30-Day Writing Challenge Day 8 : Your Worst Birthday

8. My Worst Birthday

Birthdays feel a little passe, now that I’m older.

On my birthday this year, I was working (it was a weekday) – although, I have to say that it was a fun assignment where I had to interview a street chef and try their food. Then my weekends were so taken up with part-time work and other stuff that I only managed to have a simple dinner with a close friend (and that was like a month later, so we could celebrate our birthdays together, lol).

My worst birthday was probably my 25th one. Apart from having a quarter-life crisis, I was also burning out from work, which required long (and odd) hours – working weekends, overtime, having very little time with family, etc. On my birthday, I was out early in the morning and only finished work at midnight. When I got home, my mom had waited up just to wish me, and she said “I hardly see you these days.” Which made me feel extremely guilty, so I quit my job, which caused a big row because it was a company with ‘good prospects’ (even though the reason I quit was because I wanted to spend more time with the fam).

Moving on to happier topics, my best birthday as I recall, was my 9th one which was also the only one I had which was a ‘proper’ party. It was held at the A&W in Taman Jaya, where I had a Sailormoon cake (was obsessed with the cartoons back then) and some classmates over. We played games with balloons and teased the A&W bear mascot by pulling its tail, and it got ‘angry’. I still have photos from that party somewhere!

 

 

29 Lessons At 29

  1. Things happen for a reason
  2. Health is wealth. Eat well, get enough sleep, and exercise
  3. Read voraciously
  4. Love passionately
  5. Travel if you have the means to
  6. Do what you want to, because life is short
  7. Have goals and work towards them, even if they’re small ones
  8. You can’t force someone to be part of your life if they don’t want to be
  9. Be true to yourself, but improve on the bad bits
  10. No one owes you a living; work for what you want
  11. Appreciate the people around you
  12. Find joy in small things
  13. Practice patience
  14. It’s okay to put yourself first sometimes
  15. Be disciplined
  16. Courtesy is a reflection of who you are
  17. Failure does not mean the end of the world
  18. Be open minded
  19. Appearances aren’t everything, but it matters
  20. Money isn’t everything, but it matters
  21. Never say no to a good soundtrack recommendation
  22. To be better, you have to get out of your comfort zone
  23. Be a person of action, not just talk
  24. Advice should not be given lightly
  25. Have productive hobbies
  26. When overwhelmed, recenter priorities
  27. Forgive, but never forget
  28. Be kind
  29. Cats

I Stuffed My Face With Sisig On My Birthday

Hey guys! 

Has it been two weeks since my last post !? I can’t believe I abandoned my blog for so long T-T. The entirety of this period has been spent either a) working b) working some more or c) bringing the Boy around, since he’s visiting Malaysia for three weeks. 

Still, I’m grateful that blog traffic hasn’t taken a hit; I see a lot of people coming on to check how to pay their summonses on this post. Glad I could be of help! 😀

Now that we’re done with that bit of rambling… I spent my birthday working because I was saving up my leaves for the long Agong Birthday – Malaysia Day week.The Boy decided to tag along, so while I worked, he wandered around the vicinity. We met up for lunch at The Narra, which I’ve reviewed before in another post.

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Appetisers: Chicken isaw (intestines)

It’s funny how as kids we’re so excited about our birthdays, but as we get older birthdays feel just like any other day. Or is it just me? lol.

Also lolol coz the Boy was like wtf I came all the way here to Malaysia and you’re going to drag me to eat Filipino food? 

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I was primarily here for my sisig quota of the month. I’ve mentioned multiple times on this blog, but I LOVE sisig, especially the one served at Razon’s. Unfortunately, Malaysians are not blessed with the grace of an outlet here, so this will have to suffice. I guess not many Malaysians find chopped pig’s ears, neck and jowls appealing lol.

PS the best part of sisig is the crispy part you get from the meat sticking to the hot grill for too long MHMM

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Birthday dinner; Moo made a few simple dishes – stir fried vege, green pepper tofu and salt-baked chicken from Ipoh along with carrot, tomato and onion soup.

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I didn’t really want cake but they got it for me anyways. Black sesame from Patis Cocoa. Frankly it tasted meh but its the thought that counts.

Anddddd just like that, another year older. 

