Archive for the 'Kuching' Category

The Kuching food post

I seriously wonder whether there is anywhere else in the world besides Malaysia that you can find the dish below, ju hu eng chye meaning cuttlefish and kangkong (water convolvulus).
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can be loosely described as a salad of some sort, with a pungent shrimp paste dressing though, it’s not exactly vegetarian.

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Western style (and yet so not Western) mixed grill dish from your local steakhouse stall in Petanak market.This is what you call a bit of everything.

You know I’m back in Perth when I start posting a myriad of Kuching food pictures. Sigh, it’s back to harsh work reality tomorrow but I’m indulging in one day of post holiday blues. In fact, I had indo mee and a kopi (instant Old Town pack sigh) for lunch to console myself and feel a little closer to home.

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My childhood Moonlight pandan icecream stall has closed in Kenyalang *sob* so had to make do with second best Sunny Hill pandan icecream which Darren’s friend kindly bought for us. I had a couple of scoops of this and it was sooo good. I would buy an icecream maker just to make pandan icecream if I could recreate the same texture and flavour.
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Even though I didn’t post up pictures of durians, it was durian season in Kuching and we pretty much had durian every day! We also had the local mangosteen, which is very sweet and picturesque with its purple hue and white flesh.
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Funnily enough, I remember always having to draw pictures of mangosteens for art class or tuition at school, but I hardly ever ate any mangosteens back then.
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A new discovery of good bbq meats and noodles, well not actually new because my parents told me they’ve been going to this kopitiam for ages, but new for me.
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I’ve never been much of a roast meat fan, but man, we really need good char siew like this in Perth. It was the perfect combination of crunchy charred bits, sweet charsiew sweetness and tender meat.
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No more Yi Ann kampua mee this year, instead I had the kampua at Sin Popo (another popular local kopitiam) which has its own fans. I think I might like it better than the one at Yi Ann.

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Another foochow hawker fare, this is a dryer version of ‘char ju mein’ which was noodles stir fried in fragrant foochow ‘red wine’ (ang chiew) and red wine residue. Speaking of red wine, we managed to bring back a bottle of ang chiew to Perth so I will be making red wine chicken soup in 2015. If I have time, I may attempt to make my own red wine again this year.
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This is a typical home cooked meal at R’s house. My father-in-law is a great cook and whips up these banquet meals in no time. I think R put on 6 kgs in two weeks!
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Speaking of home cooked meals,the ribs that Darren made turned out fork tender. We were probably a bit too heavy with the salt but the spice rub was very tasty, must attempt this at home.
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He’s not going to be happy I posted this (but luckily I don’t think he reads my blog) but this was the day Darren was discharged and returned home, woo hoo. I don’t know why I refer to him as the kid or that boy sometimes seeing he’s a grown man in his *gasp* late twenties, but I guess he will always be my little brother in my eyes. I will miss hanging out with him and wish desperately that we were all together in Perth. Maybe some day.

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Another local fruit the mighty star fruit which is not only pretty to look at but very refreshing. It’s a pity I didn’t get to eat jambu (bell shaped local fruit) this time.

Ok that ends my Kuching food post for the year, hopefully I’ll get to visit before the year ends and will be posting more pics of Kuching food soon. Meanwhile it’s back to the start of the working year for me, so hopefully I’ll successfully switch off my post holiday blues tomorrow. Wish me luck!

 

A timely rain is worth its weight in gold

So I didn’t expect my 2014 to end this way.

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It started benignly with a visit to Carpenter Street or Ah-tap Ke as the locals call it. A difficult and narrow street to maneuver. As kids, we never used to venture into the street unless we had to visit the goldsmiths which line the street. Or have a very good bowl of fishball noodles.

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The famed fishball noodle stall is located in a unique location where there is a temple inside and also a temple opposite. I remember the location being very stuffy and sweat rolling down our temples as we dug into a bowl of fishball noodles which always seemed so delicious probably due to the rarity of us venturing there for a meal. I’m told the family carries out the fishball making in secrecy and behind locked doors haha.

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Are the fishball noodles still good? Not bad to be honest. But also not as fantastic as I remember. I think I prefer the fishball noodles in Singapore.

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My brother’s next meal unfortunately, was in the hospital. And it wasn’t for many hours later when we were advised that emergency surgery wouldn’t be necessary (phew). Poor fella had to see in the new year in the hospital. My parents and I retired to bed early and there was no countdown to 2015, for me, it was due to a mixture of relief and nerves.

