Poon choy feast cooked from scratch for Chinese New Year!

Poon choy with abalone, Korean oysters, scallops, tiger prawns, fish maw, mushrooms, soy chicken, siu yoke (roasted pork belly), quail eggs, broccoli and daikon radish.

I love eating poon choy. I’ve had it in 2014, 2015 and 2016. I only paused after that coz this isn’t a dish you can eat by yourself. I’ve always wanted to try making my own version of poon choy. It’s not difficult, just labor-intensive coz you need to cook all the ingredients separately before combining in a big bowl. Nothing that can’t be done with proper planning. I nailed down all the ingredients I wanted to have inside and how long it’ll take to cook each one and came out with a shopping list and recipe.

I had ordered all the dry seafood the week before via online shopping. I got large dry scallops, Korean dried oysters and huge dried mushrooms from a specialty dried produce store. I read mushrooms need to be soaked for a day prior to cooking so the preparation started the day before I started cooking. I even timed when I needed to get the fish maw (12 hours), dried oysters (8 hours) and dried scallops (2 hours) into the soaking basin.

I also prepped the tiger prawns by deveining and removing the long feelers. This took longer than expected coz I don’t have much experience in deveining prawns. I usually get the frozen and peeled ones. It’s quite intuitive though and after this episode I’ll be able to do it a lot faster in the future. At the end of it, I didn’t even need to cut open the back – I could just twist into an opening in between the shell and pick up the vein. Next level up is doing it with a toothpick.

The prawns are cooked in a mixture of Japanese sushi vinegar, mirin and sucralose. I also boiled the quail eggs in this sauce. Mandy helped peel the shells of the quail eggs, which was her only contribution to this endeavor. Haha. To be fair, I actively told her not to assist me coz I wanted to be the one to cook her this poon choy feast.

The only two ingredients that wasn’t cooked from scratch are the abalone and siu yoke. The former came already pre-braised in a can. The latter I tapau from one of the chicken rice stalls near my house coz there’s no way I can make better siu yoke at home, considering I don’t even have an oven!

Next was the “master stock”. This was a mixture of oyster sauce, dark soy sauce, chicken stock, coriander, Shaoxing wine, fish sauce and sucralose but at the end of it was heavily flavored by the dried oysters, scallops, fish maw, and mushrooms too. I started with the plump rehydrated mushrooms before adding in whole chicken legs.

I also chopped up the stems of coriander leaves to add that distinct taste into my braising stock.

I then added in the rehydrated Korean oysters. This added SO MUCH FLAVOR to the stock. Dried oysters have the essence of umami inside them and they contribute so much savory taste to the braising liquid. It’s uncanny! I would say this is one of the most important ingredients in poon choy.

I also dumped in the rehydrated fish maw while chopping up the daikon radish. I really enjoyed the fish maw – it absorbs up so much of that delicious broth. It was one of my favorite things to eat in this poon choy big bowl.

The daikon radish goes in last and I let this whole pot simmer at low heat for about 30 minutes before adding in the scallops. Rehydrated scallops are very fragile so I used a strainer to keep them together. This makes it easier to scoop up and also prevents other sturdier ingredients from bumping into it. You want them plump and whole to be displayed in the poon choy.

All that’s left after that is arranging the ingredients into the bowl. There’s abalone, Korean oysters, scallops, tiger prawns, fish maw, soy chicken, siu yoke, mushrooms, quail eggs, broccoli and daikon radish. I also heated up a bit of the braising liquid with tapioca starch to make a gooey gravy to go with the poon choy.

It’s really delicious! This came out way better than I expected. Everything tasted so good! 10/10 – a success. 👏

Unfortunately, I’ll be eating poon choy till I go back for Chinese New Year. At least I have Mandy now so she can help out a bit. I wouldn’t have cooked this before she came into my life coz it’ll be impossible to finish by myself. Haha.

My girlfriend Mandy (sequel to My new housemate)

When did I start having feelings for Mandy? I’ll say around the time we went to Pulau Ketam. “I only wanted to eat you at first. Eat then throw away.” I told her half-jokingly. Except I wasn’t kidding. Haha. She’s a young and delicious 24 year old. I’ll be stupid if I didn’t make a meal out of her. But I didn’t, for many reasons, and by the time I did, I was already very much in love with her.

