Wednesday, 6 July 2005,
Took the 10 o'clock shuttle to KL. Immigration check at KL was painless and swift, the kindly officer even chided me for not knowing how to DIY-scan my passport. Then a quick trip to the city via the KLIA express. So easy, so smart, wah, Malaysia sudah boleh.
Checked into the KL Hilton above the Sentral station. There are three boxes in each room labelled Business, Entertainment and Relaxation. The Entertainment box mentioned we could ask for a fish in a bowl, so I tested their promise, and true enough, a goldfish was delivered to my room. Good company for my first night.
For dinner, my friend J picked me up from the hotel and took me to Gill's at Jalan Kasah for some chicken tikka, dhal makhani and good conversation.
Thursday, 7July 2005
The next day I went to work. In the evening husband drove up and joined me at the hotel. He is sweet like that, also it was my birthday. We went to my parents' house to have a lovely dinner with family. My nephews and nieces had helped third sister to dye the eggs red, and Mummy made a luxurious noodle soup to celebrate my birthday. Also on the menu, a winning new dish that Mummy created- pork trotters braised with Chinese herbs like yuk chuk, red dates, tong-kwai and wolfberries. Plus lovely kampung chicken, eating chicken drumstick on one's birthday is also another family tradition.
Then there were the multiple dessert courses. First, durians. This year there is a bumper crop, well, a glut really, and durians can be had for as little as RM4 per kg. We had durians almost every night, and all were the delicious bittersweet, fleshy type with tiny seeds. The kids had the first of this year's mooncake pastries, the season starts earlier with each year it seems. Finally, we sang Happy Birthday to me and the kids helped to blow out the candles. Cake was baked specially by second sister. Hmm, umami had not had celebrated birthday with family for so many years. Felt older but was happy.
Celebration was a little subdued by the London bombings. Daddy called 4th sister, who is OK Thank God. Coincidentally, 4th sister's birthday is September 11. Now I know how she feels.
Friday, 8 July 2005:
More work, but managed to finish before the weekend crush. Took the monorail to Tengkat Tung Shin for dinner. Lively neighbourhood full of interesting food spots.
Like the hip Vietnamese restaurant Sao Nam with propaganda art on the walls and bahn xeo perfectly crispy and crunchy all rolled up with fresh herbs. The signature mangosteen salad was unusual, tangy and refreshing. Not so the orange duck which had a cloyingly sweet sauce. Eating here is a little pricey, but the portions are big and the owners very accommodating and friendly.
The roast meat stall at Meng Kee that husband loves was closed when we visited, but the famous char keow teow stall was still open so we ordered a plate. Don't know why, I still prefer the version at the coffeeshop near my parents' house in Damansara, maybe because I've been eating it for more than 20 years.
Saturday, 9 July 2005:
Ate dinner at home. I made char-siew. The parents tar-powed roast duck from Petaling St. Unfortunately the famous 4-eyed-man stall was closed. This uncle is not the person we usually buy from but his duck was not too bad. And for nolstalgia value, we also bought some kaya roll home- sad to say, the standards have slipped badly, hardly any of the rich egg jam inside.
Sunday, 10 July 2005:
Queued up with seemingly hundreds of other impatient and hungry diners at the buffet brunch at Restaurant Kampachi. The standard of the food has also dropped significantly over the years, and the arduous waits for the food highly aggravating. The only thing I really liked was the freshly made dorayaki. After lunch Mummy persuaded us to play mahjong, she must have felt lucky because she won the round. Not easy when we were playing by the minimum 3 fan to game rule.
Have to post a picture of the ugliest sculpture I've even seen in my life. With all that flowers and trees, who on earth thought we needed artificial fountains with monstrous fake plants.
Monday, 11 July 2005:
Time to renew IC. Took a number, then went for breakfast at the Hanifa coffeeshop opposite the Maju Junction building. Good roti canai and thosai, washed down with sweet thick teh halia. Yeah, Malaysia masih boleh.
Late in the afternoon, we were hungry again. Decided to eat something at Laksa Shack. I don't usually like to eat in a shack that does not look like a shack, I mean lobster shack is fine by me, but an airconditioned place with faux-kampung decor is just cheesy. Not fair to judge a place by its name right? Absolutely, because we found ourselves liking the Johor Laksa so much we ordered a second bowl- it had loads of chopped fish and plenty of spices and fresh herbs, the only fault being the tendency to serve it at less than piping temperatures, but nonetheless, very respectable rendition of a local favourite. I will not giggle at the name, or at least try not to the next time around.
Boleh.... boleh, boleh, boleh.... boleh, boleh.....