How to Make Seremban Hakka Noodles (Non-Pork Version)

My aversion to pork means I’ve rarely explored the cuisine of my own Hakka heritage, which seems to be dominated by pork dishes. This is one such example, made famous by a stall in my hometown of Seremban, hence its name - Seremban Hakka Noodles. Since I don’t eat pork, I’ve never actually eaten it. I’m not exactly going in blind however; I » Read More

How to Cook Beef Rendang from My Malaysian Home State (Negeri Sembilan)

This is my stepmom’s recipe which is influenced by the beef rendang style of my home state of Negeri Sembilan, but with her own “Chinese” twist to it through the use of soya sauce. Beef Rendang Recipe INGREDIENTS: 500g beef, sliced 3 onions, peeled and quartered 6 dried chillies, boiled with water until soft 6 cloves garlic, » Read More

How to Make Seremban Chicken Siew Pao

This is a famous snack from my Malaysian hometown of Seremban and in this recipe I'm using chicken mince as the filling. These instructions work on a Thermocook or a Thermomix, but in their absence you can use a dough mixer for the dough and a saucepan + stove for the filling. Seremban Chicken Siew Pao (Baked Chicken Buns) » Read More

Tang Sifu

This post was written 3 years ago and published on Father's Day. My dad has since passed away. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I’ve never been hugged by my dad.  Growing up, I was under no illusion that I was anywhere near the favourite of his 9 » Read More

The Hard Sell

‘Hello, sir/ma’am – come try Malaysian food – we have noodles, curry, satay, roti’ – called out my newest staff member to the passing crowds.  We were trading at a market and he was obviously trying hard to show initiative and had been at it all day.  I finally couldn’t stand it anymore and told him to stop.  I don’t grovel for business; it’s just » Read More

Starting School – Seremban

I attended ACS (Anglo-Chinese School) in Kindergarten.  I’d been raised speaking Hakka within the family, and Cantonese among the neighbourhood kids.  The teacher spoke Cantonese to me. I remember a boy, Bernard Wong, taking  a liking to me and bringing me candy every day.  We hung out.  Then one day, he started getting obnoxious.  I think he’d » Read More

The TV

We lived on the 11th floor of the 14-storey high Templer Flats – Seremban’s Twin Towers – a welfare project for low-income families.  11 of us (9 kids plus our parents) crammed into a tiny 2-bedroom apartment.  Each night the mattresses would be on the bedroom and living room floors to accommodate everyone. There was one toilet, which doubled as » Read More

Bob is Sexy

‘Oi, tukar, tukar!’ (Oi, change! Change!) yelled the Odeon cinema usher as he banged on the counter at my Dad’s canteen.  He needed some change for whatever reason, and forgot to say please.  I was furious; I’d had enough of his BS. At 15, I’d had a personality transplant; from a mild, soft-spoken and obedient kid, I’d turned into a » Read More

Yin Chee

This is our ‘san goong yan’ (new maid) – I whispered to the neighbourhood kids – as we sneaked our heads over the doorway to our flat.  We wanted to stealthily check out the lady who was washing our clothes in the bathroom but she spotted us immediately. Yin ‘Chee’ (‘sister’ Yin) was only about 17 when she started working for us; she still » Read More

The Odeon

Throughout my time working at the Odeon, I had at best a love-hate relationship with it.  It wasn’t always that way.  When I was younger, I stayed at home whilst all my older brothers and sisters were out all day and night working.  I wanted to join them, but thanks to my position in the family – 8th in a family of 9 kids – they didn’t really need » Read More