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Monday, August 21, 2017

Birthday Present

For my 42nd birthday, I got a cyst. In my womb.


Doc said it probably started in June as that was the last I had my regular period. My menses got haywire in July and in August, and since I started menstruating on 8 August, it hadn't stopped bleeding. Doc and I went through my period log (so glad that I have a habit of keeping a record since the invention of such period tracker apps!), and then he scanned me .... and announced that I have a cyst in my right womb - a bit less than 5 x 4 cm.

He said it was of normal size, and it did not require any surgery as of yet - as I did not experience any pain or abnormalities apart from my prolonged menstrual bleeding. He said we were to monitor it and advised a scan after 3 months. I asked Doc what was the cause of the cyst. Doc said no one knew. But depending on one's body, the cyst could shrink or burst.

As for my menses, I could either let it be or I could stop it by taking birth control pills. I chose to have it stopped. Birth control pills could also help to regulate my hormones.

I like Doc. He was very professional. He attended to all my questions. He used the pronoun "we" - it made me feel like I was well looked after. No wonder he was a very popular gynaecologist in town. No wonder his patients lined up every day.

Today, I had walked in without an appointment. I waited for 3 hours just to have a consultation with him. The waiting time was excruciating. But the consultation went off well. And I felt that the waiting time was justified. He was a good doctor.

I'd scheduled my next appointment on 28 November. I hope my cyst will just disappear on its own .....

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Kuching Food Festival 2017 : Probably The Last I'm Visiting This Year

Today, I brought the folks. Mom had been reluctant to visit as she insisted that everything was pricey. But Dad said he wanted to patronise his acquaintance at this stall selling Taiwanese shaved peanut ice-cream roll - stall 207. Anyway we bought ......

Satay being grilled at Pondok Satay  

 There were 3 varieties - lamb, chicken and beef
Each skewer cost RM0.70; I liked the lamb and the beef satays which weren't too tough and were nicely flavoured

We also bought ...  

Keropok lekor, RM3.00 for 10 pieces
The chewy keropok was relatively chunky, tasted alright, but the chili sauce wasn't yum at all ... 

I bought a taco ice-cream .... 

Taco ice-cream, RM7.00
The only nice thing about this ice-cream is its waffle shell -  the young girl told us that it's made fresh daily .... the ice-cream and the rest of the condiments were meh .... 

Dad's acquaintances ran stall 207 selling Taiwanese shaved peanut ice-cream roll ... 

Peanut block from Taiwan ... not too sweet ....  

Shaved and placed on a crepe-like popiah skin ....  

Topped with 2 scoops of yam ice-cream, cilantro and a little bit more of shaved peanut; I did not like yam ice-cream, so I asked for another flavour which they did not have; the fellow told me that in Taiwan, they ate it with yam ice-cream ... nah ... I've had this before in Taiwan and it wasn't yam ice-cream they were using over there ..... 

 RM4.00 per roll 
To be honest, yam ice-cream wasn't compatible with the peanut ... it overpowered the peanut ... I could hardly taste the peanut 

And the best item of the day .....

Mujin Teochew Oyster Pancake, RM15.00 

Long queue, long wait ..... but really worth it ....

 The pastry was gooey, the oysters were from Korea and they were so fresh, and the egg seemed to be very rich and fragrant too .. 

Even Mom, who herself is adept at making us this dish at home using prawns, said the oyster omelette tasted good. 

Well, starting tomorrow, I'll definitely be busy with work .... and I do not think I'll visit KFF 2017 again. Till next year then ....  

Monday, August 14, 2017

Work Lunches

It's been a while since I've brought my own lunches to work. But lately, I thought I'd start to bring my own food. The canteen food was usually greasy and unappetising, and I did not have time to go out to eat. So on the 2 occasions when I had to stay back in the afternoon, I brought my own food .....

Mom cooked the rice the evening before .... and I prepared all the ingredients the night before as well ... so in the morning I woke up at 4.45 a.m. to cook .....

Stir-fried cucumbers and deep-fried chicken breast fillet with rice

Colourful French beans, carrot and fresh corn stirfry with pan-fried marinated chicken thigh fillet ... 

