Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

random foods

macaroons from Canele

After dinner with my boss, my colleague Sri and I got around on our own at Robertson Walk (that place has gotten to be pretty hip, ain't it?).

My boss had mentioned that Canele is somewhere around the corner and I felt like having a go at their macaroons, since I've heard so much about the ones sold there.

We got the 1/2 dozen box. Flavours chosen were: Pistachio, 70% Dark Choc, Raspberry, Passionfruit, Hazelnut & Caffe. The raspberry was such a downer. They had used the jam instead of raspberry cream.

I didn't have high hopes for the passionfruit but it turned out pretty fine.

The fragrance on the pistachio comes off as weird for a nutty flavour... The rest were pretty much alright. No points for guessing my favourite of the lot...!

thai-style chicken feet

Been yearning to have this for ages!

Bought this from Evertop Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice at the Clementi branch, near my grandma's place.

The chicken rice really kick ass but what drew me here is this dish. I no longer eat chicken feet despite loving it so much as a young kid. However, seeing that the chicken feet here is also boneless, I'm very much intrigued.

I end up slurping down the sweet and tangy thai sauce... Ummm!

fish porridge

Came upon this new halal eatery called, 'Singa Goody' on the 3rd floor of Harbourfront Centre, near the ferry ticketing area.

It's a simple eatery, reminded me of the ones in HK, somehow.

My mum got the fish porridge which was alright. They had deep fried strips of tau pok & yu tiao on top. But one thing lacking has got to be the chopped scallions & cilantro.

chicken curry noodle

As always, I asked for the yellow noodles to be replaced with laksa bee hoon instead (I have a certain distaste for yellow noodles).

Taste-wise, it was alright. The curry taste could have been stronger and this one here came out tasting like some laksa instead. I'm really missing the deep-fried curry leaves like those served at that take-away foodstall outside Eunos mrt.

This noodle comes as a set with lime juice & a slice of garlic bread. The lime juice has an asam boi inside which is a turn-off for me so I gave both the bread & drink to my dad instead. I don't know how am I to eat the curry noodles with garlic bread.

... My mum just updated me, saying that the foodstall at Eunos mrt had closed down, seeing that thay had difficulty hiring workers to man their stall... Oh man!

Sunday, December 28, 2008


A tribute to the little girl who seemingly got me thinking that kids are actually fun to have around sometimes.

Since my younger days, my mum was almost convinced that I have pedophobia. I always gave excuses or even refused to leave my room just so that I won't have to play with any young kids who came by.

And till' now, I never carry babies. Infants, especially. Carrying toddlers will be a rare moment. That has to change, doesn't it...?

Maybe it's because I'm the youngest child? Or that I'm hardly around kids?

Excuses... I know.


lil' Salsabilla

Little Salsabilla hail from Belakang Padang, a little island that's 10mins boat ride away from Batam.

This little firecracker, who's a tad on the tomboyish side, loves the power rangers, riding bicycles and singing (albeit only songs that are sung by MALE singers or bands only).

And yet she loves the colour pink.

This is the little girl who surprised her own mum with her hearty appetite during her stay here. Apparently, she hardly eat (especially rice) back home. And yet, here, she actually finished the plate of rice that that's meant for her mum. Just put some fried chicken or fried egg and she'll be fine.

She eats rice THREE times a day, over here.

So excited was her mum that she called her husband to tell him this news and he himself was surprised. My mum believe that it's due to the much better quality Thai fragrant rice that we use here.

One time, we brought her to Hj. Maimunah Restaurant and my mum put some siput sedut/balitong (stewed snails) on her plate. She had looked at the little shells apprehensively but on seeing how the rest of us had enjoyed sucking on them, she gingerly picked one up and did similarly.

So that was her first time trying it and she actually finished almost half a bowl of them! Needless to say, this proved to be yet another surprise for the mum.

my bro carrying her on his shoulders (that's a cute batik dress!)

Her favourite moment, I believe, must be when she got to play a game of rough & tumble with my bro, on his day off.

She threw really strong punches & kicks. My bro had used his slippers for protection as she threw punches at him and he remarked that he can actually feel the punches THROUGH that brand-new slippers.

One time, I instinctively raised a frying pan to protect myself. Instead of holding back, she actually went on to punch that FRYING PAN! Continuously. And she didn't even flinch!

Like the Malay saying, 'Tulang besi, Urat dawai' (Bones & veins made of steel).

Salsabilla & her mum

This poor girl was much ignored by her elder sister and her bro only like picking fights with her, back home. Her time was mostly spent playing with other boys in the neighbourhood (I don't know what happened to the other girls).

