Thursday, December 10, 2009

Can I?

Busy packing for my solo Cambodia trip tomorrow. I'll be there for a bit more than 3 weeks, slumming it through on a shoe-string budget. The plan is 1 week of traveling around and 2 weeks of volunteering in an orphanage near Phnom Penh.

Excited and anxious at the same time.

The last time I went tripping backpacking style was a good 4 years ago. That was a week plus in Saigon.

The excited part: I really look forward to this trip. I really want to do this.

The anxious part: Can I still do this, roughing it?

Wish me luck.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Carrot Cake Sunday

Rummaging through the fridge, I found a bag of God-knows-how-old carrot at the bottom of the vegetable compartment. How would I get rid of them?

Carrot cake!

So after dinner, I started the whole shebang of peeling and grating carrot and chopping walnuts and whisking and mixing and all the fun baking stuff. And when the cake batter loaded into the oven, I moved on to the cleaning and scrubbing, happily.

I couldn't remember when was the last time I baked, really.

30 minutes later, came the best part- eating the first slice, fresh from the oven and toasty warm.

Oh God, it was tasty, just the perfect combo of the sweetness of the carrots and crunch from the walnuts and the fragrance of the cinnamon. Kick-ass tasty!

Damn I'm good!

I was still stuffing myself a slice at 11:30, right before I headed for bed!

So good!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Cooking

Baking, I enjoy, a lot. Cooking, not as much.

But lately, I'm cooking more and enjoying it even more. I've been buying loads of cookbooks. I've been reading them up and trying out new recipes over the weekend. Now I find myself flipping my meal pattern. Normally, I lunch out and just make a simple sandwich for dinner at home. Now I make sandwich for lunch and cook up a storm for dinner at home.

So much so that I actually entertain the idea of quitting my day job and running a catering business on my own, out of my tiny kitchen. I see myself crying my eyes out chopping onions, slicing my fingers peeling potatoes, burning my arms baking tartlets, aching my back from hunching over the kitchen counter making vol-au-vents.

That sounds like a lot of pains and sweats and tears. Maybe I'll stick to my day job for a little while longer. Just keep cooking as my latest hobby, and get ready to get fat.

Monday, November 16, 2009

It's What You Say, And Also How You Say It

"Mmmmmm..."

My 4 year-old nephew, A said to me after stuffing a piece of plain pancake into his mouth. His eyes were squinted into a thin line and his lips were pressed together with the corners curling up a little satisfactory smile. He likes it plain, just plain. No berries, in the pancake or on the side, simply topped with a bit of whip cream and squirts of maple syrup.

I made him the pancake for breakfast. What he said and how he said it made me over the moon happy. How could I not spoil this little monster?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

French Revolution

I picked this recipe up from a cook show on TV. But I only learnt the name later while flipping through a cookbook I recently bought. Vol-au-vent is a small round puff pastry hollow case filled with savory fillings such as mushroom, onions, seafood, cheese or meat. In French, literally it means windblown, to describe the lightness of the puff pastry.

Well this is my version of vol-au-vents. It's a little different from the Frenchies. One it's square, and two it's not exactly small. All due to my laziness to cut them into rounds. And due to my laziness again, I use frozen ready-made puff-pastry. Trust me, making it from scratch is simply too much work, not exactly in line with my quick bite philosophy on meals.

Anyway, this is how to make them. Saute crushed garlic, sliced onions and mushrooms in some olive oil. Add in some bacon chips. Drop a dash of worcestershire sauce, pinch of black pepper, and glugs of white wine. Simmer and reduce. That's done for the filling.

For the pastry cases, cut 4 strips of the thawed puff pastry slice and line that around the edge of a new square of puff pastry, building a little pastry fence. Pile up the filling into the the puff pastry square. Sprinkle generously grated parmesan and chili powder before loading it into a hot oven. Bake until the puff pastry fence puff up and turn golden brown.

Vol-au-vent ala Boonsky done!

Bon appetit!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Fight

Diwali, the festival of lights, celebrating the triumph of the good in battle against the evil. Light defeats darkness. Hope prevails.

But for some, the battle is far from over. Perhaps it is the beginning of a long and testing battle ahead.

Now that merely a year later, at this same festive season, another battle is shaping up. Sometimes life, (or God) has a sick sense of humor. Same scenario, just a different parent. Losing loved one is painfully devastating. Losing loved one in the midst of such celebration and rejoicing, the pain is just simply unimaginable and unreal.

