It must have been a special birthday for my mum this year. It had been many years since she had all her three children present to celebrate her birthday. I can see the gladness in her eyes that I was there this year.
To me, my mum had gone through a lot. I did witness some ups and downs. She was never a person who would let us know her problems — I wish she would be open. I will always remember her sacrifices for me and making sure that I had what I needed over her own needs. She does not ask for much at all.
When I was in my teens, I had a serious car accident in which I almost died. Mum was there in the hospital with me every day — even though she had to travel almost a hundred kilometers to bring me lunch. That is because she wanted me to have better food than what was served in the hospital.
My brother bought a coffee flavoured birthday cake for her. My sister came around too with her kids. So did my dad’s youngest sister. I can guess what her birthday wish was for … must have been wishes for others more than for herself!
After the cake at home, we decided to go out for dinner. For nostalgia sake, we decided on going to a favourite restaurant of ours. Leong Ya had been in business since I was really young. I remember that the family took a long drive on weekends every now and then. Back then Leong Ya operated from a shack and their specialty was Yong Tau Foo and Paper Wrapped Chicken. Their business grew over the years until the time when they moved to a building of their own. Their business was so good that one had to endure long waits for a table and then wait for like 30 minutes before they come by to take our orders!
However, Leong Ya had seen better times. They are now operating from a shoplot and a lot more smaller than it used to be. When we were there, there were only four tables of customers. The guy who come around to take our orders (yeah, the one who we had to wait for 30 minutes!), is still there.
We ordered some Yong Tau Foo, which is a variety of fish paste filled food.
You have seen these on a previous posting — paper wrapped chicken. They are very well known for this dish and maybe one of the first to serve this in a big way. People travel a long way for this.
The Wild Boar Curry is another specialty of Leong Ya. This is considered exotic meat in Malaysia. You don’t find many places that serves wild boar meat. The meat is tougher and darker than pork.
We also ordered some greens fried with sambal.
My parents seems to always order gu-low-yook whenever we’re eat out in a chinese restaurant. I don’t know what’s the better word to describe this in English. I only know that it’s a deep-fried pork dish and cooked with tomato sauce.
I asked for a plate of noodles too because it looked so good on a table next to ours.
There were 12 of us in this dinner. Guess how much this costs? It’s only RM140 … about USD$40. I can see why Leong Ya had so few customers these days. While the menu is basically still the same but it tastes just so-so.
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Mmm the sambal greens look great, I love that dish !
“Gu-low-yook” is simply sweet & sour pork, but sounds like the version you ordered doesn’t have the “sour” part (vinegar in sauce). Funny I tend to order it at banquets and large family dinners even though it’s often sneered at as “dish for non-Chinese” !
Happy B’day to your mum.
That’s a shame. I’ve had similar experiences returning to places my family loved when I was a child. The restaurants rarely meet my expectations as an adult. I’ve often wondered if it’s becaise my palate has developed more, because I forgot the flaws of the food, or because my expectations are heightened as a result of fond memories.
I think that it’s sometimes better not to try recapturing childhood memories.
Happy Birthday to your mom! The pictures of the food are making me hungry…luckily I am about to cook dinner!
Actually Leong Ya had some family disputes.. and their operations split into two, but for some reason both decided to operate in the same area, competing for the same customers.. perhaps that’s why there were so few people there when you were around. I live in Serdang by the way =P
Oh, btw.. I’m a friend of Terence Tay.. still serving with the Boys’ Brigade.. 3rd KL Company.
Awesome blog! I love the photography =)
Hi Voon: Always glad to get in touch with another Brigadier! It’s been a long time since I left the BB but those years I had in the BB shaped the values I had till today. There are no BB in Canada, if there is, I would most certainly serve too.