Archive for December, 2009

Guess who’s engaged?

I’m back in Perth! I was horribly sick when I returned but I’m much better now.But I’m also back at work (T___T).

It’s always difficult leaving Kuching and my parents behind. There’s my Ah Pa buying his soft cone at the airport again, he also bought one for my brother who had no trouble eating it despite having dislocated his shoulder playing futsal *duh*.

But it’s good to come back to Perth as well. Especially when there are nice things like great coffee waiting for you.

And then there’s them. And a special someone.

It’s nice to come back to this too.

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The mother of all Kuching posts

I’m flying back to Perth this afternoon so I thought I had better post the last of my Kuching photos.

It was Bryan’s last breakfast in Kuching before he returned to Sabah, and we farewelled him with the king of Foochow hawker fare, the Kampua mee. If you haven’t guessed by now, we’re of Foochow descent so kampua mee, char zhu mee and the likes are normal breakfast items for my father. Kampua mee is perhaps Foochow version of kolo mee, stickier, oilier and mixed with oodles of chilli sauce or soy sauce, very yummy. This is Richard’s daily breakfast when he’s in Kuching.

The kopitiam we went to is also popular for it’s seafood kolo mee. My dad ordered seafood kolo mee pok for the boys.

My brother likes the yam char kueh here, a little bit tougher than the normal char kueh, but I love all things yam so this was very nice.

Guess where we headed to next? The capital of Kuching, the Spring of course! My father bought the signature tall soft cones for Jason to try.

Hehe, I like this photo a lot. I am not a fan of icecream but I really like soft cones, I think I developed this penchant from my dad who can always be seen with a soft cone when waiting for us at the airport arrival halls. When I was young, my father would give Jo and I money to buy pandan soft cone with chocolate sprinkles from a little store called Moonlight in Kenyalang. One for Jo, one for me, one for my brother and an extra one for my ah pa. Up to now, Moonlight pandan icecream is still the best soft cone I’ve ever had, sadly they closed down years ago.

We had a bit of a laksa hunt before we went to Spring but all the laksa stalls were closed. So Brio had to settle for laksa in Spring’s food court which he says was still delicious.We sent Bryan off to the airport and stopped by 101 for dinner where Jason had bak kut teh again!

But guess what we had the next morning for brunch?? Bak kut teh again!

Mum ordered a dry bak kut teh for Jason to try but I’m sure he preferred the soupy version. Jason and I met up with his Kuching friend from Perth who turned out to be Sze Kang, a close family friend’s son, so close his sister even MC-ed at my sister’s wedding. Sze Kang was also classmates with Asrul and Richard in the past, is Kuching a small world or what?

We picked my brother up from the airport and headed to Four point hotel for our Christmas eve dinner. I thought the buffet was pretty impressive but we all agreed that the best buffet we’ve ever had was at Hongkong Disneyland. I guess Mickey Mouse and all the Disney characters running around added to the appeal.

Pretty christmas mini muffins.

Jason posing with the seafood buffet, we spent most of out time at the seafood counter and sashimi counter. Asrul, Mark and his gf were at the same buffet as well, but all different tables.

I’m not sure whether it was the seafood, sashimi or pure indigestion, but I spent the rest of the night and early morning clutching my stomach in agony. It was pretty bad and I had to wave Jason away to have breakfast with my parents without me. In the afternoon when I felt better, I braved another ‘eating ice’ episode with Sze Kang and Asrul.

It was a pity that my stomach couldn’t withstand any ices because the Swee Kang shop that Asrul brought us too was so crowded and the ice kachangs looked really nice.

The really nice boys who brought Jason out for dinner at Buntal later in the night while I stayed at home and rested.

So it was goodbye to Jason the next morning and hello doctor. My brother fell ill during the night as well so both of us had to go to the doctor for some meds. Then it was some quiet time with my parents, just accompanying them on errands and doing some last minute shopping. We went back to Hui Sen and the satay shop was open, it’s a pity Jaso and Brio didn’t get to try the satay here.

My last breakfast in Kuching is Jo’s ultimate first stop in Kuching, the kueh chap. I predicted that the kueh chap lady would ask where was Joanne and I was right (^__^).

