Sunday, January 07, 2007

First Times

Yesterday I went to my first Chinese Malaysian wedding dinner. It was one of my cousin's wife's eldest brothers getting married. There was a 7 course meal that lasted 2 hours. There were probably 20 tables of 10 people each, a front stage where guests could go up and sing a song to the couple, and otherwise blasting Chinese music. The couple wore western clothing (tuxedo and white dress), popped a champagne bottle and cut the cake together. The more ceremonial parts had happened earlier in the day - with them serving tea to their elders and them being served tea by their 'youngers'.

I also had my first Malaysian facial. My previous facial was in Thailand around the same time last year (with Angie, Frenchy, and Amanda). But this one was quite different, lasting 2 hours long and me not being able to communicate (in Chinese) to my facialist. It started out very relaxing with rubbing of my face, neck and upper chest area and lotions being rubbed into my skin. They used some machine to peel off a layer of skin. But when she proceeded to poke my skin (at least I'm guessing, my eyes were closed the whole time) with a sharp needle and pinch out my pores - OUCH! Luckily it didn't last too long and then it was back to the soothing rubbing and an oxygenation machine. Then it felt like I was under ice for half an hour as I think she put an icy mud pack on my face. In the end, my skin was left incredibly soft and cool.

Nearby there was a shop that sold satay only. We ordered the chicken and pork satays (yes, Chewy, finally!) - and then I noticed the liver and intestine options - so we got one stick of each to try. The dish came with cucumbers, a packed rice (rice is packed in bamboo and cooked in a compressed way), and the most delicious spicy peanut sauce (that had chunks of pineapple in it). Next door there was a bakery that sold "Mille Crepe" cakes - we ordered a slice to take home. Everything is handmade in the store, and I believe each cake has 50 layers, and they can only make 9 cakes in a day. Incredibly delicious.

My cousin also had some snow jelly in the freezer and prepared it in the afternoon - it takes 6 hours to soak before you combine it with other ingredients (rock sugar, red dates, other items we couldn't translate into english) and make a dessert soup. Apparently my mom should know where to find it.

Lunch was home made and I helped to prepare the noodles - which was a simple flour-water mixture that is spread very thin and then torn into a clay pot, that has water, veggies and meat (fishballs, fish wrapped veggies, etc) - very little salt is added because the flavor comes primarily from these very small fish that I forget the name of - but I should have a picture. My cousins weren't sure if I could find it in the US, but I'm hoping Uwajimaya will pull through.

So delicious!

Breakfast was roti chennai (not sure of the spelling), which to me seems a Malaysian twist on an Indian bread. The roti is cooked either 'plain' with sugar, or wrapped around sliced banana or egg, and then served with different sauces. I had the banana and it was delicious - a sort of malaysian crepe. I also had a cup of tea, which tasted like chai but a little different and came in a more American size than Indian.

My cousins also served me tea from a traditional chinese set - having never been a tea drinker until this trip, this was yet another first. This made me think of Yoko and how I could ever get her one from China - perhaps another trip.

Those are all of the firsts I can think of, but there may have been more. It's 8:30 am now and I am off to see family for the last time for breakfast before catching a bus to Penang (an island off the northwest coast).

My Aunt and her first grandson (and first granddaughter in the corner)

Pineapple! I've never seen it growing before. Imagine that.

An interesting way to decorate your plant. Reminds me of a xmas decoration.

Bananas - another first

My first traditional Muslim house, and first time in a Muslim scarf.

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