My insulated lunch bowl got cold by lunch, even though I kept the container in an insulated bag ... and I actually did not like cold lunches ... but to make myself eat, I brought some spicy chilli sauce along. :))

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Kuching Food Festival 2017 : Churros

From the moment I saw the stall about 2 weeks ago, I was interested to try out the churros sold at Churros Factory. However, I'd been walking past the stall almost every day while I was having my daily walk at the park ... and it never seemed to be opened early. Today, being Sunday however and with the festival anticipating a huge crowd, I was ecstatic to see that it had opened before 5.00 p.m.

After I finished my walk, I headed straight to the stall, where I ordered a Pipy - just a straight long churros, coated with sugar and cinnamon.

Pipy, RM4.00
I measured the churros, and it was nearly a foot long! Mine was 11.5 inches long .... it was well-fried, airy and soft on the inside, and not too oily. Very pleasant to eat; it's one of the better churros I'd eaten here in Kuching ...

Loopie, RM5.00
This one was also nice, same texture for the churros, with chocolate and almond coating it ... very enjoyable to eat; mom liked it

Friday, August 11, 2017

Catching Up With Mr. P at The King's Curry

Mr. P is a witty man who never fails to make me laugh with his jokes. He retired on the last day of March last year. Since then, I've only seen him on a few occasions - during the Teachers' Day staff dinner last year, and during the late Mr. R's birthday gathering in September last year where he'd paid for the entire meal. We'd been meaning to give him a treat before our trip to Japan last year. It's just unfortunate that we never got to do it. Till today. Heh.

And so we asked him to meet up with as at The King's Curry at Jalan Rumbia. He did now know that the shop had moved from its original location at Wisma Nation Horizon, so he had gone there. When he couldn't find the shop, his first thought was that we'd pranked him. Lol. He then asked around and finally managed to find it at its new location.

Mr. P had lost weight. Much as he would like to, he couldn't eat much meat because he was suffering from gout. He also had a fall last February where he had injured his shoulder quite badly ..... poor Mr. P. But he did enjoy the lunch spread that we'd ordered .....

Lambshank Dum Biryani, RM25.00
Cheezy Murtabak, RM18.00
Cheezy Naan, RM10.00
Tenggiri Fish Curry, RM5.00

Of the 3 dishes, I liked the lambshank dum biryani and the cheezy murtabak; The lambshank briyani, I thought, was nicely flavoured, the meat so tender that it fell off the bone very easily. I also loved the pappadam and the refreshing raita that came with the dish. The cheezy murtabak, I liked very much, as it was generously filled - not sure of the ingredients that were stuffed in there, but I knew there were chicken and cheese and peppers. Very yum to eat on its own or with its accompanying curry and raita. The fish curry, I was disappointed with. I thought they'd cook and serve us a proper portion. Instead, they'd just taken the dish from the economy rice counter inside the shop ... anyway, I found the flavour of the fish curry lacking - not robust and spicy enough for my liking.

 S ordered a Handi Chicken Biryani, RM15.00

 After cracking open the dough sealing the pot ... 

I thought the chicken biryani did not taste as good as the lamb one ....; there were plenty of chicken chunks in the rice and it was a waste because we could not finish even a quarter of the dish.

We'd all enjoy lunch thoroughly ... with 4 drinks, we paid RM87.65. I thought the price was rather reasonable. Good catch up with Mr. P, good food. What more could I asked for? :))

Monday, August 7, 2017

Langkau Asap Dayak

The 3 of us went climbed up the staircase trail to Mount Singai again this week. Somehow on a Saturday afternoon like this, the trail was relatively deserted. There weren't many climbers this week. We made it to the top in 27 minutes. It did not feel as tired as it did last week. Heh. We reached the church compound and then made our way back down ...... and then climbed up again. The second climb, of course, felt harder and we did it slowly but surely up to the church again. Yay. It was an accomplishment indeed because we were relatively unfit people. Lol. We spent some time there before heading back. We'd spent 2 hours here .....

On our drive back to Kuching .... we stopped at Langkau Asap Dayak for some BBQ meats ...

The shack had 4 stalls, the second stall was closed

We patronised the first stall (the one closest to the main road) .... we picked a strip of pork belly ...

BBQ Pork Belly

Perut manis

Both platters cost a little less than RM20.00; pretty cheap and tasted superb! 

