A Belated Holiday Greeting

Hi!

A little late, but December 2013 was a busy month!

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We celebrated two birthdays… I made this cake for the two lovely ladies, Pinkydoodles and S.

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Then it was Winter Solstice Festival. We made tang yuan for with K and her family. I think her 3 year old had a good time making this ūüôā

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Then it was Christmas! Our tree this time includes chocolates, candy canes and home made gingerbread men.

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Saw Borobudur for the first time on Boxing Day in Indonesia…

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Cream puffs for New Year’s Celebration by EggTart. Recipe soon!

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All and all, a good year for us! We hope this year will be better and full of fun with our love ones!

A happy new year to all!

-M.

Inderasabah

“Stay safe, Sabah.”

That was actually what one of my colleagues said, as the news of the skirmishes reached us at the office in KL. A lot of us travel to Tawau for work, so naturally we were worried for those posted in the East of Malaysia. Troops were deployed, fatalities reported.

I’ve been having such a hard time to write a blog post lately, partly due to work schedule, but I can’t help but to show these pictures now in light of what is happening.

This was taken last year while I was visiting Sabah. Before then, I’ve never been to Borneo.

A Sabahan colleague took me and some others to a village near Tawau called Inderasabah: a small fishing village on silts occupied primarily by the Bugis people.

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They said that the best salted fish are from Inderasabah. Many foreigners and locals come here to get the best dried fish (especially “ikan bilis”).

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Somewhat fragile looking houses, yet the whole community lives up here in a seemingly peaceful seaside.

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With the current situation, all fishing along this region would have been grounded to a stop I would imagine.

Phonecalls from those we know near Lahad Datu and Tawau reported that fishing ports and many shops were closed and advised us those from the Peninsula to not travel here for the time being.

ImageFresh catch would be hand picked and processed.

ImageThese nets were laid out in the “courtyards” between houses. Below in the water, I could see other fishes waiting for the dried bits to fall through the netting and into the water for them to eat.Image

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The sun-dried and salted fish were packed up in plastic bags according to the weight you want. The background here is the said “courtyard” for fish sun-drying. Brought back a kilo for my mum and she said it was one of the best dried fish she ever got.

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Inderasabah village kids just hanging out at the doorstep of their home.

I just can’t stop wondering how a village like this would be right now.

Stay safe, Sabah.

-M.

Sarawakian fruits

I was back in Sibu again recently. Though it is end of the year, I’ve learnt that the fruiting season is almost the opposite from that on the Peninsula.

SibumarketGone to Sibu market in the early morning to see what I can find. I found that the local durian was in season. My, some of the kampung varieties are so small and looked like a green sea urchin!

Duriansibu

Oh yes, when there is durian, there is also duku/langsat/dokong. The tangy and sweet flesh of that small round yellow-skinned fruit is just so contrasting to the creamy durian. Perfect, right?

Oh, there is of course the all year round banana, but take a look at the price.

pisang

During my trip, I’ve been introduced to a very particular fruit seasonal around November/December.

dabais

Apparently this fruit ripens at the same time on one tree. Dabai, as it is called, is also known as “Black Olive” here.

DabaicookedDabai doesn’t keep well so you will need to eat it within a few days of purchasing. I am told not to buy any wrinkly ones. I’m not sure if you can have it raw, as I was also instructed to “cook” it – buy exposing them to hot sun for a while or soaking them in warm (not boiling) water for about 30 mins or until soften. Then, douse the dabai with soya sauce and sprinkle some sugar to taste.

DabaiSeed

I really don’t know how to describe the taste… a little bit sweet, and… oily? Anyway, it is definitely an acquired taste. The large seed in the centre is like an American football. How odd.

Matakuching

I’ve also spotted some Sarawakian variant of the mata kuching (longan). It’s got green skin with sharp bumps, something like a lychee but tougher. The inside is very much like a longan, though the seed is a paler brown and the flesh more clear. The flavour was intense and so sweet. Much better than any of the commercial longan I have tried.

-M.