What do I like about her? She’s bubbly and down-to-earth. She’s an honest person with a good heart. She’s fun to be with. She makes me laugh. I enjoy hearing her laugh. She’s also a Sarawakian and having a shared heritage/identity is nice. I love her smell. I find her beautiful and I enjoy waking up next to her and kissing her face. Love can’t really be distilled down into a single why. It’s usually a combination of things you find attractive.

It’s funny, these things. I’ve been single for almost 3 years after the break-up with my ex. I’ve had a couple (okay, more than a couple) of partners after that but there was no one I connected to on even a most basic level. It was just for the sex. I haven’t met anyone I was even remotely interested in dating long term in these 3 years in the wilderness. In fact, the sex wasn’t that good!

I even have been harboring an unpleasant suspicion that I have developed ED in the past few years. I’m pleased to report that this isn’t true. I was just forcing myself to sleep with ugly chicks that I had no interest in or love for and my dick was protesting. Sleeping with someone you truly love is a magical experience and I really feel like I’m in my 20s again! My nether regions were rejuvenated. It was like the Energizer battery ads – tough and long lasting. Hehe.

But enough about that. In my whole life, I’ve only met 2 people I was willing to marry and have kids with. Mandy is the 3rd person that has made me feel this way. I’ve had relationships with many girls I had no intention of marrying or having babies with. It was more like a partner to pass time with. I’ll let the relationship reach its natural entropy point and leave. It’s rare for me to want to put a ring on someone, much less make mini mes with.

Recently, I’ve been acutely aware of my age and my diminishing chances to be a father. I’ve been seriously thinking about freezing my sperm and surrogacy with an anonymous egg donor to fulfil my fatherhood dreams. I’m also concerned that our age gap is a little high but there’s a reason why guys are attracted to younger girls – they represent the best chance for procreation.

I’m not going to think too much about that though. We’re happy and that’s all that’s important. I’m glad I managed to find someone I love and cherish. It feels like forever since I’ve felt this way about someone. I honestly feel blessed to have her in my life.

Nakiryu 1 Michelin star instant ramen review – a collaboration between Nissin and 7Eleven Japan

Nakiryu means “Screaming Dragon” in Japanese and they’re the second ramen shop to get a Michelin star after Tsuta. The ramen they do is very different from the light tasting Tsuta – Nakiryu’s tantanmen is unapologetically heavy, spicy and rich. I’ve eaten a previous version of their instant noodles (also by Nissin) in 2016. This was before they’ve won their Michelin star and the Nissin version then was in cup noodle format with all the seasoning and dehydrated protein bits inside the noodles. There was a sachet of hot oil to finish the ramen with and it tasted really good and nutty.

Their latest is a collaboration with 7Eleven Premium Japan. The recipe has been refined and inside the bowl ramen is a packet of powdered soup and dehydrated meat, a sachet of hot oil and a pack of finishing oil. You’re only supposed to put the powdered soup + dehydrated meat inside with the noodles when hot water is added. The other two goes on top of the lid to absorb residual heat and they’re only added when the noodles are done.

Nakiryu’s broth is so thick and creamy it’s almost like a starchy stew! There’s also bits of dehydrated meat inside to add texture. This is a type of ramen called tantanmen which is a Szechuan inspired ramen dish. It’s spicy and flavorful and there’s nutty undertones in the soup base. This isn’t a refined and gentlemanly ramen like Tsuta – the Nakiryu instant ramen is overpoweringly in-your-face.

I liked it but the previous discontinued cup version had a better ratio of dehydrated meat to noodles. The portion in this variation seems miserly in comparison. The powdered soup base also didn’t fare as well as Tsuta’s liquid soup base. I must compare these two as they’re both Michelin starred ramen outlets that produced an instant ramen version by 7Eleven Premium. I’m glad I tried it but both Mandy and I felt it’s overshadowed by it’s much superior and delicious tasting Tsuta instant ramen sister product. Or maybe I just don’t know how to appreciate these Japanese-Szechuan flavors – I was also decidedly unimpressed by 2 Michelin star Shisen Hanten.

