The weekend saw a flurry of welcomed house visits to greet the Lunar New Year of the Rooster. Of course the man left it to me to plan the logistics of which house to visit at what time, and driving routes around the island. So smart. But yeah, that's a breeze for me to arrange. I did tell the man to eat a properly heavy breakfast before we left at 8.30am. He gets 'hangry' if meal-times are unexpectedly erratic. Every house proudly held up homemade goodies and food. It was fairly difficult to reject the lovely offers when words like 'artisan', 'handmade', 'limited', 'craft batches' and such were thrown in our faces. 😂 While I'm not exactly interested in all of them, I'd eat one representative snack or cookie for luck.
The day began innocently enough with a tiny scoop of green bean soup at the first house, and next, surprisingly not-that-sweet-but-buttery pineapple tarts. Hopped into the next house to have a good cup of coffee. There, our friends gave us this spiel of little 80-something-years-old ladies in Johor Bahru making love letters by hand and storing them in a Milo tin (it has to be a Milo tin, cannot be Horlicks or any other brands), and insisted that we took some. Then this gem of a discontinued bottle of a classic Speyside was brought out- a Gordon & MacPhail independently bottled in 2006—Linkwood 1972. Had sips and there was literally a full bottle still intact and then these crazy friends insisted we take the bottle home.
Even though E's parents indicated 'tea', and we went quite late, we were still fed the portions of lunch in terms of food, literally. Tea in Asia isn't just full of sugar and cakes. It also holds savory items which are filling enough to be a late mid-day meal. There was so much food laid out- Nyonya kueh pie tee, Asian-Cantonese-style savory yam cake, Hakka-style savory glutinous rice, and fruits. We resolutely ignored the ton of 'artisanal' snacks in bottles.
I've given up trying to understand why over-aged 'children' like us still get ang pows, after being fed good food and handmade snacks, and more handmade tubs bought from every secret corner of the island and Johor Bahru. But I am prepared, with small gifts of Chinese herbs and the sorts for naughty parents. ✌🏻🍊🍊🐓