She tried playing with the girl triplets next door but she was initially shy because she thought them to be 3 boys. My bro let on that they are actually girls and that got her to gleefully exert her aggression on them, thus scaring them away. 1 against 3, ok?

And yet, here, there's only her mum and my mum to keep her company when the rest of us were out at work.

It's such a pleasant feeling when I came home from work and she'll be at the door, joyously greeting me. Even though she'll then start throwing little punches or kicks here and there, I let her be, knowing that it's just her way of getting my attention.

It just so happened tat I took leave on the 23rd to go shopping with MOH and utilised that morning to bring her out to Bedok. I amused me to bits, seeing her delight when taking the double-decker bus, as she stood throughout the whole journey, on the upper-deck, at the very front.

Seeing the awe in her eyes and the joy in her voice, I realised just how much I've taken all these things like MRT, buses and other amenities for granted.

My dad had promised to bring her on the ferris-wheel ride at Downtown East, for I had driven past it one night and she was much taken in by the lighting at E! Hub. I myself had promised to bring her for some cycling at East Coast Park.

Due to time and weather constraints, we were unable to do so. Besides, her mum was very much prone to motion sickness. And she seemed allergic to air-conditioning, too.

A short ride in the car will have her doing the merlion into a plastic bag soon after. Doesn't help that it's midday and there's no way that I'll open the car windows instead.

..when watching horror movies

One thing I don't understand about this girl was how she loved to pester us to turn on horror movies on the DVD player. Her favourite would have been the 'Pochong' (ghost in white shroud)series.

And yet, she'll then get into a fetal position, covering her whole head with a cushion. And it won't be long before she doze off into la-la land. This happened EVERYTIME she got us to watch a horror DVD.

My mum eventually figure something out and will turn on any horror movie to get her to sleep early so that we can enjoy watching our regular tv programs in peace.

Despite her being my niece, she insisted on calling me, 'Mbak' (elder sister). Hearing her mum calling my parents, 'Pak & Mak Deh' (elder uncle & aunt), she proceed to call them the same manner, when they are supposed to be her 'Yayi & Nyayi' (grand uncle & aunt) instead.

I tried to brainwash her into calling my bro 'Paman' (uncle). It worked initially. However, when she heard me calling him, 'Abang' (elder brother), she proceed to call him the same way.

Is that really frustrating or what??!

Bright, definitely stubborn and really straight-forward, she won't hesitate to correct you (albeit a tad bluntly). Despite her age, she's a proud kid and she loved to admonish other kids in the playground, saying, "Aku dah jagoh ini semua!" (I'm a champion in all this!).

Sometimes she does act too smart for my liking... Heh.

I don't know if she missed her dad, her friends or her home. Or that her mum kept getting sick. But she finally decided to return on x'mas eve (yes, she had the final say). We coaxed her into agreeing to return on x'mas instead, for that's when my dad & I aren't working.

at VivoCity rooftop sky park

We convinced her to go into the pool (to make up for all that unfulfilled promises) and she in turn, convinced me to frolic in there with her.

Very shiok, but it's darn cold! Did you see us wearing jackets there?! Brrr...

That was taken while we waited for her departure time that morning. Thankfully, the sky park was very much accessible from the newly relocated ferry ticketing area on the 3rd storey.

There's no way I'm gonna risk making her mum sick by staying in the air-conditioned building.

Seeing the both of them walking down the gangway into the ferry, I can't help feeling a little sad...

I suddenly had this thought, "Maybe that's what it feels like, to have a little sister..."

.... man, I'm starting to miss her already...

Friday, December 26, 2008

x'mas foods

well... not that I celebrate it, of course.

Pizza Hut's X'mas Surprise pizza

...Which is.. well... NOT that surprising. Same ol' thing, if you ask me.

Had this at my aunt's when we came on a short notice so she resort to pizza delivery service instead of cooking up a storm.

An acquaintance had taught me not to eat the crust on the edges, so as to be able to consume more slices but when the pizza comes with a stuffed crust, how can I resist?

A slice of this and the Hawaiian and I'm done. Are the drumlets getting soggier or what?

X'mas gift

Jimmy, my colleague, came into the office on Christmas eve and placed this on Sri's and my table.

"Merry Christmas!" he said.

Whoa! Joyous mood already?

Inside the box.

Cute little snowman-shaped white, milk & dark chocolates. Then there's the fruity variant shaped like stars ans encrusted in sugary glitter.

Amused me a little. Just what I need to alleviate the pressure, considering that I had a deadline to rush for and it's a 1/2 day...

Chocolate souffle.

Later that evening, I made plans with some friends for some desserts.

With this bunch of friends, it's always about desserts.

