Dinner with my cousin, her fiancé, his mom and 9 from our extended family

Hong Fu Sibu

I know, the title sounds a little unwieldy but it’s actually very accurate. smirk We had dinner at Hong Fu Seafood Restaurant last night. There were 12 of us and we took the largest table available and could barely fit everyone in.

Hong Fu Seafood

This dinner is supposed to be a “meet the parents” kind of thing for my cousin’s fiancé (and his mom) before their wedding at the end of the year. It morphed into a “meet the extended family” coz that’s just how we roll. Two of the uncles I’m closest with were there, as well as my dad, my grandma and several of my cousins and aunties to round things up.

Hong Fu Seafood Restaurant in Sibu is actually known for their crabs. It used to be RM 13 / kg which is an amazing price for Sibu (we’re a landlocked town). Here’s what we had:

Philippines Pork Leg (Crispy Pata)

Crispy Pata

I’ve always found it amusing that people from Sibu refer to this iconic Filipino dish as “Philippines pork leg” when so many other places have a similar implementation e.g. Germany. The proper term for this dish is crispy pata.

Philippines Pork Leg

It’s deep fried pork leg (with trotters) that’s been simmered in water along with spices beforehand. There’s usually a dipping sauce made with some combination of acidic, sweet and sour elements e.g. vinegar, sugar, soy sauce. Hong Fu makes one of the best implementations of this in Sibu. It came in two huge platters to accommodate our late party.

Midin (Local Fiddlehead Fern)

Sibu Fiddlehead Fern

This is a Sibu classic, fiddlehead ferns called midin that’s cooked with a bit of chilli. I quite like it, it’s one of my favorite dishes.

Signature House Tofu

Tofu Pork Mince

The large slabs (about the size of a CD case) of tofu is made in-house and lightly fried before a thick pork mince gravy is poured over it. I have been eating more tofu lately (get your mind out of the gutter) and I’m starting to enjoy it.

Stir Fried Vegetables

Hong Fu Vegetable

This the obligatory green dish. I’ve also been eating more vegetables lately and I’ve been developing a fondness for it too, thanks to my better half. I did not grow up eating veggies – in fact I hardly ever ate vegetables until I was in my late 20’s.

Mongolian Chicken

Mongolian Chicken

This is really yummy. I like sweet & sour pork and this tastes a little like that, but better! Everyone does this slightly differently, and it’s been bastardized in so many Chinese restaurants abroad. The chicken is fried so there’s a bit of crunch and the sauce is sweet, sour and spicy. Lovely stuff – I can just eat this dish alone with rice.

Braised Sea Cucumber

Sea Cucumber

I don’t know why restaurants in Sibu always pair sea cucumber with broccoli but I ain’t complaining about Hong Fu’s implementation. The sea cucumber is wonderfully tender and flavorful from the sauce. There’s just something very visceral about slurping the slippery things into your gob.

Steamed Red Snapper

Red Snapper

My uncle brought this fish to the restaurant. You can actually do that here if you have a better or fresher specimen that you want to eat. You’ll be charged for the cooking but not the fish – it’s a similar concept to a corkage charge for wine in BYOB restaurants.

Yih Wen

I actually came back to Sibu for several reasons – I needed to meet with my first client for Pulse Consulting, open up my company bank account, discuss a new project that’s in the pipeline (potential new client, yay), celebrate Father’s Day with my dad, and hang out with my bro Eddy whose mom just passed last week and I’m glad I managed to catch my cousin Yih Wen and her fiancé too.

It’s very rare that we all get together like this in one big family. :)

Greetings from Legoland Malaysia!

Greetings from Legoland Malaysia

We’re here on a 3D/2N adventure with the kids before school starts! We were at the Legoland Water Park for the whole day yesterday and we’re going to the Legoland Theme Park today. It’s a good thing we’re staying at the Legoland Hotel coz guests can enter the park earlier at 9:30 am before it opens to the general public.

The rooms are gorgeous, will write more about it when I come back. It’s time to go get some breakfast – we had room service last night coz the kids were tired and it wasn’t good at all. Unfortunately, most of the items were cold and one dish was inedible (stringy, dry chicken) but otherwise the experience here is great. The service and attentiveness of the staff is awesome!

*cue Everything is AWESOME!!!!* smirk

I spent last night with the police

police

I just came back from a rather long night. The entire extended family was out celebrating the 80th birthday of my grand aunt. A bunch of us cousins decided to make a new tradition of going out clubbing during Day 3 of Chinese New Year and sent my grandma back.

I ended up hanging with the police instead.

We were about to head out after dropping them off when suddenly my aunts and grandma noticed that the entire house was completely ransacked. It’s a good thing we were still there.

The fucking thieves gained entry by strategically putting a couple of pieces of wood over a large storm drain, unscrewing the back gate with surgical precision and taking out the door with a couple of well put strikes that broke the lock.

