Eli Ayase’s birthday with Love Livers

Eli Ayase Birthday

I know, it’s early. Elichika’s birthday is actually on the 21st of October but the Malaysian Love Livers celebrated it early last Sunday at Alpacasso Cafe @ AEON, Midvalley. I’ve always seen people on reddit celebrating various waifu birthdays and I thought it sounded like a lot of fun. I’ve just never seen any locally until I met Anson via the COSFAIR event where I filmed the MilkyWay girls. It might sound strange to celebrate a 2D anime character’s birthday but it’s actually a lot of fun to hang out with like-minded people and share something we’re all interested in. I think the fellowship comes first, the character’s birthday is just the pretext of meeting up. That’s the best way I can explain it to someone who doesn’t understand why people do this.

I’ve never quite gotten into Eli Ayase (the character) but I do like the seiyuu (voice actress). Nanjou is one of my two “best girls” (an anime term denoting your favorite) – the other being Pile (voicing Maki). I even started listening to fripside lately, the songs for A Certain Scientific Railgun are pretty good.

I just finished editing and putting together subtitles for the video of Eli’s birthday celebrations with the Malaysian Love Livers. I know my Chinese isn’t very good, and some of you might be surprised to learn that Mandarin is in fact my first language – I just can’t read or write. I also can’t speak it very well especially when people start using harder words so the subtitles might not be 100% accurate. I’m a little puzzled why I don’t understand the harder words too since I spoke Mandarin until I went to New Zealand to do high school at 15. 15 years is a long time to pick up a language! I think it’s mostly coz I never immersed myself in Chinese culture – I don’t listen to Chinese songs etc so I never had any reason to go beyond simple conversational use.

I still wanted to do the narration in Chinese though coz I like the idea of bilingual videos. However, I encourage you to turn on CC for English subtitles since they’re probably more accurate and conveys what I mean better. I wrote the text in English first before attempting to translate it verbally into spoken Mandarin and needless to say, it took a lot of takes.

Someone even brought a Kit Kat + M&M custom made cake for Eli’s birthday! We were the ones to eat it though. Haha.

My Partner’s Birthday: Hakuto Jelly, Japanese Snacks and Valrhona Feuilletine Cake!

Happy Birthday

My better half just celebrated her birthday yesterday on the 13th of April. I got her a huge box of presents and we had sushi and birthday cake before going out shopping for Japanese snacks. She told me she wanted to get Japan imports for her birthday and we spent a few hundred dollars on that alone. However, I also packed her a gift using back the box she gave me on my birthday (which I originally gave to her).

Birthday Yee Ling

Happy birthday dear!

Birthday Card

I found a hilarious birthday card that goes “Old Already Lor“. smirk


It was from Typo in KLCC. I always get her serious cards so I thought I’ll go the funny route this time.

Liquid Soap

I also got her liquid hand soap since she has been using the same one for over a year.

Bath Body Works

I got two different ones from Bath & Body Works.

Handmade Soap

There was a booth outside selling fancy handmade soap and I thought they smelled really nice. The promoter told me you can also hang the soap-on-a-rope in a car so it acts like an air freshener so I got one sliced like a mango for her. She likes things like these.

Hakuto Jelly Shop

I also went to Isetan to get Hakuto jelly (白桃ゼリー). This is a dessert they make with hakuto peaches from Okayama and the mineral rich spring water there. We’ve seen this before but my better half didn’t want to get it coz it was quite expensive. Hakuto jelly is costly due to the price of the peaches which are used to make it.

Hakuto Peach Jelly

The smallest box of two goes for RM 85 while a box of 4 goes for RM 170. You can also get a 3 piece box for RM 127.50.

Sakura Mochi

I also managed to get sakura mocha. Haha! We ate this exact same thing in Hokkaido and it was very good. The ones here are imported from Japan and made using sakura cherry blossom flowers and leaves too but my dear didn’t like them as much. She much preferred the ones we had in Sapporo.

Shopping Basket

Oh, I got so many things that I took the shopping basket from Isetan to my car. I didn’t even realize I inadvertently took it out until I almost got to my car. Oops!

Birthday Present

I got home and packed all the birthday gifts into the box – the mason jar she likes, a jar of Reese’s peanut butter and chocolate spread, matcha chooclates etc.

Birthday Gift

The box!

Birthday Candles

I had gotten a row of candles that goes “Happy Birthday” for RM 13 too. I thought it’ll go well with the cake.

Bisque Cake

The cake is from Bisque. I had ordered it a week before and this one is called The Michelangelo. The base price is RM 218 but you can customize it as you wish and the final bill will be sent to you. I added a lot of fondant writing.

Valrhona Birthday Cake

The cake is really good! It’s made with feuilletine, Valrhona Jivara chocolate and hazelnut paste as the base so there’s a crunchy textural element. The top is vanilla bean cake with chocolate pearls and there’s also Valrhona Dulcey blonde mousse mixed into the layers. I like how they put gold leaf together with the chocolate pearls.

