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Friday, May 31, 2013

Kimchi Ramen Hotpot

I had a large tub of Kimchi in the fridge. Well .... I'd bought it sometime back from the Korean mart here in Kuching, but could not finish eating it. So .... I thought I would stew it with pork belly and serve it with some instant ramen noodles.

Kimchi Ramen Hotpot

Well, there were plenty of recipes for Kimchi Jjigae or Kimchi Stew online .... and they gave me a sort of idea about how I should go about cooking my own, with the ingredients that I had .

So, in my pot .... I sauteed some chopped garlic with sesame oil and then browned a batch of pork belly slices before adding a substantial amount of Kimchi. Then, I added water and stewed it for about 30 minutes.

Before I served the hotpot, I cracked in an egg, added in blanched instant ramen and the flavouring. I liked Paldo's Kimchi Ramen .... but which Tontantin, the ramen lover, only rated 2/5 on Youtube.

Paldo's Instant Kimchi Ramen

Inside the package ... 

Whatever it is, my parents enjoyed the stew .... Mom said it was rather appetising. Wheee .... happy :))

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Shoes

I sat down at the steps, joining a row of my colleagues who were already seated there. It was sports day, and it was hot at the fields ... so we were all seeking refuge in the shade.

"Look at her shoes ... how much do you think it is?" my colleague G* asked me, pointing to the feet of another colleague, L***.

I checked the shoes out, but I did not guess the price correctly.

L*** went on to tell us that it was a fake pair of branded shoes, which she had bought from an old Auntie who set up stall on the floor at the market. That was not the point. The point was that the shoes were lightweight and ultra comfortable.

Both G* and I were interested in the shoes. G* said they would be great for travelling, while I thought I could wear it for light activities. That weekend, I drove to the market with the intention of seeking out the old Auntie. Well, she had clothings ... and even undies ..... but no shoes. 

***

Outside the KPCA every morning is a lady vendor. Initally, we thought she's from China. But she is not. She is a local. She sells her wares on the floor as well. And she sells a variety of things .... shirts, pants, jeans, torch lights, tea and so on. 

The other day, when I walked past with Mom, I saw that she had the shoes that L*** wore. There were white ones and black ones too. I was interested so I stopped and browsed. And it happened that she had my size. So I had to buy it. RM24.00 only.

New shoes ... yay!! 

I paid, put them on and immediately wore them for my walk back home. Indeed, very light ... and comfy .... and great for walking. So well .... love the new shoes, love the cheap price .... :P

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Making Rice Dumplings

It's that time again, when people start to make rice dumplings for consumption. Mom, of course, had to make some even though the process is laborious. It involves a lot of work ..... from buying and preparing the filling, soaking and flavouring the glutinous rice, cleaning the leaves, getting ready the string, wrapping the dumplings meticulously, and finally steaming them.

A lot of ingredients go into the filling itself ... and for Mom's recipe .... she needed lots of deep-fried garlic and shallots, roasted and ground coriander, pork cubes, mushroom dices, chestnuts, yam paste .... and so on. Hence, preparation always begins a day or two before.

The glutinous rice, the filling, the cleaned leaves .... and the wrapped dumplings ... 

The cooked dumplings .... and ... on my plate ...

Mom's rice dumpling uncovered .... 

A lot of folks have retired from making dumplings .... because it's simply just too difficult and back-breaking. But Mom says that as long as she still can, she will continue this tradition, as only she knows how to make dumplings the way she likes it.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Freshly Made Chai Kueh

I walked past the petrol station ... on my way from the wet market to the shops ... and there was this vendor selling Chai Kueh on the floor .... a young man with 2 trays of Chai Kueh in front of him. They looked very fresh.

I'd not seen him before. But Mom says he sells his kueh once in a while around the area. His Chai Kueh was selling quite briskly .... so how can I not buy, right?

 Freshly made, RM0.50 each 

There were a few types of filling .... shredded jicama ... and salted vegetables ....

The filling ...
The vegetables were quite generous and crunchy. It meant that the vegetables were shredded by hand. The filling too tasted of dried prawns ... Mom liked the pastry skin which was springy and chewy. 

Overall, it was not bad, really. No wonder so many people are buying .... 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Fresh Fruit Juice

I did not know what occasion it was at Parkson the other weekend .... but the store was rebating RM100 for every RM300 spent. It was of course, limited to the first 400 customers storewide. I did not actually have anything to buy .... but I decided to stock up on my cosmetics. Buy first .... after all, I would be using them sooner or later. I spent a total of RM303.80 on 2 items ... and got back RM120 in vouchers. There was an additional RM20.00 for cosmetics purchase. How worth it!!

