Okay we have a fireworks post today but it’s not just any regular fireworks post. These are daytime fireworks e.g. fireworks you let off at daylight coz you *wouldn’t* be able to see them at night.
It’s actually called smoke salutes with a comet tail effect but these are airborne shells arranged in a barrage cake that contains bombettes filled with colored smoke that bursts in the air, creating a colorful cloud. This is the first time I’ve seen it available in a commercial format like this.
I bought this cake of 49 shot colored smoke salutes for RM 200. I was specifically told to let it off in the morning. I found that it’s best to use these daylight fireworks when there’s no wind to make the smoke linger longer.
This colored smoke aerial cake produces a wonderful display of pink, green, blue, yellow, purple, smoke (black) and red. Pink is the most vivid color, followed by purple.
I was surprised that the 1.2” mortars in the cake can produce such an impressive show. It’s quite long too so the shells shoots up quite high.
Unfortunately, I had set my video mode to Shutter Priority so the sun completely washed out the smoke salute display. :x
It’s actually a very nice show and I’ll definitely be getting more of these next year. I’ll remember to film it better next time. The colored smoke lingers around in the air for a while and the vivid colors from the aerial smoke salutes makes for a novel daytime fireworks cake. :)
I compiled a list of random photos from CNY open houses, visiting friends and generally doing the things I do each year during Chinese New Year. :D
This is a performance of a yu – a traditional Chinese musical instrument. I don’t know what it’s actually called, I just looked at the list of Chinese instruments at Wikipedia and the yu seems to fit it best. It’s a flute of sorts with a gourd at the back – there’s multiple tubes and it can make quite an enchanting melody.
I also managed to catch up with Ting Chuan, a very old friend of mine. We went through the same class in primary school *and* high school together. Luke is to the other side of me.
My high school mate has been married for a long time (his wife Siew Ling and their daughter is in the first photo) – was one of his heng tai during the wedding and he’s now the proud father of a bouncy new baby. This is the cute Megan. :)
I’m always amazed and a little envious when see stuff like this. I’ll love to have kids of my own too. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a soul mate yet. I’ll see how things pan out. ;)
I went clubbing three times too – it’s been a while since I drank this much. It was a lot of fun! That’s Romeo and Stephanie @ The Base. I get to see this bunch of friends only once a year since we all work at different places.
This is 3 Degrees. We made a new tradition of going clubbing with just cousins starting this year. :D
I also got my very first birthday present from Patricia Felicia – my birthday is not until 5th of April but she reckons she’ll not see me then coz I’ll be in KL so this is a 2-month early birthday gift. Thanks Pat! :)
Speaking of birthdays…this is my great aunt’s 80th birthday!
She remembers me as a little kid when I lived in Sungai Merah. To be honest, I don’t even remember living in Sungai Merah but that’s what the older generation is for. Haha!
Letting of sky lanterns with my bros Eddy, Calvin, Romeo, Ah Tong. This is a RM 2.50 biodegradable sky lantern sold as an alternative to fireworks.
It really goes up high with a 15 minute burn time.
We also let off a fireworks cake called Jin Se Pu Bu (Golden Conflagration – a classic barrage from the early days way before the ban). This is up there with Colorpeony in terms of multi-tube aerial shots – back in the days (talking about the ’80s here) these are the *really popular* ones.
Two foot long fountains were also lit simultaneously beside it for a better show.
I also visited Arthur’s house, which is just around the corner. Those are his muesli cookies.
Arthur has been a good friend of mine since I was a little kid. I didn’t have a car (mom’s car broke down) so Grace picked me up.
It’s has been an awesome Chinese New Year! I’ll be getting the annual fireworks and firecrackers post up before Chap Goh Meh (the 15th day and the end of the Lunar New Year). Hope ya’ll had a great CNY too! :D
This is a powerful multi-layered braided string of 39,999 traditional Chinese firecrackers – it’s huge, with lots of powder and chalk, which produces tons of red paper. I strung them up around the gate like a snake yesterday for the 7th day of Chinese New Year.
It’s really, really loud. I was standing about 1 meter away and I could feel debris and chalk flying right past me.
Anyway, after my ears stopped ringing I suddenly heard a cat’s pitiful mewling.
Puzzled, I looked around.
We searched and searched and finally isolated the mewling to a corner with our temporarily deaf ears. Me and my dad thought it was coming from *inside* the air conditioning unit.
We spent a good 10 minutes trying to pry it open coz the cat sounded like it was trapped inside.
