Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Of Chi Ku Teh and Peking Duck

Being away from home is a test in itself, not to mention when its festival time. I had the privilege of celebrating Deepavali 3 days before flying off but my fellow Malaysian buddies were not so fortunate. Chinese New Year was around the corner, but again, we had to work on Monday so we decided to bring forward the reunion dinner, or what the Chinese call Tuan Yuan Fan. It is a tradition that fosters closeness and emphasises the significance of family ties. Our Tuan Yuan Fan was shared by 11 nomads from across Asia, carving out a living in Japan. (for a complete list of culprits, refer to http://angleykim.blogspot.com/ where Kim has described us all in detail as well as singing the praises of my fish curry, lol!)
I was fooling around with some features on my camera and came up with the idea to snap this picture.What is Chinese New Year without Mandarin oranges? (Thanks Alfred!)

After a sumptuous meal of Bak Ku Teh (made with chicken so its technically Chi Ku Teh!), Prawns, Soup, Vege, Fish Curry and Butter Pork for pandi lovers, we were cleaning up when at that very moment, Kim received a courier package from home filled with, get ready for this, Chinese New Year cookies. Talk about timing! Vendy whipped out the cookies she had received from home earlier and we were back into nostalgic mode, every bite bringing back some memory of red ang pow packets, firecrackers, jam tarts and huge hampers.One of the many majestic gates of Chinatown Yokohama

We headed back and met up later in the evening to head to Matomachi Chukagai, or Chinatown in Yokohama, the largest Chinatown in Japan. I had been there once before but did not have time to look around so this time, I decided to have a look around and what did I find? Meehoon! I instantly bought a medium-sized packet, images of meehoon goreng already running through my head. I walked out of the shop and right outside I found a man selling keropok udang, you know the pink kind, and I bought it too!
Hustle and Bustle of Chinatown

A tout on the street convinced us to try a Chinese Buffet, serving almost a 100 different types of dishes.

GM Lim, the Sifu

Malaysians are known to throng open houses and jostle for free food, so just imagine what we would do in a buffet that we PAID for! To get full value for our money, we ordered so many dishes that the table didn't fit with the Peking Duck, among all the dishes, deserving some honorable mention. When we were finally done, I needed a helping hand to stand up but it was good thing that I got to walk some of it off on the 10 minute stroll to the station.
The signboard of the Buffet

Nothing beats the real thing, and by no means was our celebration a substitute to the one we would've had back home. What it was is just some consolation, and brought to my mind something a friend said to me only yesterday, "If you don't have what you like, learn to like what you have!". I hope I said it right, Jivan. Anyway, in a recent email, one of my Japanese teachers back home summed up very beautifully how we were to cope with life away from home. He said that since there were 6 of us who came together, any joy that we had would be shared among us and be multiplied by 6 bringing us 6 times the bliss, while any sorrow or pain would also be shared but in turn be divided by 6 and its extent reduced significantly! Brilliantly said by Seraku sensei. Coming here, we found that we had not only 6, but many others to multiply our joy and divide our sadness with. Coming together from Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Philipines, Taiwan, China, Indonesia, India and Macau, we'll be forever grateful that our paths crossed here in Japan. Gong Xi Fa Cai to all! May we be as resilient, patient, and mighty as the Ox that the Year will stand for.Who ate the cookies from the cookie jar?


  1. very touching, glad u made good frens, having them always makes ur life a better one!

  2. Yes, you said it right!!! =) For being featured I thank you. =)