…before rampaging through the rooms, breaking beds and overturning closets to find cold hard cash. They didn’t take anything else – the police said it’s probably coz gold and other valuables would be hard to sell without detection in a small town like this.

You know how much they netted? Over RM 30,000!

It’s Chinese New Year and the lion’s share of the damage was to my grandma. :(

She lost RM 20,000 out of the total (rest were my aunts and one cousin from Singapore).

I called 999 and told them not to touch anything. I was a bit taken aback when the operator said “Mr Poh can you repeat the address?”.

It’s the integrated system with telcos to prevent crank calls.

I realized that half a second after the initial surprise. I was out waiting for the police and then called the Sibu Police Headquarters instead to speed things up. They said they’ve already got the call and they’re sending out a patrol car.

The initial cops who came took a look around and said we needed to take stock of the losses and lodge a report at the main station.

Thus, me and my cousin went with all my aunts and grandma to the police station, made a report, went up to speak to someone and then went back home to wait for the JSJ (Jabatan Siasatan Jenayah – Crime Investigation Department) to come for forensics.

dusting fingerprints

They tried to get fingerprints but didn’t get any.

There has been a spate of break-ins at that area for a long time – the neighbor behind had the same MO. My grandma’s house is never empty – there’s always someone there coz 3 of my aunts and my grandma lives there. The only time it was empty, it got broken into.

Same thing happened to the neighbor to the back. The one at the side was slightly more unlucky, two females were in the house when it happened, but didn’t see the thieves coz they were forced down on the ground. Only money was taken, no valuables.

I think Sibu is getting a bit worse each year – one of my friends chanced upon a robbery in broad daylight yesterday.

I feel so sorry for my grandma and I guess it’s a good thing that some people are gifted with the ability to make others laugh (like my cousin) which puts things in perspective.

The silver lining is that no one was hurt coz the last time someone stumbled upon and recognized the thief in Sibu, the entire family was murdered. It was done to prevent them from pointing him out but one of them managed to get away by jumping from the second floor.

break in

I still feel fucking horrible though – I went to sit with my grandma who was there folding clothes after the robbers rummaged through everything and destroyed the beds to see if there was anything hidden underneath.

She told me that was the money she was planning to use for a vacation. T_T

She’s a very nice person, a kind and selfless woman armed with a cheery smile and always putting other people first. That was her entire life savings she has been putting away slowly over all these years you took, fuckers.

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

Waddap cuz

My cousin is here on a business trip and I had dinner with him to catch up. I actually just met him in Singapore a couple of weeks back, but that was just to pass him some stuff from my sister’s condo. It was about to rain so we didn’t have much time to talk.

poh poh
L-R: Mr. Poh, Mr. Poh.

Interesting fact:
My dad is the oldest son of my grandfather and I’m his youngest son.
My cousin’s dad is the youngest son of my granddad and he’s the oldest son.

Guess how far apart our ages are?

It’s surprisingly not far apart. He’s only older than me by *one year*.

…..

…….

………

…………

I wish!

I’m kidding. He’s 24 and I’m 31. That makes it a 7 year difference. My grandfather also beget 7 offspring, which is totally coincidental and has nothing to do with this at all.

Chirashi-Jyu
This is what I usually order when I have Japanese food nowadays. I’m a huge fan of unagi (eel) but due to my unhealthy diet I’ve taken to ordering this pretty consistently when I’m out. It’s assorted sashimi on sushi rice for RM 30.

chirashi jyu

I actually like this version – best I’ve had so far. The selling point was the fatty raw salmon – it’s creamy and delicious! They don’t serve coffee (boo) but however this place has a 4sq special where you can get a green tea ice cream for free when you check-in.

BTW, my cousin is single and available. Heh.

…and that concludes the Book of Numbers in my family scripture for now. ;)

My newborn nephew Josiah and my grown up niece Kara

josiah ng

This is my two month old nephew. He’s named Josiah and weighs 7 kg! :)

nephew

I love how his folds of baby fat makes him look like a little emperor. Heh. He’s quite heavy for his age, a nice weight to carry around.

me josiah

…although a pram makes more sense. Haha! I was out shopping with my parents and my sister’s family in Singapore a couple of weeks ago and I can appreciate how hard it is to take care of a baby. I still would love to have one though. :)

josiah

This here is my niece Kara, who’s all grown up now. She’s almost 3 years old and she can already string a sentence together very cohesively.

josiah kara

She’s already very mature and it never fails to surprise me how fast babies turn into kids. It’s amazing, the thing she says and does, more of what I’ll expect from a 7 year old than a 3 year old. :)