One of them decided on Bakerzin and I can't help agreeing. Sri and I had made plans to head there earlier that day after work, considering it's 1/2 day. We ended up having plans so the idea was set aside.

Our highlight when coming here is the chocolate souffle which has this deep and rich dark chocolate taste. That and the caffe ice-cream that it's served with..?


Up close.

Oh, will you just take a look at that?!

5 of the 7 Tapas.

Despite there being only 3 of us, we still ordered the 7 tapas anyway.

I really gotta applaud Bakerzin for coming up with such an innovative concept. I love variety and with them serving small portions of each, I can easily have a taste of almost all that's available.

2 vanilla crème brulee.

We ordered 2 of these because they were good and the portions are pretty small.

The taste was just right. Love it!

Caramel & Raspberry Panna Cotta.

Oh, the caramel Panna Cotta was topped with this rich and almost bitter espresso-like sauce. Which goes well with the caramel taste actually.

I dipped that biscotti with the panna cotta. Umm....

The fresh berries and the light panna cotta taste really goes well together. No surprise, there.

coupe cheesecake

If I'm not wrong, this is actually cheesecake ice-cream?

The term coupe (in reference to the car) should mean 'open-top'. And while normal cheesecakes have cookie bases, here, the cookie is crumbled on top.

And drizzled with berry (I dunno which one) sauce. Our favourite.

chocolate & caramel ice cream with hazelnut rice crispies +
hot chocolate shooter with vanilla ice cream

The hot choc shooter is the one in the background.

We're supposed to down it all in one go but considering we're sharing, we had to carefully scoop using spoons...

The caramel ice-cream made me miss the burnt caramel one from Island Creamery.

The krispies got a little soggy but the round wafer-like thingy in the centre is good.

So there....

Wonder where the next stop will be, peeps?

How about The Pier @ Robertson Quay. There's this cool place called Laurent's Cafe & Chocolate Bar (formerly The Chocolate Factory).

or Canele...?

Oh yeah, one of my dear frens then presented the rest of us with an X'mas gift- right after all that desserts.

not just ANY purse..

It took be by surprise, of course. Thankfully, all that sweets didn't come back up (and out).

Considering my disinterest in spending (unnecessary) money on brands like this, I never thought I'll ever own one of their products.

First it's that Coach one and now this..?

Don't even ask when I'll use this. Like I'll EVER??

However, that santa friend insist that all of us use it when we're out together... Le sigh.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

random peeks

AIA's 2009 calendar

This one here will give the peeps at their flagship store a run for their money..

Free calendars by AIA, showing colourful (mostly red) pics of the devils team.

One thing for sure, I ain't using AIA's calendar on my office desk for 2009.
Pakai kalendar masjid lagi bagus, dari muka setan2x nie...

MY boss's wife, an AIA agent, was excited to give me these, knowing how much of a football fan I am.

I guess I gotta pardon her ignorance, as it's common for non-football fans to assume that we'll like EVERY team that's on the globe, for the love of the game.

It's just too bad that I like most other teams except for them. Like what's quoted from the New Paper, I'm an A.B.U. fan.

Anything But United.

A personal pot of Longjing tea

I was digging through the office pantry when I came upon 2 cans of Longjing tea. Not another one..!

My boss is so fond of buying expensive teas and yet they never bother to finish them. Like the one I tried making before.

I googled up on 'Longjing tea' and was not surprised to see that it's (yet) another famous type of tea from China. Naturally I got curious and tried.

Warh! It's got a pretty strong taste actually. To the point of being slightly bitter....

But it felt good after sometime... Must be all the cathechins kicking in....

Pepperidge Farm cookies

One of the best off-the-shelf cookie so far....

I had stumbled into a site where the lady bakes pretty nice-looking cookies and she had recommended Pepperidge Farm.

Oh come on, when someone who knows her cookies recommend her favourite brand, one just gotta' try right..?

I griped to my collegue about how this brand just isn't that common here and she suggested Cold Storage (CS).

And seeing that I was already at Parkway Parade, I chose CS instead of Giant and I was greeted with the sight of not only their regular chocolate chip, but also the type that I've been eying since I visited their website!

Dark chocolate & pecan

I love my dark chocolate and I love my nuts, so there!

And most surprisingly, my-other-half (MOH) start to squat in front of these cooking and start to check-out all the available varieties.

"You want to buy, too?"

"I like these kind of cookies. Gonna get some for myself."

"You like nuts? Milk or dark chocolate?"

"Nope, no nuts."

He eventually got the Double Chocolate Chunk, which is second in my books. Something I'm getting when I'm done with my Pecans...