Unreal!

But the battle is real, here and now. Forge on, my friend. Fight! Never give up. Never back down.

In the spirit of Diwali, may hope truly prevail, and light emerges victorious over evil.

Hope prevails.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Returning Home

Just got back from a workshop in Penang, reached home slightly after 5 PM. My herbs plants wilted lifelessly, after being left unattended for 3 days. The basil was most probably gone, but there might still be hope for the spear mints.

Am I going to be one of those people who returns home to his dog or gold fish or plants?

Suddenly, I wanted to return home to someone or I wanted to wait for someone to return home to or I wanted to return home together with someone.

That would be nice.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

What Are You Reading Now?

"I like to read." A newly aquatinted friend said to me, making conversation I think. He went on and said how much he loves Japanese authors, how beautiful and detailed they get describing nature and people.

He then asked me if I enjoy reading. Indeed I do. But lately, I find myself reading a lot of cookbooks.

Suddenly I felt like quitting my day job and running a catering service business, out of my own kitchen, ala Martha Stewart. Maybe I'll name it Martin Stewart.

I'm just mad about cooking lately.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Beyonce Is Coming To Town!

Beyonce is coming to town for a concert soon. Everyone is getting excited, including some religious quarters. They are excited, all up in arms to call off the concert, voicing so very strongly their disgust and disapproval of Beyonce's performance and her stage appearance. It is considered too revealing, too sex; insensitive, inappropriate and contracting to our local culture and Oriental values. Our youngsters going to concert would be poisoned by such hideous, despicable acts. So they claimed.

I was pumping iron at the gym this evening. TV screens everywhere in the gym playing Beyounce's music video, Single Ladies.

Oh my God, have you seen that before? I must admit it was my first time catching that. I dropped my workout all together and had my eyes plastered on the TV, gawking and almost drooling. How hot is Beyonce with all those crazy sexy moves! Mmm mmm... Damn! Jay-Z is one lucky bastard.

Then I thought, how accessible and how common a TV is nowadays. Every home has got at least one. Then the gym, mamak stalls, in the bus, shopping malls, airports, TV is everywhere, omnipresent. Basically, everyone is watching TV everywhere. More importantly, everyone is watching Beyonce prancing around in her skimpy outfits shaking her bootie everywhere! So how effective is banning her concert her shield our kids from the supposedly evil of Beyonce?

You tell me.

Monday, October 05, 2009

The List

1. After School
2. Crude
3. Paris
4. The Maid
5. White On Rice
6. One Good Man
7. Lying
8. The Road
9. How I Got Lost
10. Amreeka
11. Art&Copy
12. The September Issue
13. Extract
14. The Lovely Bones
15. Price Of Life
16. Adventures Of Power
17. Leslie My Name Is Evil
18. The Boys Are Back
19. Trucker
20. Brief Interviews With Hideous Men
21. Untitled
22. How To Seduce Difficult Women

So that's the list, my list. They are the movies I'd like to watch, indie flicks, subtitles, documentaries, dramas, comedies and even some Hollywood stuff, good ones. But unfortunately I don't think most of them will make it to the local theatre. So how do I get hold of these flicks?

Legally, if I may add.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Man vs Beast

I think it was Tuesday morning, 7 o'clock. I was inching along in the rush hour traffic, bumper to bumper madness.

Suddenly the sound of siren was heard from afar, approaching from behind. Along the already super congested road, everyone was struggling to make room for that.

It was a motorcade, small one, just 2 cops on bikes, clearing the street, (now here's the kicker in the nuts) for a trailer carrying horses! They must be some really special horses belong to some really big shots.

Still, what the fuck?!

We, the people, were held off in jam-ville for a couple of horses! Now that was something new, wasn't it?

Well, I suppose the 1 Malaysia concept also extends to animals.

Some animal-rights activists, happy now?

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Juicy Goodness

Mom came for a short stay last week, bringing with her tidal of good news, I mean a huge bag of passion fruits. Seriously, huge bags of them passion fruits.

Normally I'd just cut them open, scope up the tangy sweet juicy goodness and down them straight. It's refreshing having a couple of those babies after dinner. But, somehow I wasn't eating them up fast enough. There were still loads left in the fridge, some heading to rotten-ville. Seriously now, imagine how big a bag mom hauled in.

