Friday, August 31, 2007

Happy Merdeka, Malaysia!

The eve of Merdeka.

I must say, though, that many of us Sabahans are suitably upset that Malaysia is known to be 50 years old this year. Malaysia as a nation is actually only 44 years old. The Federation of Malaya became Malaysia only in 1963 when Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore joined the country.

Ah well. Some say details are trivial. I think not.

Back to the matter of celebrating Merdeka in KK.

This was the first year I have ever been a part of the official Merdeka celebrations in any way. Don't get me wrong. I love being Malaysian. I even use the 'Tanggal 31, Bulan 8, 57... Merdeka!' song as my ringtone for the whole month of August. I just never got round to making it to any of the padangs or celebration grounds.

This year was special. The Sarios got an invite to the Konsert Gemilang Ambang at Sabah's Padang Merdeka. We had nice, vip seats and didn't have to risk being manhandled by the masses. ;p

And it was all cos my little brother, Bryan, was performing! (I never knew that young punk was so talented)

Bryan's the lead singer of his band, 5th Generation. The (rock-ish) band, consisting of Tim, Kevin, Gordon and Yazid, were to sing 10 songs throughout the night, and even given the task of singing two songs when the Guests of Honor arrived.

The boys in practice

The concert grounds

We couldn't stay the whole nite cos of Daddy and Mummy's flight to Japan. But we managed (after 2 hours of waiting from 6pm onwards) to catch the band in action. And at the risk of sounding biased, 5th Generation was AWESOME! Bryan was superb, his bandmates on the guitars and drums were like professional musicians, and Daddy, Mummy, Leanne and I beamed with pride. Kesh and Don, you two shoulda been here.

5th Generation in action

Happy Merdeka everyone!



Thursday, August 30, 2007

The stall at Tuaran

A peek of Mt. Kinabalu enroute to Tuaran

Tuaran is an idylic little town that is half an hour away from Kota Kinabalu.
We come up here often to visit my ah-yi and to eat at a stall above the Tuaran market place. The food is yummy and fresh (literally like seafood just out of the ocean and vegetables just harvested from the backyards).

Our recent jaunt there produced an exciting discovery. The original chef had left for greener pastures, and her mum (also her guru) had taken over the kitchen. The menu stayed the same, but we were in for an even better treat than we were used to. Yumz. Mums are truly the best.

Fried Sabah Veggie with Egg

Fish head with beancurd skin and bean paste

Belacan fried wing beans

Wet butter prawns

Fish fillet, lips and skin with a special spicy sauce (I know, it sounds weird, but actually tastes really yummy!)

Translation of name card from top:
Tuaran Market Upstairs

Fui Lee


All kinds of Cooking Style: >Tuaran Noodles and Rice

> fish, prawns, char-siew, chicken and fresh meat

> fish mix, fish head, drunken prawn

Operation Hours: 8am to 2.30pm

Note: Be forewarned, it is a stall with restaurant prices.
Love, Heather

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Pure Goodness of Pork

This is a very simple dish of clear pork soup, most basic in ingredients and preparation. It has a peppery taste and very light fragrant of freshly boiled pork. The meat is boiled in chunks and sliced only when ready to serve. The fried garlic sprinkled on when ready to eat provides the soup with a most enticing aroma and crunch.

The other exciting part about the pork soup is also in the chili sauce and the accompanying 'kicap'(soy sauce) laced with deep fried lard bits. Bliss!

She assembles the sliced meat as the orders come. Take a note on the little girl sitting at the far right hand corner of this pic.

A constant crowd waiting to be served.

And this bunch that crawled out of bed at the ungodly hour of 7am on a Sunday, waiting patiently for their chow.

The stall is amidst the most natural setting of huge trees and vegetation by the side of a river. The aroma of a good soup coupled with this natural ambience make you grateful to be alive.

The old dilapidated and new hanging bridges side by side.

Remember the girl in the earlier pic? She helps clear the table, put all the used utensils in a pail (with at least seven to eight ceramic bowls!) and carries them to the wash. Hardly eight years old.

One of the five or six stalls in this mini Sunday tamu (weekly market), smallest that we know.

This particular tamu, I suspect, is all about the pork soup.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

New Gaya Seafood Restaurant, Inanam

We kept coming back to this restaurant because of the consistency and varieties they offered. The food had always maintained a fairly good KK standard through the years. That was why we brought Frank and Iris the first night they were here. They liked it. But we were quietly mortified because for the first time, the food was shockingly bland. Where was that 'consistency'? Was there a change of chef?
Anyway, here is what we had ...

Elephant trunks, not too bad.

'Tung Fong Loh', plain soy dip

As Frank and Iris never had these before, K showed them how to fish out the yums.

Steamed live prawns, same dip as above

Mussels in sweet and sour sauce

chow zhow steamed fish.... disappointing

Deer meat with curry sauce in this sea food restaurant saved the day.

Can't really go wrong with the soft shelled crab deep fried in batter.

It is located in Inanam. After turning at the roundabout entering the township, go straight and you will see a school (Yik Nam) on your right. First turning right after the school, about 100 m ahead, the restaurant is on the right, next to the Gaya Sports Recreation Centre.

Hope you have better luck than us.


Monday, August 27, 2007

A Gift of Love

The best cake in the world is in the message.

The paellera was a decoy, this is the real McCoy!!


Speechless. The here.

Didn't trust myself to assemble it.

Perfect fit. Now the pressure is on to get the best shot.
Thank you so much, my dear family!

A Kadazan Wedding

On Saturday, Heather's flight from KL arrived at about 2.30 pm (scheduled: 12.30 Air Asia!) together with Frank (aka lcchan) and his wife, Iris. As the wedding invitation was for 1 pm, we headed straight from the airport to the party. We arrived at Martin's residence at 3.30 pm and the wedding celebration was already in full swing.

Imelda and Robert's big day

Heather and Kesh with Bernadette (Imelda's mum) and the happy couple

The contingent headed for the buffet section to check out the food. Expecting Hinava (raw fish salad), pinasakan (pickled fish)and all the delicious kadazan cuisine...Alas it wasn't to be so... the food was chinese restaurant-catered.
The Sumazau, a traditional dance of the Kadazan, looks easy but is very hard on the heels and calves for the novice. The dancers are practically tip-toeing for the entire dance. Ceremonial sashes are worn by both male and female dancers.

The movement and rhythm of this dance is elegantly soft and slow. The dancers face each other, move their feet in small movements and move their heels up and down to the beat of the music. While dancing, the dancers will spread their hands and move it up and down just like a bird spreading their wings to fly. The Sumazau is usually performed during festive occasions like this.
The man in blue checked shirt going around the male dancers getting them to drink wine (lihing or tapai, traditional home-brewed).

Carol, the bride's sister dancing with spouse

Martin, the very happy father of the bride

The family members dancing around the newly weds

The Sumazau dance is accompanied entirely by a symphony of handcrafted bronze or brass gongs that are individually called 'tagung', a unique musical instrument. The Kadazan have a musical heritage consisting of various types of tagung ensembles - ensembles composed of large hanging knobbed gongs like those above.

And these, the kulintangan ensemble - a horizontal-type ensemble

A durian tree

The guests from across the South China Sea sat happily surrounded by durian trees in the big backyard of the house.