Oh, now that's ANOTHER good reason for me to marry him. I can jolly well imagine evenings watching action movies, sharing a pack of these Chocolate-Chunk cookies...

And I thought I was already in heaven after eating Boasters....

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

tea story

Shyba, after seeing all those pics of Morocco thru' the link you sent me, my yearning for this drink gets more and more compelling!

mint tea ~ w/ freshly plucked mint leaves from my mum's mini herb garden

I can't remember, what is it that I had for dinner that night. All I know is that I want some mint tea when I get back. Must have been something greasy...

My parents and I, we went tea-crazy recently. We were served this really fragrant fruit tea at my aunt's recently and instead of asking her what type and brand it was, we sought to search for it ourselves, using our supposedly reliable sensory device- the nose.

In that search, we bought Lipton's Peach-Mango at NTUC. It's wasn't the one. We then got Dilmah's Strawberry-Mango at Mustafa. Also not the one. We kind of gave up. Turns out my much-determined dad made another gamble and FINALLY bought the right one. It's Ahmad's Passion fruit-Peach.

It seriously could have been a hell lot easier, had he lowered his pride a weeny bit and ask my aunt, just what is the tea that she served us??

In the frenzy of looking for my dad's tea, my mum jumped on the bandwagon and also got for herself Lipton's Lemongrass-Ginger & another type of pure Ginger tea.

Myself meanwhile, was nursing a bad bout of prolonged cough, so I got the Dilmah's Pure Peppermint.

So we had those and the 3 different fruit teas ON TOP of the regular Lipton tea, Lipton Jasmine tea, Indonesian black tea, BOH Seri Songket Passion fruit tea and the 3 different green tea brands for the each of us (different preference :P).

Imagine what my beverage cabinet looks like.

I brought out 2 teabags of that peppermint tea (100% mint leaves) for a compact teapot. I could have easily used their Moroccan Mint (80% green tea 20% mint) instead. Frankly, they kind of tasted the same.

An idea suddenly springed on me.

"Erm, mum. Do you think they'll be upset, if we take some of their leaves...?" Please note that I'm referring to potted mint plant that grows outside our house, here.

"I don't know. I thought it's YOU who told me NOT to disturb the plants when they are already asleep at night?!"

"Oh well.. They ARE your plants, after all. I guess they won't feel too bad when it's you who took them..." I added, with a sheepish grin. Yeah, trying to act smart.

Without a word, she took her gardening scissors and went out. I LOVEEE my mum!

I expected her to take only a handful of them leaves but she came back in with 2 WHOLE stalks instead.

"Take the leaves and leave the stem. I wanna plant more." Ahh.... stem cutting. Basic science. Was that in Primary 3? Or 4? She simply root the stems in water for a week or so before replanting them.

No matter how weird it taste, our family is trying to use more raw sugar instead of the white one now. Be it in cooking, in our drinks (not just coffee) and even sprinkled on warm margarine toast. Yum!

So there. This drink on that cold, rainy night. Shared amongst my parents and myself while watching cable tv.

Ahhh.... Such bliss....!

Monday, December 15, 2008

swensens at midnight

my bro

Our initial plans to watch Ip Man got hampered last Fri. My bad.

In my excitement on seeing Ip Man being on the showtime schedules that I overlooked the date that it's showing. It's turns out to be this only week.. Pfft.

So I decide that the both of us go for supper instead.

I'm tired of the old Simpang Bedok, our usual late night haunt. So I suggest the other possible place that's still brimming with activity at that hour (I love living in the east!).

Changi Airport.

For non-Singaporean readers, I tell you, Singaporeans treat their international airport like any other shopping centre. We just love it there. Spacious, (very) clean, lots of shops and restaurants and they remain open till' late. Some are even 24 hrs!

And being the siblings that we are, we both had similar intentions. We decided on having only desserts; despite not having dinner. Or so we thought.

My bro is not exactly a 'cake' person so it's either McD's ice-cream or Swensens.

Seeing this photo makes me wonder sometimes, who's the elder sibling here...?

Doesn't he look like a 'jakun' little boy..?

Ok, I'll show you another photo.

ah-pek at Swensen's

You see..?

I'm just SO glad that our request to be seated at the side, was met. I just can't imagine him sitting like this at the seats that were originally given to us; at the centre of the whole action, in that really crowded restaurant.

I guess he got a tad too comfortable on the sofa seats....

calamari rings

Starters. It has always been our favourite choice.

I remember, when we were kids, there was a minimart in our neighbourhood which sold frozen calamari rings in 1kg packs. Right then, calamari rings aren't that popular and are only available at certain restaurants (mostly high-end ones).