Then a moment of genius struck! Let's juice them up!

Out came the blender. Loaded the last 7 into the blender, along a couple teaspoons of yogurt, honey and some ice. Then pulsed them for a couple of time before blended them on high speed for a couple of minutes. Strained off the pulp and the seeds. Topped with sliced mint leaves.

Voila!

7 passion fruits made this tiny glass. I downed it in 2 gulps.

Refreshing!

A shot of rum would be nice.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Alone? Lonely?

Coming home to an empty apartment tonight. Dark and quiet.

Mom and dad had gone home this morning after a short stay. Brother, D and the wife also returned to Vietnam this evening. All of them left before I came backd from work.

I made noodles for dinner, the instant kind. I ate alone, silently.

That's quite a typical depiction of a single man living in the city. It's kinda' sad really. Suddenly I'm not used to empty and quiet apartment, and the solitude. There was a sense of uneasiness in the air.

I'm alone.

But am I lonely?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wasted

So, 4-day long weekend, wasted.

Originally, the plan was meant to be an adventurous weekend, to drive up north to a quaint little eco-homestead, spending a couple days hiking in the mountains, walking along the beach, swimming in the ocean and learning some organic farming. But when I finally managed to get in touch with the owner, the place was already fully booked.

Still, the decision to stay in the city was consciously made. I could do some hiking nearby, log a few more laps in the pool, bake again and run some errands. It would be a somewhat active outdoorsy weekend as well.

Hiking did not pan out as it was a rainy weekend all in all. Of course, I was too lazy to drag myself out of the bed so early in the morning. The rain was just a conveniently lame excuse.

Swimming was out too. I enthusiastically drove to the pool just to find out that it was closed throughout the holiday long weekend. Oh damn! That was Sunday evening, and I realized then it was going to be a long weekend.

So what did I do? I stayed up late. I slept in even later. I cleaned the apartment a bit. I took the recyclables to the collection center. I had my grocery run.

In the end I found myself spending a lot of time fidgeting around the apartment, channel flipping and very sad to say, wishing to go back to work. How pathetic!

Well, I did bake. It was the only adventurous thing I did during the long weekend. I tried out a new recipe, flourless orange cake. But since I don’t recall tasting a flourless cake before, I’m not sure if the cake turned out to be the way it should. Well it’s a tad too moist and it has more of a custardy texture than a cake texture. Probably I put in an orange too many.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Trinity

In culinary world, the holy trinity refers to chopped bell peppers, celery and onions, widely used as a based in a lot of the Cajun and Creole cooking in Louisiana. The French have their own culinary trinity too, which is the Mirepoix of carrots, celery and onions. For the Italian, the trinity is consist of tomatoes, garlic and basil. In the Orient, scallions, garlic and ginger are the trinity of the Chinese cooking.

In my kitchen, I'm building my own trinity. But I'm running into a bit of a jam. I'm down to the final four. I love the woody and earthy scent of the mushroom, the sweetness of the onions, the powerful fragrance of the garlic and the hot and spicy spike of the pepper.

One more ingredient to be kick off the island, I mean chopping block.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Overheard #12

"Yay! Next week boleh main siang."

Translation: "Yay! Next week can do it during day time."

Muslims all over the world will be ending the holy fasting month of Ramadhan and ushering in the festivity of Eid ul-Fitr around this Sunday.

Anyway, this is by far the best ever Eid ul-Fitr greeting or cheer I have ever heard. I burst out laughing so loud and so hard, tears in my eyes, almost peed in my pants and practically rolling on the floor.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Overheard #11

"Drop everything! Go get people to sing when the judges come. If we want to win this, we must do something extra, inject more raya (Eid festival) spirit." A senior manager was asking a junior geologist to round up as many people in the office as possible, to sing a festive tune to impress the judges for the office Eid festival decoration competition.

I couldn't believe what I heard. Drop everything! Now, talk about priority.

Perhaps he was trying to make this drab and cold office a wee bit more cheerful and fun.

I know, I'm such a buzzkill.

In His Shoes

It was like half an hour before the end of the day on Monday I approached a colleague for some clarifications. The simple conversation, kind of like the morphosis of a butterfly. I said kind of because it started off innocently and plainly like a humble looking lava with a couple of questions. One question led to another one. It then became a intense discussion, which later turned into a heated arguement. None of us were willing to budge. We stood our ground, steadfastly. So instead of turning into a beautiful butterfly, it morphed into an ugly moth.

