai Bin loves the butter cheese baby kai lan there so we had that too…

Ruby's butter cheese baby kailan again

I wanted to try something different, so I ordered pork belly with dried chillies and salted fish. Goolooloo loved it…but although it was very nice, I think what I had once at stall no. 7 at Taman Selera Muhibbah was nicer. Perhaps they should add more salted fish…and use the “long” type instead for extra “fragrance”.

Ruby's pork belly with dried chilli and salted fish

You can find some more photographs if you bother to click the links to the other blogs but without doubt, it was a delightful lunch, considering particularly the company one was with…and I was pretty sure Bongkersz had a good time too before he left to return to Kuching via Sarikei. I hope you found your trip worthwhile, my friend, and do come again sometime…

Stop and stare…

WHAT is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?

yaari's photo@www.flickr.com

No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:

Walt K's phto@www.flickr.com

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:

law_kevin's photo@www.flickr.com

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:

jack4pic's photo@www.flickr.com

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:

the opera mafia's photo@www.flickr.com

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?

KKl's photo@www.flickr.com

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

 

Leisure by W. H. Davies