Our family love those rings and we bought them pretty regularly, although at $15 each, they don't really come cheap (this was almost 20 years back).

Then the minimart closed down with the deteriorating health of the proprietor.

So all those years of yearning for these kind of made us pretty obsessed about ordering this whenever possible.

Sourdough 49ers Chicken

Yes, so much for having 'only desserts'.

We still intend on keeping it simple. My bro ordered this because it comes with 2 of these sourdough bread sandwiches and there's also fries.

And each sandwich is smaller than the size of our hand.


However, as we rapidly cleaned out the plate, it did come across our minds that we should have made a separate order of fries.

It's quite a pain to see other tables ordering them fries and here we are, polishing off this pathetic amount of fries that's merely a side for some sandwiches.

However, I managed to convince my bro that we'll eventually get full after desserts so he hurriedly called for the server to bring out our sundaes.

our sundaes

ah yes...!

So which one belongs to whom, pray tell me..?

Sticky Chewy Chocolate

This, believe it or not, was my bro's order!

I didn't know he's THAT crazy about chocolate. Even I, a chocolate lover, thought that this would have been a tad overwhelming for me..

Coit Tower

Reason I took this is because I'm back to believing in the power of numbers. The more the merrier..?

This one here is supposed to be Vanilla & Chocolate iceream but I had the former replaced with the Pistachio-Almond flavour instead (chosen on a whim). Nuts!

Then there's both Choc. Fudge & Strawberry toppings. Plus sliced bananas and more almonds. YUM!

The number of items being mentioned in the description already made me delirious.

As much as I enjoy the nuts in the flavour I chose, I doubt I might order it again. It carried the faint scent of almond syrup, which I totally detest. Even my bro noticed it.

But desserts are desserts. All that adrenaline rush that Friday night, after being cooped up in the office the whole day, well it's just what I need!

But all that sweets so late at night had me worried so I end up like an crazed hamster that Saturday morning in gym.

going back

Thank you so much for the treat, bro!

You're the best!

Oh well, you're my only sibling. So you'll ALWAYS end up being the best!

We spotted our cousin who worked there. We waited for him to be done with the Caucasian couple who was trying to check in but they spent AGES there so the both of us just went back.

When I messaged him later on in the car, he replied, "Why never bring FOOD!!!"

Wah lau, you're working at the counter and still can ask us to pack you food??! He was pissed, for that Caucasian couple took so long to check in because they can't converse in English.

Well, too bad.

We had to rush off to fetch my bro's fren who's currently broke after returning from his European trip. Apparently, had taken the last train from Yishun and it'll terminate at Raffles Place MRT station.

And he had no $ for cab fare. So he was desperately calling my bro on his dying phone, for he had forgotten to charge it. So he was attempting to 'trick' the phone into starting up with everytime he remove and replace the battery. Haha!

My bro had told me that his friend, knowing my love for Arsenal, had wanted to made me envious, by showing me the pic of him at the Emirates Stadium, kissing the FA Cup that Arsenal had won.

He's lucky that he had forgotten to show me that, for I would have gladly dropped him off at the road shoulder of the expressway that night...


Saturday, December 13, 2008

oh, random! ~ another death

warning: another somber post. and it also touches on the death issue.

Yesterday, someone I know told me of a relative of his who had just prematurely ended his life.

Young fella, he is. Only 23-25 years old. With a job that he liked, had a supposedly stable relationship, hung around with his friends... And he was part of a close knit family (his relatives, I mean) who practices good kinship. They help one another out through any problems and always made sure everyone is well.

Everyone claimed that he showed no signs of depression or any disposition that may lead to such tragedy.

There was this dark suspicion hanging in the air; about the house that the family was reluctant to reside in, due to a disturbing history of that place. There's no need to elaborate on that issue, just that some believed that something sinister from there might have led to the whole calamity.

It doesn't help that a trip to the fortune teller previously proved to be such a detrimental experience.

Anyway, what happened at the scene of the *crime (I'll get to this later) was something that I would never, ever want to be a part of. One word: TRAUMA.

I'm not sure how his friends who were there with him will ever recover from that fateful night. So unexpected. Everything happened real fast. No time to plead or negotiate. No time to act. In the blink of an eye, something seemed to have snapped.

And he's gone. Just like that. Crazy, isn't it?

And with him, he carried the secret. What? Why??

What happened next seemed like a scene out of CSI. Or more locally, Crime Watch.

And even in death, he was cuffed (with a cable-tie).

Why, you ask?

As quoted from that acquaintance, "Suicide is a crime. In Singapore, you're guilty unless proven innocent."