Feuilletine Cake

It tastes like Ferrero Rocher as the base, with the same texture sensation. The fluffy and light vanilla bean cake is a nice pairing since the base is really sweet. The blonde chocolate mousse makes it very rich and easy to eat. It’s one of the nicest birthday cakes I’ve had and we all enjoyed it, including the kids. I even had some for supper.

Hakuto Jelly

She unwrapped the presents (the Shimizu Hakuto Jelly was wrapped really nicely) and we headed out to Okashi World with the kids to buy Japanese snacks. They have a promotion where you can buy up to RM 200 on your birthday and get 50% discount so we took advantage of that. I ended up spending RM 380+ there but it was worth it coz she really liked the Japanese imports and the kids loved the candy too.

Japanese Snacks

It was a great birthday that we spent together with the kids at home. Happy birthday dear! I look forward to making more great memories with you. Love you always! <3

Omakase birthday dinner @ Nobu Kuala Lumpur

Nobu Kuala Lumpur

My better half made reservations at Nobu KL for my birthday dinner. Nobu Kuala Lumpur is located at the 56th floor of Petronas Twin Towers (Tower 3) so it has an amazing view of the city. We managed to get a table for two by the window and the panoramic view of the sun setting over KL made for a very nice and memorable dinner.


There are two types of omakase at Nobu KL – Nobu Signature Omakase (RM 385) is a selection of their most popular dishes and the Special Omakase (RM 455) is the “real” omakase, which consists of specially made dishes by the chef which you can’t find in the regular menu. The latter changes daily and contains off-menu items so I went with that.

Nobu Waitress

They also have a 5-Course Omakase (RM 280) which is only available from 6-8 pm on Sunday and Monday. The regular omakase menu has 7 courses. My better half opted for this coz she thought she wouldn’t be able to finish a full omakase. The friendly waitress served us with a bottle of Tau Sparkling Water (RM 38) as soon as we were seated and service was attentive without being intrusive.

Special Omakase (RM 455 per pax)

Nobu Appetizer

Cold Appetizers
The omakase follows the format of 2 cold entrées, followed by 2 hot entrées, with 2 mains and a dessert to end everything. This is the first course with four (4) separate bite-sized or larger dishes. I’ll write about them individually, from left.

Tomato Chawanmushi

Chilled Tomato Chawanmushi with Fresh Truffle
I really enjoyed this one. The waitress helpfully suggested the eating order so the flavors would go from mild to moderate and this is meant to be the first appetizer. It was super refreshing – the chilled chawanmushi and the acidity from the tomatoes was perfect for the hot nights we’ve been getting. There was a fair bit too, so it’s not just minute portions.


Whole Fish Tiradito with Yuzu, Rocoto and Coriander
Tiradito is a Peruvian raw fish dish which is somewhat similar to ceviche but with a more Japanese influence. It’s quite unusual since the acid marinate is not overwhelming so you can still taste the rawness of the fish. There’s also a hit of spiciness from the rocoto at the end. I liked it.

Seared Scallop Caviar

Pan Seared Scallop with Jalapeno Dressing and Caviar
This beautifully cooked scallop had a small helping of caviar on top. The salty sturgeon roe elevates the scallop and the edible flower provides a textural crunch to the dish (as did the sliver of carrot).

Salmon Kelp Roll

Salmon Kelp Roll
The simple sounding name is deceptive – this is a really complex dish! The raw salmon is rolled up into a sausage-like tubular package, with bits of kelp stuffed inside. I thought to myself, okay a salmon roll then, popped it into my mouth and nearly gagged from surprise. The combined textures and flavors are amazing! It’s my favorite appetizer.

Nobu Sushi

Assorted Sushi Chef’s Selection
The second course! We have (top to bottom) engawa (inside of flounder fin) sushi with miso salt, otoro (fatty tuna belly) sushi with wasabi salsa, hirame (fluke) sushi, and aji (horse mackerel) sushi topped with scallions and grated ginger.

Aji Sushi

I liked how some of the sushi had unusual toppings like wasabi salsa on top. That’s a very Nobu-style dish, with influences from Latin America.

Otoro Sushi

The otoro and engawa can’t compare to the superb sushi we had at One Star Michelin Isezushi in Otaru a few weeks ago, but this isn’t Hokkaido, so I can’t expect the freshness and quality to be the same. I wish the otoro was fattier though. It can’t hold a candle to the stuff in Sapporo but then this is Malaysia.

Beetroot Dry Miso Salad

Baby Spinach Salad and Beetroot Dry Miso with Konbu and White Fish
I just realized the skinny mumbling Malay waiter mixed up our dishes! He gave this to my dear and gave my better half’s dish to me. Ish! What an nincompoop. Our regular waitress was more on point. I only discovered as I was writing, in the video I took I remembered asking him which was which and he *still* messed up the order. How incompetent, I’ll write an email to them later.

Umami Chilean Seabass

Chilean Seabass (Umami)
This is a nice charred piece of Chilean seabass. The fish flakes beautifully and tastes fresh and light. It’s cooked to perfection too, it’s quite remarkable that they managed to produce a bitter tasting char on the outside while still retaining the moist tenderness on the inside. I like the tsukemono (pickles) that came with the dish – it really cuts through the richness and provides a burst of much-needed acidity.