So I’m all packed up and ready to fly back to Perth where I know Jo, HC and Richard will b waiting for my presents me. The Kuching trip didn’t actually go to plan, there were many highs and lows but the best part was showing Jaso and Brio around, and spending time with my family.

I’m so spoilt in Kuching. In the fridge are boxes of sliced nashi pears (my fav) that my ah pa prepares for me. My ah pa and ah ma spent the morning driving to my favourite salad chicken rice stall to see whether it was open so they could dapao it for me (it wasn’t open). Sigh, I have the best parents.

The good news is I’m not really sad to be leaving Kuching, because I know I will be back in a month for Chinese New Year! It will be my first CNY since I don’t know when, and this time Jo and HC will definitely be back with me (and maybe even Jan!).

So bye Kuching, I’ll be back real soon.

Jaso’s Day 2 : Bring on the bak kut teh

I thought we were going to start Jason’s Day 2 with bak kut teh for breakfast.

But Jason said that bak kut teh was more of a lunch thing, and my parents were eager to let the boys sample some foochow delights.

So breakfast was ‘cha zhu mee’ , a foochow soupy noodle.

I ordered the original foochow noodles which tastes quite similar to the char zhu mee only it’s less soupy.

Surprisingly the boys liked ‘zhao chai hong gan’ best with Jason saying that it was very appetizing.

Jason had the Teh C Special, come to think of it, I haven’t had any Teh C Pengs since I’ve been back, I’ve been drinking kopi everyday, oh no, I’m really a caffeine addict now.

On the way home we stopped by the waterfront and the boys took pictures in front of the new State Assembly building and Sarawak river.

Haha, we even took the absolute must tourist photo in front of the Kuching cat who was wearing his/her Christmas outfit. The boys were a bit embarrassed but I thought it was hilarious *until they forced me to take a picture too and uploaded it on Facebook*

It was a hot day but it was cooling and windy on my front porch. Jason finally ate some of the rambutans that my father had been saving for him from our garden.

Lunch! Jason’s long awaited bak kut teh. Bryan’s request for Kuching was ‘kolo mee’, Jason’s consisted of two things ‘bak kut teh’ and ‘starfruit juice’. Jason fell in love with bak kut teh during his last trip to Kuching 6 years ago, so we fulfilled his wish and brought him for our favourite bak kut teh.

See, happy bak kut teh eating person! Hahaha.

We didn’t just have bak kut teh, the kopitiam that we go to also served good pork leg rice which we usually order with duck and if Jo is around, an extra egg.

The eating didn’t stop there, it never stops in Kuching actually. Dinner was seafood at Top Spot. Asrul arrived just as the food was being served and joined us for dinner.

We ate all the seafood classics, butter prawns which Jason loves.

Local veg midin with sambal which is always a huge hit and must order in Kuching.

Joanne’s favourite crabs cooked with egg. We had a bit of trouble finishing this one, everyone kept saying ‘if only Joanne was here!’ Obviously Joanne = crab queen.

Jan and Andy will be happy to know that there are lots of karaoke joints in Kuching now. We went to the one on top of Crown Square. Even though we always tease Asrul about his less than melodious singing, I must admit, it was really nice to hear him singing that night.

When all the singing was over, we headed over to the Petanak market for some late night drinks. It was surreal being with the boys that I usually hang out with in Perth only we were all in Kuching! Surely a once in a lifetime memory?

Jason left for Hongkong this morning to continue his Christmas holidays. I hope you had a nice time in Kuching Jaso, I’m sorry I got sick during the last couple of days and couldn’t show you around.I hope this marathon of bak kut teh can last you till your next return to Kuching!

Jason arrives and a lot of Kuching food

It started with Bryan’s third bowl of kolo mee only this time it was Hakka style kolo mee.

This is one of my father’s favourite noodles and Bryan really liked it too. It’s a good thing that they are both noodle lovers because my father can introduce him to all variations of Kuching noodles.

I ordered the beef noodles for Bryan to try, the beef was tender and the soup tasty with a sourish tang perhaps from tomatoes?

With all the heaty food from the day before, Bryan’s sore throat and flu got worse so we stopped by the famous herbal tea store for a hit of strong chinese herbal tea. It was very very bitter as you can tell from Bryan’s facial expression. Haha, I couldn’t help laughing, it reminded of the time when I was in Hongkong and had to drink bitter herbal tea as well. I think Jan took a picture of me then.