To be honest, I don’t feel like an adult at all even though I’m approaching 30. I wonder if other people my age feel that way, or if it’s just me. I guess I should be thankful; there are plenty of other people who have not made it this far, and I’m far blessed than most.

More posts to come once I get the time to blog! 🙂

Review: Free Birthday Waffle! @ Fluffed Cafe and Dessert Bar, Taman Paramount PJ

Food trends come and go, but when it comes to dessert, I think nothing beats a good ol’-fashioned cake and waffle combo. If you’re in the Petaling Jaya neighbourhood, one of the best places to get both is at Fluffed Cafe and Dessert Bar. Sandwiched in the middle of a row of quiet shoplots in Taman Paramount, the cosy nook is pretty popular, judging by the crowd that was there during our visit on a Sunday night. Since it was just S and I, we managed to get a table at the back quick (the cafe seats around 50 people +)

I was pleasantly surprised to find that they have a Birthday Special, where patrons can claim a waffle set either 1 day before, on or 1 day after their birthday, with a minimum purchase of RM40 (it’s a good idea to come with friends!). Since S and I already ordered 1 cake each for ourselves and drinks (which was already RM50), we felt it’d be a shame if we didn’t redeem the waffle. We were going to regret this later but wth.

For drinks, I had the Strawberry Milk, which was refreshing with just the slightest hint of sweetness – it tasted a lot like a strawberry-flavoured yoghurt shake.

PS: Service was super quick: almost as soon as we ordered and looked for a seat, the drinks came wtf we hadn’t even sat down properly yet. But then again we took a really long time ordering so the kitchen probably prepped it while we were still logging orders coz they got fed up with our indecisiveness. lol

S had their signature drink called Maple Story, which is earl grey and maple-infused panna cotta with frozen espresso cubes and cold milk. The panna cotta pudding at the bottom of the glass was smooth and sweet, balancing out the slight bitterness from the espresso which melted when combined with the cold milk.

I saw this Smores Cheesecake in their display glass and it looked so good I couldn’t resist ordering. The chocolate/biscuit base on the inside was solid, complementing the soft, gooey smores coating on the outside. It was a tad too sweet for me though, and it got cloying rather quickly.

S decided to save his tiramisu for home coz we still had a waffle coming.

I got to customise my Birthday Waffle! I went for Charcoal Waffle, paired with three scoops of ice cream: their signature Hokey Pokey (vanilla + honey with bits of honeycomb), Black Chocolate and Red Strawberry. The dish was served with slices of banana and strawberry, and they gave me a little candle to boot. 🙂

The waffle was fluffy and crisp, just the right portion for two or three to share. They didn’t skimp on the ice-cream either, which were giant scoops of solid, smooth creaminess. My favourite was the Hokey Pokey, as it was sweet with subtle hints of honey that brought out the vanilla flavour rather than overpower it. Black Chocolate came a close second with its rich, thick and slight hint of bitterness. The Red Strawberry was really sour, which I didn’t like, but S thought it was okay.

They also have unique ice cream flavours like Tau Foo Far and Macadamia Crumble.

We left completely stuffed and satisfied from our food excursion. I’d definitely come here again for my waffle fix if I’m in the neighbourhood! It’s not the best place for chilling though as the place gets crowded and super noisy, you might have to shout at each other to be heard. Service was fast, friendly and efficient.

FLUFFED CAFE AND DESSERT BAR 

55, Jalan 20/7, Taman Paramount, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

Opening hours: 12PM – 10PM (Tues – Suns)

Tel: 03-7865-1833

DIY Mini Dreamcatcher from Typo

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On a normal day, I wouldn’t buy anything from Typo (its a branded arts/crafts store) coz everything so bloody expensive, but Mabel and Jo got me a box of DIY Mini Dream Catchers as a birthday present recently, so thank you, guys! ❤ Had some free time over the weekend to assemble it…

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The box said there were ‘instructions’ on the inside.. yeah right. They were basically useless and told me nothing about how to make anything beyond looping and tying random pieces of string on the hoops. I ended up looking for tutorials on Youtube. A useful one here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vmtkc7FOWLw

Anyway, there were two mini plastic hoops, some twine and smooth string, lace, decorative blue/white/teal feathers, and matching beads. Quality of the lace was the best; the feather tips were flaky and the bead openings weren’t complete – still had to poke a hard object through them to get the string through.