Nobu Waygu Beef

Smoked Waygu Beef with Grilled Shimeji Mushroom and Truffle Teriyaki Sauce
I love Waygu beef and we ate quite a lot of it during the kaiseki-ryori dinner at our ryokan in Hokkaido. This is a different implementation, the flavor is quite heavy-handed but in a good way. I like the grilled Shimeji mushrooms too – they’re superbly umami and savory tasting. The Waygu beef was decently marbled too.

Lobster Miso Soup

Lobster Miso Soup
This came out as an apt course to wash away the heaviness of the beef course before dessert. It’s a miso soup with lots of lobster flesh inside. I suppose this is what the RM 70 supplement you pay extra for the Special Omakase is for. The dashi-based broth was hearty and I enjoyed drinking it. I like how they put in a generous amount of lobster too.

Green Tea Parmesan Cheesecake with Truffle Meringue

Green Tea Parmesan Cheesecake with Truffle Meringue and Yuzu Sorbet
This is a deconstructed dessert with the matcha cheesecake topping on one side, the base as a slice and the meringue as little dots scattered around the plate. It sounds modernist but it works very well. I enjoyed the rich matcha flavor and the dessert works beautifully when eaten together. The yuzu sorbet was very refreshing. It’s a wonderful end to my omakase dinner.

5-Course Omakase (RM 280 per pax)

Nobu Salmon Tartare

Salmon Tartare in Wasabi Soy Sauce topped with Caviar with a side of Fresh Apricot
The presentation of my dear’s first dish was impressive. It came in a double bowl filled with ice! The inner bowl contains the salmon tartare mixed with onion and garlic in wasabi soy sauce. There’s a caviar topping too and the combination works well together. Very appetizing. You’re supposed to finish it first before starting on the apricot, which is served right on top of the ice cubes.

Tuna Sashimi Salad Matsuhisa Dressing

Tuna Sashimi Salad with Matsuhisa Dressing
I know exactly how this tastes like coz it was sent to me in error! It’s not the fault of our original waitress but a bumbling Malay local who confused our order. However, our waitress should have ensured this did not happen in the first place. Oh well. Matsuhisa is the name of the owner e.g. Nobu Matsuhisa, the Japanese style dressing is his trademark.

Nobu Tempura

Chilean Seabass Tempura with Amazu Ponzu
My better half popped one of the tempura pieces into my mouth and I thought it was fried well but wasn’t particularly spectacular. I then noticed the ponzu sauce and dipped into it, it went famously well together! I was sorely tempted to have another but I thought I shouldn’t be eating so much of my dear’s courses. It was very nice together, the amazu ponzu sauce was brilliant and the tempura is unfaultable – perfectly done.

Nobu Quail

Pan Seared Quail with Wasabi Salsa and Tomato Ceviche
I tried really hard to like this dish and to be fair, the quail was cooked perfectly. It was still tender and moist in the middle while crispy on the outside. It’s cooked karaage (Japanese fried chicken) style. However, I felt like this was severely underwhelming though. It could have been a very nice dish but ultimately fails in taste.

Natsu No Fruit Pearls

Natsu No Fruit Pearls
This is a brilliant dessert that (somewhat) saved the meal. It’s the last course of my dear’s omakase menu and consists of lychee, guava, mandarin orange, and rock melon “pearls” on top of mango shaved ice and a “rice soup” that’s poured over the dessert. The pearls actually contain pure, concentrated fruit juice inside – it POPS as you bite it, and *bursts* spectacularly in your mouth, filling it with liquid. It’s very novel and the entire dessert was well conceptualized and refreshing.

Nobu View

Dinner at Nobu Kuala Lumpur cost RM 889.70 for the two of us. I have to say that after going to Nobu in Melbourne and having dined at Michelin star restaurants in France and elsewhere in the world, Nobu KL was a disappointment. The food was subpar and while the service from our waitress was awesome, the other staff were very mediocre, especially the Malay guy who mixed up our orders.

Nobu Malaysia

I did enjoy the meal coz I was with my loved one and the ambience is unbeatable! However, I really felt like the food could be better for the price. It’s not fair to compare Nobu KL with the great Japanese food we had in Japan, but I thought it would be better than this. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. I feel like the people who talked up Nobu haven’t really been to truly great restaurants around the world.

Nobu KL

However, it was a good experience and I wanted to see how Nobu KL was like. Thanks dear for the expensive dinner and wonderful night! <3

Happy Birthday: Realistic durian cake, Nobu KL omakaze dinner, and presents!

Birthday 2016

It’s my birthday today! I turn 35, and it’s been an awesome day so far. My better half surprised me with dinner reservations at Nobu KL. I didn’t know she had already planned this and was about to tell her I was feeling like Japanese food. She sounded a bit reluctant (which was strange) and I found out that she had *already* booked a table for us.

Nobu KL Dinner

Dinner was great! I had the Special Omakase (RM 455 per pax) which is the most expensive item on the menu. I felt a little bad about how costly dinner was (the bill came up to almost RM 1,000) but my dear asked me to go for the most premium omakase since I didn’t want a smartphone. Yup, she originally planned to buy me a smartphone.

