Wednesday, June 26, 2013

I Miss Home, I Miss Home Not

When we first moved to Shanghai early this year, I missed home terribly and often asked daddy and mummy why we had to move here. Daddy and mummy realised how much I longed to go home after having this conversation with me one day...

Mummy: Since you like school so much, study hard and get good grades ok. Then ask daddy to bring you to Disneyland...
Me: But Disneyland is not the happiest place on earth to me anymore.
Mummy: Huh? Then where is?
Me: Home la. Our home (in PJ) is the happiest place on earth. I just want to go home...
 

That was how much I missed home, then. There's no place like home and home is where my heart is. I'd rather go home than go to Disneyland!!!

Ok, that was like almost 5 months ago in Feb. Just recently...

Mummy: In another few more weeks, we are going home. We are going back to Malaysia for one month! Are you excited?
Me: Why go back for so long??
Mummy: I thought you missed home? Don't you look forward to going home?

Me: Hmm, just a bit la...
Mummy: Wah, so fast forget about home already ar? :(

I'm currently enjoying a 2-month semester break. We will be welcoming our very first guests from Malaysia tomorrow, for a week. I'm so excited and can't wait to see them. After that, we balik kampung for 4 weeks... yay!!

Look, I even have a Homecoming Queen top to match our coming trip ;)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Eating Out 4 - The Grandma's

"The average wait time to get into the Shanghai branch of the extraordinary Hangzhou restaurant The Grandma's is three to four hours, depending on what time you request your ticket number. Why wait nearly five hours to eat dinner? Well, for one, the food is brilliantly prepared, fresh and huge in portion. Plus it's absurdly cheap. Think RMB3 mapo dofu and dozens of dishes under 15RMB..."

The above is quoted from Shanghai Timeout, an online guide to what's going on in Shanghai. This was what attracted us to The Grandma's in the first place... the huge crowd waiting outside the restaurant! Curious to know what is so great about the place, mummy Googled and read rave reviews about this restaurant. So one fine afternoon, we took an "advance number" at 3pm and returned later in the evening for dinner. By doing this, our waiting time was reduced to only 5 minutes!

The entrance of The Grandma's or 外婆家

Waiting to eat... the massive waiting crowd actually spills all the way to the back of the pillar.

Popcorn, Mentos and cherry tomatoes (yes, it's quite a weird combo) for you to "alas perut" while you wait for your number to be called.

The dining area... we came here for brunch one weekend and were among the earliest patrons. In a matter of seconds, the tables behind daddy were all taken! 

Flipping through their thick menu, we usually spend a long time deciding what to order. For newbies like us, we will usually go for those dishes marked with "stars" or "thumbs up" (chef's recommendation). Here are some of the dishes that we tried on our first two visits...

Complimentary free-flow of tea

Spring onion spring roll, RMB2 (RM1)

Cold sesame toufu, RMB3 (RM1.50)

Multi-spice peanuts, RMB6 (RM3)

Tofu skin wrap with Chinese vegetables, RMB10 (RM5)

Southern Song Dynasty Fish soup, RMB6 (RM3)

Small abalone, RMB10 (RM5)

Scallop in garlic sauce, RMB6 (RM3) each

Potato, RMB10 (RM5) - this one was a swindle because what came on the plate was totally different from the picture that we saw in the menu. Daddy and mummy were very unhappy with the plain fried potatoes but I loved it haha.

Organic cauliflower, RMB16 (RM8)

Shrimp with fried dough sticks in soya milk, RMB15 (RM7.50)

Stir-fried noodles with eel, RMB28 (RM14)

Green tea cakes, RMB12 (RM6)

Peanut smoothie, RMB15 (RM7.50)

Walnut kernel and pumpkin juice, RMB15 (RM7.50)

The food here is really not bad...something different from the usual fare that we have in the restaurants back home. There will certainly be a Part 2 to this ;)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

10th Anniversary & Grand Harvest Parade

My school celebrated its 10th Anniversary and Grand Harvest Parade with a picnic-style outdoor concert recently. Both daddy and mummy attended this event, which was held on an extremely hot and sunny Monday morning (daddy took time-off from work). 

The entrance pass

The outdoor stage

The event was held in the school field

At a far end corner of the field was our vegetable patch. Well, this Grand Harvest Parade was not to celebrate the harvesting of these vegetables, of course! 

Daddy and mummy's picnic spot. We love the nice picnic mat... the surface is soft and fleece-y while its base is insulated with plastic. Can't wait to go for a picnic at our favourite park soon!