Y2K on 9/9

y2k dinner

I just had dinner with the extended clan at Y2K. It’s a family favorite – my dad is a huge fan of their low MSG and salt style of cooking. The chef comes out with dishes really fast too, probably due to the relative lack of customers.

y2k empty

The restaurant next door is more popular since Y2K is priced slightly higher. A meal would probably cost a bit more for the exact same dishes but I doubt the proprietors care much. They have their loyal regulars…and Y2K is entirely family run.

y2k owners

The cook and his wife maintains the nitty gritty stuff while the new generation – the son and his wife, pictured above, runs the front end customer service.

y2k food

I’m pretty bushed now coz I haven’t slept (except for a quick cat nap during the flight) since I woke up at 7 am on Thursday. I’m turning in now, I’m super exhausted. I’ll update again soon…had a great lunch with Arthur just now which I haven’t written about. :D

My niece’s 1st birthday!

niece

I’m a proud uncle of a 1 year old bundle of joy. :D

sister

My sister’s daughter just turned a year old and the entire Poh clan went out to celebrate her birthday. I’m really fond of her, she’s soft and adorable and it’s really touching when she takes to me and asks for a hug. *melts

dinner

We all went for dinner at this Chinese restaurant called Home Cook Corner (favored by my dad coz of the relatively low MSG content) and ordered:

pork
Claypot pork leg
This is nicely done and came out tender and sweet – just as it should be.

veggie
Unidentified veggies with egg
I don’t know what vegetable this is but I love how it’s cooked with egg. Eggs = awesome.

fish
Curry fish head
I like how this came out.

curry

It can’t compare to the legendary Sheraton curry fish head in Sibu but it comes pretty close.

midin
Midin
This is a local fern that’s only available in Sarawak. It’s cooked in a spicy and sour style which actually works pretty well.

century egg
Century eggs
Erm…this is actually mine, I always tend to order this when I’m eating in Sibu.

chicken
Kung pow chicken
I found this a little bland and disappointing since I’m used to very spicy dishes.

tofu
House specialty tofu
I’m not particularly fond of tofu so this doesn’t really appeal to me.

fishball
Homemade fishball soup
The fishball is the size of an egg (!!!). I quite liked it even though the others found it too soft.

family

We adjoined back home after dinner with all the relatives in tow for the obligatory cake cutting ceremony. This is a durian cake from Secret Recipe. Yes, we have one in Sibu. -_-

cake

I don’t know if she made a wish (probably not, considering her age) but I made one for her. May you grow up to be happy and here’s to life treating you well!

wish

Happy birthday little one. Much love from your uncle. <3

"…and I hope, life treats you kind. And I hope, you have all you dreamed of. I wish you joy, and happiness. And above all this, I wish you…love.

Our advance Chap Goh Meh dinner

chap goh meh

Chap Goh Meh marks the last day of Chinese New Year and traditionally sees the whole family sitting down for dinner. Unfortunately, none of our family members are in one place this year so my grandma did an early one with all of my favorite dishes.

good fish

I’ve always loved fish cooked with soy sauce. I can’t remember the name of this fish but it’s kinda like empurau in texture.

century egg

Century eggs are one of my favorite condiments…however, I only tend to eat it in Sibu for some reason. I love the rich egg yolk and it’s an instant appetizer for me. :)

chai bo

This is hands down my favorite vegetable. It’s called chai bo and cooked with a bit of sugar so the taste is slightly sweet. It’s one of the rare foods that hits the umami G-spot and I can eat a spoonful with every bite. I love this and I could never find it anywhere else except at my grandma’s. It’s her specialty. <3

pork leg chicken feet

Pork leg with chicken feet. This unique combination turned up at the table during the Chinese New Year reunion dinner with fatt choy (black moss) and I was instantly hooked! I love the texture of pork leg – the chunky meat and exquisitely sinful layer of fat is divine. The pairing with chicken feet is quite ingenious – it’s the brainchild of one of my aunties. It takes hours to cook so everything comes out tender and juicy.

chap goh meh dinner

I ate so much I nearly burst but I’m so hungry right now it makes me want to repeat this gastronomic feat again. Home cooked meals with your family is the best – I only get to experience this once a year.

Happy Chap Goh Meh everyone! :)

Chai bo

sibu chai bo

My paternal grandma used to make chai bo when I was 13 or 14 and I loved eating that. My sister, naturally siding against me, claimed my maternal grandmother’s deep fried version is better. It’s hard to describe the taste of chai bo, just like it’s hard to describe the taste of century eggs.

chai bo

It’s sweet for one, but savory at the same time. Umami would be the closest thing to describing it. It’s an excellent appetizer! My grandma makes a mean dish of this and they knew I was coming over for dinner so the staples that I love were there – braised pork, chai bo, two century eggs.

I had two helpings of rice.

chai bo grandma

You just gotta love home cooked meals. You just gotta love family.

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