Dinner Nobu

I’m more of an experience person than a material goods person. I’ll rather have awesome trips and meals than phones, clothes, etc. It just makes me happier and I value the experiences more…and recent research suggests that I’m right! The happiness you feel from experiences lasts longer and is more fulfilling than material goods.


The kids made me something for my birthday too! I got a hand-painted picture and a card! :)

Birthday Present 2016

My better half also got me a birthday present, despite me telling her not to. She packed a big box full of Japanese candy. It’s the perfect gift for me coz I love Japanese stuff. It contains:

Baskin-Robbins Popping Shower Very Berry Chocolate

Baskin-Robbins Popping Shower + Very Berry Chocolate
This is a nod to one of the first times we met. Baskin-Robbins is very popular in Japan and these two flavors are awesome. I like the Very Berry Chocolate which also has bits of real strawberry inside, as well as a thin layer of crunchy cone. However, the Popping Shower one took the cake – it’s an intense popping candy that’s so energetic, I thought it was going to come out of my mouth.

Baskin-Robbins Japan

Explosive stuff! These are only supposed to be sold in Japan (due to licensing issues) but she managed to get one for me.

Pocky midi Gudetama

Pocky midi x Gudetama
Haha! I love Gudetama. He’s a humanized lazy egg with bacon for a blanket. The theme song keeps repeating in my brain when I see it. This is Pocky’s collaboration with Sanrio (who created Gudetama). Pocky midi Caramel Latte Gudetama is the result and it’s too cute to eat.

Pocky Strawberry Latte

Pocky midi Strawberry Latte
This is another one in the Coffee series that’s exclusive to Japan. The Gudetama one is Caramel Latte and this version is Strawberry Latte. I haven’t opened it yet, I’ll eat this with my dear.

Pocky Winter Melty Chocolate

Winter Melty Cocoa Pocky
This is a rare seasonal limited edition Pocky that comes out only in winter. It’s thicker than a regular Pocky and has rich chocolate dust that melts in your mouth into a beautiful creamy goo. Unfortunately, the low melting temperature means that there’s a reason this is a winter-only special – the chocolate dissolves in our temperature.

AEON TopValue CalorieMate

AEON Japan’s CalorieMate
Yup, this is AEON Japan’s attempt to create a Calorie Mate like energy bar. I had the original in Japan (was looking specifically for it) and I quite liked it. This tastes different from the original Calorie Mate (Cheese) though. AEON’s store brand is a lot sweeter while CalorieMate is a lot more savory. They’re both good, in different ways. This is more of a meal replacement than an energy bar, they’re the pioneers in Japan.

Oreo Rum Raisin Chocolate

Rum Raisin Chocolate Oreo (0.4% alcohol)
These are made with 70% cocoa! Just like Kit Kats, Oreo has a lot of different flavors and types in Japan. And just like the recently released Sake Kit Kats, the Oreos also contain alcohol inside. They put powdered alcohol (yes, it’s a thing) that boosts the adult treats to a 0.4% alcohol content. These are definitely not halal Oreos (would be funny if people couldn’t read or if there wasn’t a “Contains Alcohol” sticker on them).

Gudetama Chocolates

Gudetama chocolates
I also got a few Gudetama chocolate treats (shaped like an egg) and a Japanese amulet she got for me at a Shinto temple in Hokkaido.

Moonlight Cake House

My dear bought me a birthday cake at Moonlight Cake House. She had ordered this way in advance and it was a beautiful durian cake.

Birthday Cake 2016

It was in the freezer waiting for us and we picked it up to eat together with the kids. The wonderful smell of durian wafted out as soon as I took off the Saran wrap.

Durian Cake

Holy shit, this looks like a real durian!

Real Durian Cake

The durian cake is made up of a wonderfully fluffy and light Angel food cake and has bits of real durian flesh inside. The outside is made with whipped cream spikes so it looks like a real durian. I think they added gelatin or another stabilizer so it can stand but it’s just cream so it’s not sweet. The best part is that the two sides of the durian are not symmetrical (like real life) so one side is bigger than the other. The hand piping is beautiful too – it’s not just one shade of green, there are brown accents so it looks authentic. There’s even a stem made of chewy marzipan to complete the look.

Blowing Candles

I ate the durian birthday cake with my dear and the kids. It was a wonderful birthday! Thanks for all the treats, dinner and gifts dear. I appreciate all that you’ve done for me and for being with me. <3 I'll write about the Nobu KL dinner tomorrow! (╭☞ ͡ ͡° ͜ ʖ ͡ ͡°)╭☞

Birthday Dinner @ Payung Cafe Sibu

Payung Cafe Sibu

Don’t you want to go to some other place?” I asked my better half. She’s been eating at the exact same two places last time she was here – Aloha Cafe for lunch and Payung Cafe for dinner, so I suggested Baba & Siam but she really liked the durian ice cream we had last time at Payung Cafe so we ended up here for dinner, three days after we had another huge dinner with my sister and her family (who also loves Payung). smirk

This is my birthday dinner – my dear had flown down from KL to celebrate slightly less than 24 hours with me and we had:

Guava Salad (RM 8)

Guava Salad

This is our starter. Payung Cafe has a range of salads and most of them are great. I especially recommend the Herbs Salad (RM 8) but since it was a hot day, we went for the Guava Salad. It’s a lovely dish of guava with calamansi lime, crushed nuts and other herbs. It’s extremely refreshing!

