Archive for the 'Birthday Specials' Category

Chinese New Year in Perth and turning another year older

As one grows older wiser, you tend to appreciate your birthdays even more (because you know it means you are gradually on your way to fossil status). My birthdays over the past few years have been absolutely fabulous but this year’s birthday was extra special because it fell on the first day of Chinese New Year!

Quite a few colleagues asked why I didn’t take the day off, but I really didn’t see the need to. I have to admit that lately I’ve been a bit of a work freak but I oddly enough, do genuinely enjoy my work most of the time so I guess I’m pretty lucky. It helps that I have very sweet workmates who thoroughly spoilt me and I received lots of presents, flowers and birthday wishes. It was all a bit embarrassing but I was very touched.
_DSC2087 (Large)Haven’t cooked meicaikourou (belly pork with pickled mustard) for a while. Clogging the arteries sinful fatty stuff which also makes you feel happy.
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Ok, I haven’t been doing too well with the whole work life/balance thing. I meant to get off work early to go grocery shopping with Jo and cook up a storm for reunion dinner. Instead I left work late and could only whip up a few simple dishes. It was still very nice having dinner together as a small family, I can’t wait till Jan and family arrive, reunion dinners will be so much bigger then, woohoo!

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Jo surprised me with homecooked birthday long life noodles in chicken abalone soup for dinner on my birthday. It was such a nice surprise and a very tasty one to boot. Usually not a fan of long life noodles, I finished every last drop of my bowl because it was 1) very nice 2) cooked by Jo! (T___T).
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Wendy’s parents are in town and invited us over for a Chinese New Year banquet all cooked by Wendy’s mum! Seriously, the whole table was laden with delicious, spicy and traditional Chinese dishes. I don’t think we did any justice to Wendy’s mum’s great cooking but we definitely tried our best.

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My favourite dish cooked by Wendy’s mum, this braised beef dish which was so good that I couldn’t stop eating it. I have to ask them for the recipe.
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The baby approved too.
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It was a fun afternoon of good food and good company. Thank you for being such hospitable hosts and for inviting us Jason and Wendy! It truly felt like Chinese New Year .

Can’t be Chinese New Year without the traditional pineapple tarts.

I suspect my nephew is going to be a little foodie when he grows up.

He was quite upset with me when I didn’t share my pineapple tarts and pointed his finger indignantly at the red box.

His serious face while sampling a tart.
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I’m going to have so much fun with this boy when he grows up.

Definitely takes after his da yee who is a huge pineapple tart fan.

Another wonderful birthday surrounded by the best family and friends who as usual make me feel lucky and privileged to have them in my life. A different sort of Chinese New Year, I’m not sure I missed Kuching that much but I did miss my parents and the excitement of getting ready for Chinese New Year. It will be lovely when we’re all together again.


Tristan turns 1

The clock just struck midnight and Tristan is now one years old.

Tristan 1st birthday

We had a birthday party for my nephew on Sunday, it was Giggle and Hoot themed, Hoot the owl being Tristan’s favourite cartoon character.

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The birthday party was fun (and lots of work!) even though I’m not sure Tristan knew what was going on except that there were lots of people crowding around him and cooing at his every move. The aunties played ‘passed the baby’ with him and he was very obliging and good about it.
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What a year it has been. Look at how small Tristan used to be, and how big he is now! Before the arrival of Kaka and Tristan, I was definitely not a baby person at all. In fact, I’m not sure I’m even a baby person now and am only partial towards my niece and nephew whom I think are the cutest beings in the world. Yes, I am a biased yee yee but they are sooo sweet and lovable (*_____*).

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Happy 1st birthday Tristan, be good, stay healthy and don’t grow up too quickly, your daitaoha yee yee loves you very much.

Korean bbq gathering@ Jason and Wendy’s

Four days to go before we jet off to Hong Kong! With work being so busy and all, it’s been difficult getting into the holiday mood, but we started packing a bit today so I’m starting to get excited.
It’s official, my favourite cafe in Vic Park (and possibly Perth) is Harvest Espresso. This is my err 5th or 6th return to Harvest? I guess I’m considered a regular now.

We did think about trying somewhere new or different for our Sunday brunch. But why go anywhere else when you’re guaranteed a great coffee and even better brunch at Harvest?


Sometimes you just need a sandwich. Luckily Harvest makes really yummy sandwiches.  Their chicken sandwich is my favourite sandwich in town. I don’t know how they do it, but the chicken is moist and juicy, soft zucchini slices and sweet pumpkin with generous lashings of aioli on crisp yet soft bread, match made in heaven.


Saturday night at Jason and Wendy’s. We finally finished off this bottle of chinese rice wine, it’s been hanging around for a couple of years. I think we’re not great drinkers nowadays, probably growing old (T___T), my preferred drink nowadays is Coke Zero. However the girls have promised me a wild Hen’s night so I’m holding you to your words ok girls ? ( we will probably end up going for an indulgent high tea, which I actually do like too)


Thanks for being great hosts Jason and Wendy! In a way this was probably a farewell for Gerry too, I wonder what we’ll be like when he returns from China. Probably the same and trying to finish off our second bottle of chinese rice wine haha.