We stopped by my favourite Kenyalang and took a stroll around my sleepy suburb center.

Bryan and I had lots of fun taking photos around Kenyalang in all the old stores . He also found his clinic, haha.

Wui Hau picked us up in the afternoon and brought us to ‘che bing’ (eat ice) at Song Kheng Hai. Unfortunately the ice store wasn’t opened so we had a plate of belachan beehoon. My brother in law once famously named this dish ‘the bottom of the sea’ and I must admit it’s an acquired taste. It certainly wasn’t up to Bryan’s taste and he couldn’t eat this.

He also didn’t like the ju hu eng chai which is cuttlefish with a local vegetable.

But we all liked the fresh and piping hot ‘kong pia’ which is a foochow biscuit with yummy minced meat sauce in between, very nice!

We finally ‘ate ice’ at the San Xiao ice kachang stall. I am not an ‘ice’ fan so I didn’t really enjoy my ices.

Then it was time for Jason’s arrival! Exhausted from the long flight but still cheery and smiley as usual. I reckon Mr Chan’s smile can light up a room.We didn’t go home but headed straight to Hui Sen for dinner.

We had a bit of everything, tomato kway tiaw, tomato mee. It was actually my first tomato mee but I still prefer tomato kway tiaw.

Bryan finally got to try the real taugeh mee after eating my Perth version for so long. He liked the real version a lot.

But he and Jason liked the kolo mee even more! This time I ordered the straight noodles with char siew sauce, just the way I like it.

Haha, Bryan’s fourth bowl of kolo mee, he was on a role.

He liked the kolo mee so much that we ordered a kolo mee pok for him to try and he really really loved that too. He told me that it was his first ‘wow’.

Bryan is on the flight back to KK now, I think he enjoyed his Kuching trip, I know I really liked showing him around my hometown, introducing him to Kuching food and best of all, hanging out with our friends again.

A mountain of nasi briyani

I’m a day late on the Kuching posts. Right now Bryan is probably having the greatest time shooting aliens and killing zombies with the boys at a smoky cyber cafe, while Jaso is sleeping away the travel fatigue and dreaming of the promised bak kut teh tomorrow in our guest bedroom.

But yesterday it was all about Asrul and him introducing us to great Indian and Malay food in Kuching. Early in the morning he drove us to Satok for a ‘healthy’ breakfast of roti canai and curry only to find that the tables were all taken. Not fazed in the least, we just strolled to the famous Old Rex Cucur Udang (another old cinema favourite) kopitiam across the road to ‘snack’ on some fried prawn fritters and other yummy fried delicacies dipped with sweet chilli peanut sauce. My personal favourite is  the fried sweet potato.

That was breakfast for me but it was just an appetizer for the growing boys, the main was always the light and fluffy roti canai with tender kari daging.

Bryan gives the roti canai his signature thumbs up.

It’s a joke amongst us how everyone in Kuching heads to the Spring ( the most popular shopping centre in Kuching)at some point. The traffic jam was amazingly long by Kuching standards and the carpark so full that we had to park opposite and brave the zooming cars to get across.

We helped Mark to pick out a birthday present for his brother and soon it was time to makan again! Back to the Satok area where Asrul introduced us to Mount Briyani.

I don’t think any of the boys managed to conquer Mount Mutton Briyani that day, but it was great briyani of gigantic proportions with tender mutton pieces. Asrul swears that the Lamb briyani is even better, ‘the lamb falls apart when you part it with a fork’ he exclaims. Perhaps another day.

They headed to my house with Asrul’s PS3 in tow but alas, his sensitive machine refused to recognise any of my televisions so the boys went to Mark’s instead. I must admit that it was really nostalgic for me to watch the boys struggle with wires and trying to connect machines, brought me right back to the days of setting up frustrating  online game connections in Perth.

What was next? More food of course. This time Ah Kiong and his gf joined us at Kuba Ria where everyone walloped a ton of satay sticks.

They almost finished the two whole bbq chickens that Asrul ordered. The chicken was  surprisingly tender and tasty but Bryan is fighting a sore throat today after all this heaty food.