Shopping vouchers worth RM120.00

But then, I too did not have anything to purchase with the vouchers .... till Mom said she needed a new blender. Perfect. We both shopped for the appliance one afternoon ... and ended up topping up only RM25.00 to purchase a 4-in-1 blender. There's the blender, chopper, miller and a filter contraption.

Blender, inserted with a filter

Needless to say, I had to test it out today. I did not have a specific recipe for my juice. I had in there some oranges, carrots, cucumber and starfruit.

Mixed fruit and vegetable juice 

Hmn .... the new blender, of course, did quite a good job pulping the fruits ... and filtering the juice. It was easy to wash the filter as well as the pulp did not stick to the mesh. I was quite happy with the result.

As for my juice .... well .... hmn ... it did not taste sweet enough because my proportion of fruits to vegetables was not right. Lol. It made me feel healthy, nonetheless. Maybe I'll be drinking a glass a day ..... to keep sickness at bay. :))

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Organic Starfruits

These are fresh from the tree ....

What a bountiful harvest .... 

They come from Second Aunt's garden. There's only one starfruit tree in the garden, and every day, Second Uncle tends to the fruits lovingly. The fruits are free from pesticides, and are sweet and juicy.

The folks are now overseas ... and the whole tree is still bearing so much of fruits. They ripen quite quickly and at such large quantity ... so Dad climbed up the tree and harvested the fruits. Then, Mom sorted them out and this morning, we brought them to the market to sell to the fruit vendor.

Two basketfuls yielded RM20.00. Not a very good price, if you ask me. But all this time that my relatives are away .... Mom and Dad have sold up to RM100.00 worth of stafruits to the vendor. Better than nothing, I suppose. Better than letting the fruits rot. And better than letting the fruits go to waste. :P


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Fishball Rice Vermicelli In Milky Broth

Mom certainly liked to make fish balls from scratch. I asked her why she troubled herself when it was such a laborious process, so much work involved. Mom merely said that she wanted to amuse herself.

So, with fresh fish paste in hand ... Mom decided to cook rice vermicelli in milky broth. She was inspired by the infamous Woo Pin in KL.

Woo Pin's fish head noodles
(recycled pic)

Woo Pin is famous for its fish head noodles .... but it also sells fresh fish ball noodles, cooked in the same way. Whenever she eats there, Mom prefers to order the fish ball noodles. Easier to eat, according to her, with no bones to pick out.

Mom's fish balls rice vermicelli

Well, today, , Mom's noodles were yum .... the broth was really sweet and well-balanced with evaporated milk and Shaoxing wine. I enjoyed them a lot. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Blendy Sticks Matcha Au Lait

I love matcha!!

 Green tea frappuccino from Starbucks
I can't afford to drink this every day ... it's not that cheap .... and it's rather high on the calories

The other day .... I found instant matcha latte at the supermarket. Imported from Japan .... 

Blendy Stick Matcha Au Lait
One packet contains about 7 sticks ... and sold for a bit more than RM23.00 .... it's not that cheap but certainly cheaper compared to Starbucks. And it's certainly handy and I get to enjoy a hot cup of green tea latte without having to drive all the way to the cafe. ;)) 


Thursday, May 23, 2013

All The Way To Bekenu ...

Bekenu is a sleepy town about 45 minutes away from Miri. There is a popular restaurant there named Sing Chiong. Mirians purportedly drive all the way there, just to enjoy a good seafood meal.

The other day, my friend and I made the drive. We merely wanted to eat prawn noodles, one dish which is widely popular at Sing Chiong.

At about noon on a Sunday, the restaurant was still quiet. It suited us just fine as it meant that we did not have to wait long.

"Prawn noodles," we ordered as we sat down. Apparently, there was a choice between freshwater prawns and saltwater prawns, priced at RM12.00 and RM10.00 per bowl respectively.

We opted for freshwater prawns. Then we were asked how we wanted our noodles cooked. My friend and I opted for a braised noodle soup or Chao Zhu Mian (炒煮面) as recommended by the lady. It is distinctively a Foochow specialty, whereby the thick yellow noodles are stir-fried over high fire and then braised in good quality stock.

