Marriages are a lifelong commitment – you vow to be with your significant other through thick and thin, in sickness and in health, in both good and bad times. To do that for 35 years needs something more than just the initial passion. A strong, lasting relationship needs patience, understanding and tolerance. So I applaud my aunt and uncle (Kao Fu and Kao Mo) for their perseverance and unwavering devotion to each other. Happy 35th anniversary!

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To celebrate this milestone, my cousin organised a banquet at Moon Palace in Bandar Puteri, Puchong with close to 200 guests comprising relatives and friends. Since my mum and dad were ‘VIP guests’, my bro and I were relegated to a random table full of old strangers. It made for awkward conversation and lots of smartphone playing (on our end, of course.)

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I can get the whole ‘festive’ idea of having banquets, because one wants to celebrate and be happy. I guess my aunt and uncle were pretty happy because they were walking from table to table, toasting guests in increasingly loud voices. I was surprised my uncle didn’t just topple over after a bit because he was lugging this huge ass bottle of whiskey around and drinking at every table. It’s also a Chinese thing because we take the phrase ‘the more the merrier’ literally. Loud and over-the-top = good. Quiet? Bad. That’s also why we invented firecrackers and fireworks, see?

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If I’m getting married next time, I just want a quiet affair at home with good food, a couple of friends and close relatives, and cake. Cake is a must. I don’t need abalones or sea cucumbers like those Chinese ten-course dinners, but Cake is a must.

I guess my wedding next time will be a very quiet affair with homemade food, a couple of friends and close relatives, and cake. CAKE IS A MUST. I don’t need abalone or sea cucumber or oat-fried shrimp but CAKE IS A MUST

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Bro and I with Kau foo and Kau Mo. The former looked quite dapper because he doesn’t normally wear coats, while the latter looked nearly 10 years younger – not from the makeup, but a general glow of happiness. I was happy for the both of them.

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Chow time! Like most Chinese dinner banquets, food was served close to an hour after guest arrivals, because we are never on time lol. The dishes come according to course – which means that each dish is served and finished before the next one arrives.

For appetisers, we had a mixed platter of assorted stuff, including cold lobster salad, deep fried spring rolls stuffed with fish paste, salted egg yolk and seaweed; deep fried vegetable balls, octopus and mango salad (not pictured above) + deep fried pork ribs. The ribs were tender, juicy and well-flavoured, while the spring rolls were crunchy and well-cooked. Vege balls were disappointingly mushy, while the salad was okay (they could have put more lobster in it!)

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Second dish was shark’s fin soup. Killing sharks for their fins is considered a cruel practice because many hunters just leave the sharks to sink to the bottom of the ocean to die, but it is highly in demand especially at traditional Chinese banquets. The fins themselves are tasteless, and can be easily substituted by dong fun (a type of transparent vermicilli made from flour). Since this is supposed to be a happy post, I won’t complain about it but I think people (especially the younger generation) should be aware that consumption is a choice. Many people still eat it because it is expensive and regarded as a ‘prestigious’ or ‘prosperous’ dish.

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Suckling pig, which is basically a baby pig that has not reached a month old.😦

Okay this is going to sound really evil, but if done well, suckling pig tastes 10x better than bacon. It has a very crispy skin when roasted, lots of fat and soft, savoury meat just beneath. The textures just melt in your mouth when you eat it. The version here was not done well though – it felt like eating large blobs of fat drenched in oil. The squiggly stuff on the side is cold jellyfish. #itstruethatChinesepeopleeateverything

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Moving on to normal-er things, here is a large, steamed garoupa in soy sauce.

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And sweet and sour shrimp. I prefer my shrimp done with oats and buttermilk, but these weren’t too bad. There was also sea cucumber and baby abalone and lotus-leaf wrapped glutinous rice along with cold dessert to end the meal. Unfortunately by then I was too full and couldn’t eat much, nor was I taking pictures because I was too busy snapping away at the stage where my family members were. My cousin also gave a nice little speech and slideshow on his parents, from the day they met til where they are today.

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Once again, Happy 35th, Kau foo and Kau Mo! Here’s to many more years ahead. Stay sweet always