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Tada! The web looked a little retarded coz the hoop was too small and I couldn’t follow the tutorial exactly, but hey, not bad for a first timer. Spent about four hours on it and felt a sense of accomplishment.

*While working on it, my mum comes into the room and was like ‘why spend so much time and money on making that? wouldn’t it be easier to buy it?’ lol, it’s not the same, mom..

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The left is a store bought one, vs mine. I’ve run out of places to hang my stuff btw.

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Also got this cute Totoro Powerbank from Carmen, Simon and Elyss, who treated me to a Korean BBQ meal.

A big thank you to everyone who has taken the time/effort to make my 26th birthday a special one. I appreciate every one of you. ❤

Fong Lye Taiwanese Restaurant, Sunway Pyramid

 

 

Hey, guys! I haven’t been blogging as often as I’d like to since starting my new job, coz travelling/work takes up most of my time – but I’m trying my best to squeeze in some blogging time. It’s 10.45 now, which leaves me about 15 minutes to write this before I hit the sack. I try to get 8 hours of sleep these days, or I feel really washed out in the morning…part of growing old. 😛

Speaking of old, I turned 26 recently. Yay, mid 20s….not. I don’t feel like a prune yet, but I don’t feel like a spring chicken either. Things really mellow down as you age. You might have had a lot of ‘friends’ in high school/college, but once you hit your mid 20s, the time you have for people just dwindles, and you’re left with the small circle that really counts.

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I met up with my ex-UK flatmates Mabel and Jo, as well as another college friend HP at Sunway Pyramid for dinner recently. It was to celebrate my birthday/new job + HP’s farewell as she’s leaving for a work/travel holiday to New Zealand soon. It was so sweet of them to plan it, even on a Friday evening where they had to rush there from work.

All the restos were packed. Mabel suggested a Taiwanese resto called Fong Lye. Service was quick and efficient; while we waited for tables, we placed our orders and most of the food was ready by the time we got a seat.

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Hot tea for two.

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I had a craving for noodles, so I got the innards meesua. It’s good to have noodles on your birthday in Chinese culture, it represents long life 😛

Meesua came in a thick broth. The flavour was just so-so though. Too salty, and the intestines weren’t cleaned well and still had a gamey smell to it. The meal came served with ‘banchan’-like side dishes of marinated eggplant, a sweet potato ball and tofu.

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Jo had rice with deep fried pork chop. The chop was marinated with namyue (fermented bean curd). It tasted weird to me xD

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HP also had pork chop, but hers tasted better as it was cooked in a sweet sauce topped with fragrant sesame.

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Mabel had dumplings and hot/sour soup. Dumpling skin was pretty thick and there was more chives > meat ratio. It tasted better with the soup.

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The real winners of this meal are their snacks. The deep fried mushrooms were thick and chunky, seasoned with spiced powder. Crispy on the outside, but moist and juicy on the inside without being too oily.

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Sweet potato balls were divine. Wish they had more, even though the serving was already pretty huge. Chewy and light, it had a porous texture with just the right amount of sweetness. Not too oily either.

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FONG LYE TAIWANESE RESTAURANT (Non halal) 

LG1.43A, Lower Ground 1, Sunway Pyramid Shopping Mall,

No. 3, Jalan PJS 11/15, Bandar Sunway,

46150 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia

Phone: +60 3-5633 3699 

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Of course, everywhere we walked through the mall was held up by three people playing Pokemon Go.. myself included. Jo doesn’t play lol.

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Dessert time was at Caffe Bene, a Korean bingsu (shaved ice) chain.

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Pricey imo, and the texture of the shaved ice isnt really like the original bingsu, which is very soft and fluffy just like fine snow. This was chunky like our local ais kacang lol. The chocolate one was very sweet but it was offset by the ice. It was good for Instagram pictures though.

Would just like to say thank you to the girls for taking the time/trouble to celebrate my birthday with me. I got a neat present from them, but that’ll be for another post. Way past a 26-year-old’s bedtime. 😛

Toodles. xoxo

Yasmin’s Birthday

It was Yasmin’s birthday, and some of my ex-colleagues and I decided to ‘surprise’ her at her boyfriend’s house one Saturday evening (the bf was in the plan, of course). Another friend had successfully lured her out for the day while we went about the preparations.