I kept looking in too but I couldn’t see the cat.
My dad went in to fetch a suitable spanner to undo the lugs while I tried to see how the cat could have gotten in but there are no openings.
…and then my dad happened to look up.
We were crouched down and looking inside the air conditioning unit so we never thought it was coming from above. Besides, our hearing was shot.
I think it’s a stray that was walking from the backyard when the firecrackers scared her and in a burst of adrenaline, she somehow managed this amazing acrobatic feat that she couldn’t extract herself from.
I had to get her down.
Nice cat, wish it stayed but she haughtily stretched herself and left after I petted her a little and the ordeal was over. Ungrateful. Hmph.
I came across some interesting novelty fireworks this year. The Lady Bug is a fist sized firework painted like a ladybird that’s supposed to launch several stories high into the air. I thought that was quite an impressive claim so I got a few packs.
It’s sold in a pack of 3 for RM 15, which makes it RM 5 for each of the ladybird fireworks.
Lady Bug fireworks is basically a spinner connected to an aerial shell-like lift charge. I think that’s how it works – I didn’t dissect it to find out.
The ladybird fireworks really shoots up to 4-6 stories. It’s variable – I’ve seen some that goes higher (about the same range as a 3” aerial shell would go).
I’ve seen a lot of people lighting these off – it’s a straight vertical lift after some furious spinning action. I reckon a *report* at the end of it’s apogee would make it more interesting though. :)
I always have my Chinese New Year reunion dinner at my grandma’s place. It’s just our family and my grandma with a few aunts eating some great home cooked food.
I traditionally also let off a string of firecrackers before eating. :)
I love the hearty Heng Hua dishes that my grandma and aunts cooks – it’s what I ate during my formative years and I’m very fond of chai bo (a preserved vegetable), the sea cucumber + razor clam mix and the pork + chicken stew.
Here’s everyone! My grandma is the one to my left, my mom is on my right. The chick that looks like me is my sister, who flew off just now headed for New Zealand. My dad is on her right and that’s Kara, my niece, on her left.
I also brought along a Bushmills 10 year old single malt whiskey from Ireland for drinks. Almost finished the bottle, it’s a lot more fun drinking like this.
My cousins all came later – this is also a tradition of ours, I’m the banker and we played Blackjack and later a crazy version of Baccarat where there’s no edge to the house (me). My uncle was telling me I was doing it wrong. Haha! I don’t mind, all of my cousins are younger than me and I want them to win.
I lost a few hundred from our gambling session (which I actually have to budget my losses each year coz I do stuff like giving extra payouts for audacity e.g. hitting up to 5 cards and not busting in Blackjack) and everyone went away happy.
Shun Lee Hung firecrackers are the most common type of Chinese firecrackers around town but it’s usually sold in a 3,000 firecracker configuration.
I got the much rarer small box thrown in with a purchase and was drying it out just now when…
…it rained. :x
I decided to let a string of these small firecrackers off since some of them got soaked.
They went off alright but due to the close proximity, it *ignited* another string of firecrackers in the box. An act worthy of a Darwin Award mention – I did it so close to my entire fireworks and firecrackers stash.
Here’s my first batch of fireworks and firecrackers which I got for Chinese New Year. I ordered them from KL last year – it’s cheaper to get them when it’s here instead of waiting till CNY itself.
There are a lot of places selling it though – I bought some assorted interesting fireworks and was undecided between two huge fireworks aerial salute cake that I saw. There’s one with very nice packaging (the pink one) on the right, and there’s an industrial grade one on the left.
The latter has a larger mortar size though (which usually means higher and better starbursts) so I ended up with that one. It’s RM 300 vs RM 250 for the nicely printed box. It’s quite large – it’s just a single 100 shot fireworks cake and it’s sitting on my lap in the photo above.
Just open and light it up! There’s a secondary fuse as well which is a cable tie/fuse contraption for use in daisy chaining several cakes up to go off simultaneously or in sequence, depending on how you link ‘em up.
My friends dropped by with some fireworks as well – 12 inch (1 foot) fountains, which I’ve seen around retailing for RM 35. They got an entire box and passed me some of the 1 foot monsters which are popular and new this year. Last year the largest one was the Volcano fountain at 9 inches.
Here’s my bill from last night for the novelty and smaller fireworks purchases if you can read Chinese. I can’t. Heh. I know I got slaughtered on the Shun Lee Hung firecrackers though – can’t be helped, I didn’t buy enough for the traditional days where I do let ‘em off.
