Lazy Man’s Birthday Dinner

Before we proceed, let me first tell you that my birthday this year has passed and that I do not want you to wish me Happy Birthday. Any comments that are wishing me Happy Birthday in nature, I will edit them into something else.

The fact is, I don’t really like celebrating my own birthdays. In fact, in recent years, I don’t even remember when my birthday is. I did have a couple of birthday dinners last week though, thanks to friends. Contrary to what I just said, I really appreciate you guys remembering my birthday on my behalf. I guess there really is no PC (politically correct) way of saying this.

No, it is not because I hate being reminded that I am a year older (I hardly even notice that), but more because I really dislike people making a fuss over me. I even turned off my birth date’s visibility to others on Facebook to avoid being spammed on the actual day. To me, real friends are people who will always be there for you, not just once a year upon Facebook’s reminder. If a person has zero interaction with me throughout the year, then I don’t need that person to interact with me on one specific day of the year. Shit, I think I just offended more people.

Another reason is that, by the way, do you know that according to the Chinese, your birthday is also known as 母难日mǔ nàn rì (Mom’s Suffering Day)? I’m sure you can connect the dots as to why it is called as such, right? I was taught this at a very young age, and it was kind of ingrained into my brain until now. It just felt wrong celebrating a day when your mom suffered great pains to bring you to the world, you know what I mean?

Anyway, enough of long winded story. So last week, when I was grocery shopping on a certain weekday, my mom called me to wish me an early Happy Birthday. She was dismayed when I told her that I have no plans to celebrate my birthday. Actually I did have a plan, I planned to celebrate my birthday by being cooped up at home.

I was making my way to the frozen fish section when I heard her say: “生日不可以不要庆祝的 自己要照顾好自己 去吃一点好的 知道吗?(You cannot refuse to celebrate your own birthday, you need to take good care of yourself, go get something nice to eat, know or not?)”

It was exactly at that moment when I spotted a slice of cod fish that looked super wonderful. The fresh ones, not the frozen ones. Maybe I was affected by my mom’s words, I immediately gestured to the fish guy (I’m hesitant to call him the fishmonger, because we’re in a supermarket and not a wet market) that I wanted that piece while replying to my mom: “啊!啊!啊!懂!懂!知道啦!知道啦!(Ya! Ya! Ya! Understand! Understand! Know lah! Know lah!)”

Two minutes and RM 26.50 later, I left the fish section with my fish. A few days later, I cooked my birthday dinner.


  • 1 slice of cod fish
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 1 piece of bihun (rice noodles)
  • a few cloves of garlic
  • salt, pepper and olive oil


  • Rub the fish with salt and pepper, and let it rest.
  • Soak rice noodles in warm water for a few minutes.
  • Cut up and wash broccoli.
  • Place fish and broccoli onto a plate, then place the plate on one layer of the steamer.

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And then, let me backtrack a bit. Apart from the fish, I also bought this can of 豆豉 (fermented soy beans) because I saw it and spontaneously felt like buying it.

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  • Add two tablespoons of the 豆豉 into the rice noodles and mix em’ all up.
  • Place the rice noodles onto another plate and place the plate on another layer of the steamer.

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  • Belatedly remember that when mom did steamed fish, she always fries the garlic oil first before steaming the fish.
  • Set the steamer aside, chop up some garlic, and saute fry the garlic in very hot oil until the garlic turn brown.

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  • Now place the steamer base back on the cooker, bring the water to boil, and them place the layers on top, and steam for 8 minutes.
  • Plate up, and pour garlic oil all over the fish.

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So, there you have it. My DIY birthday dinner for myself, made of spontaneously purchased ingredients. And I am heeding my mom’s advice of getting something nice (expensive) to eat. This has probably been my most expensive DIY meal, like, ever. There’s probably about RM 40 worth of ingredients in there!

Is it good? Is it delicious?

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Censored answer:

Of course it is! The fish was great!

Censored part:

When I rather spontaneously bought the 豆豉, I overlooked the words 辣椒 (chili) printed on the label. When I was adding it into the rice noodles, I still did not notice that two words. When did I notice that two goddamn words? I noticed after I took my first bite at the rice noodles and when “WOO HOOO HOOOO!!!!

It was probably the hottest mouthful of food that I have ever eaten in my entire life. Of course, I quickly took drastic measures to tone down the heat, like blanching the rice noodles in some water. But my tongue remained anesthetized for the next two hours.

I still think this jar of fermented beans is great, but I need to remember to measure with teaspoon rather tablespoon when adding it to my food in the future.


  1. สุขสันต์วันเกิด S̄uk̄hs̄ạnt̒ wạn keid!!

    I have phobias on birthdays now after my wife threw 3 real unsuspecting birthday parties for me!!! I think I should blog about it.

    • Tsk! So you’re saying it in a language that I do not understand, hence I cannot be sure and edit it away! Evil!

  2. You can never be lazy if you are a food lover. There is always something to cook or bake, huh? Hope you enjoyed it. Broccoli is my fav!

