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4 Things a Chinese Restaurant Should NOT Do

Photo by Wan San Yip on Unsplash

We walked into a Chinese restaurant. It was full house. The waiters were squeezing through the gaps around the restaurant. The restaurant was noisy as people were eating and talking loudly over the table.

We were seated at the table which we had booked earlier. The waitress took our orders.

We ordered our usual dishes: curry vegetables, sweet potato leaves, steam fish, beancurd, and egg foo young.

While waiting for our food, I can’t help to notice the following.

1. Not not serve garlic & chilli

A good meal is not without the condiments. I’m not talking about the salt and pepper. Not even the ginger. Don’t pass the ketchup. Skip the wasabi.

Sometimes only the soy sauce is present on the table.

Photo by GoodEats YQR on Unsplash

We are talking about the garlic and chilli. The garlic and chilli have to be minced and served in separate saucers.

Garlic adds flavour in the blend white rice and chilli spices up the food.

2. Not serve the drinks after the rice

The drinks – be it hot or cold – have to always be served before the rice.

We don’t want to start our meal with a dry throat. Gulping down the first spoonful of rice on a dry throat is a harsh experience. The rice can be stuck in the throat and we have to force it down to the stomach.

Its healthy to quench our thirsts after waiting a good 15 minutes for the food to be served.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

3. Not serve the curry last

Any dish can come last, except the curry!

The curry is the one dish which has to be served first after the rice. We don’t want the curry to be served last, when we’ve finished eating the other dishes and the rice.

Even if the curry is served last, there won’t be much space in the stomach. There has to be extra space for desserts.

Hence, the curry has to be served first with the rice. Curry goes well with rice. Without the rice, it is just missing something important.

Photo by Dipesh Gurav on Unsplash

4. Not a spoon for a spinach

The spinach is served. A spoon is given to pick the spinach from the dish.

Bear in mind that though spinach is a vegetable, it is not like other vegetables – french beans, tauge, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, etc. These vegetables are for the picking, whereas spinach is not!

Spinach is an interwoven and interlocking strands of greens. There are a lot of gaps in between.

It is somewhat like noodles and spaghetti. Strings of greens attached to each other with gaps in between. A fork is needed to pick through and up the spinach.

Photo by Ponyo Sakana from Pexels

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2017 Year of Rooster

We’re barely a month into 2017 and its already another new year – Chinese New Year (CNY) – life’s second chance. Therefore, I’ve decided that my 2017 starts again on February 1st… January was a trial month. With that being said, 2016 was the Year of Monkey and it’s no more monkey business; time for the real deal.




Being born and raised in Kuala Lumpur (KL) has been quite a privilege. This is because during CNY, I don’t have to be part of the massive crawl back to the hometown – wherever and however far it may be. The roads and highways in KL itself becomes devoid of cars, especially at peak hours. Its a breeze zooming from one end of town to the other. But of course, drive within the speed limits, because the car workshops are closed and the doctors are on leave for holiday.

The town has become a ghost town. Restaurants, shops, and offices have closed for the new year. Even shopping malls have become deserted. Shopping outlets – telecommunication stores, clothing departments, and cafes – have also closed for the new year. The only thing left open are the mamaks restaurants. No dim sum, wantan mee, and teh kecil in the morning but more roti canai, nasi lemak, and mee goreng for the next few days. Huat Ah!!

On the eve of CNY, we gathered together for a reunion dinner at my grandmother’s house (my mother’s mother). We ate poon choi (👈🏻  click the link for more info), which cost a whopping RM500++ per pot, and we ordered 2 pots of poon choi! 😱  So you do the maths.

From Chor Yat (translated as the 1st day of CNY), its the start of the endless reunions, house visitations, greetings, snacking, drinking, loh sangs, and reunion dinners for the next two weeks. I think during CNY, I’ve drank and eaten more sugar and snacks than in my birthday, Christmas, and other auspicious events combined in a year.

Its a joy to visit the family, cousins, long lost relatives and friends at a reunion or a house visitation. After all the CNY greetings and well-wishes; the yearly, awkward, and unavoidable questions pop out:

  • What are you studying?
  • Where are you working? What are you working as?
  • Where is your boyfriend or girlfriend?
  • When are you getting married?
    • Because the aunties and uncles want to reduce their annual CNY ang pow output.
  • When are you getting a baby?
  • When is your baby getting married? 😱  (Ok, maybe a bit too much…)

QuestionS time is over and when ALL the questions have been answered, time for snacks and drinks to quench the thirst.

*Stares at all the CNY cookies*


*Munches on all the snacks and forgets about lunch*

Credit: Sean Tan

After all the makan-makan, we move to the next house and to the next for visitations. The houses may be next door, down the road, or across town, but its worth the journey. The ang pows collected from as little as RM2 to as much as RM100 or more individually, are worth the journey 🤑 . Sometimes secretly eyeing the aunties who give RM2 ang pows in the Year of Monkey, or Year of Goat ang pow packets, when its 2017 and Year of Rooster.😑 😑  #doublekill

Nevertheless, its the festive season. Its the season to celebrate, fei-lo-ship, and be prosperous. Eat, drink, snack, and loh to your heart’s (and stomach’s) content. Happy Chinese New Year. GONG XI FA CAI!!!!

I’ve decided that my 2017 starts again on February 1st… January was a trial month.

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