I’ve never had much experience being in the hospital (thank heaven) but I understand the anxiety, fear and apprehension that comes with a loved one being in hospital. I thought of those people on tv shows such as Fear factor where they’re terrified of spiders, or heights, that’s nothing compared to fear throbbing in your heart when your loved one is sick and you’re not sure what is wrong or how to fix it. The fear when you want him to rest but you’re afraid for him to close his eyes. I don’t believe I have, but this has taught me to never ever take my family for granted.

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On the bright side, my brother is home now and we’re having american style spareribs for dinner. He prepared the spice rub himself, it’s the first time that I’ve ever eaten anything that my brother has prepared so I have high expectations!

In 2014, I finally completed my decade long resolution of getting a driver’s license. So what’s next for 2015? I am going to keep a personal journal (this is something I picked up from my brother and will aid in self reflection and improvement) and I will lead a healthier lifestyle. I am also going to have much better work life balance and spend more time with my family and loved ones! I’ll report back in a year.

Happy New Year folks.

Kuching daze

We’re back in Kuching! Now going on Day 5 but it feels like it’s gone by in a blur because of R’s sister’s wedding. Already I feel sad that we’re going back soon 😦

Darren roti canai love

Darren roti canai love

Spending the last few days with my brother. Here he is digging into his favourite roti canai. He ordered a roti bawang and a roti kaya, both very good!

roti pisang

roti pisang

I had roti pisang (banana) for the first time. It was a bit odd at first eating it with curry, sweet and savoury but very yummy.

puffs

puffs

My favourite ‘sa yong’ puffs sprinkled with sugar for dessert. So good. This will probably be the last sa yong that I eat for a while (so I had three!), *sob* no more sa yong until my next return to Kuching.

teh tarik

teh tarik

Teh tarik which we had with the roti canai. Not too sweet and very fragrant.

stutong market

stutong market

I love exploring the wet markets in Kuching. This is stutong market which had lots of great food stalls.

banana galore

banana galore

Why are the bananas in Malaysia so much better? Makes for much better banana fritters/goreng pisang too!

kueh chap

kueh chap

Kueh chap from Stutong market. This was my mother’s lunch which she said was pretty good.

kolo mee

kolo mee

My first kolo mee in Kuching! Also from Stutong market, it was very good.

Ok that’s all for now, Happy New Year in advance!

Kuching: Mango duck and ‘sa yong’

I’m suffering from holiday blues again! The only thing that is making it a bit easier this time is the thought that Jan and family will be joining us in Perth soon. Now if only Darren and my parents moved to Perth as well, that would be perfect.
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In the days before the wedding, all friends and relatives flew in to Kuching. This is T and D all the way from Perth, they insisted on taking a photo in front of the famous cat in Cat City haha. I think even Gerry missed taking a photo with this cat.
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But at least he managed to take a photo with these cats!

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T and D with my parents at Stutong market where they tried kueh chap and kolo mee for the first time. They loved the dishes, no surprises there.

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T getting a lesson from my ah pa on er hu. My father is a man of many musical talents, I seriously think that there’s no instrument that he can’t master. Tristan was thoroughly spoilt during this holiday, he had my father playing ‘london bridge is falling down’ over and over again on the organ until he fell asleep! Even I started feeling sleepy…

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Gerry had his first kolo mee in Hui Sin from my favourite kolo mee stall.

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Satay from Hui Sin, also our favourite place for satay.

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Gerry and the Perth boys meet in Kuching for the first time. Everyone enjoyed yummy plates of char kway teow and tomato kway teow. Hui Sin is a great place to bring tourists who want to try good local Kuching food because there are so many good stalls serving a wide range of popular Kuching dishes.

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Jo and I love this taogeh beehoon (bean sprouts with fried noodles) which has the right mix of wok hei, sweet (from sweet soy sauce) and salty flavours  and is lovely with fried eggs.

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The Singaporean relatives arrive and it’s a big seafood feast at Top Spot as usual. I think in future we might move to Benson seafood for our seafood feasts because it’s less touristy and the food equally good.

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We went to Harbour Court one morning as HC had a craving for the dish below.

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Mee sua, also know as vermicelli with chicken soup and foochow red wine. A traditional foochow meal that we usually have on the first day of Chinese New Year and also birthdays.

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Another foochow dish, Zhao Cai Hong Gan(糟菜粉干) which is a soupy noodle dish which had preserved mustard greens (pickled with foochow red wine remnants) and a thick vermicelli. It has a refreshing sour tang and is very popular with foochow food lovers. Both R and my mum like this for breakfast.

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Aunty Jenny came by with these gorgeous kuih for the wedding guests the next day. My only regret is that I never got to try any of these because they looked soo good.

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Malay fried noodles which was pretty tasty with a drizzle of freshly squeezed lime juice.