In this case, unless they prove that foul play is involved, he'll be considered guilty of that crime. Oh, but they'll let the hands go free at the wake. For that's when the investigations are over and the case, closed.

As a follower of Korean news, I've seen way too many suicides happening within their entertainment industry, within that same period. It's disturbing, that they became such high-profile news, especially in a country where the suicide rate is one of the world's highest.

From small wannabes to high profile entertainers, the ended their life way too early, for reasons (most probably) known and unknown.

Such young lives.... gone.

Which reminds me of a school mate who had her life ended in the same manner. And at much fragile age of 15.

Fifteen and already had thoughts of suicide. Imagine the pandemonium in our school then.

I remember, sometime after that schoolmate's departure, a classmate and I made our way to the very place where she spent her last moments.

We took a look at what she could have seen as she made that move. We assumed the exact spot, we imagined her last steps. Her last thoughts. We discussed what could have led her there.

Then we sat somewhere nearby and had a picnic.

Morbid, I know. But we're curious. What could have gone through her mind, then?

And that picnic? It was out of respect. Respect, not for that last choice made. Respect for the friend she had once been. Respect for having been in our lives.

Ok, maybe I shouldn't have called that a picnic. But the mood then was nothing short of merry. For the last thing we wanted when being there was to be solemn. If she had been there (ok, that IS a creepy thought), we had wanted her to know that we, as friends, had wanted the best for everyone. Her included.

If only she had shared her thoughts. Good and bad.

People, look around you. Are you aware of what the person close to you might be capable of?

It's a scary thought isn't it?

In this fast-paced world, let's not get too engrossed in keeping up with everyone's stride. Take time to stop and take a breather, if you need to.

And if possible, ask the people around you, "Are you all right?"

Someone might just appreciate the gesture. And maybe, with that, someone might have a change of mind.

For something better.

Friday, December 12, 2008

waroeng penyet

I guess Tuesday is my family's unofficial family day, huh?

Considering that it's my bro's off day for every week (I know, it's a pretty odd day, rite?), my family will eat out every now and then.

Trooped down to Waroeng Penyet at Marine Parade. This place has gotten to be my family's favourite haunt.

I don't know why, we always end up cash-strapped whenever we dine in there. I would like to suggest that the proprietor install the NETS machine there, seriously.

The food there ain't exactly cheap, despite the casual setting (if you compare to hawker prices, that is) but it's still affordable. Definition of expensive would have been Garuda Restaurant.

So, with the order of so many things it's no surprise if I find the need to search for a nearby ATM- and the one across the road had been removed! darn.

FYI, I don't keep much cash with me, so as to curb unnecessary spending. Uhuh, I have to resort to such measures. Something like how 7-Eleven has less than $30 after midnight? Yes, something liddat. Pfft.

Anyway, back to the food.

the spread

We made a double order of the chicken satay, sup buntut (ox-tail soup) & ikan bakar (grilled tilapia fish) since they're our family favourites.

Then there's the famed Ayam Penyet for my bro and Gado-Gado for my dad.

Chicken sate/satay

Maybe this is unlike the typical satay that we can get from local hawkers around.

The meat here wasn't as heavily marinated with nicely scented ketumbar-jintan-serai and other what nots. Simply marinated and given dabs of soy sauce when grilling.

And served with peanut sauce with a much thinner consistency than that of our local ones. Maybe due to the finely ground peanuts. Reminds me a lot of sambal pecel. My mum said it reminded her of homemade peanut butter.

Then drizzled with more soy sauce and fried shallots before serving. Typical satay that one gets, back in Indonesia.

Now about that sauce, my bro insisted that they used the same one for the Gado-Gado. I'm not too sure about that, though....

Ayam penyet

Marinated chicken, deep fried and smashed (for some reason). Served with sambal belacan and cucumber + cabbage and fried tofu + tempe on the side.

Check out all that crispy bits! See that chili in the background? Menacing! I like!

But hey, has the size of the chicken piece gotten smaller, somewhat?

Ikan bakar

My parents and myself absolutely love this. My bro only love it when I help to fish out (pun intended) the crispy parts for him.

And the best part about ordering 2 of these? Each of my parents got the fish head for themselves. Oh, you don't know how much they love fish heads!

As I've mentioned previously, there's no sign of that 'muddy' scent usually present in freshwater fish, here. And I like the fact that tilapias have large, visible bones that I can easily see and thus, avoid.

Funnily enough, despite the fact that the fish is heavily infused with the typical Indonesian thick and sweet soy sauce, we were served with more kicap (soy sauce) with cut chili padi as a condiment.

Sup buntut

Pretty disappointing with their portions now. Especially the oxtail themselves. I remember my parents and I, we used to come here and order 1 bowl of this each.