The humble half-boiled eggs and kaya toast

 

Ah, this seems to be my default breakfast menu while I am traveling for work and doing work in the field this past two months. If you  are in Malaysia, chances are you had this as breakfast in a kopitiam somewhere: Half-boiled eggs (crack into a saucer and add soya sauce and pepper to your taste) and some butter & kaya toast. This gets me going up to lunchtime.

Oh and it’s mid-autumn festival today, hope y’all having some lantern fun. Team budu have been stuffing themselves with mooncake goodness as always… then Pinkydoodles found out that a mooncake can have about 1000 kcal per cake! err…. once a year, right?

– M.

Ramadhan Special: Ayam Perchik Wakaf Bharu

The fasting month means the abundance of food and never seen before coloured drinks around the country for breaking fast. One special stall in Wakaf Bharu will be opened during this month: The Best Ayam Perchik Stall. Yes, I gave it a name since I have no idea what’s the real name (if any).

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My mother just refer this as the “Ayam Perchik Stall near the Wakaf Bharu Train Station”. Well, that’ll give you some idea as to where to find it.

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MMMMmmmm, ayam perchik being freshly grilled and sold. You get to pick your stick. It sells out really fast. It is so well spiced and balanced out with the coconut.

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You may find ayam perchik in a few places in Kelantan and they are sold all year round. But not this special stall.

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Don’t like chicken? There is also fish. But my favourite is the chicken, really.

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Nearby stalls will also sell other foods such as soups and traditional sweets. I found the smallest onde-onde there!

Happy Raya/Eid to those celebrating!

-M.

Sarawak Laksa

Hi all,

Been to Sarawak for work recently.

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Such a beautiful place.

I got to meet up with a cousin of mine that I haven’t seen for many years. He took me to lunch of Sarawak Laksa.

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So good. The noodles look like vermicelli but it is slightly thicker and chewier. Love it.

– M.

 

p.s.: btw, what’s with the new wordpress drop down box to add a new post thing??? don’t like it at all.

Tsukiji Fish Market

Hi, it’s been a while. Work life is pretty hectic for all of us Teambudu…

Anyway, here’s a post to mark the 1st year after that tragic day in Japan…

One of Tokyo’s popular destination for tourists is the Tsukiji Fish Market. My chef friend told me when I get there, I MUST visit this market.

I work up pretty late having worn myself out with all the walking from the day before and jet lag. Here’s my breakfast of green tea, melon pan (my first!) from Seven Eleven and some weird cookie they gave out for free near the subway (it was horrible). My hotel was lovely, but as the city is a little short of power, the hotel has some sort of power cut during the wee hours of the morning which cuts off the air conditioning so I was stickily hot by 6 am.

I made my way to the fish market by subway easily at 9 am.

This is the only market I’ve been to that doesn’t really stink of fish. It’s a bit wet, but not dirty at all. Impressed!

Although I did not witness that famous auctioning, I still saw plenty of tuna. Here’s some blocks deep frozen.

I walked around for quite a while, then it was time to look for some sushi… now I have no idea what shops are good, so I decided to go for one that had both Japanese and tourists queueing for.

It’s funny how the lady at the Sushi Daiwa thought I was with this couple of gyaru girls in front me in the queue. “San nin?” she said. Hahaha. I had to tell her no and I’m only looking for a seat in what pieces of Japanese I knew. I was so happy to finally sit down after some 1.5 hour wait! Started off with some tai and maguro nigiri. Wow, very red looking tuna… I suppose you can’t get fresher tuna than Tsukiji, can you?

¬†The other sushis I had. I don’t remember the names, but the top left one was really good. Meal also came with complimentary miso clam soup (super good). The bill that I had to pay for 6 pieces of sushi was not so good. Well, it is in the world famous fish market with super fresh ingredients so…

But honestly, I don’t know if I can wait for that long again… it may be good, but I felt that it wasn’t like to die for.

The experience at this sushi-ya was great. The chef was friendly and happy to recommend me stuff. I tried my best to speak in Japanese, to his amusement.

I will definitely be back at this fish market the next time I’m in Tokyo.

 

-M.