Now that the kids have moved out to be on their own, Pak Abu and I have established some sort of a family tradition, that we gather once a month for a family makan.
Despite having the whole house to ourselves, and not having to pick up after anyone anymore (picking up after Pak Abu doesn't count) I must admit I do occasionally get that "empty nest" feel. Thus the monthly makan is a welcome salve.
More often than not, we stick to the Club because of the ambience. It is also centrally located, thus convenient for all, with the kids converging from their respective offices in the city. The Chinese and Japanese outlets are family favourites, as the the smoker-friendly, open-air coffee house by the poolside.
Pak Abu is great at ordering food, being the foodie that he is, and we were always glad to rely on his expertise. One time however, he was late in arriving and I had to do the honours. As it were, I am never good with picking out food, especially if the menu is 100-item long.
Actually, the less said about my peculiarities the better. My sense of direction sucks; I could have visited a place countless times and still lose my way each time, just as I can easily get confused over a lengthy menu. The confusion doubles if the menu reads like a French manual for a washing machine.
Well, to cut a long story short, we had a very satisfying six-course meal. The dishes were really delicious, the steamed fish even more so, and I was all smiles, ready to receive a pat on the back for being such a wonderful hostess, when the bill came.
Did I tell you I was all smiles? Well, the smile evolved into a frown and progressively mutated into a look of horror. The steamed fish alone came to a whopping two hundred ringgit! While I sat there spluttering, dear Pak Abu came to the rescue, gracefully signing the bill and wrapping up the evening.
I was to learn later that the fish, popularly known as "Sultan Fish" or "Ikan Hantu" - was one of the most expensive items on the menu. Small wonder it tasted so heavenly! One thing for sure, I swear I will not do the ordering in a Chinese restaurant ever again.