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*

I’m 32 today!

birthday present
Best birthday present ever!

It appears that I was born on this very date, 32 years ago. 1981 to be exact. I’m not big on birthdays coz I’ve never really had positive experiences with them. However, certain things have changed. I’m totally clean now (except for the cancer sticks) and I’m in a very happy relationship.

ling hb
Photo taken by the big one

That’s the best thing that happened to me. You’re the best thing that happened to me. :)


I just came back from dinner at McDonald’s (it’s the place we had our first date – the Kota Damansara branch) but I didn’t have the food there. I ordered an iced caramel latte from McCafe and the little ones had sundaes and chicken nuggets.

roasted chicken dinner

I ate a very nice home-cooked dinner made by my girlfriend instead. It’s roasted chicken (there are 2 drums and a thigh inside) with potato salad and rice, all packed into a large Tupperware the size of a large pizza.

huge dinner

I’m not kidding, it’s huge!

I’m surprised no one told me that I shouldn’t be eating outside food. Haha!


I know you spent a long time in the kitchen making this and I’m thankful for the food and the chocolate chip cupcakes.

They’re delicious! I appreciate the effort you put into making all this. <3 eating birthday dinner

I also like hanging with the kids, it makes me happy to see them happy and I like talking to the big one and taking care of the little one. I brought a round of Ramune (the Japanese drink with the glass ball) coz no one seems to have heard of it before and I wanted everyone to try it.

glenfiddich 125 anniversary edition

She also got me a Glenfiddich 125 Year Anniversary Edition box for my birthday. I was looking at it on the trip back from Melbourne but didn’t want to get it coz I still have a lot of single malt whisky.

birthday gift

…but while I was in the toilet, she *ran* back to the duty free shop in Tullamarine and bought the damn thing! She said it’s coz I wanted it and also coz the “25” in 125 years is our anniversary date. I thought that was really sweet of her.


I’ll be off tomorrow for a surprise weekend birthday trip that Ling has arranged. I don’t know exactly where we’re going but I’ll update after my birthday trip. :)

Thanks for everything dear!

32 birthday

I don’t think I can be with anyone else but you. You’re everything that I’ve been looking for, someone who loves me for who I am, who accepts that the past is the past and who can tolerate this emu cassowary. I always say I’m lucky to have you and I always mean it. I love you Yee Ling! *hugs*

P/S – Cheers for all the birthday wishes, everyone! :D

Happy Birthday Mom! :)

happy birthday mom

I have a really funny story about this. We don’t actually know if the 1st of January is her birthday. You know how people back in the days don’t actually register their babies until maybe a couple of days later and gets a pink birth certificate (date of birth – estimated) instead of a white one (confirmed by a doctor)?

That’s the case with my mom and I Whatsapped my sister two days ago to get my mom’s number to call her.

She’s in Singapore but we’ll all be together in Sibu in a bit.

I’ll have to take more photos with my family when we reunite again!

First post for 2013 – may you have peace, joy and everything you want in this year and many more to come mom! :D

Father’s Day @ Payung Cafe (and the best Father’s Day present)

fathers day dinner

17th of June is Father’s Day for most of the world with some notable exceptions, namely Australia and New Zealand. I guess that’s why my sister was a bit puzzled when I told her that we’re heading out during her usual Skype session with my parents.

payung cafe sibu

I asked my dad where he wanted to go, giving him a couple of suggestions like Tom’s Too. Arthur, being the resident food expert also contributed to the list. My dad wanted to go to an al fresco dining area where people doesn’t smoke and he hasn’t been to Payung Cafe yet so I brought him and my mom there.

payung sibu

Payung Cafe is one of the little known eateries in Sibu – the owners are friendly and the ambiance is great, with little touches like freshly cut flowers on the table and off-the-menu specials written on a chalkboard every single day.

payung cafe

It doesn’t have a large menu but they have an admirable aim of having cuisine from all over the world, with a focus on Asian countries.

myanmar vegetables

Myanmar Sayur (RM 8)
Sayur means vegetable and this dish is a kind of salad that contains an assortment of raw and cooked vegetables mixed together rojak style. The sprinkling of sesame seeds and the raw vegetables provides a nice texture that goes very well with the gravy.

payung jelly pisang

Jelly Pisang (RM 7)
Jelly Pisang is a dessert that used to be very popular in Sibu back in the days. It went the way of dinosaurs when I was born and to the best of my knowledge this is only one of two places that still serves it in Sibu. The other one is at a hotel (see link). Payung Cafe’s interpretation comes with loads of jelly and thinly sliced bananas.