Celebrating Richard’s birthday in advance. The lucky kid is almost always overseas during his birthday, this year we will be in Macau, his birthday cake will have to be a Portuguese egg tart *slurp*


Happy Saturdays.

Jo and HC’s birthday weekend @ Freo

Every year I’m never quite sure what to get HC for his birthday. Usually it always ends up being something fishing related like a boring BCF (that’s boats, camping and fishing haha) gift voucher. But this year I  bought him a fishing weekend by putting him up in the Esplanade hotel in Fremantle for a Saturday night.

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Tristan likes hotel beds a lot haha. He was so tiny and lost in the big bed.

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This is his sweet ‘yes yee yee?’ look. Sigh, melts my heart. I will be giving this kid everything he wants when he grows up. ‘KFC yee yee?’ ‘Yes Tristan.’ ‘More sweets yee yee?’ ‘Yes Tristan’. Kaka’s sunny smile has the same effect on me, sigh.

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After checking in, we went to Cicerello’s for fish and chips.

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Seafood basket to share.

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Seafood chowder which wasn’t fantastic but it was a slightly chilly day so we felt like something warm and creamy.

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After that HC went off for an afternoon of fishing while Jo, Tristan and I shopped and trekked around Freo. It was a fun and relaxing afternoon. I love these coffee topper biscuits which I discovered in London, the London ones are soo much better, just the right thickness half melted by the hot coffee with caramel oozing from the middle. Ah well, beggars can’t be choosers.

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Mummy and Tristan all dressed up and ready to go for dinner at Char Char Bull.

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With so many good restaurants located in Freo, we were really spoilt for choice as to where to go for Jo and HC’s birthday dinner. In the end we settled with Char Char Bull which has a famous reputation for excellent steaks. Sigh, unfortunately, it was a poor choice as the steaks were no where magnificent let alone passable as normal pub food. This was our sirloin steak that came with cognac and mushroom sauce and mash. There wasn’t enough sauce which wasn’t good because the mash itself was already rather dry. The steak was overcooked (we asked for medium rare) and tough, I also disliked the charred bitter bits on the steak, there’s a difference between the smokiness of a chargrilled steak and burnt steak, I think mine was more on the burnt side.

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Jo’s scotch fillet with Sarawak peppercorn sauce and mash. Yes, Sarawak pepper sauce! We were thrilled to see that on the menu, but the pepper didn’t come out overly strong which is a pity. Jo’s steak was the opposite of ours, she had asked for it medium rare too but it came out rare. For around $40 for a steak, we were sorely disappointed. We noticed that the elderly couple next to us weren’t enjoying their steaks too and had a tough time chewing through their steak, he had to order a glass of wine to wash it down even though he already had a beer. Yikes.

On the bright side, the service was very good and staff were very obliging and friendly. Too bad they were let down by the kitchen staff. Sigh, why does it always have to be one or the other in Perth restaurants?

Char Char Bull
44b Mews Road
Fremantle WA
Ph: (08) 9335 7666

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But… despite the not so nice good, we still managed to have a good time!


Walking along the Fremantle jetty at night.

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We didn’t dare to try the desserts at Char Char Bull and dropped by one of the cafes instead. The cakes looked nice but they weren’t good. It was a poor foodie night :(.

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Sunday night lamb roast dinner with roasted vegs and yorkshire puddings. My first go at roast lamb and yorkshire puddings. I was inspired by my sister Jan’s cooking, she cooked a beautiful lamb roast, unfortunately, mine wasn’t as good and my lamb was a bit too rare. Better luck next time. I would also like to have a fluffier and crispier yorkshire pudding next time. We had some lovely purple sweet potatoes (with white flesh) which are so so much better than the gold sweet potatoes when roasted.

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Pretty white chocolate and orange birthday cake. Surely the best part of birthdays haha.

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Another birthday dinner, this time on the day of their real birthdays. Jo requested pineapple fried rice, we ordered some yummy takeaway, R made sharksfin soup and I also made some eggplant parmigiana. An unusual mix but delicious nonetheless.


jo and hc bday

Jo and HC’s first birthday celebrated with baby Tristan! I hope it was a doubly special and happy one with baby with many many more happy memories and wonderful adventures  to come. Happy birthday Jo and HC!

It’s now the 7th day of Chinese New Year. Kaka, my sister and Andy left Kuching yesterday so to me, it feels as if my holiday is already over :(. At times like these,you wish you could return to the start of the holiday when everyone was still excited and happy. How I wish I could see baby trotting in and out of my parent’s bedroom and squealing in delight.
ang pow

The early days before the angpows were given out.

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Kaka receives her first angpow. She enjoyed crumpling the red packets up so we had to exchange her money filled ones with empty packets.

sua mee

First day of Chinese New Year always starts with chicken soup and sua mee (long life noodles). My mother’s version always has abalone slices too (from Australia haha). With a dash of ang chiew (foochow red wine) this is always a very nice first breakfast of the year.

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Kaka in her first day Chinese New Year dress. Very pink and festive right? Unfortunately she started falling ill the night before and wasn’t well all the way till she left.

