KL Series: Poh Ting’s Homecooked Meal

My sister-in-law is a prolific cook. When I was in Malaysia two months ago, she cooked up a storm. This time it was not any different. I love this kind of cooking — it is exactly the same type of food that mum cooks.

I really don’t know what these dishes are called and so I will just describe them. This one below is chicken and mushroom. What I like best about this is the sweet soya gravy. There is only one way to eat this … to drown the rice with the gravy. This is so good that sometimes I just had the gravy with rice only.

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Mum also makes this simple dish very often. It is long beans omelette. The long beans is diced into small pieces and then fried with eggs and soya sauce. The soya sauce give this dish a thinge of saltiness.

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Sweet and sour pork is a popular Chinese dish, especially in North America. You can almost always find this on pseudo-Chinese restaurants in Canada.

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This is a stir-fried mixed vegetables consisting of cauliflower, carrots, sweet peppers, baby corns and pork slices. I think she cooks this with corn starch that produces a thickened glossy gravy.

Oh, have you heard of this joke? There was a boy who told a girl that “You are pretty. Your face is as pretty as a flower”. The girl shyly asked him, “Oh really? Thank you! What type flower?”. The boy answered … “Cauliflower”. He he he …

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Simple home cooked food. I like this meal because there are so many varieties of dishes. Normally Suanne will just cook two or maybe three dishes because we have such a small family.

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KL Series: Breakfast in Jalan Imbi

First morning in Kuala Lumpur. After the funeral service the night before, it was really quiet around the house. We don’t expect any visitors until around afternoon. So, brought Nanzaro to downtown Kuala Lumpur to look for this place Suanne and I used to go for breakfast in Jalan Imbi. We enjoyed this coffee shop (I can’t recall the name but I do know how to get there) where we normally had nasi lemak.

Unfortunately, the nasi lemak stall is no longer there. So, Nanzaro and I walked across the street to another coffee shop which is much more busier. I reckon that busier means better food.

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Nanzaro ordered the Chow Koay Teow (stir fried rice noodles) — the real deal Chow Koat Teow with See Harm (Cockles). We get Chow Koay Teow in Vancouver — quite nice ones too but we don’t have fresh cockles. This was nice but the cockles were too small.

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For me, I had the Pork Soup Noodle. I had always yearned for this and is one of the top on my list of must eat in Malaysia. I like this with extra soya sauce and freshly cut chilli peppers. Yummy!

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After breakfast, I brought Nanzaro to the Imbi Plaza — the centre of pirated software and DVDs in KL. Here you can get any movie titles — some movies were so new that they had not yet been released anywhere in the world. All titles were about RM8 (cheaper if you buy more) which is equivalent to CAD $2.30 only! Also, you can get almost any pirated software for a steal. You want Windows Vista? They have it! Nanzaro was so captivated browsing the catalogue and displays.

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We traveled around on the new KL Monorail. This is the only line that goes into the heart of the Golden Triangle.

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The Monorail is really small with just two cars, although I see that the stations are built for a six-car configuration. You know, I think this system will not be sufficient to handle passenger growth in the long run as compared to the other LRT systems.

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The tracks now run right down the heart of the Golden Triangle. I remember this stretch as less cluttered. These days there are simply too many advertisements shouting loudly to all. I like the old look better.

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This Monorail system is human driven. Its cars does bank significantly every time it makes a turn — kind of scary for the first timers.

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KL Series: Taiwanese Meal in Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport

We had a 3 hour stop over in Taipei’s Taoyuan International Airport. The first thing I did when we landed was to find something for Nanzaro to eat. There were not much choice for food except for two small food centres.

Anyway, I got Nanzaro a bowl of beef on rice. It looked very appetizing and I know that these is the kind of comfort food that he likes.

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Nanzaro also likes Bubble Tea. He likes this over everything else in Vancouver. Did you know that Taiwan is the home of the original Bubble Tea? It has chewy tapioca balls in iced tea drink. It is served with a fat drinking straw to suck up the balls.

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It was good to see him enjoying a good meal. He had not eaten much for almost 15 hours.

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If I recall correctly, the above costs USD $5.00.

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KL Series: Airline Meals on EVA Air

Nanzaro and I flew Economy on EVA Air from Seattle to Kuala Lumpur to attend my father’s funeral. It was the cheapest flight we could get at such short notice. Man, I know that airline meals are bland but we did not expect it to be this bad. I tried eating anyway but Nanzaro hardly took a bite of the meals.

