Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Big Gathering at Grandpa's

Foochows like everything to be big. They have big families, big cars, big children (in size), big houses, big dishes, big money & big voices. So naturally, when Nee's side of the family had their gathering at Grandpa's, it was a big Foochow one.
NEE: This gathering had almost everybody back at Grandpa's. Except for Michelle, Roger and Raymond in Australia, Sophia and Oscar in UK. Teng and Mei had not arrived from Brunei yet. So Greg was right. It was big!

This is Grandpa's house, which he built himself.

Because of the recent flood, the water level is still above the wooden planks below. We had to do a balancing act to get thru.

NEE: We had such good memory of spending our childhood here during our school holidays. There were so many cousins to play with. We were everywhere picking up fruits, play cooking, hide and seek, fishing in the drain/river, running up and down this stairs.

The men-in-waiting.

It's either they were waiting for more guests to come, or more likely, they were just waiting for the food.

This is the first time I saw Grandpa's house. And right from the very first sight, I fell in love with it.

Loved the windows.

The hustle & bustle before the dinner.

When people start coming into the kitchen to stand there without anything to do, you know you've got to start serving dinner very soon.

Nee: Foochow Culture 1~ Everyone just stood around and asking everyone to sit. But nobody was sitting down. As young children we would hate this cause we must not sit until the adults do. Pro-longed hunger was a torture. We used to sit on that rectangular table. Guess it has shrunk.

Foochow Culture 2 ~ In Foochow culture, everybody talks, and nobody listens. And they're loud. At that point in time, everyone is inviting everybody else to sit, "SUAI MA, SUAI MA! SUAI SUAI SUAI!" (Please SIT!). Because of this, there is a tendency to have shouting matches in Sibu all the time, out of trying to overdo the other in politeness. The loud voices was probably carved in the Foochow DNAs since the rubber tapping days, where they had to shout from one tree to the next(prob like 100 trees away) in order to have a conversation. Maybe that is why others see us as domineering and unpolished.

Foochow Culture 3 ~ Dishes are BIG both in size and number. The traditionally accepted standard of giving people a good meal is 9 or 10 dishes. And they are big. So if you are invited to a dinner do at a foochow event, please dont eat for the whole day.

Three of the Eight sisters.

Believe me, they were heartbreakers back in the days when they were still wearing mini skirts.

This is what we call Chiak Pa Pak Bang (Eat Full,Kill Mosquitoes).

Looking at Uncle Arthur's Bundle of Blessings, maybe it is Chiak Pa Chee Bang (Eat Full, Feed Mosquitoes).

We were walking away towards our car when I turned around to take this picture. Don't let their looks fool you. These guys are professional. They really know how to pose.

If you had these guys for your modelling agency, you'd be making money. Just look at them, they can sell anything- Nike ads, Levis, Three Legged Brand medicated oil, Handyplast, Sibu Mental Hospital corporate video, maternity wear, Mopiko, Sibu kompia & kampua, Sibu Hawkers association marketing campaign, Compact toilet paper, just to name a few.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The First Meal in Sibu

This was the first meal we had on our first day in Sibu.

For reasons unknown to me, we were brought to this restaurant at the YMCA.

I've never been to a YMCA here before. I stared at the signboard as thoughts of the Village People rushed into my head.

I've always thought that the white guy in the shiny black leather jacket was scary. He was a hairy guy with a healthy growth on his chest. Gosh, I hope there's none of them here. I wouldn't want any of those hair in my food.

When we got there it was empty, except for us, which was fine. Cos it meant that the dishes would come out really quick.

The interior looked like this.

Whew. No hairy guy in black leather jacket yet.

The three generations of excellent cooks. The elegant lady on the right is Nee's idol, Yee Poh - the Grand Lady of Cookery of the Highest Order. She was our gracious host for that lunch.

Aunty Linda Wong (another great cook) & family (Sheila & Uncle Arthur). Megan's somewhere else.