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Andy and ah pa in matching red checked shirts.

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Cute chinese new year cookies, I liked the rilakkuma ones.

what to choose

Kaka was spoilt for choice. Here she is examining the goodies before point ing out the one she wanted to her gung gung.

kaka and jan

She liked our parents’ friends house because there was lots of space for her to walk about. I think she would like walking in the parks and gardens in Perth. Can already imagine her running after the seagulls in Matilda Bay.


After a few days of eating reunion dinner leftovers (there were lots), the ‘young’ ones in the family decided to order Pizza Hut delivery. I was very amused when the Pizza Hut guy answered the phone with ‘Hello Miss Joanne?’ Obviously Jo had ordered many pizzas in the past if they have her on records!

bday dinner

We always have a sumptuous home cooked lunch (by my Ah Ma) on the third day of Chinese New Year because it’s my father’s birthday! It was a milestone birthday too, my father turned 60 this year.

dad cake

Not too bad for a 60 year old right? Definitely not ah pek level yet. Hehe, happy birthday ah pa. He was rather embarrassed with all the attention and phonecalls from his kids, ‘jor mik ah neh?’ (why like that?) he said to me. My father is a humble man and doesn’t feel that there should be any fuss made on his birthday. Which only goes to show what a great man and father he is.

ah pa cake blow

Kaka blows the candles with my father.  I think it was especially nice for my father this year that Kaka was there to celebrate his 60th with him. We’re already missing her a lot at home.  More Kuching food photos next time 🙂

Birthday dinner at Modo Mio

On Australia Day, instead of heading out and checking out the skyworks, I was having my early birthday dinner at the Italian restaurant, Modo Mio.

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I have to admit, Modo Mio wasn’t my first choice, I was hoping to go for a degustation at Restaurant Amuse but it was so heavily booked that the next available date was in March! Still, I was pretty happy that we were going to Modo Mio, also on my must-try list.


The setting in Modo Mio was lovely and  inviting. The seats, lighting, interior design etc. was warm and cozy.

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One of the better garlic breads I’ve had with lots of fresh garlic and rosemary.

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Our starter to share, roasted veal in tuna and caper sauce, crispy celery salad and quail egg. I usually hate celery but this celery salad was very refreshing and light and went wonderfully well with the tender veal slices and morish tuna and caper sauce. That sauce was especially yummy and we lapped it all up. We were very pleased with the first course.

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My main was  tagliatelle with smoked duck breast, broadbean, asparagus and cream. This was probably my least favourite dish of the night. The duck breast was tender and flavourful, broad beans and asparagus were all well cooked, but the sauce was just too creamy and rich for my liking. The tagliatelle was also a bit too al dente for my liking.

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R’s main of black ink fettuccine, scallops, squid, snow peas, white wine, garlic and chilli was a first for us in terms of trying black ink pasta. And due to this dish, we will probably be ordering lots more of black ink pastas in the future. The black ink infused fettucine had just the right bite in terms of texture and had subtle seafood flavours throughout. The sauce was yums and the seafood (especially crab meat) combination in the pasta was just delicious.

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What else but tiramisu for dessert? Our family is partial towards tiramisu from Ciao Italia and this was quite different from Ciao’s version. But, it was very nice too, especially the shortbread fingers which were so light with a slight chewy texture.

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All the restaurants in Crown are having a birthday deal where all diners who celebrate their birthdays at their restaurants receive a complimentary birthday cake (very rich chocolate mud cake) and glasses of bubbly :). I was a bit shy and tried to stop the waitress from singing the birthday song but she put on a sad face and the diners at the next table started singing along too (= ^ ^ =).

I enjoyed my pre birthday dinner at Modo Mio, it was a fun night, thanks R 🙂

So in a few hours, it will be my birthday. In a few days I will be flying home to Kuching where I will see my family, and get to play with little Kaka who shares my birthday, she is turning one whereas I’m turning into a fossil.  Happy birthday Kaka. Diana yee yee loves you very much and can’t wait to go swimming with you.

I’m feeling happy, lucky and contented with life. That’s as good as it gets right?

Modo Mido
Great Eastern Hwy
(08) 9362 7551

Jaso’s birthday lunch @ Mela

Jason’s official birthday was yesterday but we had a belated birthday lunch for him today. I remember asking him about nice Indian food in UK and he mentioned that he actually missed the thalis from Mela, so Mela it was!

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It was nice sunny afternoon, just right for a tall glass of sweet and refreshing mango lassi. Gill had a small lunch as usual, this long and impressive looking dosa.

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HC’s lunch was lamb briyani which looked delicious, he finished every scrap.

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Everyon else had the popular thalis! There was an eggplant curry, chickpea curry, butter chicken and lamb curry. Very filling and yummy. I’m sure Jason had his thali fix, but is it enough to last him till the next year?

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The cliche cake cutting time. But this was a special cake, Baskin and Robbins green tea icecream cake, Jason’s favourite icecream in Perth.

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The smiley birthday boy 🙂 I hope all your birthday wishes come true Jaso!

428 William Street

September 2019
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