I once wondered at which point do people stop celebrating birthdays in a big way and do low key celebrations. Sometimes as you get older, it doesn’t seem so important to throw big parties and invite everyone you know to celebrate your existence. But as I think of Bryan’s Aunt Patricia’s 50th birthday bash I guess there’s no such thing as too old to do anything.
But over the years, I soon tire of planning my own birthday parties while planning other people’s at the same time. petulant, I thought if nobody bothered to pick up the phone and make arrangements for me, I’m not gonna bother too. At the same time, I figured quieter affairs with smaller clusters of friends was more meaningful than having one big dinner where half the table either don’t really know the other half, or worse, don’t really like each other.
Bryan was thankful that I wasn’t looking for a big party coz planning parties is not his thing. I for one shy away from being the centre of the attention. last year my colleagues broke out in boisterous song in office and I was practically hiding under the table to get away from the attention. this year the colleague who started the singing with a loud “HHHHAAAPPPYYYY” learned his lesson so it was just a quiet lunch for the both of us at Akashi restaurant. That I felt meant much more than anything else. he himself preferred a quiet lunch than the birthday party of KFC and pizza his team threw for him where he got a box of joke lighters with titties on them.
It is through sheer chance that I parked at Shaw Beach Road one day and while waiting for the light, I looked up at the building and saw the huge signboard on it proclaiming OVERSEA RESTORAN. I shrieked and everyone at the light turned to look at me. IS IT TRUE? IS IT THE MALAYSIAN OVERSEA RESTORAN? IT’S HERE IN SINGAPORE?
every work trip I used to make to KL was never complete without at least a visit to Oversea Restoran at Jalan Imbi to eat their famous char siew and roast pork. Now that I don’t do work trips anymore, to travel all the way to KL just to eat takes a lot of effort. I missed my char siew dearly, especially since you can’t bring pork into Singapore.
So Bryan very nicely picked the restaurant and made bookings in halting Mandarin, where he gave his number while mentally translating the numbers in his head from English to Mandarin, causing much mirth in the wait staff at the other end of the light who said out loud it’s as if he’s buying lottery numbers.
For those who’ve been to Oversea in Malaysia will know that when you reserve a table, you reserve a place of char siew or it’d be sold out by the time you get there. this was something my colleagues taught me, which I passed on to Bryan. Good thing the boy had foresight to reserve a large plate.
The table number was dangerously close to my age.
Claypot Eggplant with Mince Meat in sambal sauce.
Very very tasty. slightly spicier than the Crystal Jade one where the belachan gave it a shrimpy kick to the taste buds. I like. Between Tricia and myself, after giving everyone else 1 piece of eggplant, we finished the rest on our own.
The other favourite of mine, Claypot Pork Belly with Salted Fish. the meat here was a little more lean than the KL version but still very tasty. one time I saw this listed in another zi char restaurant’s menu, I asked if it’s like the KL version and the waitress laughed and said she can’t guarantee but it’s still good.
I didn’t have the herbal duck dish I love 😦 so the restaurant manager recommended this. It’s chicken braised with onions and stuff. I have no idea what it’s called coz he said it in Mandarin and it didn’t catch. but it comes in a huge pot. Tasty but not as tasty as my herbal duck would have been.
We also ordered stir fried kai lan with ginger juice and rice wine which was interestingly tasty.
The famous plate of char siew. When we all bite into it, everyone let out a mmm. it’s not as good as the one in KL, as the outer coat wasn’t as burnt and crispy but it’s almost there. it had the same honey gooey flavour and covered with enough fat but I think the centre is a bit dry, very much like the Singaporean char siew. so it’s not the pure KL char siew but it’s still 100x better than the usual char siew we eat here. On its own, I think it’s still pretty good.
The plate of char siew was almost hidden from me so when I wanted to eat one last piece, I realised the plate was empty, coz Aaron took the last piece. I almost threw a fit there and then as that was literally the last piece of char siew left in the restaurant.
After a round of jokes about getting me a chocolate-durian cake, or a YAM cake, followed by another round of jokes about how many candles there should be on the cake.
Thoroughly amused the waiter came back with the cork on a sauce plate. The wait staff were very amused when I was hiding my face in embarrassment while the table sang my birthday song extraordinarily slowly to prolong the pain, and also when Bryan spilt an entire cup of tea and he tried to blame it on Aaron.
Making my “I’m still 21” face.
I have to go back again, this time to order roast pork and my herbal duck.