Despite the name of the cafe, the restaurant serves Chinese food. Better than that, they had Foochow dishes. That was what we were looking for, since we were already in Sibu.

This was a special 4-green drink comprising of all four green fruits such as guava, green apple, etc.) That's my guess cos I didn't exactly know what's inside.

Turtle meat. Before you jump up, it's not the sea turtle. It's the fresh water turtle with the pointed mouth.

Of course, what can be more Foochow than Chow Chai Fish Head.

Or Foochow noodles Sibu style - whatever that is.

Plus excellent ladies' fingers in belacan (which tasted very different). Maybe it's the Sibu water from the earth drain.

I don't have the picture here, but Sibu is famous for it's Kangkung vege. It definitely tasted different, a lot more fresher than the ones in Kuching. We were told that they grow wild in abundance here. It was later at our grandfather's house that we saw them.

See how fat they are. It's the Sibu water I tell you.

NEE: Greg forgot the mentioned dishes like sweet sour fish. It was a feast. Must had have at least 10 dishes. Dont know about the price though cause when we go Sibu, we are like the little prawns, the big fishes will pay. In fact fighting to pay. So if you are younger, dont bother fighting.

This place really have great foochow food. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Servings are huge cause the the lady said they will prepare for five pax...EIIKKK where got five can finish. As for the location, we have no clue too cause every time we asked, the responses are oh very near very near. Guess you have to mention YMCA and ALL Sibu people will know.

Another tip about eating in Sibu, sit far far far far away from any older generations people especially ladies. In this case our Yee Poh. We finished practically everything not because we got big appetite. It was because she cant stop dishing food on everyone else's plates except her own. Greg and I have to resort to stacking our plates and bowls to stop her. Cause we will eat again, we would have burst. But it is really their ways of showing love and care by making sure you have a full tummy.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Sibu Trip: Little Cousin Megan

We were very well taken care of in Sibu. There was always someone taking turns to chauffer us around. Uncle Arthur & Aunty Linda were there to pick us up at the airport on the first day when we arrived.

This is a picture of Uncle Arthur.

Because he drove us around so much on the first day, we could only recognise him from the back.

This is Aunty Linda. She is a very busy person. She is supposed to be on leave that day. And this is how she looks like when she's on leave.

We didn't get to speak to Aunty Linda from the moment they picked us up at the airport until about 2 hours later. All throughout the ride, she was on her phone. Even though she was sitting next to us, I felt like calling her (on my phone).

Her mobile phone has become a permanent fixture on her face eversince. Without it, we will not recognise her immediately.

This is Megan. She is Nee's 9-year old cousin.

She is the most creative & artistic little thing that I've ever seen. Despite her petite physical frame, she packs enough horsepower to outperform Britney Spears on stage.

We know that everybody talks and nobody listens during big dinner events. When there's a speech going on, people talk. When the food comes, people still talk with food in their mouths. But let me tell you this. When Megan sings, people's food drop out of their mouths.

This is a video of her doing a little dance at home. Her sister Sheila is playing the piano. Please remember that this is unrehearsed, and is as candid as can be.

She is a 9-year old 16-year old trapped in a 6-year old body.

Happy New Year 2008!!!

Greg & Nee wishes everyone a Happy New Year!

Yessssss! We're back in Kuching & Nee started baking again upon touch down.

Tonite will be detox nite. We had too much food in Sibu. Everyone's saying that I've put on weight to Nee's delight. I think everything went to my face cos it's really ballooning up. Nee is just ecstatic about it. Cos when we take photos together, my big fat face makes hers look slim.

Nee's pearl jewellery is sponsored by Linda Wong's custom made design. Can order one.

It's good to be back on the blog!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Hello From Sibu!

We're here at the Paramount Hotel in Sibu waiting for guests to arrive for Grandpa & Grandma's 64th Wedding Anniversary & Grandpa's 90th birthday bash.

Nee will be MC-ing tonite with Uncle Morris. We've been eating a lot non-stop. Done a lot of sight seeing of the old Sibu.

Just want to say a quick hi to everyone out there!

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