Our CNY makan spree went north - to my wife's hometown in Sungei Petani. It was a gruelling 7 hours there on the first day of the new year - on a journey that normally takes 4 hours. The traffic to Ipoh was bumper to bumper. After that, it was thankfully OK. Had it been as jammed, it would had easily taken us 10 hours or more. In any case, we arrived at SP at about 9.00pm. I was bushed. I had a simple dinner, a shower and then bed.
There was plenty of food at my in-laws. Still we decided on a restaurant meal on the second day of new year. The place we picked was the Jade Garden. This restaurant is located in the Eupe food court at the northern end of Sungei Petani.
It wasn't a great place. Still it did a roaring business during the festivities. There were 2 dining sessions - the earlier session was at 6.00pm and the second session at 8. We decided on the later session. When we arrived at the restaurant, it was somewhat chaotic. The earlier diners were leaving and the later diners were going in.
My in-laws are a big extended family. We needed 3 tables. The young nieces ganged merrily together in one..
The elders, including Grandpa and Grandma, were more subdued.
There was the mandatory tossing of yee sang (鱼生- fresh fish). The dish was not bad at all. The ingredients were fresh and the sauce was good. We tossed for a good year. I hoped for a 4-D jackpot.
Next came the soup. Thank god it was not shark fin. After all that I have seen, I have sworn off shark fin. It was a thick fish maw soup with sea food. The flavour of the soup was good. But I did like the artificial seafood like crab sticks.
The chicken was very ordinary. It was deboned and deep fried and served in a sweet sauce. It really was quite tasty.
But I didn't like the prawns. They were most unimaginatively deep fried with the shells. They were rather over-cooked. The prawns were big and fresh. What a waste of nice prawns to cook them this way.
This was a dish was braised mushrooms in small pak choy (小白菜). I actually enjoyed this simple dish.
I did not touch this red snapper steamed in chilli sauce. I thought it was another unimaginative dish. And it was not properly steamed. The meat was somewhat raw. We had to send it back to the kitchen. When it finally reappeared, I had lost my appetite for it.
The final dish was rice. And I am really not sure what concoction this was. It was rice mixed or cooked in soy sauce. In it was small pieces of Chinese sausages and lap mei (腊味- wax meats). The taste was very bland. They did not put enough flavour into the rice.
Dessert was rushed through. It was a cold sea coconut and longan. By then, people were starting to leave. The waiters were starting to clear our tables. Some of us, me included, were simply not too interested in the dessert.
It wasn't a great meal. Perhaps it was the wrong time to expect one. But it really did not matter. We were there to celebrate the new year. To my in-laws, it was a yearly second reunion. And it was our presence that mattered more.