I remember telling myself:"If I could walk a mile in his shoes, I would understand his perspective better." Cross my heart, I did try. Lord knew I tried. So I knew where he was coming from and where he was heading to. So, on principle I agreed with him, and even ready to compromise. But unfortunately, I did not see him reciprocating. He didn't even want to hear me out.

What's up with these bastards who think they are always right and their way is the only way, and willing to lie and scheme to make their points, refusing to entertain the possibility of an alternative option. What's up with that?

In the end, my querries went unanswered. I remained confused. In addition, it was draining, mentally, with such negative spin to end the day. It killed my Monday night, leaving me unsettled and annoyed.

So what do you do if you are walking a mile in someone else's shoes and that bastard is not willing to walk a mile in yours?

Just take off his shoes, first put on your own pair, then fucking toss away his bloody damn shoes, as far as possible.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Cake of My Own

When you've got lemons, you make lemonade.

When I've got some apples and leftover prunes, I tweaked a bit of my favorite carrot cake recipe and baked a apple prune cake, simply by replacing the shredded carrots and chopped walnuts with finely diced apples and chopped prunes. Dialed it down a little on the sugar as the prunes were sweet.

The final product, I love it! I love it a lot. The tartness of the apples and the sweetness of the prunes blended well with the fragrance of the cinnamon. The apple also added a bite of crunchiness texture into the cake.

Yummy! Love it.

Now can I claim this recipe my own creation?

I think I will.

I now present to you, Boonsky's Love It A Lot Yummy Apple Prune Cake.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Forgive, But Not Forget

I'll forever not be able to forget the repetitive images on tv that morning.

Camera panning along with the people falling/jumping off the crumpling building, to their death. They looked so small, so light, yet falling so quickly. Camera panning at the second plane crashing into the South Tower, exploding into a enormous fire ball. So Hollywood-ish, so fake, yet it was every bit real.

I can never forget those images.

Perhaps I shouldn't. We shouldn't.

Let's us forgive, but never forget.

Never.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Travel Mate

"Don't you feel lonely traveling alone?"

I get this question a lot when I tell people I'm going away on my own, often in a very startling tone of voice. Well I'm not traveling alone, and definitely not lonely on the road. My travel mate is just a free spirited fun loving lad, open and funny and flexible and accommodative and supportive. He let me call all the shots and there is never talking back. There were neither disagreement nor arguement thus far. Never once did he utter a word of complaint or dissatifaction. Most importantly, there is never tantrums and definitely no diva attitude. How cool is he?

Nusa Dua, Bali


Cape Rachado, Port Dickson


Cherating, Kuantan


Sahara Desert Nouakchott, Mauritania


Phra Nang Beach, Krabi


Tabur Hill, KL


Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Mmm...


A slice of chilled homemade (read: I baked that) carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and a scope of ice-cream.

Mmm mmm...

My lovely Sunday night.

Oh those tiny black dots in the cream cheese frosting, they were vanilla, the real thing, not the vanilla extract fake stuff. That made the cake more fragrant and tastier, just so much better.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

That Day We Were Weeping

It has been about 2 weeks now, I think. He's gone.

That was a dark weekend. The sky was thick with the darkest clouds, threatening. The sun went away hiding. The wind howling relentlessly.

The doctor confirmed there was no heart beat. The pregnancy terminated. My brother, D called home to tell mom, weeping. Mom called to inform me, weeping. I shared that with a friend, weeping.

Then it rained.

That day, the sky, too was weeping with us, for us.

I did not know what to do.

The next day I went to the temple. I prayed for strength and hope for my brother and his wife, for my parents. I prayed for love and peace for my nephew.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Memory Triggering Sandwich

In between 2 slices of lightly toasted whole wheat bread, layer the savory smoked salmon, creamy avocado slices, sweet earthy fragrant basil and cheese. Dinner's served!

Suddenly, this reminds me of my days roaming around Costa Rica on a super tight budget, surviving on the countless tuna avocado sandwiches I made my own.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Help Them in Your Own Ways

A sense of uneasiness, perhaps helplessness nudged me in my heart as I was watching the Preservation Hall Jazz Band performing on Saturday night. They are a jazz band from New Orleans, so of course, they were very good, very entertaining. But I couldn't enjoy the show thoroughly.