Stir-fried midin, RM6.00
Well-cooked, crunchy vegetables with shrimp paste ... quite yummy too; this we bought from the 4th stall (the one closest to the building)  


3 bottles of iced cold Heineken to share, RM8.00 each 

Lovely place to eat ... crowds got very large at nights, so I'd come early .... probably at 6.00 p.m. Will definitely be back. :)) 

Friday, August 4, 2017

Mr. L's Retirement Lunch

Mr. L's retired. His retirement was celebrated in a grand way in school. He fully deserved it as he's a legend in the school, having taught there for 38 years. That morning, his table in the staffroom was piled up with lots of gifts from students and teachers alike. Then, there was an assembly held in his honour. I was surprised when his wife showed up in the middle of the assembly amidst cheers from everyone. I think that was the best part of the whole assembly. Heh. Another of my favourite part was the send-off. The school prefects lined up from the staff room door, right up to the gate where a car was waiting for him. After Mr. L clocked out for the last time, he slowly made his way down the line, shaking hands and hugging some of the prefects ... and when he reached the car, the students gathered around and said "Thank you, teacher!" for the very last time. I thought that was really meaningful. Mr. L headed straight to the airport, as he would be flying to KL for his retirement holiday. :))

For us staff - old and new - we celebrated his retirement with a lunch at Li Garden a week after; and here were some of the food we had ...

Hot and cold platter 
Not a very memorable cold platter ....


Thick soup
Sharks fin gourd soup, I think ...


Braised noodles with shredded chicken
Many found the noodles the be bland


Roasted Duck Skin, served with
Everyone's favourite dish


Pancake, and
Loved the smokiness of the paper-thin crepe

Cucumber and scallions

Hands down, the duck skin was everyone's favourite. The combination of the wrap, and the crispy duck skin with a thin layer of fat underneath, the refreshing cucumber, the pungent scallion, and sweet plum sauce .... divine. Better than those mediocre ones I ate in Beijing the other day .... 

Teochew-style steamed Tilapia
Luckily no smell of mud on the fish .... 

Braised mushrooms with deep-fried spinach
I thought this was an ugly-looking dish ... tastewise, however, it did deliver; I loved the battered-coated vegetables as it tasted like tempura .... 

We also had sweet and spicy prawn, braised pork leg with steamed buns, and stir-fried roasted duck meat with lettuce leaves. No pictures for those dishes .... unfortunately. We thought the prawns weren't that fresh, and the braised pork leg was too sweet. No one liked the stir-fried roasted duck meat.  

Pancake for dessert
The lotus filling was sweeter than the red bean filling .. but they were indulgent and I liked them. 

Mr. L, though retired, had volunteered to come back to school to teach! How great he was! He did not want to abandon the students since they would be sitting for their exam in a few weeks' time.

After lunch, J, AL and I changed our clothes and headed to Singai .... time to burn off those calories.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Pan-fried Striploin

The other day, I was at Ta Kiong, my favourite supermarket in Kuching .... and I was at the chiller ... and I was surveying the beef. There were a few different cuts .... and I stood there for such a long time and no one bothered to attend to me. The staff were busy packaging their meats. So finally when someone was free to assist me, I asked him what the specific cuts were used for .... and ended up buying a piece of striploin. "For steak," the man told me.  


Vacuum-sealed .... did not look as red as I wanted it to look .... so much for fresh beef in Kuching ...

So back at home, I cut the meat into half ... rinsed it and then seasoned it with salt and pepper ... and pan-fried it for 3 minutes on each side .... when I sliced it, I found it to be medium rare and I did not think I dared to eat it since I did not think they were as fresh as they should be. So I put the meat slices back into the hot pan .... and after about a minute, they were done.

I had no sides to eat with the beef ... no potatoes, no bread, no rice, no salad. Heh. The next easiest thing was to cook up a packet of Maggi Mee Curry to eat the beef with .... 

Lunch

And you know what? I had rather enjoyed the beef with instant noodles .... made me think of the time when I was at Takayama ..... we'd bought our own premium grade Hida beef, and pan-fried them and eaten them with a whole lot of junk from the convenience store. Of course, this striploin is nowhere near the melt-in-the-mouth beef I had in Japan ... :))

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Kuching Food Festival 2017 : Taiyaki Croissant

I was at the park earlier today, seeing that the sky was slightly cloudy. I was afraid that it would rain if I were to go later. I was also afraid that the park would be too crowded with revellers visiting the Kuching Food Festival if I were late. Plus, parking would be a big problem.

So since I was early, I finished my 5 km walk early - slightly before 5 p.m. .... so I headed to the food tents next door. I knew what I wanted to buy that evening. I wanted a Taiyaki Croissant after seeing a post of it on Instagram.

