儿子旭正毕业后参与台湾观摩团二十多天, 不久就华人新年, 三月才开始在中环广场一家公司负责网站设计工作, 试用期月薪RM1,500.
三月廿七日领了他人生第一张靠自己赚钱的支票, 扣掉不足月及其他, 实得RM1,198.05.
我们要他感恩, 将第一次的薪金其中RM100给公公, RM100给婆婆, RM100给外公, RM100给外婆, 还有RM100给小时候照顾他的三姑, 他照办.
剩下RM598.05如何花费? 停车费每天RM6, 过路费RM1, 一个月约RM200. 汽油费一个月RM300. 早晚餐在家里吃, 午餐每餐RM5, 一个月RM125. 总共RM625, 已经超出剩余的薪金. 不足的我们会支持.
旺角小馆Sin Wong Kok Restaurant
Pusat Rukun Tetangga, Jalan Baru Hosapa,
71650 Titi, Jelebu, Negeri Sembilan.
Tel: 06-611 3481
Ethnic Scents In Titi Eatery
It was a beautiful afternoon as we took an hour抯 drive from Kuala Lumpur to reach Titi in the district of Jelebu, Negeri Sembilan. We gathered at Sin Wong Kok Restaurant located near the riverbank to sample the local food available. On a normal day, the eatery starts from 3 p.m. but during public holidays, they start from 12 p.m. Dining at this spartan place may be a no-frills affair, but it is nevertheless a good experience under the few circulating fans. It provides an opportunity for us to try native Hakka food. The absolutely must-try dishes are "Doggie Duck Dish", "Taro Braised With Pork", "Hakka Char Yoke", "Five Spice Deep-Fried Meat". Hakka cuisine's essence is captured by the young cook, Siow Kee Foh.
The "Doggie Duck Dish" had chopped duck meat deep-fried and braised with ginger, star anise, sauce etc... One bite into the meat reveals soft tender flesh. How did this dish got its unusual name? Well, Siow talked briefly on the cultural background of Hakka being a nomadic tribe, they savoured dogs in the olden days as a source of meat and to keep their bodies warm. But the younger generation of today no longer partake in such rituals anymore. Dogs' meat are replaced with ducks but cooked in the same manner. Hence this dish has a blundering name.
The other dish of "Hakka Char Yoke" had sliced belly pork marinated with five spice powder, flavoured salt, soy sauce and a coating of flour. This goes through a deep-frying process before being braised further with black wood ears till the meat soften. With the gravy coming to the right degree in consistency, a sprinkle of toasted halibut(sole fish) granules gets mixed in. It gets our top marks for this final effort. The two Siows give their personal touches to food prepared so it becomes a bonus to all diners as quality is consistent and good.
The drive to reach Titi, a small laidback town in the Jelebu district of Negeri Sembilan took us an hour from Kuala Lumpur. At the old trunk road off 9th miles, Cheras, we drove past the Pekan Batu 14 area and the Semenyih dam. The sign B32/ N32 lead us to Kuala Klawang and it is hard to imagine how winding but serene this stretch can be, before Titi town can be seen.
Titi has a certain rustic charm with an environment very close to nature. This town is home to a population of 3,000 residents with the Hakkas being the majority clan. The allure of Titi has always been associated with its agricultural crops like tuber plants of tapioca and sweet potatoes. The Sarawak variety of pineapples has been successfully grown here and sweet juicy sugar canes is another good crop found.
About two years ago, a big group of the younger generation had left home to work in the big cities. Not everyone likes to till the land and this marked very deserted streets during the day. We walked past the bank, the sole one in this town and found the Siew's family workshop on the opposite side of the road.
They manufacture a traditional snack known as "Mah Chi Chang" which is very similar to the famous Bidor snack, "Sak Kei Mah". The eggs fragrance is stronger than "Sak Kei Mah" and has a rather crisp bite. Toasted sesame seeds and groundnuts thrown in gives it an extra crunch. We detected a touch of lemon juice flavouring in the sugary molasses used to bind the ingredients together.
As senior lady, Mrs. Siew weighed the flour and butter ingredients, she explained to us, how authentic this snack is to the Hakkas. She then mixed the ingredients together with another mixture of beaten eggs and yeast. It was poured into a processor and mixed for 10 minutes to form a dough. The dough was kneaded manually before covering it, to allowed fermentation to take place. In the midst of the waiting period, senior Papa Siew briefed us on his two other 'prized' snacks, namely Miah Chang (a dried rice, nutty snack) and another Yin Yeong Paeng. The latter is actually a combination of the first two snacks, thus the merge of this wonderful biscuit.
