Tag Archive | Tok Panjang

A new life at 82

How fast a year has flown by and this week, I was once again attending Auntie GY’s birthday party. It seemed like only yesterday that I wrote about her birthday bash and farewell to her old home.

The March 3 party was held at her new home, with her daughter and her family: a far larger home nearer the city, complete with swimming pool and in many ways so posh that even the hand towels in the washroom were rolled up individually like those in the best hotels’ rest rooms!

a section of the food

The spread was again generous; a tok panjang of many dishes and all served sitting down; the guests many; the soft drinks served in cut-glass tumblers.

But the celebration lacked the festivity of the last party, tinged tho that had been with some sadness due to the recent loss of the birthday girl’s husband.

She gave a speech as she did last year but a shorter one which essentially said that her daughter wanted her to have friends  come round more often. Halfway, she was again a bit teary but bravely held back the weepies and urged everyone to have more food.

I guess it’s because Auntie GY is still settling down into her new home, trying to find her feet. For her private space, she has an annexe in the house converted from the former TV den; it’s spacious with ensuite bathroom but compared to her old domain, it’s compact; only her piano was there. I saw no sign of the organ.

She did play the piano and sing but the songs were limited. Perhaps her singing partner, Pin, was absent. Perhaps also because another recent widow at the gathering rushed out at the first few chords of  “When Irish eyes are smiling”.

Perhaps Auntie GY will be in better form at her 83rd birthday… meanwhile, we demolished the birthday cake

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Nyonya: cheap & good &

all 4 a good cause as well.

This took place on May 12; I was invited to a fundraiser for the Presisdent’s Challenge 2009 organised by the National University of Singapore Society and Singapore Pools at SP’s HQ in Selegie Road.

What’s unique about this event was that it was so incredibly cheap at $18 per head, as donation, not the price of the food of which there’s no mention. Not one of those chi chi fund raising events where the dinner per head could be $500 or more.

In return, donors got to eat the most scrumptous and sumptuous quality Peranakan food, cooked by chef Philip Chia, that in my view is easily worth about 3 times the donation value.

Instead of being short-changed in the name of charity, we benefited from a convival evening filled with lip-smacking delicacies that couldn’t be found outside a true blue generous nyonya home. Sure, there were some small fund raising activities — such as Scratch It and Lucky Draws for repro-kum chengs — to coax the guests to donate more.

These were entirely voluntary and I noticed some guests just sat on their hands, perhaps because they objected to gambling.

But they should have gone for the foto-taking opportunities with two Mediacorp and Little Nyonya stars, Joanne Peh and Pierre Png, tho for my part I wld rather — and did — take a chance with the “gambling”.

In between being entertained by some nostalgic old songs by the Peranakan Voices and nyonya impersonator Francis Hogan, we were served the Tok Panjang in style, starting with kerabu hai tay (jellyfish and prawn salad) and hee peow (fish maw) soup.

decor good enough to eat

decor good enough to eat

nyonya veggie

nyonya veggie

prawn belimbing

prawn belimbing

 

heepeow

soup so delicious

my plate overflowth

my plate overflowth

 

otak oishi!

otak oishi!

i skipped this

i skipped this

nuts over buah keluak

nuts over buah keluak

The  free flow of the buah keluak from the ayam bk dish alone was worth the $18 donation! Typically, one is gets no more than two or three of the precious Indonesian nuts per dish, if one ordered in an Indonesian restaurant.
They are considered expensive and rich in taste. At the Glimpse of the Little Nyonya dinner however, we were loaded with plate after plate of the nuts, so much so that even I who think I’ve gone to heaven whenever I get to eat just two nuts at one sitting, had to say “no” after my sixth or seventh that night.
And what nyonya meal could be considered complete without a sweet ending? And it was such a sweet one that I thought I had gone to dessert heaven, because not only was there an assortment of nyonya kueh, but there was also pengat pisang comprising sweet potatoes, yam, sago and banana drowned in a sweet and thick coconut sauce.
kueh2