Mushroom Roll (RM 8)

Mushroom Roll

This is a dish that has gone through many, many recipe tweaks since it was first introduced 8 years ago. I was among the first people in Sibu who first came when Payung Cafe opened in 2008 and spread the word that it was a great al fresco dining place offering the best of South East Asian (and a couple of Western) dishes.

Starfruit Prawns (RM 16)

Starfruit Prawns

I love this stuff – it’s starfruit (carambola) cooked with large prawns. There are three inside and the rest is cut up starfruits and other vegetables. It makes for a good combination. My dad ordered this one.

Thai Green Curry Chicken (RM 19)

Thai Green Curry

My better half’s order – she didn’t even have to think twice. Thai green curry is usually very spicy (at least if you eat the original from Thailand) but this is a much more muted interpretation meant for sensitive local palates.

Otak-Otak Fish (RM 12)

Otak Otak Ikan

This is a Payung Cafe staple that we all ordered to share. It’s homemade and all of their dishes comes with rice (RM 2) and we also wanted to have otak otak so the owners were kind enough to deduct RM 1 from our fourth dish – we ordered four in total for a party of 3 so we didn’t need the extra. It’s usually RM 13.

Sour Chicken (RM 18)

Sour Chicken

This is one of their daily specials. I’ve had the duck version and I like how they use Cambodian spices and herbs to make this dish – it’s quite nice. Payung Cafe also uses chicken legs only in their dishes so you’ll get cuts of drums and thighs.

Mulu Ice Cream (RM 10)

Mulu Ice Cream

We ordered one dessert for each person – this is mine, the ever-changing Mulu Ice Cream. This too has gone through several revisions, it used to be round, then a square slice, then a rectangular slice. It’s not cake – this is a sandwich of two chocolate ice cream layers with muesli in between, which is then topped with vanilla ice cream. I really like this coz of the textural aspects, there’s muesli sprinkled on top too.

Durian Ice Cream (RM 8)

Durian Ice Cream

This is a delicious concoction of homemade vanilla ice cream with durian paste. It’s delicious when they’ve just made it and it tastes like real durians instead of dodol (a local confection made with durians). It’s the reason my better half loves this place.

Jelly Pisang (RM 8)

Jelly Pisang

This is a classic Sibu dessert – it used to be served with shaved ice and bananas and Jello. Nowadays, it’s almost extinct. To the best of my knowledge, there’s only two places who still serves this – Peppers Cafe @ Tanahmas Hotel and here. This is the higher end version with homemade ice cream. It’s pictured next to Roselle Juice (RM 6) – a refreshing drink made from the roselle plant. It’s misspelled as Roxelle Juice in the menu.

Payung Cafe Birthday

It’s a wonderful dinner, made even better with the awesome company – my dad and my better half. My dad insisted of picking up the bill and treating us to the meal since it’s my birthday. The total for the three of us came up to RM 132 which is very reasonable for the amount we ordered and true to this word, the owner took RM 1 off the bill. :)

My birthday conspiracy (which makes for reasonably good reading)

It’s times like these that I think there’s a higher power somewhere looking out for me. smirk It just so happened that I was back in my home town during my birthday (which coincides with Ching Ming) so I didn’t have much to do on Saturday night. I thought I’ll give a friend of mine a call and get some ketamine and treat myself to a nice k-hole for my birthday.

He didn’t pick up when I called him.

(I learned later this was a blessing in disguise)

Right after that, I went down and my dad asked me to pick someone up from the airport. That’s highly unusual, especially since he didn’t say who (my sister and her family had already gone back).

I pressed him for details and it turns out that my better half (whom I love to death) is coming to Sibu to celebrate my birthday with me. My dad had known since Tuesday (!!!) when she contacted him to arrange this conspiracy surprise.

The phone rang right after he told me – it was my friend, calling back. He said he missed my call since he took his daughter out and asked me what was up. I said nothing much and hung up.


If you have skipped the beginning of this tale, this is the same friend whom I was about to arrange to get some ketamine for a personal birthday treat to myself.

What would have happened if my dear had arrived smack dab while I was in a dissociative state where I was thinking more about 4th and 10th dimensional beings and pondering the reality of our existence?

(or maybe that she was some kind of ketamine induced visual and auditory hallucination)


Like I said, there is a God.

I’m kidding. That’s a heavily Photoshopped picture of salt (sodium hydrochloride) crystals packed in baggies to look like the real thing. It was pink Himalayan salt to boot, which had me adjusting all the contrast and levels and RGB details to make it look white and similar to ketamine crystals.

(either that, or I really digged out the real thing from my photo archives from years and years back action)

This is a highly elaborate running inside joke that I have with my dear, I seriously have quit all recreational substances, pharmaceuticals and anything that might even remotely alter my state of mind. No wink wink, nudge nudge stuff, this is for realz yo. I don’t even drink much anymore.

