Last Sunday, I invited some friends for a reunion lunch at my place. These friends are no ordinary friends. The first coincidence is that all 4 of us came from Kuching, went to the same school or in the vicinity, and moved to Belgium to be with our lo kung 😀 . The second coincidence is that some members of my family know the family of my girlfriends. What can I say? We are living in a darn small world. LOL!
Our living abroad did not deter us in reliving the deeply rooted Malaysian tradition of communal dining, in other words, a potluck lunch! We made this potluck lunch a wee bit different than the norm, as my friends had to exhibit the “cordon bleu” or the MasterChef in herself at nearly à la minute or at real time in my kitchen.
I knew X the longest. Believe you me, X and I went to the same school in Kuching and yet we did not know each other back then! I only got to know her a year or two after moving to Belgium, somewhere in 1996 or early 1997. We were being introduced by another Malaysian friend, who hailed from Penang! When I got to know X, I discovered that her uncles were my late dad’s buddies on the badminton court. Didn’t I say, it’s a small world after all?
Last Sunday, X volunteered to make popiah as our starter. No one seemed to have breakfast that Sunday morning, so you can imagine eleven hungry tummies at noon time. We were truly famished. Like vultures waiting for their prey. LOL!
You know, X had always told us that she can’t cook. Oh yeah? I have this to say, “still waters run deep on your cooking ability, X”! With a little bit of “push”, I’m pretty sure it has given you an extra boost to go beyond your hidden culinary skill. Your two guys have nothing but praises on your recent food display 😉
Ooops…..I realized that I had completely forgotten to take a picture of you in action, my dear friend. The freshly rolled popiah came and went in the blink of an eye. To give the readers an idea how your popiah would have looked like, I kept some pictures of the popiah I made some time ago. The filling may be different, but what the heck, a popiah is a popiah is a popiah. Didn’t we lick our platters clean? They were great 😉
C’s Char Kway Teow
I met C at one of the festive events held at the residence of the Malaysian ambassador to Belgium. That was many moons ago. 2000? She had her firstborn at the time. It was funny how I got to know C. It was via my younger sister, who was in Belgium for a visit. I brought my sister to the Malaysian event and I remembered my sister and C screaming out each others’ names in unison, “What are you doing in Belgium?!” OMG….another small world!
C has an aura of mystery surround her, whose love for globetrotting can only be our wishful thoughts. I can only exclaim: “Geez, how can you have so many vacation days in a year, my friend?” In her last trip to Burma (officially named Myanmar), she brought back with her 5 kg of Burmese garlic! I was wondering how she got through customs without a hitch. LOL!
C conjured a spectacular char kway teow feat in my Ken Hom’s wok, which kept wobbling incessantly on my infrared stove. Mmmmm….. woks should remain where they are best – on gas stove.
Gas stove or not, C managed to whip up an amazing plate of homemade char kway teow with the scented Burmese garlic à la minute, live in my kitchen! And oh yes, I didn’t mind humpty dumpty having a great fall on my kitchen floor. Ha ha ha!
A’s Teh Tarik, 3-layered tea and iced lemon tea
I was introduced to A via X, who happened to be connected to her by kinship, or through a marriage in their extended family.
By the way, I’m also connected to A through a marriage between her uncle and my aunt. Furthermore, A went to the same school with one of my cousins! Isn’t that amazing?
A has a new title recently. She’s called ‘mama’ less than 3 months ago. A delivered her son on her own – literally speaking. It was just amazing and chapeau to you, my dear! I sensed a super strong alliance between mother and son. KF is so adorable.
We all know A is a wonderful cook. I wasn’t expecting A to bring a potluck as I can understand it was not easy being a new mama for the first time. I know how it is, as I’ve gone through that stage. Whew….thank God, it’s over now for me 😀
Where there’s food, there’s got to be beverage. A handled that department pretty well. She churned out one type of tea beverage to another. I tried all the 3 types and they were great. As I eat and drink almost anything, I appreciated what A had executed.
Oh by the way, A, forget about the jug. I didn’t even know I had the jug until we moved house and started unpacking. It has been un-noticed for more than a decade, anyway 😉
There were a few reasons why we met at my place. We just moved house during the Christmas week last year, hence, the girls were curious, wanting to view our new house. Another reason was the potluck must include Sarawak’s signature dish, the irresistible Sarawak Laksa. That’s right; yours truly had to accomplish the task. On top of that, I also made beef rendang, ngo hiang and bak kut teh. Then of course, meeting A’s newborn baby and finally, just to meet and speak the same language!
We accomplished our mission with no problem at all, except that A and C had to leave earlier than I had wanted them to. The question then was; who’s going to start and finish the dessert? Frankly speaking, we were pretty stuffed that day, and being Asians, desserts often take backstage. After all, I (just) bought a cake and some cookies, so girls, you didn’t miss anything 😉
The best transformed leftover lunch ever
I had some leftovers left of the ngo hiang to be recycled the next day, which I sliced at an angle, then I pan-fried them. This modified starter was a winner with the guys.
For the main course, I transformed the bak kut teh into lo bak kut, by adding some 5-spiced powder and boiled eggs. It was yummilicious for a re-cycled soup, I must say.
For dessert, I used the tea dust left by A and made a pot of teh tarik, served with some Delacre choc butter cookies. OMG…. what a sin 😛
Introducing the chefs
Friendship isn’t about whom you have known the longest. It’s about who came, and never left your side….
Here’s a song to all my friends everywhere. Happy listening.
Cheers and take care!