After the fermentation period, junior lady, Mrs. Siew placed the dough on a clean tabletop. She sliced it into pieces, flattened them before allowing her husband to compressed them into thin slices with an electric machine. The dough slices were shredded further before younger sister, Miss Siew hands them to her mother for the deep-frying process. The golden-yellow fried pastry shreds were mixed with nuts and sesame seeds. Accordingly, special care is taken to clean the sesame seeds and nuts to ensure they are free of grits as it passes through sieves. A big wok is used to cook a sugary syrup and the nutty fried pastry shreds were mixed in. this mixture is then poured into custom-made moulds which has been coated with extra sesame seeds at the base. Four pairs of hands compressed it tight before slicing to the desired sizes whilst still hot. Packaging was done immediately to sealed in the crispness.
This strong bonded family delivers good stuff and we sincerely hope, cottage industries like the Siew's family will always remain significant. Traditional snacks should remain forever.
MA FATT TRADING
97, Jalan Besar, 71650 Titi, Jelebu, Negeri Sembilan. Tel: 012-762 4827
马 发 贸 易 MA FATT TRADING
97, Jalan Besar, 71650 Titi, Jelebu, Negeri Sembilan. Tel: 012-762 4827
When we emigrated from Johor to Kuala Lumpur 16 years ago, it was our choice to work and live here. In my field of work, it was always related to food. So obviously it should not be a puzzle to anyone, why I take such an obvious insight on the subject of food.
Migrants from other states make up half of the population in the city. In recent time, the food-line is facing a stiff competition. The number of food places have sprung everywhere, be it in upmarket restaurants, family-meals restaurants, fast food joints, small eateries, hawker stalls, mobile food vendors and food courts of all sizes. Gastronomically speaking, the good ones can withstood time as they have tasty food, plentiful choices, fair pricing though speedy service may not be an attributing factor. But a fair number of them, whose food are poorly prepared can never get that far. Good food is always spread by word of mouth and bad ones are always etched in the minds of the public too. This is adverse publicity, no matter whatever promotions, cannot undo the problems.
Many times, friends are rather curious why we travel interstates to have write-ups on the food there. Yet we have not covered much on Kuala Lumpur itself. Frankly, I find this quite a challenge. If you throw a stone in town, it will probably hit an eating place. Foodwise, the selection is too big so I have to resigned myself to my favourites. The ratings are chosen on taste, food quality control, pricing but definitely not on ambience.
When I started working in Kuala Lumpur, it was at an office located in Pudu Plaza. I had little choice for breakfast as it was either a simple meal of noodles or one at the nearby mamak stalls. If time was flexible enough, my office mates and I would adjourned to Peel Road for a Bak-Kut-Teh meal at Restoran San Wah (see page 56).
The stall located underneath a huge tree for shade drew many regulars. The boss brewed the soup to a nice, light delight unlike those with too strong a herbal taste. Meat is soft but never a messy sight. Four years ago, this stall was relocated to Jalan Cheras but being very palate pleasing, many customers still patronize the eatery. The lady boss treats every regular as a friend.
But if we are unfortunate enough to be caught in some traffic snarl, Restoran Ng Hong at Taman Lensen, Cheras was our next choice. The senior lady sells a good dry-version of pork meehoon. The blanched noodles are tossed in dark soy sauce, lard and fried minced pork. The business commences from 7a.m. to 11a.m. The swift action of blanching and tossing the noodles has not slowed down for the past 10 years. The outstanding value here is, the taste remained coustant, never changing the slightest.
Another brisk establishment for good noodles is at Hon Kee Noodle Stall at Jalan Maharajarela. The former name of the road is Birch Road and the stall is not far from the Mandarin Court Hotel, on the opposite side of Stadium Merdeka's back portion. The two sisters take turns to run this eatery. Fish balls are springly, made from fresh wolf-herring fish or known as ikan parang.
I remembered for some reasons, I normally visited this place on Tuesdays, Thursday and Saturdays. My normal order was a dry-version of yellow mee which is always blanched to the right firm bite, never soggy. Deep-fried lard cubes are sprinkled on top. This is tossed with dark soy sauce and fried minced pork. Together with the bowl of fish balls, this was indeed a simple yet delightful lunch. The sisters are still running this business till today.
Another popular noodle haunt with a never-ending stream of customers is at Restaurant Hai San, opposite the wet market of Overseas Union Garden, off Old Klang Road. There must be six to seven people helping to run the stall. Three noodle masters skillfully blanched the noodles. A wide choice of assortments are available for you to pick on. They have pork slices, minced pork, livers, lalal, squids. The rave factor lies in the sweet stock, it has good flavour.
Restoran Ful Lai sells nice, fluffy Fookchow paus, located at Kuchai Entrepreneurs' Park. It has always been me, sitting underneath the tree sipping tea and eating the nice pau while watching the hurried atmosphere whizzing past. This is a short streak of leisure.