There’s no ketamine.

I love my dear to bits and she’s everything to me – I have always been true to her and haven’t touched anything mind-altering for almost three (3) years, ever since I have been with her.

Sarawak Laksa

Me and my dad picked her up from her airport and we went to Aloha Cafe to eat her favorite Sarawak Laksa.

Payung Cafe

The three of us also had a very nice dinner at Payung Cafe at night.

Braun Buffel Birthday Gift

She came bearing gifts too – a Braun Buffel wallet and a UNIQLO shirt.

Braun Buffel Grey Wallet

My wallet has been a sad specimen for a long time and I think she noticed that and got me a really expensive and nice grey one from the German premium leather designer.

Frankfurt Passport Stamp

I love that she has a passport stamp of last year, when we flew to Germany and France – it’s dated 5th of April 2014, my birthday.

Sibu Passport Stamp

This year, she has a stamp on 5th of April 2015 but this time in Sibu. It’s small things like this that means a lot to her and a lot to me too coz it shows how much she cares that she spends every birthday with me (despite telling me she will not this year coz she’s busy with GST to make the surprise better).

I love you dear. I’m glad you flew down all the way to surprise me and planned it with my dad. Thanks for all the gifts and most of all for gracing my birthday with your presence, even if it was just one day.

Birthday 2015

It’s the best birthday ever! You make my life better and you make me a better man by just being in it. <3

My grandma’s cousin’s 79th birthday 8-course banquet

Interesting taboo: Females celebrate their birthdays by the decade e.g. 70th, 80th while males do it one year beforehand since the numbers “sounds” better. 9 in Chinese has various positive associations, since it also sounds like “long”.

79 birthday

He’s probably older than that – they didn’t have documentation like birth certificates back then and birthdays are largely chosen and might be off by years. The birthday banquet was held at Sheraton. This was a very popular place back in the days – there were only a few “opulent” restaurants at the time, and Sheraton was one of them.

steamed peanuts

Deep Fried Boiled Eggs with Longevity Noodles

deep fried egg

This is a classic birthday dish in my hometown. It’s of Foochow origin, I believe. The boiled eggs are slightly coated with batter and then deep fried before being served with fried longevity noodles. It’s supposed to bring good luck, but this dish that’s becoming a little old-fashioned and I only see it during banquets thrown by the older generation now.

It’s good when done well and I ate 4 eggs myself since a lot of people at the table passed up on it.

4 Seasons Hot Platter

four seasons platter

This is supposed to be the first dish in every banquet but since it’s a birthday, the longevity noodles come out first. There’s fish maw, shrimp, mushrooms, chicken, sliced abalone and other goodies piled into sectors on the platter.

fish maw shrimp

There’s something for everybody and that’s why it’s a very popular dish in restaurants. It’s a little like poon choy in some ways, except this is the appetizer portion. smirk

Shark’s Fin Soup

You have to see this from the perspective of someone born in the old country (that’s China) and went through WWII with Japan and the resulting famine, uprooting and all that comes with war. They had little and food was important to them. “Luxury items” like shark’s fin isn’t something immoral (only first world countries and the newer generation of people now have that mentality – you can only afford to think about environmental issues when you are living in relative comfort).

sharks fin

It’s just another must-have (to them) on the menu coz old habits die hard and they don’t see the plight of the sharks and probably won’t care even if they did. This is the generation that was born into war, and any food is good food and “status items” like shark’s fin is just another dish to them.

I just wanted to stave off the debate about this coz it seems that everyone needs to have a disclaimer and a stance nowadays. Honestly, as a traveler, I am of course for conversation but then again I don’t believe it’s an issue about education, at least not with the older generation so naturally consumption will die off as the new environmentally conscious generation comes of age.

Deep Fried Breaded Cod

breaded cod

Sheraton is well known for it’s fish – you can get your empurau fish steamed here and they do a mean curry fish head as well. I thought this would be mediocre since I prefer my fish any other way except fried (which ruins most of the taste, IMHO).

fried cod

However, my cousin politely served me some so I had to politely eat some and I was amazed and went back for second helpings…except there was none left! This is easily the best dish I had in the banquet – the fish is battered and dropped into the deep fryer for only a few seconds, leaving a crisp exterior but and extremely moist interior with the cod flaking off with the natural juices still inside.

I’m getting hungry just thinking of this surprisingly well executed deep fried cod with the spicy dip. The plating is not much to look at, but trust me, it tastes spot on!

Paper Wrapped Chicken with Deep Fried Buns

paper wrapped chicken

This is one of my favorite dishes in Sheraton coz they do it so well. Paper wrapped chicken is a cooking technique that has the chicken and herbs wrapped in foil (and sometimes another layer of paper) so the entire bird’s juices is sealed inside, making it extremely tender and tasty.

fried bread

However, the coup de grace is the deep fried bun. It’s a large, round piece of bread that’s the size of an Arab bread but this is baked in-house with chicken flavors infused into the loaf, which is then deep fried and served warm. It’s the contrasting textures that makes this work so well – the crunchy exterior with the soft, warm flavored bread that goes well with the herbal chicken.