The flight took almost 20 hours with a 3 hr stopover in Taipei. During the flight, there were a total of three meals.

The first meal (served at about 2am in the morning!) was fish and rice. The rice was soggy and mushy. It was terrible. I took two bites and just gave up.

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The fruits and salad looked colourful and that’s about it. I only took the fruits and did not touch the salad at all.

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They also served Russian Ice-cream — Macadamia Nut and Vanilla. The outer side of the ice-cream was very soft and almost melted. This looks nice but melted icre-cream is just urgh!

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I was not particularly hungry anyway. So I tried to sleep but simply can’t. So, I just watched the inflight movie and did some reading.

Breakfast is even worse. They asked me if I wanted rice soup. Rice Soup? Sounds OK to me but what I saw was far from what I had pictured it to be. It is a horribly looking glob of overcooked porridge with some slices of beef. I took two bites and decided I had enough.

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Nanzaro was sleeping when they came around. I gotten for him the “chicken” dish which includes fettucini. The fettucini was all dried up and hard. Nanzaro did not eat this too. I left the chicken alone and finished off the pasta. I was beginning to feel hungry myself.

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At least the bread was warm, soft and more importantly actually tastes like normal food.

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On the Taipei to KL route, we had better meal. This time is was omelette, sausage, potatoes and tomato.

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The fruits was pretty OK too.

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So were the criossant and yogurt. This meal I finished everything.

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You know what is the best meal for Nanzaro? It was the cup noodles! He hardly ate anything and I know he was hungry. He went to the back of the plane after this first helping to ask the stewardess for a second helping. Am glad to see him ate so much — was getting worried because he could not take the airline meal.

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I must say I did not enjoy the flight and the meals at all. I would have avoided EVA Air if not for the fact that they have the cheapest fares. Oh well …

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Kah Hee, 1933 – 2006

Dad passed away rather suddenly a few weeks ago in Malaysia. I had a call from my sister one Friday afternoon that my dad had been admitted to the hospital. They told me that he is doing OK until suddenly on Sunday I had the dreadful call that he passed away. It was a shock to the family here in Canada. I returned home immediately to attend his funeral and brought along Nanzaro.

I want to dedicate this blog here today for my dad, Kah Hee.

Dad was a dashing man when he was young. Even my mum, being a conservative person, always says that he was handsome!

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Dad never told me much about his young days and of his friends during his school days. He sure had quite a number of photos of his friends. They do look like very very close friends.

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He he he … sometimes I think he’s a very vain man. I also had quite a few photos of him with his macho pose, sunglasses and all. I think he must have been a very eligible bachelor during his younger days.

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In his youth, he was very active in sports. He played basketball in high school and does play soccer too. His passion was badminton. I remember that he goes to his boss’s house to play with his friends on weekend nights. He brought me to some of the games night which lasted beyond my bedtime.

Dad played soccer until he was in his fourties! I remember I was so proud watching him in a match and was beaming for days when he won. I bragged about it in school to my friends. Not that anyone would care to know but I just was that proud.

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Dad married mum when he was in his late twenties. It was pretty much a norm in those days where marriages were arranged. Dad and mum’s married was one such arranged marriage. Mum told me that dad was a shy person who not just only did not speak much during their initial meetup (in the presence, of course, of an entire contingent of relatives!) but he also did not walk around at all.

In the first two meetings, my mum only saw my dad seated all the while. She actually thought that this man here is too good to be true … too handsome for her. She told me told she was so fearful that he was crippled and she was too shy to ask!

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Dad and mum had a full life together. During the last decade of his life, mum’s life is centred around dad … taking care of him. As much as mum did not say much about dad’s passing, I know that her heart is broken and misses him a lot.

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Dad and mum is so compatible to one another. They make a very lovely young couple. Dad works hard while mum stays home.

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I was the eldest in the family. Mum adores me but dad loves my sister the most. You know, I really wished that dad heaped attention on me as much as my sister. When I was young, I was quite jealous of that. For some reason, dad relates to daughters better than sons. :-)

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Nevertheless, he was always my hero. I looked up so much to him. He does not speak much and I guess that how he is. Despite that, I know that he is really proud of me and what I had made myself of in my life.

I had a serious road accident when I was in my teens. A small truck broadsided my motorbike on a highway. I almost died in that accident and my dad, who was driving just behind me, saw that happened. Recovering the in hospital, I realize what I meant to him and how a harrowing experience it must have been for him.