Lunch has always been a lovely time to check out Pudu Plaza's food stalls at the lower level. The Hainanese chicken rice here is not a bad choice. Next to the food court, Restoran Teochew Lao Er (page 62) makes wonderful Teochew porridge with a wide selection of braised assortments. My son who was a former student at SRJK Chong Fah Pit Chee, paid frequent visits to the restaurant for its Char Siew Rice. He earned a nickname of 'Char Siew Fun' by the boss because he buys this rice ever so often.
Out of the plaza, you have Tim Kee (page 53). The boss is very picky on hygience and every dish is prepared on demand, never precooked. His place is well-established.
Another place famous for fish is the Chan Sow Lin Fish-head (page 50). Their equation for success is largely attributed to the delicate Soong Yee Fish-heads cooked by the brothers. The washing off the mud taste with lime juice makes it a worthy effort. Business is so good, all fish-heads are sold off daily.
Around Taman Supreme, Cheras, there is a place worthy to mention. The stall sells authentic Hainanese Chicken Rice and nice stir-fried dishes.
The simple noodles at Tian-Ya-Ker Panmin (page 64) in the Chow Kit area is an ever-popular spot for a one dish meal. The addition of lime juice over the noodles gives it a special tangy perk-up.
I may have left Pudu Plaza but still haunt for good food. Restoran De Maw Chinese Food nests behind PGRM building in the Pudu Ulu area, is quite a new establishment, perhaps only a baby as the place is slightly more than one year. This is a restaurant fitted with nice Chinese decor, air-conditioned and food prepared by a gold medal winner former chef of the old Ming Court Hotel. Chinese cuisine at easy prices is one winning formula. Another restaurant specializes in Hakka food within this area is Restoran Yap Chong. The special prominent Hakka featunes are Yam Braised Kow Yoke and Long Beans Bbq Pork.
Not far from PGRM building is a Petronas petrol station. Next to Petronas is a coffee shop. Sitting in this coffee shop is a stall that has the Hokkien Mee and Mee Hailam, all cooked on charcoal stores. This is a rare gem of a find and the authentic touch makes the noodles just nice. They add the sinful lard crisps and over the years, it maintains a constant standard. Regular patrons always make a comeback somehow or other.
At times, I like to visit the shop near the Kuchai Lama area, which sells very nice Fried Tunghoon and Fried White Rice Sticks. It is not difficult to locate the place, there is a used car dealer shop near an overhead bridge in Jalan Kuchai Lama before the exit to Old Klang Road. Wind through the side lane of the shop and right behind is the simple shop - Lim Kee Noodle Store.
Recently, Mr. Lee of Triang introdced us to Chef Lim Fook Kwee, known as Ah Fook Khoh too. He is the Head Chef of Restoran Rainbow Palace at Campbell Complex, Kuala Lumpur. His signature dish is the Glutinous Rice With Crispy Piglet. The melt-in-the mouth and non oily dish has a large following especially politician, Y.B. Yew Teong Look. Nearby, there is Ong Lai(Goh Kee)Restaurant at a backlane of the Chow Kit Road. Towards nightfall, the seats are all filled up as the biggest attractions are the Steamed Fish, Fish-head Meehoon and Fried White Rice Sticks.
Sometimes I wander around Petaling Street and it never failed to amazed me, looking at the crowds at the Loh Hon Koh Sweet Drinks Stall. This must be the most popular drink stall in the peninsula. Behind the backlane of Sultan Street is Gerai Makan Sai Kee (page 59). The stall has been selling stir-fried dishes from the same spot for the past 30 years. Run by a family, it is now handled by the second generation. This is one of those test-your-patience outlet as a 45 minutes to one hour wait is nothing unusual.
Each good street food have their own distinct character. All have down-to-earth prices, tasty food and every place mentioned here offers value-for-money meals. Do not give them a miss if you are around the areas. I have shared my favourite spots with readers but as food differs considerably with each palate, give me your feedback.
We have an appointment with Feng Shui Master B. E. Loh at 10 a.m to try out the speciality at a bah-kut-teh shop in Kepong. As we like some surprises, so we did not asked him what the speciality was. It was 9 a.m when we left Cheras and though there was a bad traffic jam in the city, we managed to be there 15 minutes ahead of appointed time.
Leong Kee started in 1977 and has been in business for 31 years. The shop commences for business from 6 a.m to 1.45 p.m. They get many loyal fans who come braving rain or shine. Lady boss told us that in order to have a consistent taste, her husband brews a huge pot of sweet stock first. After taking down orders, he ladles the stock into smaller claypots to brew with uncooked meat.