Things in the goodie bag (besides the picnic mat, 2 straw hats and 2 hand fans)... a bag of potatoes, bottled water...

... and some snacks :) 

The concert started with a big bang... the banging and beating of drums!

Little performers sunbathing under the scorching sun, waiting for their turn to perform.

Me and my little friends, all dressed in a farmer's outfit.

I sang two songs in two separate group-singing. Can you spot me? I'm the tallest girl standing behind.

Hot, hot, hot!! While doing the "8 Silken Movements" (a type of qigong), my very loving class teacher went around fanning us with a hand fan and even helped us to wipe sweat haha.

As soon as the outdoor event ended, we proceeded to our classrooms for some activities...

Every available space in our classroom is nicely decorated with our school work

Some of our Maths home projects displayed in my classroom... the rainbow clock and Snake & Ladder number chart are mine. 

My Snake & Ladder number chart must be quite special because it was the only one on display. Mummy helped me with the toothpick ladders and playdough snakes ;)

The school emphasizes a lot on family values as mummy noticed many family photos placed around the classroom for various subjects. Ours was there too, for a Maths activity :)

Oh yes, my friends and I hosted a Science Quiz for our parents. All the daddies and mummies were required to go around the classroom answering science questions and collecting stamps for each correct answer.

Attending to a quiz participant... What do plants need? Water? Sunlight? Ice-cream? Haha!

Daddy went around answering all the questions correctly and he won a prize... it is a T-shirt for me :) Printed on the tee is a photo of all my classmates and I. What a nice gift to remember all my friends!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Daddy's Day

Yesterday was Father's Day and we had a great time doing fun things at home. Actually every weekend is Father's Day to me because we spend a lot of quality time together, doing the things that we like and just enjoying each other's company. This special day was no different. Although there wasn't any celebration for my daddy dearest, I did make a little something for him.

Showered him with loving kisses first thing in the morning...

Later in the day, I made a cake for him (under mummy's supervision, of course). My favourite part was sifting the ingredients... flour and cocoa powder. 

Mixing the batter was fun too (it was then poured into the mini baking tin and steamed).

Decorating the serving plate with some organic blueberries and nectarine slices

Fruity chocolate cake for the best daddy in the world :)

For you, daddy... nice or not?

More bonding time at the park in the evening. This is our latest favourite game... frisbee!

I love you super-duper much, daddy! <3 <3 <3

Saturday, June 15, 2013

China's Rice Dumplings

Last Wednesday was the Dragon Boat Festival and it was a public holiday in China. We spent the first half of the day jalan-jalan and makan-makan in a nearby mall. Mummy bought a lot of fruits from Tesco so we had a Fruit & Veg Variety Platter with rice dumplings for dinner that night. 

Earlier (about a week prior to the festival), mummy had bought some packaged dumplings from Carrefour. She was skeptical about buying these dumplings at first but when she saw scores of locals buying them, she became curious and was tempted to try some. She finally took 2 packets after scrutinising the contents (with the help of Google Translate ) and found all the ingredients "safe" for consumption (all natural ingredients with no additives or preservatives). 

Hundreds of packaged rice dumplings on the dragonboat-shaped display shelf

They came in gift boxes like these too... 

Mummy bought these 2 - meat with salted egg yolk (RMB9.90 / RM5) and "8 Treasures" (RMB8.90 / RM4.50), a sweet one with 8 types of grains and beans.

Inside, the dumplings were separately vacuum-packed and they came in 3's.

The meat dumpling was ok, albeit too lacking in ingredients. This seems like a standard dumpling in China. Maybe the people here like their dumplings plain... no beans, no mushroom, no chestnuts etc. We just can't find such dumplings here!

The sweet dumpling was quite nice too... very mildly sweetened (really kurang, kurang manis) with lots of chewy grains like oats, wheat, black glutinous rice, peanuts, red beans etc.

My healthy Bak Zhang Variety Platter... with carrot, cucumber, cherry tomato, yellow plum, grape, organic blueberry and a kiddy yoghurt. I couldn't finish the sweet dumpling but I cleared all the other stuff on my plate. Burp!

Oh yes, I also made a rice dumpling in school last week! I made this in my Chinese Culture class.

I wrapped this with the help of an "ah yi" in school. I brought it back uncooked so mummy dropped it into a small pot and boiled it for 30mins....

Tada... My very own sweet red bean glutinous rice dumpling

The Wonderful World of Ruoyi

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