Nissin x 7Eleven Premium Japan x Tsuta Japanese Soda Noodles – 1 Michelin star instant ramen review

Tsuta is the first ever ramen shop to get a Michelin star in 2015 and they’ve retained that star every year since. They recently did a collaboration with Nissin and the 7-Eleven Premium line of instant ramen to produce a ready-to-eat version of their famous noodles, sold exclusively at 7-Eleven Japan. As a Michelin star chaser, I owed it to myself to taste this interesting instant ramen. I shipped a few bowls in via personal shopper at a cost of around RM 400, which works out to RM 45 per bowl. Spoiler: It was damn worth it!

As the name suggests, Tsuta doesn’t serve typical ramen – they do soba noodles in ramen style. The broth they use is a chicken and clam combination, which is a lot less heavy than the typical pork stock. They’re also famous for finishing all their ramen with truffle, and this holds true for their faithful instant ramen adaptation too! This isn’t just a meagre drop of truffle you can barely taste – the broth is richly infused with truffle flavor and it shines through with every slurp of the ramen.

There are 4 packets of inside the bowl – a vacuum packed sachet of bamboo shoots, a piece of dehydrated pork belly with green onions, a sauce soup base and a foil of truffle oil. There are no powdered flavorings here. The thin, curly noodles look different from most ramen too. You’re supposed to put the dehydrated chasiu + green onion into the noodles and add hot water for 3 minutes. All the other packets go on top so it gets indirect heat and they’re only added after the noodles are cooked.

I love the light tasting broth that’s packed with umami flavor. You can really taste the seafood and chicken in it and there’s yummy notes of truffle in every mouthful that elevates this instant ramen head-and-shoulders above all its peers. This is truly the best instant ramen I’ve ever eaten – no contest. My housemate Mandy loved it too. Nothing comes close, not even its sister 7Eleven Premium instant ramen by 1 Michelin star Nakiryu. Tsuta’s instant ramen is breathtakingly delicious! 🤤

Macaroni and cheese 🧀, BBQ chicken drumsticks 🍗, broccoli 🥦

I’ve recently refined my mac and cheese recipe to product a thick, gooey sauce that sticks to each macaroni piece like delicious glue. My cheese sauce not only has cheddar, but also chicken stock, fish sauce, Shaoxing wine and sucralose, so it packs a real punch. I would not be remiss to say that anyone who’s tasted this is instantly transported to FlavorTown. Since then, I’ve worked more on the sides to find out the best pairing for this decadent treat.

This time I’m testing out fried chicken drumsticks with BBQ sauce as the side. I never bought cooking oil until my housemate Mandy moved in. I finally caved and purchased a small bottle of corn oil since not everyone likes the healthy no-oil taste. I poured in a measure and fried a couple of chicken drumsticks inside. I use a Happy Call Pan – a type of flappable pressure pan. It browns the skin and cooks the interior very well.

I served my mac and cheese with plain, unseasoned prawns the last round and I wanted to experiment with a heavier flavor profile this time. I tossed the cooked and rested fried chicken legs in some hickory smoke BBQ sauce. I really liked how well this tasted but unfortunately Mandy isn’t a fan of BBQ sauce. I had to wipe away the sauce for her portions of the drums.

The secret to my cheese sauce is flour. A lot of people omit this step but it’s essential to making a thick cheese sauce. You first melt butter in a saucepan then stir in the flour slowly to make a roux. Milk or cream is added next, stirring all the time so it combines well. I also add Shaoxing wine, fish sauce and chicken stock at this point. Cheese is added last and as soon as it melts, you pour the entire saucepan over the cooked macaroni.

I also had a side of broccoli to cut down on the heavy flavors. It’s simply microwaved with a bit of water so it’s still crunchy – the way Mandy likes it. It’s delicious! I like how the BBQ chicken drums go together with the creamy mac and cheese. Mac and cheese is another recipe that I’ve mastered and I can say with confidence tastes good.

Don’t you think so, Chika cat?

