Monday, March 20, 2017

Anno Ayam II: Braving Bagan Sungai Burong

Fishing Village Charm II

The second day of CNY was reserved for our day trip to Bagan Sungai Burong, a fishing village located in Sungai Besar district. Right after English mass at St. Ignatius Church, we drove out via LATAR Expressway. Google Maps gave me an estimate of 2 hours, but we took an extra 45 minutes to arrive. Upon arrival, we were welcomed by the two naughtiest of my nephews. The rest were busy gambling. The young ones raided my mum's handbag for red packets! They even demanded some from me:

Wild Nephew 1: Give me an ang pao!

Moi: I'm not married, I have none to give.

Wild Nephew 2: But you're wearing a ring! Give me! Give me!

That's just two of them. There were a total of 14 nephews and nieces. Yikes. I didn't pay too much attention to the kids as they were obviously starved for attention! I left them to roughhouse with my brother. Hehe.

Fishing Village Charm I

My mum wanted to see the boats, so the kids brought us to the riverside to take a look. Ecstatic that they were given the honour of being our guides, they did all sorts of antics to catch our attention. The kids just scurried down the wooden ladders (from a height of one and half floors) to the boats like it was a walk in the playground.

Fishing Village Charm III

When it was time for lunch, my uncle took us to Restoran Yao Kee with a bunch of kids. We had spicy claypot catfish, stir-fried mantis prawn with eggs, kam heong crabs and prawns, and stir-fried vegetables. A yummy affair as usual. A very peculiar thing happened during lunch. Mum drank a bit of Wild Nephew 1's Coca-Cola and he was very upset. He clammed up and sulked at the table. Amazing that such an action can subdue such a rambunctious kid.

Fishing Village Charm IV

Back at the house, we only sat for half an hour before my uncle started firing up the steamboat! Their soup base is very simple-- canned braised pork and water. The body of flavour is contributed by the wondrously fresh seafood that they use. At the end of each session, they leave the thick broth in the pot. When they get hungry again, they just add water. Although we just had lunch, my mouth was watering at the chunks of fish, crab, and squid. The kids weren't very interested with the seafood (makan sampai muak), but more attracted to the tofu, vegetables, and enoki mushrooms that my mother brought.

Seafood Steamboat

At about 6:00 PM, we got ready to leave. Since we didn't visit very often, my cousins gave us a whole lot of seafood to bring back to KL. Hopefully the next we visit, Wild Nephew 1 and 2 would have mellowed down a bit. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Anno Ayam I: PJ to Pavilion to Uptown

Golden Eggs

Every year, we celebrate the first day of the Lunar Chinese New Year at church. The Year of the Rooster was no exception. To get the best seats, we arrived an hour earlier. The other benefit of arriving before the throng is that it is much easier to take photos. The interior of the church was decked out in red, with a couplet flanking the crucifix above the altar-- something about the abundance of God's grace. The red carpet from Christmas still ran across the middle of the church, but it was now matched with red lanterns. The nativity scene was replaced with a set of oriental table and chairs, red cloth, and cherry blossoms. Outside was more cherry blossoms but there was something extra-- giant golden eggs. The whole morning I was on my feet running around, helping out the Hospitality Ministry with the mandarin oranges distribution and ushering parishioners to the pews. Felt like a record turnout this year. The lion dance was kinda short this year because by the time that we had finished cam-whoring after mass, they had gone. Once again, I met my kindergarten principal. Outwardly she looked fine, but I was told that she had cancer. Hope she will get better.

CNY Mass I

Red Packets

Like most KL-ites, we spent CNY at the mall. Didn't take long to get to The Pavilion with the super light traffic conditions. I had worries that there wouldn't be many shops open, but on the contrary, 90% of the shops were in business. Brought my brother to have lunch at Quivo. Mediterranean food is his favourite and I was looking for a change from the usual Chinese food. We shared a salad, pizza, and a crab meat pasta. Surprisingly, my brother ordered a mojito too.