Master Loh ordered the pig's tendons, foochook braised with pig's trotter and ginger wine cooked with pig's kidneys. We waited for 20 minutes. The main character was not what we had thought it to be. The tendons here comes from the embedded part of the backbone and loin meat or ribeye. It's a short tendon so there are not enough to go round the market unlike the normal tendons of the pig's legs.
The white short particles of three inches in length and half-inch in width are the tendons. These are sandwiched between two thin layers of lean meat. One bite, you get hooked. Bah-kut-teh stock is very sweet, non-oily. A good recommendation for friends who do not like oily stuff.
良记肉骨茶 Lieong Kee Bae Good Teh
19, Jalan Development, Taman Kepong,
52100 Kuala Lumpur. Tel: 03-62750102, 012-9702946
（每逢星期一休息，假期照常营业 Closed on Mondays. Remains open during public holidays）
Parenthood may be a pleasure though not an easy task. But as the years advance and children start to leave home, an empty nest syndrome can start to build-up. It makes one ponder about the next phase of life.
After reaching middle age from 50 onwards to 60, 70, 80 or even to a ripe old age of 90, you will go into a physical and mental decline. For many people, the secret of a satisfying old age can be combination of an active mind in a sound body.
Take the case of my good friend ?Chow Khim Chew who is in his early fifties. Retirement need not mean of narrowing horizons as he has done well in life and with the new found leisure, Chow and wife travel abroad often. He enjoys playing Chinese and Western musical instrument and his wife provides good companionship. We always look up to him as he has run his business to a good level and being middle-age, he is not too old to reap the benefits of a loving family relationship.
But another friend Kennedy Tan involved in direct sales is not so lucky after making a fortune a decade ago, he went through a lot of turmoil. Now approaching sixty, he can look back at those unhappy times. But during the worst crisis period, he was not dampened in spirits and continued to put in a lot of efforts for the Chinese education issue of primary schools. He asked for no benefits but today even with world economic gloom everywhere, he and wife are both doing very well locally and expanding their business to the Middle East. Optimists are happy people who expect good things to happen.
More and more people are taking their pre-retirement skills to voluntary organizations and our friends, both Mr. & Mrs. Ho are remaining active in the PTA and they are well into their seventies. Both are very sprightly and can testify to the truth that old age need not be filled with depression. Their son is holding a fine job and lives with the parents. Daughter-in-law is a lady laced with filial piety gestures.
My parents are now into their eighties. When my father was young, he suffered a heart problem and had hypertension. But with a brood of children to care, he paid careful attention to his diet and medication. Thinking positively about health has helped him to keep sickness at bay or working to cure it when it arises.
More than 10 years ago, my mother started to be affected by all the illnesses of present day issue. With a strong character, she tries not to fuss over pains. But this CNY, she suffered a hip fracture and was hospitalized. We spent an uneasy CNY and prayed for her quick recovery. Let us hope she will have many more happy, healthy years to come.
Both of us are now preparing ourselves for healthy and active old age. Financially, we should remain independent as long as possible. Being in good health physically and emotionally can help us to enjoy our coming golden years.
Spending the last night at Guilin.
Waxed meat hanging at the balcony.
Varieties of waxed meat, waxed fish ...
The unkempt site of Liu San Jie Landscape Garden. You can give this a miss if you ever step into Guilin.
Night market at Guilin.
Waterfall hotel (day).
Waterfall hotel (night).
The greedy tourguide -- Xiao Li.
13-1-2009 (Tuesday) Sunny (Sightseeing of two rivers, four lakes)
All in all, today will be the last day left in our itinerary. We were shown more shops that sold goods at cut-throat prices and viewed a few non-spectacular sights. At 10a.m., we reached Yushan Park, but the whole place had an unnatural effect. Out came a professor who ran an introduction of the place. He spoke with such eloquence, many fell for his charm and bought goods put up on display. Wasn't that a good sales person talk?
We viewed the unkempt site of Liu San Jie Landscape Garden. You can give this a miss if you ever step into Guilin.
In the evening we cruised along two rivers and viewed four lakes. Indeed Guilin attracted many tourists but we only like its natural charms. The region may really prosper with tourism money but it is a real shame to see beauty being marred by the presence of artificial structures. Will Guilin leave behind a brittle legacy of her once worldwide fame for mystical landscapes and stunning beauty of peaks?
14-1-2009 (Wednesday) Sunny (Guilin, Kuala Lumpur)
Early 8.30a.m. was the departure time from hotel to airport. Our eight days trip had ended and there is nothing better in life than coming home to be with our loved ones.
As the Guilin landscape is changing and new development rising, it is still alright to enjoy what she has to offer but please note the following:
(1) book your tour with a reputable local agent.
(2) fight for you right if you meet some unscrupulous tour guides.
(3) do not buy from shops listed on your brochure. Prices are very high and there are no exchange for defaulted goods. Be wary of bogus deals.