I’m off to buy a couple of large fireworks cakes (making a grand trio of large fireworks cakes as my flagship this year) in a bit.
This is where I currently stand – better photos with everything when during the annual roundup but I’ll let some off first!
The angpow is handmade – very thoughtful and kind of her to send it over. Yes, it does contain money inside, making it my first ang pow of the year. Cheers Yee Ling! :D
P/S – Just got another batch in. There’s daytime fireworks cakes in there too (bottom of the photo – blue colored cake). It’s going to be awesome! It’s meant for daylight use, will show you the principle soon! :)
I was out here the night before I was supposed to fly back to get some last minute Chinese New Year goodies for Sibu. It was a real pain-in-the-ass to lug them all back coz most of them had to be carry ons so it’s a good thing I had this huge bag from buying CNY clothes that I chucked everything in. Heh.
Petaling Street was quite festive – lights were strung out and there were heaps of people out and about.
Waxed meat is a popular item.
I was told that you can’t get proper ngaku (arrowhead chips) in Sibu so I bought a couple of tubs. I heard that this place has some of the best ones around. It’s RM 13 per container, I don’t eat them but my sister says that my brother-in-law can eat one tub, no problems. They were trying to get some back from Singapore too.
I also bumped into this intriguing shop selling candied vegetables. I was looking at them and the lady was kind enough to offer me lots of samples. I didn’t quite like any of the others except for carrot, peppers, lotus root and coconut so that’s the only four (4) types I got.
You can mix and match – it’s RM 15 for 200 grams (I think that was the price, can’t really remember) so I bought two small tubs back.
I also went to Sanbanto to grab a few packs of ba kua (pork jerky). They have two types – sliced pork meat (RM 50) and minced pork meat (RM 48). It depends on what you prefer.
I’ve tasted them and was quite impressed – there are no preservatives so you have to eat them within 3 days once it’s open. However, each piece of ba kua is individually wrapped and there’s 500 grams of porky goodness in there.
I don’t usually like ba kua but this was made in-house and tasted so much better than the mass produced ones that I thought it’ll make a good gift.
Next up! Fireworks and firecrackers for CNY! w00t! :D
I was out with Arthur last night – planned to go to this Indonesian and Indian restaurant but unfortunately it was closed. It seems to be closed every time we want to go. Haha. Anyway, the second option was Payung Cafe in Sibu.
We both like this place for the ambiance – I’ve been there when Payung Cafe opened and it has gotten even better since then. Arthur knows the owners very well and their food is always consistently good.
Durian Shake (RM 8)
This is made with durians and you can have the ice cream version too. The waiter kindly asked me if I wanted more durians in it. Of course I said yes and the result is:
They use cooked durian flesh for this and after the addition of more it tastes better than any durian shakes I’ve ever had. The taste is so strong it qualifies as a dessert. :D
Bumbung Soda (RM 5)
I loved Arthur’s reaction when he drank this one – he gave an involuntary shudder and said it was way too sour. Haha! It’s made with several different fruits, cucumber among them. Bumbung literally means “roof” so it’s apt that Arthur hit the roof (in a way) after sipping it.
Garlic Bread ( RM 8)
This is a great appetizer – the garlic bread is fresh and goes very well with the chicken dip that’s served on the side. The chicken has bits of meat inside and it’s creamy and a perfect match for the warm garlic bread.
Bangladesh Curry Lamb (RM 17)
I had this before and I quite liked it. It’s Arthur’s order and they’re quite generous with the portions, probably coz of what he commented last time. ;)
There’s a huge chunk of lamb inside too, it takes a concerted effort to pry it apart but I like lamb meat with lots of tendons.
Assam Chicken (RM 16)
This is what I opted for – it’s not too bad, tastes a little bit like the belimbing prawn pasta but that’s where the similarities end. I thought it was okay too but then I was quite hungry at this point.
Otak-otak (RM 12)
They make this in-house every day and it’s spicy as hell. Lovely stuff though, a must-order if you’re in Payung.
Chinese New Year fruit cake (RM 75 per loaf)
They gave this free of charge to us – it’s quite tasty, and different from the dry and tough as nails fruitcakes that you can use to clobber people and kidnap them. Payung Cafe’s CNY fruit cake is steamed and it’s soft and moist. Different, but I though it was nice.