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We never had a car when we were young but Dad did borrow a car from his boss for the weekends. I remember that it was so exciting counting down the days to those weekends when he had the car. He would bring us to the beach, the parks, the waterfalls … it was really happy times for me. I remember so vividly those days … down to the details.

There was once I brought a pack of plasticine on a trip. Well, I forgot about it and left it on the dashboard. The hot afternoon sun melted it all over the dashboard and made a mess. I was so worried that he will get fired because I ruined the expensive car.

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Talking about cars. Dad’s first car was a clanker. It was a Volkswagen and costs only 500 Ringgit (about $150 Canadian). We were so excited that we finally had a car of our own. Well, the car lasted a good three days! I was in the car with him during a thunderstorm … the wiper got stuck and so he asked me to stick my hands out and flick the wiper up each time it got stuck on the way down. I was totally drenched! And to add to our misery, the car broke down shortly after and we had to push the car in a middle of a heavy downpour.

It was another VW before we got a more respectful car of our own.

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Dad travelled quite a bit. He even made a trip to China on business back in those days when the country was closed to the world outside. During that time, it was very difficult to get a visa to China because of the communism. He had also made pilgrimage to the Holy Lands — I think he enjoyed this the most of all his journeys. He felt close to God.

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Dad is man of God. He loves God and is a faithful servant. Right until before he had a stroke, he was very active serving in the church. I can’t do what he does … he would come home from work and spend hours on the Word of God — writing very meticulously his thoughts on his notebooks.

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You know what I was most proud of this man? It’s his unselfish service. He spends a lot of time as a lay preacher in a church that many would not want to serve in — the leprosy centre in Sungai Buloh. It takes a lot for someone to remain motivated to serve in such a small, unseen congregation. Sometimes the congregation is just a handful … but dad will just prepare for the service just as he would in any other church. He did this for many, many years.

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Dad had a stroke eleven years ago. It was at my house when he felt that something was wrong. I remember that day very well. He told me that he felt weak and then went straight to a desk and tried to write a few words. I saw that fear in him and we rushed him to the hospital. Despite that, he was quite a determined independent person. He would try to do everything on his own and does his daily exercises. He wanted to keep healthy.

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Two months ago, by the Grace of God, I had the chance to visit him in Malaysia. The last I saw him face to face was almost seven years ago. Mum told me he was the happiest for a long time during the one week I was there. You know, I am so glad to hear that.

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So, Dad passed away on November 19th, 2006. While it was supposed to be a sad time, the whole family was so glad to see so many people coming over attending his wake over three nights. On the second night, there were over 250 people at our small home which spilled out to the street. I was glad to see how respected a man he was.

Many had very good words for him. He had led a full life and most importantly, he had served God well. His work had touched many people around him. He will be remembered well.

Dad was buried at the Cheras Christian Cemetary. His grave was next to a shady tree. I was happy to see him assigned to that plot … he deserved a beautiful resting place.

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So, Dad … farewell and rest well. I know that you are now enjoying the presence of God in heaven. That is what you had always wanted.

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2 Timothy 4:7: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

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Le BonBon Cafe in Richmond

Updated 11 Sep 2009: This restaurant had been closed.

This is our fourth cake meet. Polly and I had to postpone last week’s cake meet due to the snow storm and deep freeze.

This time, we visited Le BonBon Cafe in Richmond. It is located at 170 – 3031 Beckman Place which is on Bridgeport Rd and No. 4 Rd.

Le BonBon Cafe offers a number of cheesecakes and gourmet coffee. It also caters for birthday cakes for kids like ice-cream cake and mud cake such as Portuguese Creme Caramel, sponge cake in various flavour like chocolate, vanilla, coffee and lemon, butter cake and banana cake.

Le Bonbon Cafe in Richmond

Le BonBon’s cheesecake is all homemade by the owner, Jenny Felgar. Le BonBon’s cheesecake is famous for its rich and intense cheese flavor, yet smooth but not too sweet. Jenny told us that she uses 1 kilogram of cream cheese to make a 9″ cheesecake and it takes 13.5 to 15 hours to make one from preparation to its readiness. Each cheesecake is slowly baked to its perfection with passion and dedication.

We were overwhelmed by the varieties in the display shelves. To name some, Le BonBon’s original. Blueberry Swirl, Strawberry Swirl, Chocolate Truffle, Bailey’s Coffee, Italian Tiramisu, Green Tea, Green Apple, Mango, Pear, etc.

Jenny recommended we try the Le BonBon’s original cheesecake which is the New York Style cheesecake as it gives us the original cheese flavour. It is indeed very rich and creamy.

