My Grandma celebrated her 90th birthday on Sunday, with as usual a Chinese-style banquet. This time we had the celebration at Taipan Fins, Northam Hotel. 4 tables in a superbly narrow private room (definitely not for fat folks).
We also realised that good food cannot be found in hotels, well, at least at the Penang hotels I’ve eaten at! What annoyed us all terribly (some 4 generations of a large extended family of 40 or so people, but this is just about 3/4 of the actual clan) was that service was bad.
That’s one thing that I love about Starview Restaurant along Burmah Road. That’s our favourite place to eat at for Chinese style dinners whenever we have a birthday to celebrate. Or even just a family gathering whenever my uncle and aunt comes avisiting from Korea.
Starview is an institution built on good food and excellent service. Now Taipan Fins at Northam had none of that – we had to ask the waiter countless times to top up our Chinese teas. When they collected our dirty plates, they forgot to bring new ones so we were basically waiting around while our food stared at us from the lazy susan!
Me, my sisters and my cousins with Grandma…looking on is my 3rd uncle and my mom
But I think far more important was that we all came together to celebrate the birthday of our matriarch. Chinese believe in celebrating big birthday bashes especially once you reach 70. Because every year is a celebration of life, another well spent year, another abundant year that we can spend with our loved ones.
My Grandma had a jolly time, despite forgetting who’s who and what’s what, despite not being able to walk properly. (I believe we chose Taipin Fins because we liked the idea of the lift that made it easier to push my Grandma’s wheelchair about).
I guess that’s what family is about. We may bicker, bitch, complain and whine but we’re connected because the same blood flows in us.
This is about 3/4 of the whole clan!
And Grandma (she’s my only grandma now that my maternal grandparents have passed on) well, without her, we won’t be here.
The thought hit me when I saw my second aunt playfully place an orchid in my Grandma’s white hair after the 2-hour dinner. And Grandma just gave a toothy grin; she only knows what happens now as she cannot remember much and speaks very little. Most times, she just eats whatever her sons or daughters put on her plate, like a child. She throws tantrums like a child too sometimes.
A thought struck me too. I wished I took more time to learn up Grandma’s Cantonese recipes especially stuffed crabs and braised terubok fish. These 2 are my favourite dishes which Grandma often made whenever we were little and had come back to Penang for the school holidays.
What are your fondest thoughts about your grandparents?