It’s an awesome dinner as always, good company and great times! :D
I was invited by Suanie to come along for my first yee sang dinner at Tai Zi Heen. It’s the resident Chinese restaurant of Prince Hotel & Residence and I was quite impressed by the view looking out of one of the private lounges:
It’s glass so you can see the entire lobby without the noise intruding. You also can’t jump out of it, so if you’re scared of heights, don’t worry, it’ll take quite a concerted effort to do so. Haha.
Vegetarian Snow Pear Yee Sang
This is the traditional first dish – yee sang (which actually means “raw fish”) is an imported tradition where you toss a salad (of sorts) while wishing for something. The very polished waitresses says a couplet of prosperity, health and general good wishes when she adds each ingredient – a rather nice touch!
You can see her doing just that. The video also shows the yee sang tossing session. If you strain your ears hard enough you can hear me say “Win 4D”. I’ve never won before and that very day (after an impromptu decision to get a couple of lottery numbers) I managed to win slightly less than RM 1,000 (about USD 300).
That’s some mighty wish fulfilling yee sang going on there.
I do like the addition of snow pear instead of salmon or jellyfish (which they both offer) – it makes the entire yee sang more crunchy and sweet.
Stewed Dried Oysters with Fatt Choy and Lettuce
I liked this dish as well although it’s not customary to serve it with lettuce (there’s more unique dishes coming up). Fatt choy is a type of bacteria that produces a very hearty and distinctive flavor – it basically absorbs whatever sauces are around.
Excellent stuff, and a Chinese New Year staple.
Braised Shark’s Fin Soup with Diced Prawns, Scallops and Grouper
Oops! Did I use the S-word? Well, you can ask for it without shark’s fin as well. It tastes just as good – the combination of prawns, scallops and grouper makes it a very sweet broth.
I really liked this one as well.
Roasted Chicken dusted with Crispy Garlic and Five Spice Salt
I was expecting regular sea salt but they used five spice salt, which vastly improves the taste of the roasted chicken. There’s plum sauce on offer too, but I’m probably not the best person to ask about roasted chicken. I didn’t like it, but all the other diners were in agreement that it’s delicious.
There’s nothing wrong with it, I just don’t like roasted chicken.
Chef’s Special Baked Cod Fish
This is the flagship of the Chinese New Year banquet. Well, to me anyway. It’s a fusion dish made with mushroom, onions, cheese and turkey bacon. Yup, this is a halal outlet.
Check out the plating – there’s a Chinese character written on it with sauce.
The ingredients goes really well together and the result is this magnificent piece of cod that’s baked and dripping with cheese and bursting with flavor. I highly recommend this one, it’s not in the regular Chinese New Year menu but you can ask for it – it’s the Chef’s Specialty.
Stir-Fried Glutinous Rice with Chinese-style Preserved Duck
Waxed meat is another traditional Chinese New Year meal. This one is done Hong Kong style and I have to say, it’s one delectable dish. The saltiness of the duck is offset by the rice and the best thing about the dish is that there’s some stir-frying action going on.
Warm Almond Purée with Glutinous Rice Dumplings
This is basically tong yuen swimming in a concoction of milky almond. It sounds simple but it’s heart-warming food. The glutinous rice balls are filled with black sesame too.
It’s a righteously hot dessert that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Deep-Fried Chinese New Year Cake with Thousand Layer Puff Pastry
This is actually two desserts.
The first is nian gao (the above-mentioned Chinese New Year cake) dipped in batter before being deep fried. It’s a wonderful execution – much better than what I’m used to eating at home. The nian gao is made in-house and that makes all the difference – it’s not saccharine sweet and more suitable for adult palates.
The second dessert is the Thousand Layer Puff Pastry – a silkworm like cocoon surrounding a sweet corn and salted egg based interior. The crumbly texture of the pastry gives way to the warm salted egg filling. It’s still sweet, but has that tang of saltiness from the salted egg. I loved this so much I ate 4-5 pieces!
You’ve gotta eat it while it’s still hot though.
Tai Zi Heen @ Prince Hotel has 3 different Chinese New Year menus, starting from RM 1,188 for a table of up to 10 people. It was a cozy dinner, with just the six of us sharing a banquet meant for 10. It’s also a halal outlet, which I was quite surprised to find out (asked about the usage of turkey bacon instead of real bacon).
The restaurant does a great Chinese New Year banquet and the Chinese New Year menu is on offer from now till 24 January 2013 – Chap Goh Meh. I particularly liked the baked cod fish so ask for it if you’re there – it’s really something else. :)
Thanks for having us over Elisa! Happy CNY everyone! :D