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Polly ordered the Green Tea Cheesecake which has a very subtle green tea flavour and still very creamy.

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Polly enjoyed her cheesecake with a cup of Hazelnut Latte.

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I ordered the Mango cheesecake. It has a very rich mango flavour and is topped with white chocolate shavings. We just love all the cheesecakes for they are really rich and creamy.

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Jenny recommended tea to go with the cheesecake to cut back the richness. So, I ordered a Green Tea Latte which has very strong green tea flavour and slightly bitter.

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Jenny also gave us some sample of her special cheese cake of the day. It is a hazelnut flavour cheesecake with a brownie base. Another great cheesecake.

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We must admit that we were too greedy to have ordered 3 slices of cheese cakes to share among two of us as the cheese cakes are really rich.

The bill came up $15 including tips. We had a 15% discount as we mentioned that we found out about Le BonBon Cafe from UrbanVancouver.com. Each slice of the cheesecake and the drink only cost $2.95.

We will certainly be back to try other flavour of cheese cakes.

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Fruit Rojak

During our gathering at Riverfront park, Jessica made some Malaysian fruit rojak which was gobbled up in a jiffy. I have wanted to make it at home but have been procrastinating it until a recent groceries shopping trip with Ben and he reminded me about it.

Rojak

Ingredients

Sambal RojakThe most crucial ingredient in making the Malaysian style fruit salad is the Sambal Rojak.The fruit salad dressing is made up of sugar, water, starch, soy bean, prawn extract, glucose syrup, tapioca thickener, sesame seed, garlic, chili powder, salt and caramel.The Sambal Rojak can be found in many groceries stores which carry South East Asian products.
Belacan Chilli PowderTo add extra kick to it, I also added some belacan chili powder. You may substitute this with sambal oelek from Indonesia.
Thai ChilliThe Thai chili adds extra spiciness to the salad.
IMG_9445_edited-1.jpgI also added some honey to sweeten and liquefy the salad dressing.
IMG_9438_edited-1.jpgThe most common fruit used are pineapple, jicama and cucumber. I could not find jicama during that groceries shopping trip, so I substituted it with Asian pear and apple.Other popular ingredients include youtiou (fried dough) and tofu puff.

Click on the link below for the instructions.

More on following page. Click here to continue reading.

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Ellie Tropical Cuisine in Richmond

Update 26-Apr-2009: Ellie had closed. Seems like this place will re-open as a vegetarian place.

Saturday came around again. Suanne does not cook on weekends. She always insisted it’s her day off. This time we decided to check out one of the Malaysian-slash-Taiwanese “cuisine” restaurants in Richmond.

No, no … Ellie is not one of those fusion restaurants. When they say that they are a Malaysian-Taiwanese restaurant, it’s just that they serve food from both Malaysia and Taiwan (beef nooodles). Anyway, it’s located at 3779 Sexsmith Road in Richmond.

Ellie Tropical Cuisine in Richmond

We stuck with the simple Malaysian food this visit. Nanzaro is addicted to fried rice. You know, everytime he gets the menu in the restaurant, he will flip the pages and scan if they have fried rice on it.

He ordered a Belacan Fried Rice. The belacan gives a distinctive pungent smell and taste to the rice. It was pretty good, I must say. Cost: $8.95.

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It has been a while since I had Hokkien Mee — real Hokkien mee and not Shanghai Noodles. I ordered that and was extremely pleased that it actually looks and tastes like the real deal I had in Malaysia. The only thing that is missing is the crispy fried pork fat (“jee yau jar” to those who know what I mean).

For Hokkien Mee fans, this is it … you got to try this out in Ellie. Why they even had the all important Hokkien Mee sambal chilli for that little extra spiciness.

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Arkensen ordered from a set menu, “3-spice chicken combination”. This came with a green or black ice tea, rice, few sides like fried egg, stir fry lettuces, peanuts and cold tofu with thousand year egg. This is a pretty good deal I must say. I always like dishes with so many varieties heaped on it.

Cost $7.95

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Well, Suanne did not order a dish of her own … instead she ended up taxing a portion from everyone’s dishes, as she usually does.

The restaurant is small and could get very crowded during lunch time. You could end up having a long wait for tables. Moreover, they seem very short staffed. When we were there, they have only two seemingly unexperienced girls waiting on the tables. They had this busy hurried look dashing from a table to the next. Other than that, the food is great and the prices were good too.

OK, total bill came up to $29 including tips. You should check this place out, if not already.

Ellie on Urbanspoon

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