Freshwater Prawns in Chao Zhu Mian (炒煮面), RM12.00

A feshwater prawn, cut lengthwise

There were about 3 prawns in the bowl, all cut in half lengthwise. So there were 6 halves then. The prawns did not disappoint as they were juicy, succulent and very sweet. I loved them lots. The sweetness of the prawns flavoured the thick broth as well. It was dark in colour because of the generous use of soy sauce in this dish. Coupled with the rich taste of the egg noodles, this dish was rather enjoyable.

Steamed garoupa, RM25.00

We also ordered a steamd garoupa. Half a fish cost RM25.00. This fish was deep-fried first and then steamed. The fish was fresh, but its sweetness was overpowered by the dark-coloured sauce and seasoning. I also thought that the dish was too oily.

Two bowls of noodles, a portion of fish and two drinks for RM52.00.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Homemade Arrowroot Chips

My friend brought this over from KL. Her brother-in-law's mom made it. Lol ... complicated?

I love arrowroot chips.

Arrowroot chips in a jar

Mom tried to make it one time ... but she did it the wrong way. She washed the shredded chips in salt water .... and they splattered when it cooked in the oil. Plus .. the chips weren't crispy then. Mom was really upset by the mess! Lol .... but she learnt her lesson. 

Anyway, these chips that my friend brought were really fresh and crispy, and delicious. Thanks, C****!!!! 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Coconut Balls

These coconut balls were homemade by R***. The skin was soft and chewy, and the balls were filled compactly with grated coconut in palm sugar.

Coconut balls

Absolutely delicious! We were so impressed that we asked R*** to make some more coconut balls ....

Coconut balls .... and  we found that R***'s steamed layer cake was also very yum. Springy and fragrant and not cloyingly sweet. 

Inside a coconut ball

Everytime she makes it, we are happy .... to get to enjoy these delicious local cake! 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Lalapan Still Tastes So Good ....

It still tasted good ....


But the other day when I was there .... hmn .... 2 ingredients were lacking. The lime was not there. Neither was the tapioca leaves. Still, we were charged RM9.00.


Hmn ....  I felt a bit shortchanged.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

I'm Lovin' It : Double Smokin' BBQ Beef Burger

This was a new limited edition item. Well, sometime ago. I believe it's no longer available now.



A medium meal was RM8.45 including tax. I did not like the smoky-flavoured sauce, so I did not enjoy the burger much. So ... hmn .... dun mind it being left out of the menu ;P

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Visit To Meritz Hotel

There was a press conference cum media cocktail reception at Meritz Hotel the other day, and I tagged along. I've been to this hotel, but have never gone beyond the lobby area. Hence, this was a great chance for me to take a peek at what it had to offer.

Meritz Hotel is situated adjacent to Bintang Megamall, the best shopping mall in Miri. It comprises of 290 guest rooms and suites. On every three levels, there is an atrium. Complimentary wifi services are available here, so guests can actually hang out or gather here instead of being cooped up in the room all the time.

We were greeted cordially on arrival by the staff who stood in a line. After a round of hand-shaking, we took the elevator up to the 7th floor, where the function/meeting rooms were. There were 10 function rooms on this foor.

Seventh floor 
Function rooms were named after flowers, such as Periwinkle or Heliconia. They were of various sizes, and the setting could be arranged to suit the guests. 

The chairman himself, Dato Prof. Lau SiuWai himself was there ... briefing us.

Dato' Prof. Lau surrounded by members of the media ... 

This is Dato' Prof. Lau assuming the role of the PR Manager of the hotel... 

What I loved the most about this hotel was the viewing deck on the 17th floor - the Sky Garden.

Walking out to the deck ...  

A view of Miri ...

 Sipping cocktail .... while enjoying the view below 

The lovely view had knocked a few breaths out of us. Many were indeed impressed. My friend M**** fell immediately in love with the city ... and expressed her wish to come back for a visit in the future. 

At the Sky Garden, we were served some refreshments ....


Japanese-inspired rice rolls

Chicken canape

 Shrimp cocktail with sliced lemon

Seafood cocktail in a glass 
Loved this concotion of shrimps and mussels ... in a creamy dressing. Pleasant to the eye too.  

Chicken boxing & calamari rings
A bit thick on the batter and also a bit bland. So I had them served with a dollop of tartare sauce.

We tucked in all those goodies as we relaxed and watched the sun set slowly over this coastal city of Miri .... 


