Weekend Update: Pokemon Detective Pikachu ⚡, M&M Popcorn 🍿, BKT 🐷, NL 🍚, Diet 💪!

This is a compilation of the things we did during the previous weekend and the Wesak/Nuzul Al Quran break. I write these things so I can look back and see what we’ve done together so far. Mandy isn’t huge fan of Malay food but she saw Restoran Warisan Sambal Opah while I was picking her up from work one day and wanted to try it.

This place is really good. I used to eat here often when I was working in production coz they open till late (up to 5 am). It’s not uncommon for shoots to wrap up around 1-2 am so it was a good place to get hot food after work. Their hot nasi lemak is delicious and they have lots of sides to go with the nasi lemak.

We also ordered a bunch of satay coz Mandy was craving for it. They’re all very delicious. This was so good that Mandy wanted to tapau the NL to bring home to eat during Wesak break.

I love eating NL with my hands but I’ll only do it at home. Yum!

I didn’t have work on Nuzul Al Quran either while Mandy was working as usual so I drove her to work. She’s been wanting to try the dim sum opposite our condo for a while so I stopped and tapau some har gao and lau sar pao for her.

We went to watch Pokemon Detective Pikachu coz Mandy is a Pikachu fan. I would have preferred to watch John Wick 3. We headed over to Kedai Kopi Malaya for some food before the movie. Mandy wanted to eat chicken chop there. I ordered a nasi lemak ayam goreng berempah. It was decent but nothing special. It was such a hot day I got heatstroke while eating, despite it being an air-conditioned outlet.

Mandy saw this M&M flavoured popcorn at the cinema so we got one to share. It turns out it wasn’t M&M flavoured – it’s merely regular popcorn with a bag of M&M slotted in front and packaged in M&M branding. Very misleading advertising.

The Pikachu movie was predictable and boring for me but Mandy seemed to like it.

You might enjoy it if you’re a Pokemon fan.

We headed to SS14 to eat BKT at Mandy’s favorite bak kut teh place. They have really delicious dry BKT with generous portions of meat. I really enjoy their salty and savoury dry BKT but they use so much salt and MSG you’ll be extremely thirsty after.

Mandy always orders the mushrooms too.

This is the perfect thing to eat on a rainy day!

I was in the mood to cook noodles so I made jjajangmyeon with thin yellow egg noodles and lots of seafood. I got 250 grams of prawns and 250 grams of mixed seafood. I also bought zucchini – you can’t have jjajangmyeon without it coz it provides and important crunchy texture to the noodles and cleans your palate so the bean sauce isn’t too cloying.

Best eaten with a slice of melted processed cheese on top!

It’s durian season again and I bought a 1.5 kg Musang King for RM 48. It’s still quite expensive now but it’ll get cheaper in the coming weeks.

I need to go on a diet coz I’ve been eating too much these few months. Our pre-wedding shoot is coming up in two months so I need to slim down before that. This is the last cheat meal I’ll be having until our pre-wedding shoot. I swear! From now on it’s carefully portioned meals with no extra calories until I reach 73 kg. Determination!!!

Weekend Update: Flu 🤒, Ramadan Bazaar 🥘, “One Pot” Hainanese Chicken Rice 🐔

We were both down with the flu last weekend so we didn’t go out much. We’re both still recovering. Influenza will mess you up for at least 2 weeks. There’s been a virulent strain going around this year. You can hear coughs and runny noses in the office and LRT/MRT and people start falling sick. We even ran a fever for a couple of days, but we’re both much better now.

We headed over to the USJ 4 Bazaar Ramadan late Saturday afternoon. My experience tells me the best time to go is around 5 pm. That’s when all the stalls are running in full gear (but also when the crowd is at its peak). USJ 4 is the closest big Ramadan bazaar. I believe the biggest in Klang Valley is either in Shah Alam or Kelana Jaya.

I was tempted by this huge cucur udang so I got one at RM 5. It’s more like a pancake udang. That’s how big the thing was. Unfortunately, it was too doughy and thick so I didn’t enjoy it. I had to pack the leftovers into my lunch box for the next two days. It also looked like they had huge prawns in the cucur but compared to the sheer amount of dough, the shrimp was almost negligible.