I asked my dad if this seemed authentic enough and he mentioned that back in the days it wasn’t really served like this but…

close enough


lamb masala

Lamb Masala (RM 17)
It doesn’t look like much but this one was the first dish to go – the lamb is flavorful and tender with none of the gamey taste usually associated with this particular animal. It was a hit with both my mom and dad. The portion is a bit small and I only had one piece but other than that it’s highly recommended.

payung otak otak

Otak-otak Fish with Rice (RM 13)
This is the most popular dish in Payung Cafe, bar none. It’s one of their signature menu items and it’s hand made otak-otak! One of the proprietors actually does this each evening and it’s fresh and very different from the usual mass produced otak-otak. People with a sensitive palate beware! This is not for the faint-hearted for it’s quite spicy.

turkish milkshake

Turkish Milkshake (RM 8)
It came highly recommended from the proprietor and I have to agree – it’s quite good. It’s one of the specials on the chalkboard so this is a limited time menu item. What is a Turkish milkshake? Well, it’s based on the drink called Salep in Turkey. It has ground dried tubers of the orchid flower (!) with spices topped with cream and chocolate flakes. The owners travel around to add new stuff to the menu.

indian red beef

Indian Red Beef (RM 17)
This is a rather spicy affair which was the special of the day. It was quite spicy and I ended up eating most of it. I didn’t like it as much as the lamb masala.

pineapple ginger soda

Pineapple Ginger Soda (RM 5)
I wanted the Durian Milkshake I had last time I was here but they ran out of durians (it’s not the season anyway). I asked for a recommendation and got this one – it’s apparently one of the most popular drinks and the combination of pineapple and ginger works surprisingly well. I like the sediments at the bottom, which contains a bit of both ingredients. Lovely.

belimbing pasta

Belimbing Prawn with Spaghetti (RM 16)
I also had this dish last time and was quite enthralled by it. Belimbing is starfruit (or carambola) in English and it’s a fusion dish that works very well. The type of starfruit they use is known locally as belimbing asam and it’s a very sour variant of the fruit used in cooking. It’s served with prawns and I wanted everyone to try this. It’s a very different dish that works very well. :D

The total bill came out to RM 99 which is very reasonable for a dinner for three that had us struggling to finish the dishes.

fathers day

However, the best Father’s Day present that I gave my dad (and mom) happened to be a totally random act while I was talking to them the night I came back in the living room. I was showing how swipe typing works on my Android phone and my dad casually asked what app I was using. I didn’t know he’s unfamiliar with Whatsapp since my parents are pretty IT savvy, navigating the maze of social media pretty well.


Anyway, I found out that my sister is on it (coz she was on Skype with my parents at the time) and I gifted the app to my dad’s cell using my iTunes account. I added myself and my sister to the contacts list and showed my parents how to use it. They didn’t know there’s an option for free texting (although they use Viber) with quick photo, video and audio file sharing.

fathers day 2012

The look on my mom’s face when my sister snapped a photo of my newborn nephew and instantly sent it over followed by the smiles on my parents faces was worth the USD 0.99 I used to gift the app a gazillion times over. :)

HB to HB

birthday 2012

It’s my birthday today! Well, it’s technically yesterday, on the 5th of April but what the heck. You can only write about something after it’s happened right? ;) I got inspired by someone who wished me happy birthday with a simple “HB”. Happy Birthday (to) Huai Bin, geddit? Heh.

Anyway, I was out at a “surprise” birthday house party the previous night and was just chilling last night when Masako asked me if I was free for dinner. I don’t celebrate my birthdays per se, at least not in the traditional sense – look through the archives – I was either messed up or in rehab. ;)

masako lee

I didn’t expect you to actually buy me dinner so cheers for the wonderful Japanese food Masako!

A big thank you goes out to each and every one of you who sent me cards, gifts, Facebook and Twitter birthday wishes! It’s much appreciated! :D

I’ve turned 31 but there’s still plenty to do in the road ahead. As Ji San put it – Life is LIFE! :)

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