The soup is good but the main reason had been the generous portion of 2 or 3 WHOLE pieces of oxtail in each bowl.

Here however, the oxtail have been noticeably cut into smaller pieces. And they tossed in more of the regular beef pieces instead.

It really cheese me off whenever my favourite eating haunts start to dwindle in their quality, be it in terms of cooking, portion or service.

When they first open, there'll be the usual teething problems. I usually give it a month or so before checking a place out. Then we hope that they keep it that way, all the way.

And we wonder why eateries come and go....

Thursday, December 11, 2008

oh, random! ~ death in the (future) family

Missed a call from my-other-half (MOH) at ard 11pm last Mon as I was dead tired from events earlier that day on Aidil Adha.

He called me at work the next day to inform me that his grandma had passed away.

I panicked; for the only person I had in mind was his grandma who reside in Silat Road; bless her.

I was quick to ask, "Erm, your grandma...?" This translates as: Which one??

"The one in Java.."

Ouwh! I totally forgot the other one.

It then dawn upon me that I have yet to meet her.

Considering that it's not easy for him to get long leaves like that, his mum had initially suggested, and gotten my mum to convince me; to convince HER son to head over to his grandma's village during the honeymoon.

Not that we're honeymoon-ing there. Just include Central Java in our itinerary.

It got us pretty vexed, seeing that it'll make planning a hell lot more challenging. Not that I don't intend to visit her, just that that there's always another time for that trip where my whole time can be devoted on visiting our relatives there.

Most importantly, it won't see us in much haste, trying to get from one place to another within that limited period of time.

I initially intended to abide by his mum's wishes and did try to look around for possible travel routes from the village in Java to our intended destination.

Not easy, I tell you.

I tried to coax him into the idea, but his vehement dismissal on the issue made me think likewise. There had been plans for the whole bunch of us to head there sometime in May-June next year, so there.

The reason for bringing this up was due to that his grandma had missed him so much (he last went there when he's still a school kid and he didn't really enjoy that experience).

Myself meanwhile, yearned so much to see my family's village over there in Banyu Mas - Purwokerto. I've heard so much about the place from my mum that I wanna see for myself, what is it that she spoke so memorably of. The last time my relatives head there, my parents had been too busy with work so I stayed put.

So much for being someone who's proud of her Javanese roots and yet, I've never even seen my family's village. Pfft!

Anyway, his mum made her way there late last month, when another relative went back there to visit her sick mum. She followed suit (for company) and visited her late mum who was already unwell back then.

My parents had paid her a visit upon hearing the news of the death and that evening, my mum told me what my future mum-in-law (MIL) had told her.

She had brought along a picture of MOH & me, taken a day after our engagement. Upon receiving the pic, his late gradma hugged it and kept it close to her throughout. The next day, she was able to walk on her own!

That story struck a chord within me and touched me to bits. It somewhat reminded me of my late great-grandma, somehow.

There's just something about the elderly folks that never fail to pull at my heartstrings. It's just something that I can't explain.

Right now, it kinda' pained me to know that I have no idea as to how she looked like. And the fact that I can't see her. I had so many grand plans about what I'll do when I get there and now...

Oh well, we'll never know what fate had in store for us. Who are we to interfere with the circle of life?

May she rest in peace. Semoga Allah s.w.t mencucuri Rahmat ke atas Roh-nya. Amin.


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Aidil Adha eats II


I don't know what you personally call this Javanese vegetable dish but at my home, it's either urap or most often, we call this keluban.

Most of the vegetables like young tapioca leaves, cabbages and bean sprouts are blanched. Some people blanched the long beans too but that's only when they cut them into longer 1 inch pieces.

We prefer to cut them into much smaller bits and keeping them raw for that extra crunch. Also added was the thinly sliced kecipir/kacang botol (4-angle beans).

The spiced coconut has chilli, dried shrimps and others like tumeric leaves and kencur (which I'm proud to declare that they come from my mum's mini herb-garden). I can't recall what else is in that but I can only describe it as slightly salty & sweet, spicy and very fragrant.

sambal goreng babat

My mum never fail to cook this for every festive occasion, seeing that it's pretty popular among my relatives who eat babat (beef tripe).

This Hari Raya Haji, she cooked around 5 kgs of it. Yes, you read right. You won't believe the amount of garlic, onions, gallangal, ginger, lemongrass and chilli that we have to either cut, chop, slice or make a paste of.

sambal goreng petai

This one here is fried with only the cut ingredients, without frying any chilli or onion paste.

There's beef meat, lungs & liver, shrimps, tempeh, kecambah and of course, petai (stinky cluster beans).

