“It just hit me that I won’t have Mum’s Cooking for long”: A Chinese New Year Story

Chinese New Year meals at my Mum’s home for the first 2-3 days of Chinese New Year is always re-heated leftover food.

Jessica, my Mum would spend over 7 hours chopping vegetables mainly Jicama/Yambean (Chinese Turnip), shredded cuttlefish, pork, black mushrooms, carrot, and big shallots to make a Penang Nyonya dish called ” Jiu Hu Char”. The wrapped JHC with lettuce with a bit of Mum’s famous Sambal Belacan is super delicious.

The other Mum’s 3 CNY dishes are the Ngar Ku (looks like a yam-textured tiny potato), pork, and chicken liver dish, and steamed CNY Combo of pork lean meat and liver sausages, waxed duck (steamed in a small plate on top of the rice in the rice cooker), and black pepper pig’s stomach soup.

Mum would cook 2 big pots of Jiu Hu Char, and will reheat the 4 CNY dishes for the first 3 days of Chinese New Year for a quick lunch and dinner as CNY guests will visit my parents throughout the first 2 days or so.

Jiu Hu Char was not my favorite until the last few years. I only go back to my hometown Ipoh a few times a year so with my built-up craving for Ipoh (aka EATpoh) hawker food, I openly try to eat less of Mum’s cooking and go for a Seng Kee’s Ipoh Curry Beehoon-Mee breakfast (Old Hugh Low Street), Old Town Sin Lean Lee Gold Char Koay Teow (3 tiny plates) lunch, and Nam Heong Old Town White Coffee high tea.

And I’ll convince my mum to go to Kafe Hillview for dinner or supper for Ipoh Sar Hor Fun, Ipoh Rojak.

This year “It just hit me that I won’t have Mum’s Cooking for long” as Mum is getting much older. Over CNY lunch she mentioned about the famous Hong Kong phrase spoken in TVB dramas or movies “Ho Loy Mo Sek Jee Kar Farn” – “so long didn’t eat Mum’s family home-cooking”. Believe me I never enjoyed my Mum’s Jee Kar Fan so much – every bite of it.


Coincidentally my Dad, Michael Chen Kim Foo, died on Chinese New Year’s Day One at 12:03 am on 19 February 2015. So my Mum will take us to St. Michael’s Church Ipoh to light 2 candles and place some flowers by Dad’s Ossuary. I miss Dad. He does send me and Mum Afterlife Signs.

Now, I truly TREASURE Mum’s Jee Kar Farn home-cooking immensely, and still enjoy the Best EATpoh food – the best of both worlds.

Robert Chaen, Whisperer CEO of http://www.ChangeU.co