My mind drifted to the scene from Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip below. Seeing them perform reminded me of the destruction and devastation brought by Hurricane Katrina upon New Orleans, and then disastrous wrecking of Typhoon Morakot on Taiwan. My heart sank into a dark and deep abyss.

What can we do from here? How can we help them out?

I wonder.

I called up a friend and made a donation earlier in the evening. And before I turn in tonight, I will prayer for strength for those who survive and those who lost their loved ones, I will prayer for peace and eternal happiness for those who parted.

Then I urge you to do whatever you can to extend your love and support to those affected in Taiwan.


Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Grand Daddy's Surprise



I was at the beach back home to soak up some sun. But there was a veil of thin clouds shrouding my glorious sun. I picked up my camera but the light was flat and uninspiring. So I turned to shoot some beach plants to kill time.

Using a grand daddy of DSLR, I wasn't expecting stellar images. However, I was truly surprised by the images captured as it was relatively sharper than I expected. The colors were saturated and popping. It was a pleasant surprise indeed.

Sometimes you find the little wonderful bits of joy in life in the least expected place, or from the least expected person or the least expected grand daddy of DSLR.

Now who's your grand daddy?

Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Night Light

Home feeling beat after gym, I wanted something quick and simple. So I whipped up some mushroom soup, with a little twist.

Sweat half a chopped onion and a couple crushed garlic cloves and some sliced mushrooms in butter. For extra kick, I sauteed them with glugs of sake. Well that was the only booze available in the kitchen. Throw in some thinly sliced ham for additional bite. Then empty up a can of cream of mushroom soup into the pot followed by a can full of milk. Bring it to a boil and whisk it occasionally till the soup turns silky creamy smooth. Serve with a slice of toasted whole wheat bread.

Yum yum!

I love soup.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Jump Start

Felt like this all week back at work after the short hiking trip. The good ol' engine needs a jump start.

It's true you know, you think you go away on a vacation to take a breather from work, but you actually rest and recuperate well by going back to work after the vacation.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

37-38-30-14

The first three numbers refer to the weight the load, in kilograms of the 'backpacks', from left to right. The number 14 is the age of the kid in the picture. He too, is a porter, carrying supply up the mountain trail of Gunung Kinabalu.

They are paid RM3.50 per kg!

Three fucking ringgit and fifty fucking cents per kg!

I could not believe what I had heard. I felt like crying. I felt like they really got the shitty end of the bargain, such measly pay for such back breaking work. I was really really sad. I wanted to give them a hug. But I supposed we were too macho for that. Instead, I shook their hands. 

We talked a bit more. They told us they used to get only three rnggit per kg. The wage got increased not long ago. They told us they carried rubbish on the way down. They told us they work six days a week, up and down the mountain. Though their accounts were cheerful and high spirited, my heart still sank deeper and deeper listening to them. Then seeing them snacking on cucumber, which was part of their load, my friend gave them our homemade trail mix of nuts and dried fruits. They thanked us profusely.

Later, we met them again at Laban Rata, the base camp where climbers spend a night before attempting the summit. I gave them my sweets, the least that I could do, at that time.

And now I want to share their stories here. 

Monday, July 27, 2009

Back

I'm back from a long walk in the bush. Now my calves are killing me.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Best Friends

Friends go hiking with you.

Good friends go hiking with you, and wait for you while you take a leak or take a pix.

Best friends? Best friends go hiking with you, stop and wait when you ask them to because you want to take pictures of the wild ginger flowers along the trail, and they rush you to get it done quick because it's hot and humid and they are sweaty and the mosquitoes are feasting on them, and when you tell them to shut up and fuck off, they tell you the fuck off too and suck their cocks, and then they remain there, continue to wait for you until you are done, then they carry on hiking with you, yakking and laughing away.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Chow Fest with Friends

Friends came to town for the weekend. These are my old chums from secondary school days. With good friends ready, all needed were some good food to make some good times. So last weekend would be best documented with the food, the copious amount of food we shoved down our throat. We basically went rampant stuffing ourselves silly.

After my Sign language class on Saturday, I rushed over to meet them at Chinatown, just to find them started the chow fest already. Spread on the table was a remnant of a salty roasted duck while everyone else was slurping their porky parts (liver, intestines, kidney etc) porridge. I opted for a bowl of fish porridge instead, as the porky stuff wasn’t my thing. Oh the duck, juicy succulent meat with a layer of crispy skin. Oh the duck!