One of the most tempting drinks in a Ramadan bazaar is the mango juice. This is an upgraded version with sweet mango cubes and vanilla ice cream piled on top. I’ve had these drinks at pasar malam before but they’re usually watered down and dismal. I had one just a couple of months ago with Mandy at the Setia Alam pasar malam. We were both disappointed. We got watermelon juice this time instead and loved it.

The longest queue at USJ 4 Bazaar Ramadan each year belongs to the nasi briyani run by Arabs at the very end of the bazaar. They always have an insane number of people lining up for their food! I tried it last year and it was decent, but not something I’ll spend 30 minutes under the hot sun waiting in line for. I gave it a pass this year. The murtabak opposite this stall also has a long line of people.

I also got a Roti John Beef Special with Egg and Cheese for RM 11. For the uninitiated, Roti John is a long submarine bun filled with savory minced meat (usually beef or chicken) and wrapped with a thin egg. It’s then slathered with black pepper sauce, mayo and chilli sauce. I enjoy eating this calorie bomb, especially when it’s hot off the grill. This one is good but I wish they had more meat filling.

Mandy enjoyed the Malay style Sarawak laksa that she got. My favorite among our haul was the ikan patin tempoyak. Tempoyak is fermented durian and ikan patin is a type of catfish. Combined it results in a thick, gooey gravy that’s acidic and appetizing. It’s delicious when eaten with rice! I always love this dish and have even eaten it in Temerloh, the birthplace of ikan patin tempoyak.

Walking around the neighbourhood Ramadan bazaar is a fun thing to do during puasa month. It’s crowded and you have to jostle with sweaty, sticky, smelly people from all walks of life (read: dubious provenance) so it’s not something I want to do every day. But definitely worth at least one visit.

I was craving for chicken rice over the weekend so I cooked up a batch with 2 kg of chicken legs. I boiled the chicken legs with lots of chopped spring onions, garlic, and ginger. I also put chicken stock powder into the broth. This broth infused with chicken essence and oils was then poured into raw basmati rice to cook my chicken rice.

I later learned that a lot of people steam the chicken in a steamer with sesame oil instead. I do it this way coz it’s more efficient to boil large quantities of chicken but Mandy says steaming it results in a smoother chicken texture. I’ll try that next time.

I’ve also been having a lot of “Sandwich Days” lately. Been craving for these naughty empty calories sandwich bread. I eat them with lettuce, sliced tomatoes and fried Danish luncheon meat or deli ham and a side of scrambled eggs. Delicious!

Weekend Update: Company Annual Training 🗣️, 14-course French Tapas Dinner 🍽️, Bosch Cordless Vacuum Cleaner 🧹

Our company’s annual training was last weekend so we didn’t go on our usual Saturday night date. Instead, we’re heading to an AirBNB in Gohtong Jaya for a short stay this coming Labour Day holiday. 🎒 I was in the office on Saturday for our training and my long-lost cousin from my mom’s side invited me to a dinner on Saturday night. I haven’t seen her in 28 years!

The company training was pretty fun. We were broken up into small groups to finish teamwork tasks and a project. It was very interactive, with games and physical tasks we had to complete together. I got the chance to sing YANK by Wali Group for bonus marks. 🎤

My team got second place out of 7 or 8 groups so that was pretty good. HR also did a small birthday celebration for all April babies after our buffet dinner at Eastin Hotel. My birthday was on 5th April. 🎂

My cousin is an advisor with Thermomix (the cooking machine) and this was one of their events – a sit down dinner with Chef Nathalie Arbefeuille of Nathalie Gourmet Studio. The dinner was held at Lightbox. 🍴

This event was to celebrate the launch of Spoonfuls of Love – The Thermomix Cookbook for Children. The book is written by Olivia Tan. 📚

Chef Nathalie trained under Chef Anne-Sophie Pic, who has 3 Michelin stars. 👩‍🍳 She also did a live cooking demonstration with – what else – a Thermomix. She said her kitchen has 4 of these and she has another one at home. I think they’re nifty too but too expensive.

This is a tapas style dinner that kicked off with Spaghetti Bolognaise In a Bite 🍝 and Crispy Puff Pizza, Eggplant, Tomato and Mozzarella Cream. I can appreciate the intricacy of the first dish, which twirls spaghetti into a “filling”. The crispy puff pizza is an Indian carbon copy bite which draws inspiration from the street food snack panipuri.