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We are always so spoilt by our parents when we return to Kuching. My parents will spend  Sunday mornings at the local markets prior to our arrival searching for jia huay, a local vegetable that my sister Jan loves. When my ah ma read on my blog that I was missing ‘sa yong’ a dessert from my childhood, they ordered these from a restaurant that they knew made these delicious, fluffy chinese donuts (with red bean filling) and we had them piping hot from the restaurant. They were soooo good.

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This was Jo’s craving, mango duck which my parents also ‘da paoed’ from a restaurant and we had for supper. This used to be our favourite dish to order at a Thai restaurant. I can’t even begin to describe how these mayo sauce like laden tender duck pieces layered on a piece of lettuce (providing that crunch), creamy sweet mango slices and crispy duck skin go so well together. I’m not sure whether it’s just been too long since we’ve had mango duck or it was the happiness of the whole family being together under one roof. but that night, we were in sa yong and mango duck heaven.

Thanks ah pa and ah ma!

Kuching: A Bak Kut Teh post for Jaso & Tristan gets a haircut!

A blog post by request from Jason, my ‘regular reader’ haha.

kaya toast

Fantastic traditional breakfast of soft boiled eggs and kaya toast. Sadly I couldn’t drink my normal kopi. Have to resist till my cough gets better.

wheatgrass

Wheatgrass shots in Perth taste terrible, very healthy but it’s like drinking a shot of minced fresh grass. Wheatgrass  drinks in Kuching however, are refreshing and lovely. Not sure whether this rates highly on the healthy scale though.  This is Jo’s standard drink in Kuching nowadays.

tristan leg

Bad ass Tristan at the kopitiam hahahahaha.

tris news

The baby has been having a whale of time in Kuching getting spoiled by his grandparents (and aunt). My father introduced him to a new toy, newspapers! Doesn’t he look scholarly here? In actual fact he was having more fun tearing up the newspapers.

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Tristan getting his first hair cut from his yee zhang! Haha, had to chronicle this moment. Tristan looks so deep in thought because we were distracting him with videos.

bak kut teh

Since this post is for Jaso, I had to put up a photo of his favourite bak kut teh. Our preferred bak kut teh stall at Bee Wee Hiong.

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It’s important to know the foodie movers and shakers in town, Tristan is introduced to the bak kut teh master. This master is actually the pioneer bak kut teh maker in Kuching and introduced this wonderful pork rib soup to the cat city in 1976! He learned to make this dish when he was studying in Singapore and spent a couple of years perfecting the recipe before opening up his bak kut teh stall.

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He has been featured in a few newspaper articles. See Jaso, we introduced you to the best bak kut teh in town.

pork leg rice

Coming from a family of pork butchers, the pork ingredients in the bak kut teh are always fresh and they also sell a mean pork leg rice dish. We especially love their braised ‘loh’ intestines, so clean, fresh and yummy.

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The friendly bak kut teh master waves goodbye!

Kuching Day 1 & 2: Tristan’s first Kuching trip, Benson seafood and Kenyalang @night

I’m back in Kuching!! I have been enjoying lazing around and not doing anything, didn’t even contemplate blogging until last night at dinner, my mother said ‘ see the roast pork again I also sian (bored)’ . She meant the picture of the roast pork on my blog which has been there for ages because I haven’t blogged for about a thousand years (T_______T).

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You know that I’m in Kuching when the first picture you see is Kolo Mee! It was my first meal when I landed in Kuching, a bit dry since it was a takeaway but still good ol’ kolo mee nevertheless.

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Breakfast at Siang Siang cafe in Tabuan Jaya. Wasn’t used to early breakfasts so just had a sio bee or two.

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I love kuih stalls in Kuching, so much variety, i never know what to buy and end up buying loads.

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The next day, we picked up Tristan from the airport! Oh yes, forgot to mention, we picked up his parents too haha. The grandparents were delighted to see the baby who has grown so much since they last saw him.

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Seafood dinner at Benson dinner which is even mentioned in Air Asia’s travel mag as a must eat in Kuching haha. Luckily for us it also belongs to HC’s aunt :).

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The must-have bilin, local fern. This was was cooked in a different way from the normal oyster sauce that I’m used to, very spicy.

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Local snails, or le as we call it. Very yummy. We also had stir fried clams which were delicious.

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HC has been hankering for oh jian aka oyster pancake for a long time. i actually prefer Benson’s version to the norm that we have at Top Spot seafood. Thicker texture?

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Can’t have seafood without Jo’s favourite crabs. I reckon she polished off about half of the dish.

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Tristan and Papa Hc.

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Kolo mee for breakfast. Tristan had his first strand of kolo mee and enjoyed it.

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Gung gung feeding Tristan, so sweet haha.