As the sky turned gray and threatening, we dashed off to our car. Considering the cars were parked a couple of street away and the sky wasn’t that threatening, we made a pit stop at a bao (Chinese steam buns) stall to get some dou sha baos (sweet red bean paste filling) and char siu baos (savory roasted pork filling). According to a friend, the dough was hand knead to the perfect consistency for a light soft and fluffy bun. It was indeed. Yummy! Not forgetting, I also picked up some sweet jackfruits for the lot, as gifts for me being late. Everything was gone while we dashed to the cars.

We were on our way to Klang to visit another friend and spend the night there. It was hot when we got there and meet up the friend. The afternoon heat was suffocating and rendered us sweating ridiculously. The debate was to head out for some special beers (more on that later) or cendol. Cendol won, since the beers place did not open during the day. I had two bowls of those icy cooling sweat tasty dessert, first with a good dollop of ice cream topping, another one with jelly and cream corn topping. We also ordered two plates of rojak mamak to share.

We were all sleepy and lazy like a snake with a full belly in the afternoon heat. Finally we checked into the hotel, snoozing away enjoying the AC.

After a quick wash, we were joined by another friend. The eight of us headed out for a pre-dinner meal. The star of the pre-dinner meal was clay pot chicken rice, which was a dinner meal by itself. It was pretty standard affair, nothing to write home about, except that the ingredients were abundant, big chunks of chicken, slices of Chinese sausage, and diced salted fish. I was not sure about the rest, I was pretty full after that.

To allow our body to make more room for the real dinner, we went to visit a nature’s wonder, the fireflies at Kuala Selangor. We were rowed off into the darkness of the night along the river. Then we came to see hundreds, used to be thousands, of fireflies blinking on the trees along the banks. It was very pretty, like the starry night high above was now within reach, and the twinkling stars could be plucked from the sky. By the way no one should pluck these stars and take them home. The number of the fireflies has been dwindling tremendously over the years due to lousily planned development and mangroves deforestation and some idiot bastardy tourists who think it’s fun to catch a few of the fireflies home.

After the fireflies show, we felt the urge to eat again, the real dinner. This time around it was seafood dinner. We had on the table scallops, fishes, crabs, prawns, lala clams, squids, and some vegetable to dial it down a tiny notch on the high cholesterol level of the whole meal. We ordered tea for drinks, to wash off the oiliness of the food, but later added 4 big bottles of beer.

Friends meet up to shoot shit and talk crap, over beers of course. So beers were on next. But hold the horses, it was not any ordinary beer. We were going for snow beers! Well basically, it was just some nicely chilled ordinary beer poured into well chilled glasses with a thin layer of ice. The beer melted the ice droplets and they floated in the head. It was like drinking ice blended beer. Super chilled. Brain freeze! By the end of the night, we talked a lot of shit and shot a lot of crap. Happy times!

It was close to 1 am when we done with the shitting and crapping. True to the Malaysians-out-for-a-night-party tradition, our last stop was at a mamak shop. Nasi lemak, fried Maggi (instant noodles) and roti canai were all on the table, along with the tarik, the perfect night cap.

The breakfast, more like brunch by the time we got out, for Sunday morning was of course the staple diet for the Klang Chinese community, bak kut teh. It’s a pot of different cuts of pork (bak, the meat part), along with all the bones (kut the bones) and porky parts, boiled and simmered in a dark stock with whole garlic and a variety of Chinese herbs. It’s eaten along with rice and Chinese tea (teh). Klang is really famous for this and apparently there are more than 400 BKT restaurants in Klang. The one we tried was quite strong in the fragrance and slightly thick on the soup. Nonetheless, the two pots we ordered were well cleaned up when we left the table.

It was time to go. We headed back to Chinatown again, for friends to do some last minute shopping. We ended up in a tea shop doing some tea tasting and getting crash course on Tea Drinking 101.

I really had to rush. I left them at the tea shop. Later that Sunday night I realized I had skipped lunch that day. But I was pretty sure they did not. They were in Chinatown, they probably found some hidden food spots tugged away in some obscure corner, eating and yakking away.

It was a fun and full weekend. Good friends + good food = good times. Happy days!

P/s.: Apparently I missed two meals. The Friday (when the out-of-towners arrived) night supper of Hokkien style fried noodles, thick noodles fried in black soy sauce and top with pork fat bits and the Saturday breakfast of roasted pork and noodle soup. Damn!


