Polly had her wedding last Sunday and I drove 1 ½ hours (yes, it really is that near) down from KL with my girlfriend, Cherry and Susan in tow to get to Tangkak, Johor on Saturday to attend the festivities.
My girlfriend was one of the sisters (ji mui) and after a night’s rest at a guesthouse the bride was kind enough to arrange for us, we arrived at Polly’s place at around 7 am to eat breakfast and start the preparations.
There was chicken rice, buns and other stuff and we had to eat rather quickly since the groom’s delegation was due to arrive soon.
Padlocks galore to prevent entry.
There was also this drink of prayer paper being burnt into water – it’s supposed to bring peace and harmony and I took a sip, despite being agnostic in my beliefs. It’s a Buddhist custom.
As tradition goes, the groom and his entourage of cars came amidst a lot of honking to announce their presence.
They disembarked at the front gate for the “sisters” (female friends of the bride) to grill the “brothers” (male friends of the groom) – this usually involves various stages which the brothers will have to go through in order for the groom to get to the bride.
The sisters act as a gatekeeper of sorts – asking the brothers to perform a multitude of tasks before being allowed deeper and deeper into the house.
This is a Hong Kong custom and I’m told it’s supposed to make the groom more appreciative of the bride due to the obstacles he has to go through to get her.
I remember faces being painted with makeup, drinks of Guinness with a raw egg inside (which is pretty delicious actually), and panties being put on by the groom’s band of brothers before they get into the house.
It was all in good fun…
…for all parties involved.
There was also a lot of interesting yoga poses that they have to perform before being allowed entry.
The brothers got back at the sisters after that by hiding all their shoes.
The groom finally gets to the bride! *applause
Anyway, the customary tea giving ceremony to the elders were performed at the bride’s place and at the groom’s place.
This took quite a while and sent us to three different places and we convened back at the groom’s place where the bride throws the flowers.
The bouquet of flowers somehow landed in Cherry’s hands.
I also appropriated the flowers for a bit of camwhoring.
I like this mish mash of Eastern and Western traditions though when it comes to my wedding, I think I’ll forgo most of it in lieu of a more private ceremony at a beach or the highlands with an outdoor wedding ceremony.
There was a break after that before the lunch wedding reception so we took the opportunity to go back and take a 1 hour nap before showering and heading out again.
I was quite sleep deprived and needed the shut eye since we’re driving down straight after the wedding reception.
The lunch wedding reception was held at Bangunan Persatuan Eng Choon – a meeting halls of sorts. There’s a lack of restaurants with the capacity to fit the people invited in Tangkak since it’s a small town.
The bride and groom already had another wedding in Penang prior to this. It’s not uncommon to have multiple weddings due to relatives – my sister had 3 – one in New Zealand, one in KL and one in Sibu.
We were seated at a table labelled “Diploma Friends”. I don’t know Polly personally, she’s Jeanie’s friend and I guess that makes me the chauffeur cum +1 in this entire shebang. ;)
The first dish was refreshingly different. I mean that literally. It was a hot afternoon and the lychee, grapes and pineapple chunks on a bed of ice inside a hollowed out pineapple really did the trick.
There is also the more traditional “sampler” first dish. I think there’s a name to it, usually “Four Seasons” or something to that effect but I like to call it a sampler dish coz it comes in a smorgasbord of small servings. I like the unorthodox century eggs and peanuts in this dish. The satay was good and so was the cuttlefish.
The next dish is a combination of pork, yam and sea cucumber braised in dark sauce. It’s really good as well.
Of course, there’s the customary shark fin’s soup after that. I like the generous servings of shark’s fin inside – you can literally see the huge chunks in each bowl.
Here you go! I know a lot of people are against shark’s fin, but I’m neither a tree hugger or an environmentalist wannabe, I eat just about anything – my previous culinary adventures can be a testament to that. ;)
Polly works at a records company and she got this famous local singer to come and perform at the wedding reception. I don’t know his name but my girlfriend told me he’s the one who sang the Hokkien song “If I had a billion dollars”. No, not the “I wanna be a billionaire” song currently on the airwaves, this is old skool stuff.
He did a parody of other well known Chinese artists and I can’t get most of his references coz I don’t listen to that genre of music but it was quite entertaining.
During the interlude, there came a dish of prawns – it’s done in a yin yang presentation, with half of it being deep fried butter prawns topped with mayo and the other fried in hot sauce.
I preferred the butter prawns and it was so crunchy that you can eat the entire thing, head and tail. At least that’s how I eat my prawns. A lot of people are surprised that I can eat the entire thing without shelling. I guess it’s equal part laziness and having a taste for the shell – I think it tastes better whole.
Another must have dish during weddings is fish – this is a steamed fish which I can’t identify. However, I really liked the soft texture and the sauce that it was done with. I like this kind of fish, I don’t know when I started liking fish, since I never used to as a kid, same with vegetables.
…then came the best dish of the wedding reception. This is hands down is the most delicious thing that I had that day. It’s roasted suckling pig.
I like the thinly sliced crispy skin and the BBQ sauce served under it. The presentation is really awesome too – you can clearly see that the entire pig has been served.
The tongue of the sucking pig was something I had to work very hard to get. I like the taste of tongue – you can find canned versions of it but the best thing is to eat it fresh in England or Australia.
There were a lot of dishes that day – this is paper wrapped chicken. It’s cooked inside wrapping to produce meat that literally melts in your mouth. It’s tender and all the flavors are preserved due to the cooking method.
I couldn’t eat very much after that but there was a serving of sliced abalone, ham, broccoli, mushrooms and a rare (and expensive) type of seafood that I don’t know the name of. It’s chewy and it tastes like clams.
The final dish was rather unique as well – it’s ice cream! I found that it suits the weather rather well. We saw one person eating it with chopsticks and another eating it with a soup spoon at another table. Jeanie thought it was pretty funny and I took several photos of me doing it as well.
When in Tangkak…
…do as the Tangkak-ians do.
Cheers to the newlyweds!
All the best in all your future endeavors! :)
I really enjoyed this experience and though I was just about nodding off on the drive back, a quick pit stop and an energy drink resolved that.
It was a really fun weekend and a good opportunity to meet the girlfriend’s friends. :D