The second course had Tabouleh Salad in Couscous Version and Crab and Avocado Crispy Cone. 🦀 I like the fresh and acidic flavors of the couscous salad. The crab and avocado crispy cone is delicious! I’ve had something similar in Gaggan with exactly the same plating. You can say she’s inspired by the 2 Michelin star restaurant in Bangkok.

Next up was Mushroom Cream, Truffle Emulsion 🍄 and Mini Chicken and Chorizo Burger. You’re supposed to eat them together. I liked the mushroom and truffle soup but the burger was forgettable.

Homemade Tortellini Zucchini Basil, Basil Pesto was ill-suited for such a huge event. 🌿 The pasta was served so lukewarm it’s almost chilly and so al-dente it was bordering on tough. The flavors are decent though.

Homemade Duck, Chicken and Foie Gras Meatball, Potato Espuma, Duck Jus was a better bite. 🦆 It was quite flavorful and goes well with the potato espuma. I blended boiled potatoes in cream with a food processor once but merely called it mashed potatoes. I should have used espuma.

Slowly Cooked Salmon, Grean Pea and Mint Cream, Mint Emulsion 🐟 was the last savory dish of the night. It was very good. This is one of the times when frothy creams serves to add texture and mouthfeel instead of just being added for the sake of modernity. Very good.

Cranberry Scones, Whipped Cream and Fresh Berries and Raspberry Royale, Vanilla Chantilly, Lemon Sable 🍋 kicked off the dessert courses. I didn’t think much of the cranberry scones but I enjoyed the raspberry sable dessert. It tasted good and looked beautiful. There’s lots of interesting textures inside too.

Lemon and Flowers Popsicles was a nice palate cleanser after those creamy flavors too. 🌺

Chocolate Mousse, Mint Espuma 🍫 was the last dessert but I couldn’t stay since Mandy was sick. I rushed home to take care of her. I only missed this final dessert though. It was interesting to see how a renowned chef works with a large dinner event like this. I also haven’t seen my cousin in decades. We used to play together as kids.

I will end this with my 3 packets of Mi Sedaap, leftover Korean fried chicken, meal prep ayam pongteh, century egg and bird eye chillies cheat meal. 🍜 It got a lot of likes on Facebook for reasons unknown to me. I post things like this every weekend! Maybe it’s the warm colors.

I also bought a Bosch cordless vacuum cleaner. It’s so convenient! You don’t get held back by cables. There’s no need for a dust bag. The suction is also very strong and it picks up hair and cat litter with ease. 🐈 I’m loving it.

Weekend Update: Homemade Sandwich Party 🥪, Korean Fried Chicken @ Mont Kiara 🍗, Korean Grocery Haul 🇰🇷

Mandy has been craving for sandwiches lately so I bought a loaf of bread to make a few different types. I also got a can of Danish luncheon meat, some deli ham, and eggs. 🍖 My plan was to make 3 different sandwiches – a fried SPAM sandwich, a fried egg sandwich, and a cold cut deli ham sandwich. Naturally, there were fresh tomatoes and lettuce to complete the sandwich.

I fried 3 eggs with dark soy sauce, pepper, and fish sauce before compiling it into a sandwich with chilli sauce. 🥪 The next one was a cold sandwich with deli ham, tomatoes, lettuce and some Kewpie sesame salad dressing. The third comprised of fried slices of luncheon meat from Denmark with lettuce and tomatoes. They’re all really good! It’s worth it to pay more for expensive SPAM since they hold their shape when fried.

My girlfriend works on weekends and the McDonald’s below our apartment only opens at 8 am in the morning so we’ve never gotten a chance to eat their breakfast hash browns before she has to go to work. 🥔 I decided to tapau one for her during breakfast on Saturday and keep it in the fridge before heating it up when she woke up on Sunday. Haha. She said it didn’t taste as good though.

Our Saturday date night was in Mont Kiara. We both love Korean fried chicken and we decided on Chicken House for dinner. 🐔 This is a small Korean run restaurant that serves mainly chikin and a variety of Korean stews. They’re better known for their chicken. I’ve been here before a few years back (but with a different girlfriend). Read my first Chicken House @ Solaris Mont Kiara review here.