Fantastic hanging out with the guys, just like old times. Talking about nothing can be so something. That wasn’t the end of it. Asrul, Brio and I headed back to Spring again ( I know) to catch a late movie, the Disney cartoon Princess and the Frog which was nice but we were freezing because the cinema is super cold and we didn’t think to bring jackets.

Another food and friend filled Kuching day bites the dust.

Kolo mee + Laksa : covering the Kuching basics

Bryan is in town! With so many of us from Kuching, we’ve been talking about this trip for years, and now he’s finally here.

He didn’t have any requests for Kuching except for one ‘kolo mee’. So I brought him to the famous ‘Anthony Bourdain ate here’ Choon Hui cafe which we used to frequent when we were young but have since stopped going because it’s so crowded and parking isn’t convenient.

Choon Hui is famous for their laksa and this version was not bad. Bryan’s first Sarawak laksa (aside from the ones I’ve cooked in Perth) and he liked it.

Of course no Kuching visit is complete without the famous kolo mee. I don’t think Choon Hui is touted as having the best kolo mee in town, but it was still pretty good.

Yeah, Bryan’s first kolo mee! My parents were laughing at me for making him take photos like these, but I know he will thank me in many years to come when he reminisces of his first kolo mee.

Choon Hui’s roti kahwin (kaya and butter toast) is very yummy too. This was my breakfast with kopi and soft boiled eggs, I didn’t like my eggs but the bread was nice.

This is my second pohpiah in Kuching, did i mention that I love pohpiah? This one was quite nice.

Late afternoon we brought Bryan to Sunday market to have a look at the local fare. I bought some batik sarongs for my colleagues and he bought some key chains. The drizzle turned into a heavy downpour and we were drenched.

It was a relief to huddle at the Big Potato (or was it Mr. Potato?) kopitiam afterward to dry out and have a nice hot dinner. This kopitiam has stalls from the olden days of Capitol cinema (Ah Ma correct me if I’m wrong) serving local delights such as this zhubi peng, glutinous rice cakes with three different fillings, yam, red bean and salt. Bryan really liked these cakes.

I really like char kueh (fried radish cake?) and this sweet version was really moist, soft and yummy.

Everyone else preferred the salty version of the char kueh which was more dry and  peppery.

My mum’s char kway teow which wasn’t too oily and pretty tasty.

Guess what Bryan had again? His second bowl of kolo mee! I am going to count how many bowls of kolo mee he has during his short trip to Kuching. His new motto is ‘when in doubt, go for kolo mee’.

Drinks with Mark and Asrul later in the night at Hilton. The service was crap but the company was so comfortable and good.

Everyone was a little bit different but yet the same. The conversation topics still revolved around the latest electronic gadgets, soccer and computers. It’s nice to know that the boys will never change.

The three amigos, Brio, Markkie and Ars. It’s been what.. 3 or 4 years? I’m glad we’re still good friends to this day.

Chicken rice madness

It was a day of eating. You remember how I ate chicken rice everyday in Singapore?

Guess what? There is good chicken rice in Kuching too! Only this was made from kampung chicken so the chicken was tougher and not as tender and juicy.There are lots of chicken rice shops popping up around Kuching now, some are pretty good but I have yet to taste one of Singaporean standards.

On the way home we stopped by Fujisan bakery for my ham cheem peng. This bakery has been around for ages, their ham cheem peng used to be so popular that it would be sold out by noon.

There were lots when I went today. This ham cheem peng is different from the norm ham cheem peng, sprinkled with sugar and nuts and rubbed with cinnamon powder, it used to be very yummy, but nowadays, it’s not so sugary or nutty anymore.

I treated my grandparents to dinner tonight. We went to Peter’s Special which is a popular restaurant in Kuching. This is my father’s favourite dish, the roasted pork leg which was crispy and tender, very flavourful but lots of fats! I know Richard will love this dish, he’s a pork leg fan.

It was difficult watching my grandfather struggle with his meal, having trouble eating and needing lots of attention. He’s getting old. And so is my grandmother. Which reminds me that I should spend more time with them and cherish every moment and memory.

So.. I may be going home again for Chinese New Year…I just don’t know how I’m going to break the news to my manager. Ahh well, family’s more important right?


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