Sea Cucumber with Sliced Abalone on top of Enoki Mushrooms

abalone sea cucumber

This is another classic Chinese dish – the sliced abalone comes out of a can, and the sea cucumbers are re-hydrated so the starchy sauce has to carry everything. It’s often said that Chinese cuisine is more about contrasting textures vs the balanced flavors (base and acidity pairing) and plating of “classic cuisine” e.g. French cuisine and I have to agree.

The soft and juicy Enoki mushrooms contrasts well with the chewy abalone slices and the slightly crunchy sea cucumber.

Asian Surf and Turf

asian surf turf

I just made that up. Haha! There’s no seafood here, the two ingredients are pork and chicken done two ways. This is a very Taoist concept symbolizing yin and yang – the pork is good but the chicken is bad.

Geddit? ;)

ang pow wet tissue

The banquet finished up with the classic fruit platter and I even got an RM 10 ang pow since I wasn’t married and it’s still Chinese New Year (and will be until the 14th of February). I think it’s a great idea that people do their birthdays on CNY since everyone is back in town and it was good to sit down with my uncles and cousins and for a relatives birthday banquet.

birthday banquet

P/S – No, it’s not his actual birthday, I don’t think he even remembers the exact date – this wasn’t uncommon, my mom doesn’t either since my grandma didn’t register her birth until she was a few years old so we celebrate it on a fixed date every year that’s easy to remember.

My girlfriend’s two birthdays!

Birthday #1

ling birthday

This was my brainchild and happened on the day before her actual birthday (we flew to Siem Reap for her birthday vacation). I had planned a series of surprises for the week leading up to her birthday. :)

Patchi chocolates


The first was chocolates from Patchi. This has a special meaning for us (not the brand itself) but coz one of the first gifts I gave her was from Royce, followed by Godiva and this the trilogy of “premium chocolates”.

patchi chocolate store

I got their signature collection from MidValley – she was actually wondering what shop it was and I remember walking in the first time, saying I’ll get her a box and she looked at the price tag and said she doesn’t want it. I know, she’s really an *awesome* person like that.

patchi chocolates

I decided to drop the subject since I knew her birthday was coming up and I wanted this to be one of the presents…and thus, I gave it to her as the start of the birthday gifts. :)

24 pink roses bouquet

pink roses

I also planned to walk into her office with a bouquet of flowers that I got from Bloom (which actually has great service compared to Giftlab, the latter has rude delivery guys). I got the 24 stalks of pink roses at my condo, and drove out to her office with the intention of surprising her by walking in unannounced.

girlfriend birthday

It was foiled coz she was already standing outside, ready to go out. I didn’t make it in time before she headed out for lunch. Oh well, it was still a good attempt. :)

Giant macaroon birthday cake

giant macaroon

She didn’t want a birthday cake coz she already had some and I remember her saying something about macaroons when we first met that I’ve kept in my mind ever since. I ordered a giant macaroon in lieu of a birthday cake – I got two of them in fact, one pink (salty chocolate) and one red (lime flavored).

macaroon cake

I also got 3 candles for her 30th birthday and pretended I was too tired to stay up…before surprising her with the giant pink macaroon. Well, it’s not exactly gigantic (there are bigger ones) but it’s hard to maintain the crispiness when it’s huge. This size was pushing it.


She liked it though and that’s all that matters.

Pandora’s box(es)


This was a series of surprise gifts I sprang on her. She was staying over since we had an early morning flight (turned out we didn’t have time to sleep at all). I bought her a charm bracelet and three charms from Pandora coz I remember walking through a mall with her and the little ones once and she looked wistfully at the collections.

I made a mental note then to get this for her birthday. :)

pandora charm bracelet

I actually asked the Pandora sales person to wrap it in 3 different packages (one of them I just took in the box since I wanted to present it to her in Siem Reap and it’ll be hard to pack a bag without her noticing) so I can do my sequential surprises. smirk

I gave her the charm bracelet first and apologized coz it’s empty and I didn’t have money to buy her charms.

pandora box

She said it’s okay, she’ll just wear the bracelet like that.

I said I bumped into a friend who told me I needed to get a charm chain coz if the charm bracelet accidentally opens, all the charms will drop out (thanks Wendy!).

pandora bracelet

…and I gave her another box.

I said that’s it, sorry about it being so empty and while she asked if I was going to put it on for her…

pandora charm protector

I then presented her with the third box, which contains a pink heart charm. It’s supposed to mean something which I only told her.

pink heart charm

I said that’s all I had, no more surprises (but notice I only gave her 3 boxes when I bought 4?). She was touched though and I’m glad I managed to make her happy during her birthday. :)

Birthday trip to Cambodia

birthday trip

We didn’t sleep at all and I drove to the airport the next day. I had booked a very nice boutique resort in Siem Reap which did all my requests for her birthday trip.

happy honeymoon

They wrote “Happy Honeymoon” on the bed and had a bottle of champagne chilled in an ice bucket waiting in the room.


I also arranged for a Cambodian birthday cake to be presented to her. I got this in advance since it was her birthday the *very day* we flew. We arrived in the morning so we had a day of going around Siem Reap (will post more on our trip soon) and I had to pay for the birthday cake without her knowledge, pretending to go out or forgetting stuff in the room while I was actually talking to reception about when to reveal the surprise.