Not sure whether it is a Japanese snack or a Taiwanese snack of a hybrid of both .... but it's a first in Kuching and I wanted to try it. My love affair with Tai Croissant started when I ate one at Dotonbori, Osaka - it cost ¥200 and it was satisfyingly good - when hot, the pastry was so flaky and buttery, the filling was generous and the sweet, rich flavour of the adzuki bean paste was absolutely divine. So occasionally, I would think about that little Tai Croissant stall at Dotonbori and wondering when I would get another chance to eat it. Heh. 

So at about 4.50 p.m. today, the stall wasn't ready for business yet ... I walked up and down along that row of stalls .... and finally I made an enquiry at the stall ... 

"Any for sale yet?" I asked.

The young lad replied, "Not yet ... in a while ...."

"What time?" I asked. I really, really wanted that Tai Croissant. 

"5 p.m," he said.

"It's 5 p.m. now," I said. Lol. He looked exasperated. I left and went around the festival grounds, surveying what else I could try next time .... in my list would be the Musang King ice-cream from the Raintree Natural stall, and churros ...

I stopped at one of those stalls selling grilled and deep-fried chicken chop - the staff were wearing those yellow t-shirts with QR codes on them .... and they said they were from Taiwan .... and they had free tasters and so I ate 1 piece of each. Heh. Nice. But I did not buy any. 

So I decided to walk back to the Taiyaki Croissant stall ... last check. If they were still not ready, I'll be heading off. So as I approached the stall, I saw them 3 fishes on the rack. Yippee ... 

"What flavour?" I asked the boy.

"Custard lava," he replied, "Just like the filling for custard lava steamed buns."

So I bought 1 piece for RM6.00. "Can I take a picture?"

"Yes," he said. "It's free. Take as many as you like... #taiyakicroissant." Lol. 

#taiyakicroissant
Lol. The 2 fishes left on the rack after I bought mine ... 

"Is it as nice as Japan's?" I asked. 

"Hopefully ..., " he laughed. 

"Thank you anyway," I was grateful that I could enjoy a Taiyaki Croissant that evening.

"Come back again if it's yum," he said politely. 

"I will," I assured him. 

Yummy ....

Well ... I did think that this croissant was pleasant to eat ... crispy and flaky, not as buttery as I would have liked it. And the custard lava filling was not also tasty and not to sweet. Craving satisfied. Happy.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Mount Singai & Siniawan

I've not been to Mount Singai for quite many years .... I can't even remember when I last went. AL had never been there before somehow. So on a whim, we went there after coming back from Annah Rais. Heh. Well, we did not attempt the summit. I think we were all too unfit to do so.

All we did was climb up the staircase trail that took us to 228m, where the church was located. We took about 30 minutes to complete the stairs, huffing and puffing along the way. The steps were rather steep at places, but there were plenty of resting areas thankfully .... so we rested till we were ready to climb up again.

There were 14 such crosses along the staircase trial ... 

A viewing platform just after the 12th cross ....

View of below from the platform 

The church was currently under renovation 

Grotto of Our Lady

Going down the steps were painless as compared to the climb up, and soon, we found ourselves back on lowland ...

Coconut drink to reward myself after the climb ... 
There were a few stalls near the parking lots .... our coconuts cost RM3.50 each ... I enjoyed scraping the flesh to nibble on ..... :)) 

Next, we headed to Siniawan Old Town for dinner .... 

  Lovely at dusk .. 

 Oyster omelette 
Teochew style, wet omelette was rather tasty ....  

BBQ Pork & Char siew
I thought the char siew was tastier than the BBQ pork

 Cangkuk manis with longevity noodles
This did not look like much, but it tasted alright .... 

Char kueh
I quite liked the flavour of this dish .... I thought the egg tasted good and I liked the bits of chopped preserved radish embedded in there .... 

BBQ stingray 
The sambal had lots of dried prawns in it .... so it was nice to nibble on over our beer and gossip ... 

It was a really fun day .... we'd been out for 13 hours - bathing in the hotspring and the river, visiting the longhouse at Annah Rais, walking up the stairs at Singai and finally dinner at Siniawan. :)) 



Sunday, July 30, 2017

Annah Rais Hotspring and Longhouse

We started our journey at 7.30 a.m. 4 of us - J, C, AL and myself. J was our driver. We drove to 7th mile Bazaar or Kota Sentosa ... and had our breakfast at a coffee shop called Poh Lok Cafe. There were plenty of choices of food to eat. Each of us ordered a dish to eat. I had ...

