This time, I knew the words to most of his new songs and sang along happily. That's a Chinese pop concert for you. It's an extended karaoke session that I usually think twice before attending since I can do the same in a private room (with 2 drinks) for less than RM30. But how can one say no to Eason Chan's concert? Call me a conservative but I do feel that the Cantopop scene is declining to a stage where voices are faint, some forced and mostly indistinguishable. The catchy melodies and profound lyrics (well, sometimes) stay but often tailored, these are not representative of the quality of the singer. Eason's gifted voice is one of the very few that I still listen to ardently. He started strong that Saturday night at Stadium Merdeka with 今天等我来, a befitting opening number, which we thought was a new song. In fact, it was sort of a B-side from his early days. I'm definitely attempting this at K next time! There were a few covers that night too, like 好歌獻給你, 寂寞夜晚 and 破曉, which may be unfamiliar to the younger crowd. He did include a few of my personal favourites into the repertoire like 落花流水 and 裙下之臣 BUT where are the other hits like 葡萄成熟时, 大開眼戒, 不来也不去, 岁月如歌, Shall We Talk, 十面埋伏, 淘汰, 於心有愧, 七百年後 and K歌之王? The banters could have been shortened to make way for more of these songs. The atmosphere, despite the humidity, was great throughout the 25 songs set. The KL crowd, to me, has always been enthusiastic, responsive and supportive. The singers themselves acknowledged this as well. Honestly, I was expecting a 3-hour concert packed with more than 30 songs but I forgot that this was not a Jacky Cheung show. So, I left the stadium slightly disappointed. The company of old schoolmates made up for that. To think that we first heard Eason when we sat for our SPM examination. We've definitely come a long way. Maybe I should now stop laughing at my elders who travel to the Arena of Stars in Genting to watch their favourite singers from the 70s perform.
The concert marked the beginning of my long weekend in KL since the lunar new year. There was no preplanned eat list but that turned out fine. For a change, we lunched at Dubrovnik (finally) and found the recommended dishes, mostly dairy products-based, commendable. And for a change to that change, it was Klang bak kut teh for breakfast at Hock Kien, Bandar Manjalara. The famous braised claypot pork belly, to me, could have been more harmonized a dish. The ingredients seemed unevenly proportioned. The aroma of the sesame oil was strong, that's good. But the soy sauce based reduction was bland with some flavours clearly lacking, like ginger, cinnamon and peppercorn. On the positive side, the pork ribs served in the claypot bak kut teh were succulent and huge.
Of all the food that I'd tried over the long weekend, it was the wan tan mee from an obscure 壹记 at Taman Usahawan Kepong that had been most remarkable. The influx of customers was not high that Monday afternoon, which was good. Well, for us at least. 壹记 serves handmade, whole-egg noodles with a couple of toppings to choose from. The simplicity of their menu may not be attractive to many but they've done well with the noodles being refined, springy and without a hint of lye. For getting the fundamentals right, 壹记 deserves a revisit.
What's homecoming without a homecooked meal, right? I had a couple of those, including a large plate of steamed yam cake for tea, prepared by mum. Always generous, she filled the yam cake with a copious amount of steamed yam cubes that gave each cut a nice bite. The cake itself tasted rather plain, so a sprinkling of chopped waxed sausages provided some sweetness and colour. It's incomplete without a dollop of mum's dried shrimp chilli paste. It's a basic, versatile condiment that can be used to cook curry, sambal for nasi lemak, etc. For the yam cake, she added more salt and doubled the chilli. Let's see, I might have consumed more of the chilli paste than the yam cake.
Over the long weekend, I'd also experienced a pleasant, almost seamless passport renewal process at the immigration department in KL. And in between food and meetings with friends, I managed to hit a good running mileage. At the end of this short getaway, I felt recharged. What a difference a day makes, eh? I'm beginning to understand the lament of most employees now....YES, I do need more leave days!
74, Jalan Metro Perdana Barat 3
Taman Usahawan Kepong
52100 Kuala Lumpur