Sunday, February 21, 2010

pearl of the orient p1

Not too long after Satria's wedding in Jakarta, I had to miss Cherry's in Laos, so I decided I shouldn't miss Ying's in Penang. After all, it's much nearer and Laiying was going back to her hometown that weekend. It's been a decade and a half since I left the Pearl of the Orient, and I've only been back there once since then.

Ying had just returned to Malaysia after completing her PhD in Japan, and some of our mutual friends would be attending the wedding too. I thought I could kill many (4 to be precise) birds with one stone. Wedding + reunion + catch up with MMU friends + a walk down memory lane.

The logistics proved to be a bit tricky because Laiying's house is in Nibong Tebal, whereas the wedding was held in Bukit Mertajam and the friends I wanted to catch up with were all on the island side of the state.  And I only had a weekend to do all of the above!

On the way there, our car stopped by at Bidor to have lunch. We couldn't get a place at the famous duck thigh noodle restaurant, so we had to settle for these local specialties instead.

Clockwise from top left : curry chicken bun, nyonya nasi lemak, Pun Chun's famous woo kok (roasted pork-filled mashed yam dumplings, deep fried) and cheesy curry chicken rice

We even bought additional snacks which can only be found in Bidor. (Well, these black sesame chicken biscuits, and others, can be bought in KL, but it just doesn't feel the same!)

We even had a chance to see how they made these crunchy biscuits. So this is how they look like before they're baked.

It was really nice staying with the Leong's; they were so welcoming! We had dinner at one of the nicest restaurants in town and had an equivalent of a feast.

Laiying and I talked about differences between urban and rural families. She pointed how in our increasingly harried lifestyles in the cities we all have our own lives and do not come together as a family to eat as often as those who live outside the city.

I didn't notice this even though through my dad's work we've lived in big cities and small towns all over the country. I guess it says something of the fast growth of development we have had since our Independence 50+ years ago, and in our haste to bring ourselves up to par with developed nations, we have somehow abandoned values that has shaped us as a nation.

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