Char Kway Teow, RM6.00

The kway teow was too charred till it tasted bitter. So I did not like it at all, and somewhat regretted the fact that I ordered it.

So on we drove to Annah Rais Hotspring, it was rather far. We drove for an hour,  but with our lively chatter in the car, we all felt like we arrived too quickly.

Beautiful drive! 

Entrance fee was RM5.00. We walked about 30 minutes on a proper cemented pathway to the hotspring which is situated in the river or stream. There was an enclosure in the middle of the fast-flowing river ... and when I looked further down the river, I saw 2 more enclosures of different sizes.

 The pathway to the hotspring .. 

The water in the enclosure is warm ... 

There were 4 cubicles - 1 was the toilet and 3 other were showers and changing rooms. They looked pretty shabby. Hmn ... could really do with some upgrade.

So we changed into our shorts and waded into the water .... brrr ... very cold, but refreshing water. The current was quite strong and the river bed was stony .... so it was quite difficult to move about in the river. My friends and I soaked in the hotspring for about 20 minutes .... and then we bathed in the cold river ...

What's nice:
1) Soaking in the warm water amidst the natural surroundings of the jungle.
2) Bathing in the cool refreshing waters of the river - the current was very strong though ...

What's not nice:
1) The hotspring was quite small, it could get crowded with lots of people as you can probably see!

2) The water temperature wasn't consistent - scalding hot at certain places, lukewarm at others

3) One was susceptible to insect bites! Bring insect repellant

I didn't really enjoy the soak as I did at Kampung Panchor Hotspring the other day. I think if you wanted therapy, Panchor would be the place to go. Annah Rais would be for leisure and recreation.

We next went to the Annah Rais longhouse, where we were welcomed with a shot of tuak each. Tuak was sweet rice wine - it was really tasty. I bought a bottle for RM12.00 to bring home.

Had a shot and was tempted to ask for seconds .... heh ... 

Our tour of the longhouse started with this visit to this sugar cane crusher ...

First time I'd seen this! 
This massive structure was used to crush sugar cane to make sugar ... according to our guide, a long time ago, this village wasn't so accessible, and folks couldn't get to the nearest township for supplies .... so they made their own sugar.

The longhouse corridor was lined with bamboo ... the bamboo would be changed annually 

Our guide told us that one could move about from house no. 1 to house no. 9 without coming out of the corridor; the villagers' greatest fear were headhunters .... 

Peeking into the headhouse

I did not dare go into the headhouse, an elevated house situated along the corridor ... there were real human skulls in there ....our guide did share about the significance of headhunting in the days past ... because I did not go into the headhouse, I missed all of his stories ....

 Some beaded handicrafts for sale at the longhouse ... 
  
A river behind the longhouse ...  

Inside the showhouse ... 

As you entered, the kitchenette is on the left, the hearth on the right, and an open space thereafter for dining, sleeping, living .... there's a loft too, where crops would be kept.  

Street art on one of the walls at the longhouse ... 

Lunch was next at Macheree Homestay at the longhouse itself. It was served to us buffet style, and featured local dishes. I hadn't planned to eat .... but when I saw pounded tapioca leaves, I was bought. I loved pounded tapioca leaves .... I could eat that alone with a big bowl of rice.

Ayam pansuh or chicken cooked in bamboo ...
Not sure if it's really cooked in bamboo or not because it was served to us in a huge pot ...  

Stir-fried gourd ... not sure what gourd it is ....  

Stir-fried pounded tapioca leaves .... my favourite ....  

Stir-fried ferns and bamboo shoots 

Rice cooked in bamboo ..  

 My delicious lunch! 
I found the rice a bit hard; the chicken soup tasted alright, but I liked the vegetables very much; the ferns and bamboo shoots were crunchy, and just likely flavoured so I could taste the natural sweetness of the vegetables. My favourite was the pounded tapioca leaves; I could see that it was pounded by hand and not by the food processor; that meant that the texture would be good. The tapioca tasted rich and satisfying, and I had to have another serving ...  

Full from lunch, we thanked our guide and walked back to the car .... on the way, we stopped to buy some tapioca crackers .... 

Tapioca chips, RM2.00 
Very distinctive flavour of tapioca, very crispy, slightly sweet and salty too ... these made great tv snacks ... 

It was my first time to Annah Rais .. it was educational, it was fun. :)) 


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