We ordered a whole chicken – half in sweet and spicy sauce and the other half in soy sauce + garlic. They’re both pretty good but the edge goes to the sweet and spicy sauce. 🍗 The soy sauce also tasted a little sweet. It’ll be better if it tasted savory and salty with no sweet notes as a contrast.

The bill came up to RM 141 for 2 pax inclusive of drinks and beer. 🍺 Mandy felt that KyoChon tasted a lot better and I agree. There are free peanuts here as well as pickles though. You can actually get KyoChon to serve free pickles if you ask. Their pickles are better than the ones here too, but Chicken House tastes more like a home kitchen.

We went to a Korean grocery after that to check out what’s on offer and came back with a haul of Korean instant noodles, ice cream and drinks. Haha. 🇰🇷

This Paldo cheese jjamppong ramen is really good! Spicy and creamy. 🍜

But it was this Jin Jjajangmyeon that I was super impressed with. 🌱 It’s so delicious! 9.5/10.

We capped the night with some mudslide ice cream from the US. 🍨 This tastes heavenly with some cheese crackers from the Philippines.

Weekend Update: Crème de la Crème, Burger Mbira, Ang Chow Pork Belly with Engkabang Butter Rice

Mandy loves unicorns and desserts so I thought Crème de la Crème (CDLC) would be the perfect spot for our weekend date night. This is a new place that just opened a few days ago in Damansara Uptown. They’re a specialty ice cream shop with handcrafted ice cream made in-store. We actually popped by during dinner time so we could try these frozen delights when we’re hungry.

They have an interesting range of creative ice cream desserts from Beauty and the Beast (a rose shaped dark chocolate and Madagascar vanilla ice cream creation) to Da Bomb (which is shaped like one of those antique spherical bombs with a fuse running from the top). They’re all very beautiful and no doubt crafted for the Instagram crowd.

Mandy chose Unicorn (RM 22) – a Madagascar vanilla ice cream with lychee and raspberry sorbet, white chocolate dip and a pastel meringue. It looks like a very pretty Magnum, and I like the eyelashes, which really brings this unicorn together. The vanilla is good, contrasted by the sour sorbet components.

I went for the Longevity (RM 25) – Japanese matcha and black sesame ice cream with mango yuzu compote, lemon curd, matcha sponge and white chocolate dip. This reminded me of the bao that came out in Pixar’s recent animation. The Oriental components work well together but I’m not the biggest fan of black sesame – would not have ordered it if I had bothered reading the description. I’ll be the first to admit I choose based on presentation. Haha.

We wanted to try their Unicorn Drink (RM 18) but it was sold out on that day. We both didn’t want coffee coz it was late so we had another dessert instead – two scoops of ice cream! I chose Roasted Pistachio (very good and burnt tasting) and she had Kaya and Toast (the bread bits are super crunchy).

I really liked their store made ice cream. They have very different flavors and local twists and the ice cream is well made. I particularly enjoyed their roasted pistachio. The burnt and toasted notes really come through. It’s a flavour profile I really enjoy. 10/10.

There are lots of spots where you can take photos for the ‘gram too. Most new F&B spots prioritize these feature walls nowadays.

The bill came up to RM 76.10. Not cheap for a dessert outing but on par with similar establishments. We ordered a little too much and it was cloying to eat so much sweet stuff but sharing one of their mini ice cream cakes or having a scoop of ice cream each would have been perfect!

We needed something salty after that (and we haven’t had dinner) so we headed to Burger Mbira around the corner. This place has good reviews and I read an article that (falsely) claimed Burger Mbira makes their own patties. This is untrue – they use Ramly beef burger patties as can be seen by the stack beside their grill. I asked if they have homemade ones and they said they do not, they only use additional toppings like hash browns to add some zest to their offerings.

I went for the Deluxe Big and Tasty (Beef) as recommended by the lady. This was a standard Ramly beef patty topped with a chicken slice and crispy hash brown. It’s not bad and I like the crunchy hash brown inside the burger. However, it took 40 minutes for the burger to arrive. That’s an insanely long wait for what is essentially a Ramly burger with a few pre-made, store-bought flairs.