The time came and it was raining like crazy, most of us got delayed because it was flooded everywhere in KL, the pizza came late, and basically everything to do with Murphy’s Law that could go wrong went wrong. When Yasmin finally came up to the apartment, she actually saw one of the guys standing from the kitchen window. He stooped down but it was too late, we weren’t prepared and I lighted up the candles in a record 2 seconds, and then when they came in we sang Happy Birthday lol.

Kind of a failed surprise, and then Yasmin decided to drop another bomb by telling us.. she already knew our plan two days ago! What??!!

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Turns out she accidentally saw our Whatsapp group on her bf’s phone (which we named Yasmin’s Birthday Plan), haha! Although the surprise was spoiled, it was all good coz we still had loads of fun. 🙂

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Red velvet cake with cream cheese and macarons, Pizza from Domino’s and a buttload of snacks which we munched on while catching up, goofing around and watching TV as the storm raged outside.

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Ex-colleagues from the newspaper! Since I left last year, we haven’t had a gathering like this really. It was nice catching up with those I was close to, and getting to know those I wasn’t so close to like Nelly and Feisol. I haven’t laughed as hard as I have in such a long time, especially when we were playing with the Boomerang app and Snapchat.

A video posted by erisgoesto (@erisgoesto) on May 7, 2016 at 11:45pm PDT

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Happy 89th , Ah Ma!

It was my Ah Ma’s 89th birthday over the weekend, so the whole extended family showed up at my aunt’s house in Ipoh to celebrate. It was also the Aidiladha holidays, so everyone was travelling away from KL over the three-day weekend, which meant that we were stuck in traffic for a good four hours .___.”

We finally reached at 7pm, just in time for dinner. Went in to greet Ah Ma and helped set up the tables. The small house, which is usually quiet, was rowdy with laughter and the chatter of relatives. As Ah Ma can’t walk these days, my aunts called a caterer to provide the food, and my Sa Kor (third aunt) whipped up a couple of her own specialties as well.

I was told that the catering only came to RM14 per person. That’s super cheap! And the food was pretty delish too. In KL you won’t be able to get good caterers for anything less than RM30.

If you’re wondering how a typical Malaysian Chinese gathering with food looks like, here it is:

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No party is complete without fried chicken wings. I think this spans all cultures.

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There was fried rice, fried bihun (vermicilli noodles), beancurd stuffed with fishpaste and topped with dried oyster (hou si, which sounds like ‘good fortune’ in Cantonese and a lucky symbol), fried foochok (beancurd sheets) wrapped over spiced ground pork and crabmeat sticks, curry chicken, stir fried vegetables, shrimp, watermelon, and glutinous turmeric rice. The yellowish rice is my Sa Kor’s specialty, and has a crispy, hardened crust with soft, gooey rice bits on the inside. It was very popular with the guests and gone within a few minutes.

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Spicy shrimp with curry leaves for that extra oomph. Shrimp is called ‘ha‘ in Cantonese, and again, the symbolism is that it sounds like laughter – ergo, good fortune and a great dish to have during happy occasions.

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Another one of aunt’s signature dishes – curry chicken. If you’ve tried this, you’ll never want for any sort of curry out there ever again. My Sa Kor got this recipe from my Grandma, and somehow nobody else in the family can make it like how my Grandma used to except her. Everyone in the family would really look forward to our Chinese New Year reunions when we would be able to sink our teeth into the deliciously tender chicken chunks and soft potatoes; or pour the creamy, savoury gravy over hot, white rice.

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Ah Ma with the butter coffee cake and a ‘sau pau’ (longevity bun). It’s a large pink bun traditionally served at Chinese festivals or birthdays – the equivalent of the Western ‘birthday cake’. Sometimes it has little bumps on the front and back to symbolise a ‘turtle’, since turtles live a long life.

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The cake was pretty yummy too! Or maybe I just haven’t had cake in a long time, so.

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Smaller ‘sau paus‘ are shaped like yellow and pink peaches. According to legend, the God of Longevity (yuet lou) in Taoist beliefs have a garden full of these, and eating one would increase one’s lifespan by a thousand years. Of course, these were only reserved for other deities in Heaven, so mortals made their own version of it in the form of coloured steam buns. No, you won’t be adding any years to your life after eating these, sorry.

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Happy Birthday, Dear Ah Ma! 89 is a long way to come, and I know it has been hard raising 10 kids with grandpa. Here’s to many more years of good health to come. We❤ you.