Sep 21, 2014

Not so 'loving' Chef Rasa Sayang Chatswood

I had heard good things about Chef Rasa Sayang in Chatswood so made the obligatory pilgrimage one day. Rasa Sayang is literally translated as "feel love" and is the title of a famous traditional song.

The menu is very exciting in terms of its diversity. Keropok lekor is on the menu, now that is novel! Unfortunately, on the weekday we went, almost half the things we requested  'were not available'. If things are selectively available on certain days, I wish restaurants would put these on 'special' instead of their main menu. I hate to get all excited and get my hopes dashed.

The char kuey teow is ok.

char kuey teow rasa sayang chatswood

The curry puff is the best of the stuff we ordered. It has egg inside, which isn't traditional but it's my favourite twist to the humble curry puff (The only curry puffs I would eat were from IKEA Damansara and theirs had the boiled egg inside)

curry puff rasa sayang chatswood

The kuih is ok laar.

kuih rasa sayang chatswood

The lor bak is a big 'no, no!' The definition of the ultimate lor bak is the one at Kheng Pin in Penang. This is not like that at all. It isn't even lor bak in my books. No loh, funny pasty meat, lettuce? Epic fail.

loh bak sayang chatswood

Nasi lemak was ok but the petai was obviously from a can. If you must serve petai, please get the frozen ones, the canned ones (in brine) are also an epic fail. Nasi lemak is actually not served with pappadam so this was a little odd, but I don't object to eating pappadam.

nasi lemak petai rasa sayang chatswood

Tauhu bakar is another hard-to-find here so I was very excited to see it on the menu. This is authentic, just a pale version of the actual thing. Sauce a bit watery but if you were dying for tauhu bakar, this would do until you make the 8-hour flight.

tauhu bakar rasa sayang chatswood

I also took away the chee cheong fun for my kids, but they said it was only so-so.

Based on this, Mamak and Pappa Rich and Sedap still rate above this place in terms of food quality. But I might be back one day to try the other stuff on the menu.

Sep 7, 2014

DIY, why not?

Aussies seem an incredibly handy lot. I see people on Facebook post stuff for sale that are hand and home made. I've seen a potting stand made by someone's hubby and a rocking horse made by a grandad go on sale, and they looked pretty good!

The typical Malaysian Chinese is the antithesis to this. My  grandmother's generation was pretty crafty, and quilt blankets were the norm for every grandkid to have. But my generation was told to get good grades, and play an instrument and learn ballet. As our parents attempted to move us up the intellectual skill ladder, we didn't learn to do much with our hands. I can write and navigate the Internet, but I can't catch a ball. I can spout poetry but the world of screws and bolts is an alien world that terrifies me.

Or maybe I should say 'terrified' me. It's hard to get help over here if you want to do a small project. Firstly, tradies are mighty expensive. For their professional-scale prices, I would have hoped I would get professional service but I haven't been fortunate enough. Some say they will come and they don't. Some come and say they will send a quote but they don't. Some come and quote and then do a job that is quick and careless and you have to watch over them like a hawk. One didn't finish the job and gave his word he would come back but never did. (yes, na├»ve, trusting me!)

Of course, not all can be painted with the same brush, but suffice to say this whole process of renovating and fixing up problems around the house has been stressful. It's hard to manage a house here (especially an old house) if you can't do stuff around the house. No wonder Bunnings is everywhere!

So what do we do? We rolled up our sleeves. There is so much information on the Internet these days, there is little you can't find out. Yes, the first attempt is a disaster but after two to three tries, some simple DIY stuff - because we do it with care and take our time - we do no worse than someone who charges but does a careless job.

I've sanded and retinted a dining table, one I  bought second hand that had scratches on the surface.

Hubby has put in laminate floors. (we needed it done before we moved in, and because we moved near Christmas, it was impossible to get anyone to do it)

We've put silicone on some gaps in the house.

I've put up a patch of wall glass tiles.

I've resanded and filled in, and varnished wooden floors after cabinets were pulled off them.

Hubby has put in house lights, and new steps for the deck.

We've cut to measure and installed timber frames for the window.

I've cleaned up (removed paint and sanded and varnished) a cedar window.

We've mended a balcony railing that was falling apart from rust. Hubby grinded the rust off, applied a rust converter and I repainted it. Granted, all the rust hasn't be fully arrested, but the decay has been slowed down.

Sure, these are no-brainer jobs to many, but hey, we're pretty proud of ourselves because our fingers are best used for typing on keyboards!

Jul 31, 2014

Two opposing forces

It occurred to me the other day, how my two boys are complete opposites.

As a child, Number One did not like to eat meat (he is still pretty selective). His favourite food was tofu, and he would willingly accept green leafy veges before a chicken drumstick.
Number Two instantly gravitated to meat as a bub, and as soon as he had teeth, would happily gnaw the meat clean off a bone .

Number One loves music. As a bub, he would bounce up and down on his stubby legs when he heard music. He now sings in several choirs and has perfect pitch even though he has never been formally trained.
Number Two is - to put it bluntly (I'm sorry, babe if you ever read this!) - tone deaf! He has an innate ability to sing a song so that you will never recognise it.

Number One is introverted and loves to read. Number Two is extroverted. He derives energy from socialising.

Number One is academically inclined. Number Two does not like school except for the fact that you can hang out with friends there.

Number One is - (I'm sorry too babe!) - physically challenged. Sports comes hard for him (he gets it from me!). Number Two stunned us when he kicked a ball in motion just a few months after he learnt to walk. He has great reflexes, his coach has said.

As you can guess, they get into a lot of tiffs, especially now that Number Two is older and establishing his own identity. Thankfully, they share one trait that unites them - their love of play, and their understanding that their most available playmate is each other.