P/P/s.: Sorry no pix, too busy eating.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

It's Here!

It's here! Finally!

My super duper late (thanks to the custom people) birthday present is here. It took 79 days! Now that does not matter even the slightest bit. It's here, that's all that matter now.

The sky was gloomy and gray, but my heart was bright and sunny. I wanted to run around the office singing my happy song and doing my happy dance.

OK, maybe not. I'll do it just in my head then.

Thank you. Muack.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Stop and Smell the Roses, or Durians

These were some suprised finds during a recent hike. We walked past a orang asli (natives) make shift shed. An old man weaving bamboo baskets (for durians collection), a few half naked (top half you perverts!) kids running around hollering, an old woman cooking, a young woman washing and a young man sorting out these thorny babies.

We went ahead and asked were they for sale. The reply was affirmative, but going by longgok (pile). He went on and told us that these were from the jungle around us, wild durians, the flesh was not as thick like the farm stuff but still meaty. No pesticide, no chemical fertilizer. Hmmmm organic durians.

"How many in a longgok?" The young man piled up 3 to 4 durians in front of us.

There were one and a half durian eaters in the group of three of us, one fanatic, one indifferent, one fanatically swear off it. So a longgok was definitely too much.

"We just want to try, can we get just one?" The young picked up a machete and we were ready to bolt.

Oh wait, he also picked up a durian and hacked it open, telling us that that particular one jus dropped from the tree that very morning. He then presented us the shinny smooth yellow flesh of durian within the thorny shell. The humid jungle air was instantly infused with the wonderfully pungent and distinctive sweet scent of the fruit. (Well depend on who you talk to, some said it smells like moldy blue cheese in old sweaty gym socks, stinky to high heaven!)

The fanatic gorged them down like a pirhanna feeding on meat. He was in ecstacy. The indifferent got one, felt the firmness of the mustardy yellow flesh, took a whiff of that intoxicating aroma and sank his teeth to it. The fanatically swear off it stood quite far away aside.

Oh my, the sweetness was perfect, not overpowering and the silky smooth creaminess was to die for, melting away slowly, permeating deep into the mouth, waking up all the tastebuds from their deep slumber with an orgasmic jolt.

"It was so gooooooooood!" The indifferent exclaimed. The fanatic continued shoving them down. The fanatically swear off it inched closer, towards the fruit. He took one and put in his mouth in a dash and then acted as if nothing happened, as if the other two did not see it. The other two played along, pretending nothing happened.

Time to pay up.

"How much?" The young man turned to the old man and talking softly for a bit. He turned towards us with an awkward smile and looked at the old man.

The old man stood up. "1 ringgit lah. We also don't know how much to charge you." The old man said.

We looked at each other in absolute awe, eyes so wide opened that the eye balls almost fell of the socket. We gave him 5. We couldn't do it, paying so little for something sooooooooo goooooooooood.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Candle in the Wind

My tai kow foo (oldest uncle) from mom's side passed away on Monday. He lost his battle to liver cancer. I was home last weekend fetching mom and dad to town, as mom was planning trip to visit him on Tuesday. She was too late.

He fought on, down but he was not out, till the very end. Perhaps that was a release and relief, for him, no more pain, no more struggle. Though this is inevitable, how do you, and how can you prepare yourself to see the passing of a family? How do you, and how can you just let him go?

The last time I saw uncle, it was probably during my sister's R wedding. That was more than 10 years ago.

How fragile and vulnerable life is, just a candle flickering in the wind. Time is running out, a lot faster than you know. Cherish your loved ones and treasure every moment you share. Before you turn off the light and turn in for the night, hug them and kiss them, tell them you love them.

Life is short, live, love.


Sunday, July 05, 2009

Precious

The most precious find during my Bali weekend getaway: vanilla pods. These would cost a bomb here at home! I’ll be baking this weekend.  

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Mondays' Blue

A beautiful Sunday would chase away the gloomy Mondays' blue.

Today was spent walking in the bush, dipping in the waterfall, donating blood to a couple of leeches, snapping pictures of fields of ginger flowers, eating jungle durian in the middle of nowhere (the best I ever tasted!), dipping my tired feet in hot spring, taking a rejuvenating nap and enjoying great company of my friends.

I'm so looking forward to tomorrow! (Now that I've put it in writting it looks weird and slightly sickening and I sound pathetic!)