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. :)

Eating stinky tofu in Hong Kong

eating stinky tofu

Stinky tofu is one of the great gastronomical items that Hong Kong does very well. It’s available from most street vendors and you just have to follow your nose to find this wicked delight.

hong kong street vendor

The smelly tofu in Hong Kong is astonishingly odoriferous. It smells really, really bad. It made me wince the first time I had it. The pungent stench is quite intense.

smelly tofu

This is what the innocent stinky tofu (called chao dau foo) looks like before it’s deep fried. Smelly tofu is basically marinated and fermented tofu, which produces the signature smell. I remember an old HK movie where a Caucasian complains about the smell, tries it and then becomes an ambassador of sorts, loudly proclaiming “This smells really bad but it tastes wonderful”.

stinky tofu hong kong

That was exactly how I felt. I’m not a big fan of tofu but I was eager to try stinky tofu in Hong Kong. I had it twice at two different street vendors. It’s usually eaten with long wood skewers straight from a paper bag. The smelly tofu costs around HKD 9 (RM 4) for two pieces and you can opt to have spicy hoisin sauce on it.

stinky tofu

Stinky tofu has a crumbly crust that smells strongly of ammonia. The odor is palpable – it smells like a public toilet that has not been cleaned for months! The intense aroma is matched by the equally breathtaking taste. Smelly tofu tastes like someone dusted the tofu pieces with dried urine.

It also makes for very messy eating as the entire thing is so greasy it dripped everywhere. However, the experience is very rewarding. Stinky tofu tastes like nothing else in the world. You can smell/taste the ammonia as you chew it and the crust is quite salty. It’s crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside and best eaten piping hot on the street.

eating smelly tofu

You’ll have really bad breath for the rest of the day but it’s worth it! smirk

Brain Tofu

brain_tofu.jpg
Tofu brain.

The picture above shows what my brain has become. Rows of rows of
smooth tofu. Taufu lembut replacing my grey matter. I need at least 40
hours of solid, uninterrupted sleep to recover, but there’s not enough
time. My mental faculties did not escape this week totally unscathed
and I’m about to fall asleep right now. It feels like there’s a void
inside my skull where my brain once was. It’s Saturday morning and I
haven’t had felt this bad in a very long time. :)

There’s stuff to do tomorrow…I mean, later today. Ah fuck, I don’t
even know what to write. I tried writing a review and tried doing a bit
of work that I took home to do over the weekend but I can’t think.
Paleolitik 35,000 Mesolitik 25,000 Besi dan Gangsa 2,500. That’s what I
mentally recite during certain periods when my mind doesn’t want to
play nice. I don’t know if the times or spelling is correct it’s just
something I repeat in my brain. It’s from Form 1 Sejarah (History).

I want to eat but I can’t move. I can sleep (with help) but it won’t
be enough. Excuse this post. I will update tomorrow with the really
long due chicken rice post, which would be much less depressing, I
promise. :) I will go to sleep now.

Paleolitik 35,000. Mesolitik 25,000. Besi dan Gangsa 2,500.

I still have this at least.

My apologies for not being able to reply the comments today. Thanks
for putting up with my sporadic updates and lack of feedback. I will
sort things out after sleeping. Meh, I’ve had worse. Everything is
fine. :)

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