The birthday cake was presented to her by the poolside (she was puzzled as to why I wanted to hang out there and was annoyed by the mosquitoes). The staff came out and sang “Happy Birthday” and a bunch of French guests there wished her a happy birthday too!

cambodian birthday cake

It was a 3D/2N trip, I told her to bring her passport and I’ll handle everything, from flights to currency, it’s her present so just bring herself! I gave her some USD so she can get back to the resort in case of emergencies though. I’ll write more on the trip later, the last surprise was close to midnight of her actual birthday when I gave her the Pandora charm that I had secretly packed to complete the dual charm collection.

It’s “I LOVE YOU” with a heart made of pure gold which I had hidden all the way from KL. <3 Birthday #2


This just happened last weekend! Ling and the two little ones came over to my place coz it’s closer to town before getting ready. We had a sit-down birthday dinner at Checkers. It was Florence’s idea – cheers for making it two weeks later so I could do the birthday vacation surprise! :)


The food was pretty alright – they had a decent cheese and bread selection…

hors d oeuvres

…and they had some nicely plated hors d’oeuvres.


But I thought the best part was the mutton / beef / chicken satay station and the fresh oysters.


The little one took this so it’s a bit blurry:

birthday photo 2013

Happy birthday dear, I hope this was a memorable one for you. I love you always. *hugs*

We’re heading to Cambodia!

birthday cake

It’s my beloved birthday today and after spending the day with her, we’re now packing for a trip to Cambodia! It’s part of her birthday present – I also surprised her with a *gigantic macaroon* at 12 am just now. :)

charms bracelet

I also presented her with something that I noticed her looking at a couple of weeks back (she didn’t know I would get it for her) and I still have a couple of things up my sleeve. On another note, I wanted to post about the kangaroo meat roast, and had indeed written most of it, but the girlfriend tells me we have to leave for the airport soon NOW so this will be a quick one from me.

yee ling birthday

I’m glad that she had a wonderful birthday and I’m glad that I helped to make it happen. I love you Yee Ling! As I said in the card with the flowers – Here’s to new beginnings and a chance at happiness! Happy birthday dear! <3 P/S – Next update will be from Cambodia, we’re off for her birthday trip! :)

My romantic birthday getaway @ Philea Resort in Melaka

philea spa resort

This is where we went for my 32nd birthday! :D

philea melaka

Philea Resort & Spa in Melaka is actually 20 minutes out, near the butterfly farm.

philea resort checkin

It’s a pristine and quiet enclave with chalets made of pine!

philea honeymoon

It’s beautifully rustic with all the modern amenities you can think of. The entire resort is made of wood – warm lamps and high ceilings gives it the feel of a cozy log cabin.

philea resort spa

I’ve never actually stayed here before and Ling had arranged a birthday surprise trip for the weekend – a romantic getaway to celebrate my 32nd birthday!

philea welcome drink

There’s a bathtub filled with rose petals…

philea honeymoon package

Flowers scattered throughout the room with rose petals spelling “LOVE”…

rose petals bed

…and breakfast in bed!

breakfast in bed

(more about that later)


It’s their honeymoon package, I believe, and I thought that was pretty smart of them (they even had a cake in the package, which doesn’t actually cost much for them since they need to bake it for their bakery anyway).

philea dinner

My birthday dinner! It’s instant noodles that we cooked in the room, one after another. There’s also Godiva chocolates and Royce chocolate covered chips, Ramune and other miscellaneous stuff we brought so we didn’t have to go out. <3 philea resort cart

The next day, at 10 am, a cart arrived with our orders the previous day for breakfast in bed!

philea breakfast

We had it in the balcony though. Haha!

breakfast bed

Check out the spread. I had poached eggs and she had an omelet. It was quite a large potion.

breakfast balcony

I enjoyed the muesli the most.

philea pool waterfall

They had a nice swimming pool with a waterfall at the end too.

rock shower

The showers are built right into the rock outcropping, which was a nice touch.

swimming pool

I swam in it while Ling hung on to me coz she can’t swim. I realize I can tow someone like that for quite a while, although I swallowed a lot of their heavily chlorinated water. -_-

philea birthday

I had a wonderful time at Philea Resort, just chilling in the room with my love. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate my birthday – it’s perfect dear! <3 philea resort lobby

The only downside was the sound of cars drifting. We’re puzzled as to why this foreign sound would mar the silence of this beautiful place but could never pinpoint the source.

philea resort rooms

There’s no soundproofing and it’s a lucky thing that the occupancy rate was low so we had the place to ourselves.

philea chalet

I really enjoyed just chilling in the room, being with Ling. I was surprised there’s such a quiet place so close to KL but I don’t think it’s cheap either.

balcony breakfast

The service was excellent and although we didn’t use much of the facilities there – we just wanted to enjoy each other’s company – I like the concept of a quiet pine resort. Philea Resort & Spa in Malacca was perfect for that.

honeymoon package

Thanks for making my 2013 birthday a memorable one. I love you. *hugs*

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