Prosperity Begins with a POP!: Carlsberg CNY dinner at HXC Grand Ballroom @ ICC Pudu

“Why so early CNY stuff come out dy?”. I hear this refrain every year without fail on my Facebook. Let me share a recent finding by Google I was privy to at work – search interest in Chinese New Year picks up 3 weeks before the actual date e.g. now. Thus, the decision by marketers to do CNY early is based on solid data. As someone who loves Chinese New Year and listens to CNY songs starting Christmas, I’m one of those who definitely gets into the mood early.

I love Chinese New Year. I adore everything about it – the lou sang, the reunion dinner, the gettogethers with family and friends, the yearly display of fireworks, the sojourn back to our hometown. I’m going back to Sibu and Kuching this year so I’m extra in-the-mood. I was talking to my housemate Mandy about how much I like CNY. She doesn’t feel the same excitement, and I realized that my passion for the Lunar New Year has remained relatively unchanged since I was a kid. What can I say? I’m a romantic when it comes to CNY.

I went to Carlsberg’s “Prosperity Begins with a POP” Chinese New Year dinner/launch event last night. I’ve seen these bottles with the brightly colored caps around. Lots of brands do CNY-specific SKU refreshes and it’s nice to see what’s coming every year at the grocery aisles. I also enjoy these dinners with lou sang so I jumped at the chance to go.

This was held at Hao Xiang Chi Seafood in ICC Pudu. It’s a huge event with a grand stage and lots of tables. I hear they invited 500 trade partners and media guests to the dinner. There were pop-up bars serving the entire Carlsberg range as well as food stands serving siu yoke, chicken wings and other finger food before the banquet dinner started. I was honestly impressed by the entire thing.

Oh! I also saw Crystal Ong of the CNY group M-Girls. This is the second M-Girls member I’ve met this year!

We also got the chance to play a replica version of “Probably The Best CNY Shopping Experience – You Shop, Carlsberg Pays!”. There was a huge Carlsberg Smooth Draught can that we popped to get a chance at the top prize of RM 800 worth of groceries and beers paid for by Carlsberg.

I managed to win the second prize of a 6-pack of Carlsberg Smooth Draught!

This activation will be held at participating supermarkets and hypermarkets on 12, 13, 19, 20, 21, 24, 26 and 27 January 2019. There have been 65 lucky winners who’ve won the grand prize of RM 800 worth of groceries paid for by Carlsberg thus far. You just need to buy RM 200 worth of Carlsberg products to get a chance to pop the can!

Somersby Oriental Yee Sang.

We ended up spilling more yee sang on the table than eating it but it was fun! This is my first lou sang of the year.

Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc Lobster Salad. I really enjoyed this dish! It’s a mixture of lobster meat and various fruits. One of the guys at our table had a shellfish allergy so I ended up eating his plate too. Best.

Asahi Superior Soup with Scallop. A beautiful bowl of chicken, huge Shitake mushroom, scallops, and an abalone. Luxurious.

Carlsberg Smooth Draught Braised Abalone. I love braised abalone! Nothing says CNY more than abalone.

Carlsberg Steamed Estuary Grouper. I’m a huge fan of grouper too. I think all Chinese will have a fish dish during the CNY reunion dinner coz it sounds fortuitous.

Connor’s Pork Ribs Stew. I was quite full at this point but I like how they provided a glove for you to eat this. Very thoughtful.

Carlsberg Superior Chicken Rice. I honestly can’t remember how this tasted like. I had indulged in quite a few drinks and I was too stuffed to be able to appreciate more food.

You’ll get a chance to win frantastic grand prizes like electronic mahjong table sets that auto shuffles and sorts the game tiles for you! There are also limited edition mahjong sets, RM 100 ang paus and playing cards! All you need to do is check the winning icon under the bottle caps when you enjoy Carlsberg or Carlsberg Smooth Draught big bottles at coffee shops and food courts.

You’ll also get a mahjong set by topping up RM 88 when you buy two cartons of Carlsberg or Carlbserg Smooth Draught AND one carton of Somersby (any variant) OR one carton of Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc. Tesco is giving these mahjong sets away FREE when you spend RM 600 on Carlsberg Malaysia products.

“Prosperity Begins with a POP” also has a bistro, restaurant and pub activation – enjoy Carlsberg or Carlsberg Smooth Draught at these places to get a deck of playing cards and stand a chance to win a RM 100 beer voucher! Check out www.facebook.com/CarlsbergMY or visit www.probablythebest.com.my for more information.