My grandma's specialty.


Remember the other day, I had wanted to get the Rawon at Ayam Bakar Ojolali but decided against it?

I got it at my grandmas!

Beef stew made with buah keluak, onions and daun salam (bay leaves) as the main ingredients, I just love sipping on the soup/gravy.

sambal tumis sotong kurita

"What's sotong kurita?" you ask.

It's octopus! My mum managed to find the dried version somewhere. And made sambal tumis out of it! Oh, I Love, love, love sambal tumis sotong.

Having watched too many Korean programmes, I've see Korean's love for octopus and I did inquire at the dried goods wholesale centre. All gave the same answer. Too expensive, too tough (texture) and only for making soups. Blah!

The frozen ones sold at Korean marts here aren't exactly cheap either.

But my mum got these and they aren't expensive at all! But they are a bit on the smallish side, though.

BUT it's still octopus. YUM!

So there. There's more food where that came from. But these are what I managed to snap. It rained the whole day that Aidil Adha and I got pretty hungry.

Anyway, we ended the day with some R&R at a place which we thought to be somewhat unlikely. Turns out, we saw other Muslim-Malays there too, also in their Hari Raya finery.

Haha! Eat at Popeye's somemore! Not enough ketupats & rendangs to go around, maybe?

Monday, December 08, 2008

Eid ul-Adha

It's funny that a celebration with more religious/spiritual significance is less celebrated than the other.

Maybe it's due to that some away performing their Haj in Makkah. Or that some are busy helping out with the animal sacrifice at the mosques. Or this is just another holiday.

I was born on 10 Dzulhijjah 1402. This is based on the Islamic Hijrah calendar, meaning that every Eid ul-Adha is my birthday.

Come to think of it, today is the actual LAST birthday that I'm celebrating with my family. I thought I just turned 26 last September and now I'm already 27?

Sigh... Getting older doesn't fail to make me feel depressed. :(

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Aidil Adha eats I

My mum and I purchased these gems at the stall where we buy their rendang by the kilos. Yes, KILOGRAMS.

This stall is located inside SMART market in JB.

beef rendang

100 grams of beef rendang cost RM4.
1 piece of rendang ayam-kampung (free-range chicken) cost RM5.
1 piece of the mutton rendang cost RM 5 (I think.. I kinda forgot the price for this).

The chicken & mutton was charged by pieces because they include the bones. It wouldn't have been fair to charge by mass.

My mum bought like 2.2kg of the beef rendang, which set us back RM88. And 5 big pieces of the free-range chicken.

kampung chicken rendang

There are 2 types of free-range chickens that are used for cooking rendang.

Free-range chicken are essential in making rendang, for in making this dish, it has to sit over the fire for hours at end. The longer the better, for the flavours from the spices would have seeped and be absorbed into the chicken meat. Using free-ranges chickens ensure that the meat will still remain intact. Normal chicken meat would have turned to mush by then.

The really popular but not-so-common ones are the ones that used 'ayam pencen' (retired chicken - really aged). The meat of these chicken are really tough and suitable for 'dry' rendang when the amount of time spent over the fire is much longer.

Thing is though, there are more bones than meat... And the chicken skin was so tough, it reminds me of leather. =(

festive eats

On that small plate is a piece of the beef rendang. The triangular things are ketupat/lepat daun palas (peeled & unpeeled) & the rectangular piece is a burasak.

Ketupat daun palas hailed from the Northern states of Malaysia like Kedah, Penang & Perlis. Reason why I also called this 'lepat' is because they used glutinous rice, unlike normal rice for regular ketupats.

And like the ones I bought here, they even put in black beans, like the regular lepat. Ok, for those unknowing, lepat is actually glutinous rice wrapped with a coconut leaf. They usually have a small amount of legumes like soy or black beans inside.


Meanwhile, 'Burasak' is a well-known speciality of the Bugis people.

Last Raya, my mum had purchased some Burasak from a lady whose daughter-in-law is of Bugis origin. What she bought was actually glutinous rice mixed in coconut milk and wrapped in young banana leaf.

This one however, we were told that it's regular rice that's mixed in coconut milk, akin to nasi lemak, but in lontong form. We were curious by that fact and purchased a couple of these.

Inside the outer layer - see the colour contrast?

We were pleasantly surprised by the effort taken to prepare this. The outer layer was the regular banana leaf.

Unwrapping that outer layer, we were greeted by 5 individual packages, with each parcel neatly wrapped in very young banana leaves. My mum told me that going by the colour, they might have used the innermost leaf of the banana tree.

And the taste... wow! Very fragrant and true enough, it DOES taste like nasi lemak, albeit in lontong form!