Monday, 6 February 2012

Feasting on Chap Goh Mei

In true 1Malaysia spirit, this long weekend is rendered extra special because all the three main races have their own stakes in the celebration. Yesterday was a holy day for the Muslims as it was Prophet Muhammad's birthday. Chinese New Year formally ends today with Chap Goh Mei. Devout Hindus will throng the temples to give thanks and fulfil their vows on Thaipusam, which falls tomorrow.

It has indeed been a fruitful long weekend for me, a welcome respite for the weary working soul. Although I was slogging around the house on Saturday and Sunday, I enjoyed surveying the fruits of my labour. In preparation for hubby's guest, who will be checking into our humble abode in a fortnight's time, I have been sprucing up the house. When the urge and mood kick in, I can vouch for how therapeutic tidying and cleaning can be. Witnessing the transformation from messy and dusty to neat and sparkling clean can certainly boost one's spirits and esteem.

After all the hard work, I decided to celebrate the Chinese version of Valentine's Day with Suet Fun, who is like a sister to me. To digress a little, I'll explain why Chap Goh Mei (the fifteenth day of Chinese New Year) is akin to Valentine's Day. In the olden days, fair maidens headed to rivers and lakes where they would throw in their mandarin oranges. It was believed that the man who picks up their orange would be their future destiny.

Being of the practical sort (and also because we've already found our own destiny), Suet Fun and I had no plans to pollute the Kinta River with our mandarin oranges. Instead, we opted to fill our bellies with a sumptuous meal at Restoran Rasa Lain in Bercham. It was Suet Fun's first time there and she thanked me for introducing her to such good food. We shared a claypot of tung hoon (vermicelli) with deep fried fish meat and a platter of steamed la-la (clams). Restoran Rasa Lain is famed for its claypot tung hoon with crabs but we dainty ladies did not deign to dirty our hands cracking the claws. So we chose to have the claypot tung hoon accompanied by fish meat instead. When the claypot arrived, it looked like a really huge amount but we hungry souls were not in the least worried. And because it was so delicious, not a drop of the soup nor a thread of tung hoon was left. We also attacked the steamed la-la with fervour as they were succulent and scrumptious, being accompanied by garlic, ginger, spring onions and chillies.

Tonight's dinner cost us RM26 each but given the amount of seafood, it was truly reasonable. But more importantly, it was dining with the right company that made the affair truly memorable. Happy Chap Goh Mei, jie jie!

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