Mediterranean Salad

The decorations at The Pavilion were nice, but we couldn't take a closer look because the center atrium was packed due to the lion dance performance. But of course we could see the giant phoenix in the air. It was nicely done with flowing tail feathers in mid-flight. We had to walk up several floors to find a place to watch the lion dance performance. Had to peek over shoulders, or between someone's legs. The performance had a very rocky start. The first lion fell off the poles three times! The crowd cheered them on, but I think they were too shaken to continue. The second lion was obviously more practiced.

Phoenix II

Auspicious Trees

Phoenix I

Phoenix vs Lion

Every time my brother is in KL, he would look for Malay food. He wanted Nasi Dagang so I had to think and think and think...

Moi: Let's try Hayaki at Damansara Uptown. Might be open since its a 24 hour joint. 

Bro: Har, Japanese restaurant pun ada Nasi Dagang?

Quiet Damansara Uptown

LOL. Damansara Uptown was not itself. Devoid of traffic, so many empty parking lots! Most importantly, Hayaki was open. The Nasi Dagang Kelantan passed the test and the Nasi Kerabu was good too.

Nasi Kerabu

Nasi Dagang

Since we were in there neighbourhood, we stepped into The Starling, Damansara Uptown's neighbourhood mall. Can you believe that the developer actually built an underpass from the shop lots to the mall? Just a three lane road and not like they have the pedestrian traffic like at Orchard Road. Very optimistic about the future. As you can guess from the name, the mall has a bird theme. Each pillar is disguised as a tree trunk with birds perched on the branches. Even the information counter is a big metal nest. At the center atrium, a huge flock of bird are suspended beneath the sky light. Like a whole bunch of marionette robotic birds. Retail variety there doesn't seem very good, but at least they have a Jaya Grocer in the basement.

Old Shop

Starling

Later in the evening, KH paid me a visit. Really wanted to put my feet up with him inside me as I was on my feet the whole day....

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

BFF Minus One

Too soon, just way too soon to lose a valuable member of the BFF. Though silent, you were always bursting with creativity. Never quite delved beneath the  surface of your happy-go-lucky demeanour to discover what turmoil lived there. Your departure has truly left a void that cannot be ignored. F, may you find peace returned to nature and the heavens. R.I.P.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Anno Ayam 0: Eat Together, Stay Together

Reunion Dinner

CNY eve is always reserved for last minute cleaning. I swept and mopped the floor. Cleaned my room and washed the car. Did all this while mum was busy in the kitchen preparing for reunion dinner. Mum suddenly declared that she needed to grab some stuff from AEON. I thought I could collect my mum's supplementary credit card from the Equine Park branch, but the branch was swamped with customers. Last minute banking. Plenty of last minute shoppers too. KH worked that day, but there was an early release. He came all the way from KL to Taman Equine to look for me. Brought him for a quick lunch at Spice of Penang. Quite a crappy place actually. Avoid it. KH went back to my place for a short visit before leaving for home.

Food for the Altar

This year, it was only the three of us at the reuion dinner-- mum, my brother, and I. SK FFK-ed to spend CNY in Linggi with CK. Because there were only a few of us, she dished out a variety of items at smaller portions. The dinner table did look a little empty, but we later discovered that it was because there were three more dishes in the larder. In the end, I did a little accounting and this was what we had: lotus root soup, fried fish, steamed crab, salad, steamed scallops with asparagus, fried soy sauce chicken, pan-fried prawns, blanched chicken, and braised pork ribs with sea cucumber, And we opened a bottle of rosé. Before we ate, we did a table setting for my late father as well, and prayed a decade of the Rosary. Then it was chow time! Once the table was cleared, it was time to tidy up the kitchen and the dining room. Phew! All ready for CNY!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Lou Sang

Lou Sang

How many times did you lou sang before the Lunar Chinese New Year?
2.

How many times did you lou sang during the Lunar Chinese New Year?
2.

What type of yu sang do you prefer?
Jellyfish.