And this was bliss!!

Friday, May 17, 2013

You Made My Day

I was carrying 4 bags. Really. A laptop bag, a bagful of files, a bag of water bottles, and my handbag. I dragged my feet slowly to the office, where I had to check in for work for the day. As I reached the office entrance, a student smiled at me and graciously opened the door for me.

"Thank you," I said, grateful.

"You're welcome, teacher," he replied.

 He made my day.

***

After recess, I saw a group of my students working together in the hall ... in preparation for the teachers' day steamboat lunch celebration. They carried the furniture and arranged them around the hall. They prepared crockery and cutlery, and set the tables. They helped the canteen operator to wash the vegetables, the mushrooms and to prepare many of the other ingredients. They took the task really seriously, worked together as one big family.

The table .... properly set up

I watched them, and I felt really proud to have them as students. You see, they had just enrolled as Pre-university students at the school. They were in school for barely one week. Yet, they could collaborate so well, the effort that they put in doing every task was truly praiseworthy.

Later, during lunch, they also did a great job serving the teachers. They made my day - every single one of them.

Steamboat

***

Throughout the day too, students make an effort to wish us teachers. Whether I teach them or not, they make it a point to stop and greet me. That's really heartwarming and these students too, made my day. 

***

Some students present us teachers with material gifts. There is always a mug or a container every year ... and also some ornamental items, red pens, and hand-written cards. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. You made my day too.

***

Then, there are former students who too make  it a point to wish us via text messages or the social media. Some even drop by the school for a visit, and bringing with them a cake or two. These students definitely made my day. 

A beautiful cake ... 

***

I find myself smiling as I drive home from work that day. Thank you for making this teachers' day special and unforgettable. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Happy Teachers' Day 2013

16th May 2013. 
It's Teachers' Day again,  
And I just want to wish all fellow educators,
a great day. 

A red pen from the students ... so necessary to mark the stack of essays ...

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Borneo Jazz Festival 2013 : The Food

There were booths being set up at the venue to provide guests with food and drinks. They were pretty strict on not allowing outside food to the venue. I suppose they must have had nasty experiences in the past with it.

On the first night, the security detail at the entrance demanded to check my tote bag.

"Check bag dulu ... ," the lady in uniform said. Let me check your bag first.

I obliged. They were after all four of them there ... and they could manhandle me anytime. ;P 

"No outside food," they explained to me.  

I merely opened my bag and received an approval. "OK," I was told and was allowed into the venue. 

"Don't check my bag again ok," I pleaded. "I'm going to be walking in and out later ... " I informed them. And well .... they did not check me after that. ;P 

***

Well, if the organisers don't allow people to bring in food or drinks from outside, then they very well have to make sure that they provide aplenty. I must say that I was rather disappointed with the food mart, as they lacked in variety and authenticity. Where was the kolo mee, for example? How can one come to Sarawak and going home without eating kolo mee? Or how about selling ayam pansuh? Or umai? Or lemang? Or local kuih-muih

Well, to be fair, at least there was attempt to provide local fare. Kuching laksa was available. So was fruit rojak, nasi lemak, nasi goreng kampung, satay, Nyonya curry mee, Penang laksa, char kueh tiaw, teh tarik. It was just that the presentation wasn't that great ... and did not tempt me to try or to buy. For those who prefer non-local food, there were fajitas, shawarmas, hot dogs, croissants, sandwiches, cupcakes .... 

The food stalls

 Nasi lemak .... and cupcakes and tidbits ... and corn on cob in the yonder ...

 Kajang satay

 Shawarma in the making .... roasting the meat

The ice-cream booth ... 

Fajitas on the grill ... RM10.00 each

On the first night, I ate a Bratwurst sausage on a bun ... 

My hot dog ... complete with onion relish, mayo and mustard 
It cost me RM10.00, and tasted alright - not great but edible, at least. It filled me up to the max, surprisingly.  My friend was rather annoyed that they did not serve according to the receipt number ... they must have got the orders messed up.  We ended up waiting a bit for our food. 

On the second night, I had Char Kueh Tiaw or Stir-fried flat rice noodle.... 

Char Kueh Tiaw, RM8.00
Eaten while hot, the noodle was moist and rather palatable. I finished the whole packet! 

Hmn .... I would say ...sigh .... overall a very boring food scene that needs to be jazzed up to match the great ambience and the oustanding music. 

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