Happy Mothers Day to all mums around the world! It’s not easy being a mum, so it’s not too much to have a special day to honour and celebrate all that she has done for you and the family.
I was working on Mothers Day. We decided to go for an early celebration with a meal at Taiping Lang, a Nyonya restaurant in Bandar Puchong Jaya.
Update: This restaurant is permanently closed.
For those who aren’t familiar with the term Nyonya cuisine, it comes from Baba and Nyonya, a community found in Malaysia and Singapore. They are also referred to as ‘Straits Chinese’ or ‘Peranakan’. The Baba and Nyonya were 15th – 17th century Chinese immigrants who came to the Malay archipelago and adopted local Nusantara customs along with their traditional rituals, way of dress and food. Their cooking is a unique blend of both Chinese and Malay flavours, making it truly a one-of-a-kind cuisine that you can only find in this part of the world.
We ordered a set meal for three persons and some side dishes. First up was ngo hiang or fried lor bak : a spiced pork and shrimp meat roll wrapped with vegetables in beancurd. The meat was marinated in five-spice powder, giving it a solid, savoury flavour interspersed with bits of carrots and other veggies. The skin was crispy and deep fried to perfection. The version here was done well without being too salty, and came served with a house special chilli dip.
Next up, Nyonya fried chicken. Unlike conventional fried chicken, this had less skin and was sweet, like it had been glazed with sugar or honey. I’m guessing it was made from village chicken as the size was smaller and the meat was tender and juicy.
This brings back memories! Jiu hu char is stir-fried jicama with dried cuttlefish, a Nyonya specialty. Although my dad’s side is ethnic Hokkien, my grandma used to make it she learnt it from a Nyonya lady when she was younger. My aunt still prepares it on special occasions, like Chinese New Year.
The jicama had a texture similar to daikon or radish, and the stir frying made it soft as it swam in a broth of its own juices. Apart from dried cuttlefish, the dish also had har mai (dried shrimps) and mushrooms for a chewier bite.
Sambal fried anchovies. Spicy, with pungent onions and chilli, this was great to go with rice.
Otak-otak wrapped in banana leaves. Literally translated, it means ‘brain-brain’ in Malay – probably derived from the dish’s soft, gooey appearance. It is actually a steamed seafood cake cooked with herbs. The cake’s texture is soft but occasionally has big chunks of seafood in them. This one here was not too spicy and the herbs lent it a unique flavour.
Rice and soup to go along with the dishes.
Overall, Taiping Lang did not disappoint. The menu items are quite limited, but the few dishes they serve are all of good quality. The resto is quite famous as you will see cutouts of newspaper reviews and celebrity photos pasted all over the wall.
19-01, Jalan Kenari 18B, Bandar Puchong Jaya,, 47100, Puchong, Selangor, 47100
Tuesday – Sunday (Closed on Mondays)
I was grumpy on Mothers Day itself because I was working from morning til 10pm at night – but the day started off well because I got to buy a bunch of fresh roses at the event I was attending for only RM1. Look how pretty they are! I got a pink bouquet for my mum coz she has never gotten flowers from anyone, tbh. (my dad isn’t exactly the romantic type lol)
If you’ve been a reader of this blog, you’ll know that my mum and I don’t always see eye-to-eye on things. Despite everything, she is still the one I’m closest to in my family, who brought me up to be the person I am today. And I know she will always be there for me, through good times, or bad times.
As a child, my mum was always super protective of me. This didn’t bide well when I stepped into adulthood – I felt suffocated by all the rules and regulations, of the things she imposed on my life ‘in my best interests’. That was often a point of contention between us. The fights were terrible. I can honestly say that I’ve never fought as much with anyone else in my life. Thankfully, these incidences are becoming less and less.
Over the past year, I’d like to believe that she is starting to understand that I am not always going to be her cutesy five-year-old, whom she can dress up and protect from all the evils in the world. Fledglings grow up and leave the nest : and while I will always be her little girl, I too must leave the nest and go out into the world someday.
I want to be my own person, to explore and fall down and get hurt and learn from experiences. Conversely, as I grow older, I am also starting to understand the fears that a mother feels, and I try to show her that I am able to take care of myself and that she need not worry.
Either way, I’d just like to wish my mum and all the mums in the world a Happy Mothers Day! I know we as kids may hurt you and do stupid things, so thank you for giving us life and putting up with all our antics.