Happy Belated New Year!!
I went back to Taipei and Penang over the December year-end holidays and it was great seeing all my relative and friends back home:)
My family met up with me in Taipei for the first time in 10 years for a family holiday and we had a family gathering with all my relatives in Taipei for a reunion dinner with my 90 plus yr old grandfather. We had it at the historic Military Recreation HQ restaurant which I passed by on countless times when visiting my grandpa in previous Taipei trips as its just in the back road a few mins walk from my grandpa's place. It was a great dinner with all my aunts, uncles, and cousins (whom are all so big now- late teens and 20s, whilst previously everyone were just children!) as well as the baby of my uncle and also of my newly married cousin.
Had an opportunity to visit two nightmarkets too including Shilin Nightmarket and Ningxia Nightmarket which was great.:) I also got to meet up with an old friend from Keio University exchange days in Tokyo almost 8 1/2 years later since 2005 when I was in Japan for a language exchange! She's Taiwanese but stayed on in Tokyo since our Keio days and is still there with her now-husband and daughter. She was back in Taiwan for a few months only and as fate would have it, I was in Taipei at the time for 2-3 days. I also bought cloth for my chinese style tailoring from Taipei's famous Yong Le Market and visited Dihua Street.
On my trip back to Penang from Taipei on China Airlines, Taiwan's national carrier (despite the out-dated name!) I was upgraded to Business Class~:) I don't know why, I think the flight was fully booked. It was superb!!:)
During my trip back to Malaysia this time, I visited KL (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's national capital) for the first time in almost 6 years and got to meet two fellow bloggers whose blog's i've followed intermittently since at least 5 years back and they took me to a superbly delicious dinner place of Malaysian Chinese 'Zhu Char' place (basically rice with lots of yummy dishes!!) in Sentul! It was such a fantastic dinner with delicious food and even better company, getting to finally meet the two bloggers behind the blogs!
I also met up with old school friends whom moved to KL, one of whom I haven't met since leaving highschool in Penang, meaning 13 years back!! And she hadn't even changed one bit!!
I also met with my cousin and took a roadtrip to Shah Alam for the blue mosque there and had lunch at this very lovely cafe in Shah Alam serving western food which i did food blogging research on!
I also did so much more in KL such as visiting the touristy sights which i missed on my last occasion to KL like visiting the Central Market, Putrajaya, etc...met up with ex-university club friends whom are married with babies now and alot more of other people including another friend whom i knew in Sydney but have moved back to Malaysia 2 years ago and had a lovely time with him and my brother (yes, forgot to mention, my KL trip came about mainly due to my brother just moving to KL and so I was there to visit him!) hanging around KLCC shopping, chatting in the hotel room about his past year, and having lovely banana leaf rice in Bangsar!
As for my hometown of Penang, it was too short a trip as usual with the food which i still miss now!!! The kuay teow th'ng, my favourite nasi kandar place with the delicious curry sotong, nasi melayu place which is my favourite with its superb homemade sambal (who can beat Malaysian freshly made sambal!!!!), and Pulau Tikus Market Lor-Mee Mixed Noodle Soup , Thai food, Nyonya food where I had the pork stomache in black pepper soup with Assam prawns,etc....omg, I totally miss Penang food now!!!!!! (And I've just gotten back!)
Got to meet up with a few high school friends as well including a supper gathering, Christmas Day brunch and Christmas Day supper at a cool cafe, as well as an old friend whom I haven't met in ages and did a walking tour and lunch at the UNESCO heritage area of Georgetown, Penang with her workmates...such a nice experience including going into see the Khoo Kongsi Temple after decades!
I also went over to Sungai Petani with my mum on a roadtrip using the Penang ferry which I haven't gone aboard in years!! We had a Japanese friend of my mother's living there and he took us for a drive around the city area and had lunch at a Japanese place over there. Nice little town.:)
We had Christmas dinner at my aunt's place again with the Malaysian relatives and she made homemade Nyonya styled Pork Stomache Soup!!! So I had this soup twice on my Penang trip home!!
I will be going back to my hometown of Penang in December again this year so can't wait for it! More lovely food!!!!!:):):)
ps; Forgot to mention, I had Chinese Styled Clothes tailored in Penang using the cloth I mentioned bought in Taipei on this trip back and this tailor is pretty good at it with my directions and photo samples (basically I brought along photos of 1950s/60s cheongsam clad film stars and Maggie Cheung in 'In the Mood for Love' photos for reference on the cheongsam tops I wanted!) I think I've finally found a good tailor (after numerous not-so-successful attempts at finding cheongsam tailors in the past!) and she's got my measurements now and I made a few more which have been completed and sent by Pos Laju (express post) by my mum to Sydney for me..excited to see the results of these clothes!! Fingers crossed:)