The promoter girl asked my Chinese zodiac when I registered. It turns out they had a personalized gift pack of 8 cans of Carlsberg and Carlsberg Smooth Draught featuring the four festive colors with my name written in calligraphy and zodiac on it. Pretty cool!

Nuromen Café Uptown PJ – Sarawak beef noodles from Kuching

I went to check out Nuromen Cafe with my housemate Mandy last night. I saw a video on Facebook and told her about it. To my surprise, she said she’s been there many times! I was puzzled coz she just arrived in KL 3 weeks ago and I’ve been out with her almost every time. I know I haven’t been here. It turns out that Nuromen Café in Uptown PJ is the official branch of Nuromen in Kuching. It serves Sarawak style beef noodles and Mandy’s a regular at the Kuching outlet.

As an illustration of how small the Sarawakian community is, a friend tagged the artist who drew this mural (also from Kuching) when I posted it on Facebook yesterday. Both Mandy and I are from Sarawak too. I guess Sarawakians just have an incestuous tendency to stick together.

I miss Kuching style beef noodles. I believe Open Air Central Market in Kuching serves one of the more definitive versions. That was my first experience back when I was living in Kuching as a kid. My sister was actually born in Kuching and our family lived there for the first 7 years of my life. I was born in Sibu due to an accident – my mom went into labor when they came to Sibu for Ching Ming. That’s also why my birthday is in Ching Ming. Haha.

Nuromen Café also serves a few Sarawak classic drinks like Teh C Special (RM 4.50) and Teh C Pandan Special (RM 4.50). This drink was created by a coffee shop in 7th Mile, Kuching. We got both to try. It was diluted, not the best representation of Teh C Special.

The interesting thing about Nuromen is the way they do hot pot style beef noodles. You’re given a simmering bowl of beef soup a la hot pot and you cook your own beef slices inside. It’s a cross between hot pot and beef noodles. Mandy told me she usually orders this to eat with rice. You can also pair it with noodles.

We ordered their signature Premium Sirloin Beef Platter Special (RM 42) – it’s a set for 2 pax with 160 gram premium sirloin beef slices, stewed beef, assorted vegetables and beef stock. Nuromen claims all their beef is sourced from Australia and NZ. It’s not local beef or Indian buffalo. This set comes with the more premium marbled sirloin cut. The beef slices are ultra thin so it cooks in just a few seconds.

There’s a separate bowl of cooked stewed beef. We didn’t quite like this. I think my buffalo stew is way better.

I also made a separate a la carte order for 100 grams beef slices (RM 11.50). This is a leaner cut of beef. I wanted to see the difference between the sirloin and regular beef. We preferred the sirloin.

Of course, it’s not beef noodles unless you have noodles. You can order their garlic tossed kolo noodles for RM 3. This is the classic beef noodle pairing. I love the strong scent of garlic and the familiar smells and aromas. This is my kind of comfort food. The noodles are the proper kind we use in Sarawak too.

The staff gave us free ice cream when they saw we’re finished with our meal. This happens in Kuching too according to Mandy. It’s a nice touch.

The food at Nuromen Cafe is pretty good – some misses on the drinks and stewed beef but their signature noodles and beef slices are legit. The bill came up to RM 68.50 for two with drinks. It’s an authentic Sarawakian taste that we’ve both missed. We’ll be back for sure.

Restoran Kar Heong SS14 – best chicken rice in Subang!

I am a huge fan of chicken rice. I had a dark (?) period in my life where I ate poached chicken rice every single day for lunch for almost a year. And I enjoyed it! Haha. There was a really good chicken rice place at Pusat Bandar Damansara back then. I’ve also eaten Michelin Bib Gourmand award winners in Singapore like Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice and Tiong Bahru Boneless Chicken Rice. I consider myself a bit of a chicken rice connoisseur.

Restaurant Kar Heong in SS14 is one of my favorite chicken rice places around my condo (the other being Kong Sai). It has a stellar reputation among Subang-ites and their white chicken is very tender and juicy! The best benchmark for great poached chicken lies in the breast – it should be soft and succulent instead of dry and stringy. Kar Heong does perfect white chicken with moist meat and slippery skin. We shared ½ chicken between the two of us.