Now it's your turn.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Jabba Wishes You Happy CNY

Federal Territories Minister

Something felt amiss went I arrived at the OUG morning market one fateful day. Traffic was surprisingly smoother. According to universal law, the traffic gets worse during the countdown to the Lunar Chinese New Year. Petty traders at several locations were missing and some coffee shops weren't open. Crazy! Then it made sense. I saw clumps of DBKL enforcement officers near the Market Place OUG. As I approached, I realized that a huge canopy had been raised out front. Some camera crew were filming. To my dismay, I spied Jabba the Hut making a speech. Shocking! But as I got a closer look, I realized that I was mistaken. It was actually our Federal Territories Minister, Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan. The esteemed minister was there to officiate the opening of the Market Place OUG and tell the predominantly Chinese voters there to open their eyes, and use their brains to think. Please love Barisan Nasional because Barisan Nasional loves you. Yes, we know. I didn't stay to listen more. I noticed that the toilets were cordoned off for the occasion, perhaps to avoid any assassination attempts there. Some poor traders lost one day's business, and on a busy Saturday to boot.

Flower Power

We went about our business. Mum bought some potted yellow Chrysanthemum, and raw ingredients for the coming reunion dinner. We had our usual breakfast noodles at the small lane. Even lunch was a packet of nasi lemak bungkus that we had bought at the market. The last weekend to ready the house for the Year of the Rooster!

Clear Soup Noodles

Nasi Lemak Bungkus

Friday, March 03, 2017

Tin Men

Ascend

The 10-year wedding anniversary is traditionally called the tin or aluminum anniversary. On the modern list, it is referred to as the diamond jewelry anniversary. Either way, it is the "first of the major milestone anniversaries," according to About.com.

Yes, happy tin anniversary to KH and I! Tin. Aluminium. Lol. Can't believe it has been ten years already. Here's a quick summary:
  • Started in 2007.
  • LDR till 2012.
  • Nearly got married in Vancouver in 2014.
  • 10th anniversary in 2017.
To celebrate our ten years together, KH arranged made dinner reservations at Fuego, Troika Sky Dining. When we met, he was lugging a Nescafe Dolce Gusto machine that his colleagues bought him as a farewell gift (it's gonna be his third job since relocating back to KL).

Lounge

Troika Sky Dining was a new experience for both of us. When the elevator opened on floor 23A, we were greeted by a reservation desk that served the many restaurants on that floor. Fuego is located at an open air space with a view of KLCC (partial view thanks to the new Four Seasons), KL Tower, and Masjid Asy-Syakirin. Our table was located right at the edge of the glass banister, with a view unobstructed by other tables. At our back was a huge bar and at the side was the heart of the restaurant that dishes out the South American food.

Bar

Tiles

KL City View

Table Setting

Our romantic dinner was kicked off with a toast with a Mezcal cocktail and a Pisco sour. Both drinks were new to me. Mezcal is distilled from agave, and has a smoky disposition while Pisco is a Peruvian brandy. For starters, we had the Fuego Guacamole that came with an assortment of chips. Loved it. We also had Fuego Coconut Ceviche which was prepared with Barramundi, and served in a coconut shell. Interesting presentation. Meat was our main, where we ordered the Rare French Beef Flank. Although it was grilled medium rare, I found it too chewy. My jaws felt a little sore. Didn't finish it. A tip for foodies: get the earliest reservation at 6:30 PM and you will have great light for food photography. Any later and it would be too dark.

Dusk

Mezcal Cocktail & Pisco Sour

Fuego Guacamole

Fuego Coconut Ceviche

Rare French Beef Flank

As the dinner progressed, we got to enjoy the dimming light from the sunset. Artificial lighting was kept to a minimum to let diners enjoy the night view. Perfect for KH and I to review our ten years together. Gave it to him straight that in all those years, I never imagined myself with any other man. As the night progressed, we ordered tapas-- Smoked Snails in the Jar, basically escargot in glass jar filled with smoke from the grill! KH liked that. We also ordered a Southbound Suarez that seemed to scream cinnamon though I don't think it has any in it at all. Dinner was over by 8:00 PM, and we were too stuffed for dessert.

Sunset

Did a little snooping around after dinner. Coppersmith is a handsome bar with a hipster bartender. Nearer to the entrance was Strato, an Italian restaurant with two floors. At the other end is Cantaloupe, chef Christian Bauer's fine dining restaurant. The night was still young, so we stopped for coffee at Menara Binjai. It was raining outside and we had a cozy corner we sidled up to each other. The only thing missing? Anniversary sex. Hehe. 

Booze

Autumn MSR