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I enjoy eating at home as much as eating out in Kuching.  Mani chai and steamed fish are always must haves.

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I always visit Kenyalang within the first couple of days of being in Kuching.  I thought I would put up night time pictures of Kenyalang for a change. This old kopitiam is where we used to go for supper after a late night movie.

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This scene reminds me of when we used to go to Kenyalang during the evenings with our parents to borrow video tapes or go for a evening stroll,

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Mua Heng Kueh, a very old store in Kenyalng which sells all sorts of knick knacks. The old aunty there knows our whole family and whenever one of us return she will ask my mother ‘which one is this one? Australia, UK or US?’

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I love these old shops and am always so sad whenever they close down to be replaced by some horrible trendy mobile shop.

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My mum spotted these i phone covers at one of the mobile shops and asked me ‘why are they selling burnt covers how come can sell burnt things?’ Hahahahaha. I love being home.

Kuching foodie

My final Kuching post about delicious Kuching food. To be honest, the food didn’t taste so good this time round, I’m not sure whether it’s because Jo wasn’t next to me exclaiming how yummy the food was. Also because I was suffering from a fragile stomach throughout the whole trip, I’m going to drink lots of apple cider vinegar to toughen up my stomach for Hongkong and the September Kuching trip :).
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My brother Darren and father love these fried prawn crackers , this was from Yuen Nan Yuan cafe though and not Dar’s preferred old Rex cafe.

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The only time I had char kueh in Kuching! Why didn’t I have more of these?? I was greedy and ordered both the salty and sweet version, the sweet version wasn’t good because it wasn’t fried long enough and was too mushy.

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We had a family dinner at the talk of the town Sakae Sushi in our beloved Spring. My father who is not a fan of Japanese food had to settle for mediocre ramen.

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Andy had the soba with tempura.

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The girls shared sashimi and sushi. All the food was alright and not wow, but the service was really really slow and the food not worth the wait. My father’s pet peeve was their ‘please wait to be seated’ sign, he waited in front of the sign patiently during his two visits (while others waltzed past him) to the restaurant and no one brought him to any seats. Overall, we were not impressed.

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We ate kueh chap the most times out of all Kuching food. All from our favourite kueh chap stall at Jin Ming cafe. Still very good and yummy. Why can’t I make kueh chap like that?

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Simple and tasty dishes from the Courtyard restaurant such as my favourite stir fried bittergourd, cold tofu with century egg, sweet and sour pork. I liked this bittergourd dish so much that the first dish I cooked during my Perth return was stir fried bittergourd.

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A frequent haunt for my parents and R’s family as well, Yi Ann cafe which is very popular.

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We always go for the kampua mee. Mine came tossed in chilli sauce.

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My mum’s laksa. I didn’t have any laksa at all in Kuching, ever since selling laksa, I’ve lost all love for laksa. But Jo is craving laksa so we will be cooking some soon.

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Chicken rice with a view from the  Tun Jugah the food court. This food court used to be very popular during my high school days and I remember some classmates driving us there frequently for lunch after school. But it is now very empty and sad looking. The chicken rice was only so-so.

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With all the newer shopping centres such as Merdeka Plaza and the Spring, the once ‘it’ ‘Golden Triangle’ of Sarawak Plaza, Tun Jugah and Riverside shopping complexes have been long forgotten and are quiet and empty. I still had fun wandering around though and managed to buy more shoes.

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Kenyalang is still  my favorite place in Kuching. I was very sad that the Moonlight pandan icecream shop has closed AGAIN.  Why doesn’t anyone in Kuching appreciate the wonders of pandan icecream?!

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Attended a ‘gong hui’ annual dinner with R’s family where I saw my first and last lion dance of the year. Better late than never.

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Photo of Mah Mah who was smiling because Kaka was around. She loves the baby and kept telling us that baby was very ‘chio chio’ (smiley) and cute.

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Kaka being fed forbidden treats by her gung gung.

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We find this photo hilarious because Kaka had that ‘eh, why are you here? do I know you?’ expression on her face. The other little girl Janice is my cousin’s daughter who loves being in photos.

kaka guitar

Kaka enjoying some music time with her Gung Gung. Will she play the guitar in the future? Maybe this is a sign of her future musical talents.

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My sister Jan was addicted to bubble tea throughout her Kuching trip and had to have one whenever we we spotted a bubble tea outlet. Turns out Kaka loves Cha-time too!

I felt like I had to end the final Kuching posts with Kaka’s photos because she was the highlight of my Kuching trip. It was so fun seeing how much her character has developed since I last saw her, and even better watching her interact with my parents who are loving being her grandparents. I miss you Kaka.


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