The chicken rice here is also extremely flavorful. There’s so much taste packed into every grain that it’s almost like an umami bomb. This is the 1% of chicken rice – rich, superior and piquant. A lot of people drizzle black sauce or their chicken gravy on top. I prefer the latter – I adore the combination of soy sauce, sugar and coriander stalks that makes up the sauce you see at the bottom of poached chicken. It’s perfect with rice. Kar Heong has good garlicky chilli sauce too.

Mandy also ordered a side of roasted pork. The roast pork here is decent but not the best I’ve had. I feel like the fat to meat ratio is a bit off. I don’t enjoy overly fatty pieces of pork belly. It’s not the worst, but doesn’t rank among the best siu yuk I’ve had in Klang Valley.

Kar Heong is my favorite place to have chicken rice in Subang. I can’t vouch for their roasted chicken though coz I only like poached chicken so that’s what I always order. I also enjoy Restoran Kong Sai in Puchong (their original shop is in PJ). This place has the edge in the chicken rice while Kong Sai’s dipping sauce is better. I haven’t found a better place, but if you know of one, please leave a comment below.

Tonight’s Menu: Two types of fried fish 🐠 with Thai chilli sauce 🌶, Broccoli 🥦 with oyster sauce, Crispy duck egg 🦆

I sometimes (not often) get the motivation to cook something other than my usual chicken rice – buffalo stew meal prep. Yesterday was such a day. I was driving my housemate Mandy to her workplace when we saw a morning market. I seldom wake up early enough for these things and she wanted to eat fish so I went to check out their offerings.

I got ikan bulus – a tubular type of white fish which is delicious when fried and a small broccoli. She wanted the small, flat kind of white pompfret but all the stalls there didn’t sell it. I managed to get some from the Jaya Grocer under my condo though.

I remember why I don’t cook fish often – it’s troublesome to remove the guts and descale the fish. I also don’t like how the scales fly everywhere and get my cat all excited. She’ll pounce and pat the scales and distribute them to the furthest corners of the kitchen, necessitating a good mop after.

I didn’t do much to the ikan bulus and small pompfret – just salted them liberally and fried them in hot oil. I bought a small bottle of maize oil cooking oil for this occasion. I don’t use oil in my regular cooking. I even skim off the buffalo fat the next day!

I also scalded the broccoli and pan-fried it with oyster sauce. If you’re wondering where the stem of the broccoli went, I blended it with cold water and drank it. I consume a lot of raw vegetables each night as a source of fiber and nutrients.

The fish kemek (lost structural integrity) during the frying process. I’m not sure what went wrong. It just started disintegrating. Maybe I should have battered it with tapioca starch so it’ll maintain its form. It still tastes good though. Half of the fish is ikan bulus and half is small white pomfret, served with Thai chilli sauce.

I also fried two duck eggs with a crispy bottom a la Chinese style. I’ve been buying duck eggs instead of chicken eggs lately coz I prefer the creamier yolk. It’s about 50% more expensive than chicken eggs but worth it.

This is the broccoli pan-fried with oyster sauce as a source of greens. I cooked fresh basmati rice to go with dinner and I also served my tom yam buffalo stew with beer.

It was almost 10 pm when I finished cooking. It tasted pretty good despite the simple execution. The fish was really fresh!

Pulau Ketam Trip Day 2: Exploring the island, electric bicycles, oyster omelet, haunted house, and a remarkable coincidence

Pulau Ketam isn’t very big but it might take you a while to walk around the island. Most people get by on electric bikes or regular bicycles. Electric bicycles usually go for RM 20/hour but our homestay rented them to us at RM 15/hour, so off we went to explore the habitated areas. There are 2 primary schools and a secondary school on the island so there’s a good amount of younger folks still here.

The main commercial area by the jetty is sleepy on the weekends though. It has a very familiar small town vibe. Both Mandy and I are from Sarawak so we felt very comfortable here. You can hear snippets of Teochow and Heng Hua, old ladies with curly hair smoking cigarettes, and men with Buddhist tattoos undergoing traditional Chinese cupping while seated on low stools. This can be any rural town in Sarawak – Serian, Lundu, Batang Ai.

