Sunday, February 10, 2008

Celebrations in Ipoh

Our week in Malaysia for the Chinese New Year (CNY) celebration passed by so fast. I guess the saying that time flies when you are having fun is somewhat true. We spent two nights in Kuala Lumpur to catch up with friends before we made the 2-hour drive to Ipoh with my sister. It was really nice to spend time over a casual dinner with our friends - some which we've not seen for almost 2 years!

As we arrived Ipoh a few days before CNY, we were able to do some things that we would otherwise not be able to. For example, we lunched at this hawker center that is under some big trees (in Cantonese, this place is referred to as literally "
at the bottom of the big tree"!):

Just like many other hawkerfood places in Malaysia, the place may look dingy but the food served is so good! What is famous here is minced fish meat stuffed in either tofu or vegetables like eggplant, green peppers, etc. This was too "fishy" for Brian, so he opted for fried noodles Ipoh-style instead. It was also here that he had his first sweetcorn drink. Yes, here in Asia, corn is used in dessert and drinks as well!
On one of the mornings, we had the popular Ipoh-style curry noodles for breakfast. I am proud to announce that Brian has finally acquired the taste for curry noodles. When we first moved to Asia three years ago, he didn't dig it too much. But now, he would ask for it!
We also had the Ipoh-famous beansprout and chicken as requested by Brian. Good stuff! As no CNY celebration would be complete without barbecue pork, On the eve of CNY, we stood in line for the famous Lim Keng Guan barbecue pork (something like beef jerky but a much nicer version). Our turn only came after waiting for almost 30 minutes! But it was worth the wait. This place also sells other preserved meat products like Chinese sausages and meat floss.
As is often the case, the few days of CNY are always filled with much food. We had so much to eat all the time! We had big dinners at home, colossal meals at restaurants, we had
dim sum, we had steamboat (Chinese fondue but done with chicken stock and meat and vegetables). We are convinced we've put on some pounds!Other than all the wonderful feasting, it was also special to see family again. Brian bonded with my dad over beer and professional wrestling while my sister, mom and I over latest family "updates" (aka gossip). We were finally acquainted with Xing Ru - my cousin's baby girl. She's soooooooooo cute! Unfortunately I'm not sure if I should post her pix here due to parental concerns. But trust me, on a bad day, I only need to see her pix to cheer me up!

As all good things do and should come to an end (lest we cease to appreciate them), we traveled back to Singapore on Saturday to get ready for awaits us in the week ahead. (Click "Play" to watch the clip below)

Friday, February 1, 2008

Good fortune and rats

In less than a week, ethnic Chinese all over the world would be celebrating Chinese New Year (aka Lunar New Year) and this time we would be ushering in the year of the rat. The rat is the first animal on the Chinese zodiac calendar (there are 12 of them). As with any other new year, the Chinese want to believe that much good luck and fortune await them.
We are not sure about good luck or golden fortune, but we do know that with the celebration at hand, we will finally get to go home to my parents' to see them. It's been a year since we last saw them! Shame on me!

This visit will also mean feasting, feasting and more feasting! It will start with the reunion dinner where everyone in the family gets together for a lavish meal. The American equivalent is the Thanksgiving dinner. This occasion is especially meaningful for families who have members from out of town and have traveled home for the New Year festivities.

Unlike previous years, this time we will spend a whole week with my parents and we would arrive a few days before the first day of Chinese New Year (traditionally, the celebration lasts a whole month!). We're truly looking forward to it and be sure to check back here for pixs from our visit!

p.s. Some of you have enquired about our housing situation...well, we are still looking. Hopefully after the new year celebration, the market will soften a little and we'll find something suitable.