Mandy had the Chicken Spicy Deluxe. This patty may be homemade or perhaps they just deep fried a regular Ramly chicken burger patty. It doesn’t taste extraordinary. There’s nothing remotely gourmet about the burgers here – these are merely street corner burgers masquerading as something more with a few off-the-shelf items added. It’s like The Mac’s in USJ – I don’t see why we should be glorifying mediocre food assembled with store-bought ingredients. Give this a pass. You can get way better burgers at places like myBurgerLab.

On Sunday, I decided to cook engkabang butter rice! I bought two sticks of these beauties in Sibu – one for RM 20 and the other RM 15. Engkabang is a type of nut in Borneo and the locals extract the oils and make it into a paste, which is then sold in short bamboo lengths. You just push the inner tube of engkabang butter out and let it dissolve in warm rice. It has an unusual jungle-y nut taste which is quite addictive!

I also bought some ang chow (red yeast rice wine sediments) in Sibu and I used it to cook pork belly. This is more fried than stewed. I first stir-fried ginger in hot sesame oil before adding pork belly slices, ang chow and other seasonings. It tasted really good paired with the engkabang butter rice! One of my better recipes.

I also bought a honeydew coz Mandy loves honeydew but unfortunately, it wasn’t sweet. No worries, we’ll just make this into juice. 👌

Weekend Update: Outdark Malaysia, Xing Fu Tang Bubble Tea, Surprise Care Package, Homemade Sarawak Laksa

Saturday is our date night and I listed 3 options for Mandy to choose from – Carpenter’s Daughter, Big Hug Burger and Outdark Malaysia. They’re all around the SS15 area coz she wanted to check out Xing Fu Tang. That’s the latest bubble tea shop from Taiwan to open in Malaysia and the queues are insane. We actually went there first but had to wait till 7:30 pm for their drink allocation to open up so we headed to Outdark.

Outdark Malaysia is a Korean franchise that came from Busan. I went to Busan a few years ago for a work trip – it’s a nice place but I prefer Japan to Korea. They had a glass wall where you can write on with felt tip markers and Mandy drew both our names there.

I like the ambience of the restaurant – the warm lights provide a nice vibe. However, the tables can be a bit sticky despite the guy wiping it twice, the second time quite carefully. It may be the type of lacquer which makes it prone to retaining the stickiness from food instead of wiping clean.

We ordered the The Ultimate Cheese Kingdom (RM 88). This is their flagship dish of Korean fried chicken, tteokbokki and gooey cheese. There are sides of kimchi, short grained rice with seaweed, sweet corn with more cheese and mashed potatoes.

The server waits for the cheese to melt then wraps each fried chicken in a cocoon of cheese. It tastes pretty good. The fried chicken is covered in a sweet tomato and gochujang sauce which can be very cloying in large amounts but the savoury cheese cuts through the sweetness well. We both enjoyed it.

The bill came up to RM 104.50 including drinks which is decent for a weekend dinner. They serve reasonably priced soju compared to grocery stores too.

We left promptly at 7:30 pm and joined the long queue in front of Xing Fu Tang. There was a girl giving out tickets. Each slot (about 2.5 hours between slots) only has a maximum of 100 cups of their signature Stir-fried Brown Sugar Pearl Milk and 25 cups of their Strawberry Pearl Milk tea. I hear these tickets are fully taken up within 10 minutes! Each person can only have 2.

I wouldn’t doubt it. We got 84/100 for the brown sugar boba and 10/25 for the strawberry boba and we were there at 7:30 pm when the slot opened! Part of the problem is the newness – it’s only been open 4 days so people want to see what they’re about.

It took us 45 minutes before we got to the front. There’s a staff stir-frying the brown sugar pearls in a huge wok. This is then poured into a cup, making sure to get the liquid on every side, to produce their signature look. It costs RM 25 for two bobas which is on par with other imported Taiwanese brands. They also use a better barista fresh milk to make their drinks.

One quirky thing about Xing Fu Tang is they let each person who buys a drink have a go at their lucky draw. You pick a random stick from a huge basin and the number is matched to one of the drawers. This is similar to the Buddhist fortune telling sticks. You basically get your fortune told, with a grand prize of a free boba drink.

Mandy got Great Luck while I got Greatest Good Luck. We both wondered if they have a Bad Luck drawer. Probably not.