Most of the shops serve some kind of noodle dish in the mornings so we went to a random one. Interestingly, all the coffee shops had their shutters half closed and lights off to save electricity but they’re actually open.

Mandy ordered a kueh tiaw soup dish with several different types of fishballs. This tasted peppery and mild. She didn’t like it and ended up eating my noodles.

I went for a dry tossed noodle with pork, shrimp, and boiled eggs. This tasted good but unfortunately I didn’t get to eat much of it. Mandy swapped her noodles with mine after tasting my superior order. I don’t really enjoy soup noodles but I’m a nice guy so I exchanged with her.

We also ordered 3 coffees from the next coffee shop. This one only had canned drinks and they asked us to order from their neighboring shop if we wanted brewed drinks. You can only do this in small towns where the competition is less and the spirit of cooperation is higher.

Thus satiated and fueled with caffeine, we went to Lover’s Bridge. This was marked as a tourist attraction on official Pulau Ketam maps but in reality, it’s just a rickety arch bridge. It’s good for photos though.

Mandy is pointing at the richest person in Pulau Ketam. Haha. This house is so different from the wooden structures surrounding it. Modern, sleek and tall, it’s the highest point on the island.

There’s also an old cinema beside the Lover’s Bridge. It’s amazing to think that at one point, the population of Pulau Ketam was large and vibrant enough to support a theatre as big as this one. 👏

Mandy randomly asked me what my IC number was and we found out that our last 4 digits were in sequence! What a coincidence! These checksum numbers are always odd if you’re male and even if you’re female so we can’t be the same but having ours in order is serendipitous.

It was an extremely hot day so we went to get some ABC (shaved ice dessert) to cool down. Our homestay told us about this stall, which he says has the best ABC on the island.

It was pretty good! There’s peanuts, nata de coco, jellies, cendol and all the trimmings underneath a mound of shaved ice and gula Melaka.

We sat with the owner, who told us many tales about the history and origin of the people who’re now at Pulau Ketam. He had a stroke a few years ago so his daughters run the stall, which is actually a shaved ice machine in front of their home.

We also went to the temple opposite which has very old tortoises and a huge, long python. Their toilets are very interesting too – little more than a carved rectangle on the floor. There’s no sewage system in Pulau Ketam. All human waste goes into the sea and it’s washed out by the tides.

We decided to cycle to the furthest end of the island until we couldn’t go any further. All the paths here are made of wooden boards on top of stilts. Only the main jetty and commercial area has concrete roads. It’s very exciting.

The view on the bridges that connects the island is nice towards the further regions of Pulau Ketam. You can see fishing boats moored to the individual jetties connected to houses. This is a less commercialized area of the island.

There was a very friendly woman running a drinks and snacks stand near the end of the island. We stopped there for a couple of beers. She told us she’s from Klang and come down during weekends to stay with her mom and run the stand. It’s a good place to refuel. She’s one of those people with natural PR skills.

We found an abandoned wooden house with creaking, rickety floorboards that would make a perfect photo op. The floorboards were so rotten we nearly fell through into the sea a few times.

I did a cool pose (or so I thought) and I ended up looking like such a sissy we couldn’t stop laughing for a good 3 minutes. In my defense, this looked manly and casual when conceived in my mind. The execution and angle could have been better though. 😄

Here’s a proper one so you can get rid of the previous mental image.

This is my favorite photo of us. I love the emo vibe. I told her to do a sad pose. #emoforever

We went back to Remember Me Restaurant to have o chien (oyster omelet) and a beer. This isn’t as good as the ones you’ll get in Penang or Kuching but edible. Especially on vacation since everything tastes better when you’re having fun.

The ones here are gooey and soggy instead of the crispy variant we get in Kuching but they’re both equally good.

It was a good overnight trip! Pulau Ketam is a chill and relaxing place that’s perfect for a weekend getaway. It’s not too far from KL or PJ either – just a 40 min drive and a 30 min boat trip away. I can see why people like it here. I’ll definitely be back someday.

Goodbye Pulau Ketam! We made great memories here and we’ll miss you. 🦀

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