Xing Fu Tang’s flagship Stir-fried Brown Sugar Pearl Milk was disappointing though. It tasted tepid and dilute. It’s still better than the commercialized Chatime/Tealive but nowhere close to The Alley’s standard. It’s milky, but not very tea-like. Mandy gave it 7/10 compared to The Alley’s 9/10. The Strawberry Pearl Milk Tea was better – acidic and refreshing, yet sweet. I quite enjoyed it!

I made a care package for Mandy and surprised her by putting it on our living room coffee table with no comment for her to find. I filled it with Korean and Japanese face masks, a chocolate bar, a packet of Ribena, a lotion and a comic book. I noticed she really enjoys masks but finds them expensive on her salary so I thought I’ll get them for her. She uses them so frugally that I felt sorry for her. Haha.

Sunday night was my experiment with homemade Sarawak laksa. I bought the paste during my trip to Kuching over CNY. Mandy’s mom provided me with some mystery seeds which she says tastes good in laksa so I thought I’ll make some. I made a deluxe version with chicken leg, lots of prawns, sambal, lime, coriander and shredded omelette. You can barely see the rice vermicelli! It’s decent but missing something. I’ll cook the paste with prawn heads and shells next time. We’re off to Sibu next weekend for Ching Ming! I also have a work trip to Penang this Friday and another one to Ipoh when we come back from Sibu so it’s a busy week ahead.

My girlfriend Mandy (sequel to My new housemate)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t you think so, Chika cat?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My new housemate

Mandy

I have a new housemate. She’s 24 and staying here for 3 weeks. I have lived most of my adult life alone, so I was a bit hesitant to have someone stay over. I’m the kind of guy who doesn’t mind paying a bit more for the entire unit instead of having to share rooms. That’s not to say that I’ve never had roommates. In various stages of my life, I’ve had female companions (I hesitate to use the word girlfriend) stay over at my place long term.

Mandy-KL

The most memorable (though not for the reasons you think) was this wild girl who stayed in my room when I was 17. She was 19 and hung out with this lesbian crew of motorcyclists. No need to fantasize coz they’re all very dismal looking. Hideous, rough and stocky. Except her though, she was slim, feminine and quite good looking! A friend of mine who joined the 3rd Mile gang in Kuching introduced her to me. “Eh tang chiau eh,” he whispered conspiratorially. You can play with this one. God knows where he found/met her.

Mandy-Milk

I had to go back to Sibu for Chinese New Year and she convinced me to let her stay on while I was away. Bad decision. She ran up a RM 200+ phone bill, threw parties with her lesbian biker friends, got into a fight with the neighbor who told her to keep the noise down, police were called, my landlord was called, they were all kicked out. She even wanted my landlord’s address so she can go kick her ass! I was almost evicted for letting an unauthorized person stay over.

Mandy-Office

Needless to say, that experience did not endear me to housemates. The sex wasn’t great either, mostly coz she had a serious BO problem. Her armpits were very funky! I’ve had other roommates since but none I remember as vividly as that first one. She gave me PTSD about people staying over. Hahaha.

Housemate-Shopping

Thus, when my friend asked if his girlfriend can stay over, I was exceedingly reluctant. My roommate from hell 20 years ago was still fresh in my mind. Also, I’ve seen her photos and she’s very attractive. I thought it best to not expose myself to such enticement. Flee from temptation, the bible extorts us. Flee! I grudgingly said okay.

Mi-Sedaap

She came on Saturday and we’ve had a chance to hang out and talk. She’s grown on me. This one is a college psychology graduate – a nice, soft spoken girl miles apart from my first ever roommate. I was secretly pleased when she asked if I’ve eaten when she arrived at KL Sentral – she wanted to tapao for me. Gam sek zou! She also likes Mi Sedaap so bonus points for that. Haha.

New-Housemate

I found myself enjoying her company. It’s nice to have people around. Like a cat, but more interactive. 😄

Mandy-Housemate

There’s really no point to this post. I just remembered my terrible housemate from 20 years ago and wanted to share the story. Here comes the abrupt ending.

Kuching-Housemate

I know my first housemate was a rare outlier and she’s on one extreme of the negative-experience-with-roommates scale. This one is on the other end – the positive-experience-with-housemates end. Both are rare and most people fall somewhere in the middle. I don’t mind nice housemates. Sekian, terima kasih.



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