  3. I am like you on birthdays. Have not celebrated it or done anything special for it since the end of high school because I don’t want people fussing over me. Usually it’s unavoidable. My birthday falls on 1st May, May Day, and til this day a lot of my high school mates in Singapore remember that day as Mabel’s Birthday. I’m sure if a friend you’ve not talked to in years says Happy Birthday to you on Facebook, it’s all in good faith. But it’s sort of creepy…like are they stalking you.

    Sounds like a good recipe. Drinking milk usually helps cool down chilli tongue, at least for me 😀

    • Yeah I know, I’m sure people who wishes us mean well, I won’t really get mad at them. Good for you that so many people remembers your birthday without needing any FB reminder! 😀

  4. I really agree 100% with what you said in the beginning of this post. I don’t like people making a fuss over my birthday either. I should figure out how to turn off FB notification for that too, except I have no idea how to use FB 90% of the time. I agree that “friends” shouldn’t just pop up once a year to write two words on your wall. Ugh. But, I think it’s kinda f’ed up that it’s called “mom’s suffering day”! Wtf… lol. What a Chinese thing to say. I just know that all mothers say that they don’t ever remember the pain because the joy is just a million times greater.

    Your birthday dinner looks really good. That rice noodle looks yum!!

    • I suspect it is because you moved Stateside at a very young age. The moms here of our generation are less forgiving with their choices of words! Here we are always told how hard it is for our parents to raise us, how much trouble we caused, etc. All just to (try to) ensure us growing up to be filial and to take care of them when they grow old. Not that I object the idea that we should be filial, but the methods are not that pleasant, I have to say. 🙂

  5. That was a very good birthday meal indeed! Healthy stuff too. Whoah, you got yourself a proper slice of cod fish. I love cod and yeah, I should give myself a treat like that too when my birthday comes 🙂

    Come to think of it, I have not celebrated nor cooked anything special for my birthday. Though I remember my birthday, I can’t remember exactly how old I am. Just the other day someone asked me and I was like err… I’m forty….forty what ah? hee..hee…

    • You can always say: “I’m fortyyyyy… what’s the name of that restaurant we went just now huh?” 😀

  6. Now that’s a real pc of cod fish! Tasty and worth it 🙂 But it’s so expensive nowadays. When I first started eating it, it was only RM6.99/100g. I once ordered the entire cod fish from the wet market for about RM100+

    You’re not a lazy man…you even fried some garlic in oil first. For me, I would not put the fish on top of the noodles but in a separate dish with some soya sauce…and then pour the fried garlic and garlic oil on top….yumssss!!!

    • I did steam the fish separately from the noodles, but I plate them together for ease of eating hahaha! My dinner table is in front of the laptop, no choice 😀

  7. Hahaha I’ve also done the same trick on facebook 😀 I don’t want 300 people to write on my wall that day. I want people to remember by themselves! 😛

    • On the other hand, I don’t want people to remember. Or more like, I don’t expect them to remember, because I never remember anyone’s birthdays apart from my family’s.

      And I have a habit of not wishing anyone Happy Birthday on Facebook even when I receive the notifications. “Don’t do to others what you do not want others to do to you.”, although I suppose most people actually likes getting those FB well wishes. I guess I’m just trying to be fair, don’t want to wish some and forgot to wish some and make some of them unhappy that I treat their birthdays as being lesser, so nobody gets my wishes, all fair. 😛

      • I remember most of my friends’ birthdays! I have a very good memory for that 🙂 If facebook notifies me of a birthday and it is from someone I never talk to/don’t really care about, then I don’t write a happy birthday message. I’m mean? haha!

        • I think you are kind. You just saved that person the headache of having to reply to a stranger in a polite way. 😀

  8. Looks like a delicious recipe and I’m avoiding saying anything else. Although I wonder what you would edit comments to read if they did mention the unmentionable. 😉

  9. Ok, no Happy Birthday to you then. Aiyor…young man! Birthday, not out partying somewhere with friends kah? And treating oneself to something special? We do deserve a little pampering sometimes.

    Ummmm…that mum’s pain, I am sure all the mums will tell you – it brings so much joy, so much ecstasy. Sad that in the years that follow…the initial happiness may turn the other way round. 🙁

    • You sound like you experienced that “turn the other way round” thing. Did your daughter go through a rebellious period that broke your heart? 😀

      • Nope! She’s such a sweet angel…though I wished she could have a bit of a mean streak in her. It’s a wicked world out there – she would need a bit of that to survive. I do know of cases though – either within the family…or among friends and colleagues.

        • You’re right. It’s a sharks world out here. More so in the big cities.

          I’ve seen family feuds. Not in my family, but in those big and rich families. Maybe it is better to be a small and average family, where there is nothing for the siblings to want to fight each other for. 🙂

  10. I’m tempted to wish you Happy Birthday here just to see how you’ll edit my comment.

    I also turned off my BD notifications on FB. I don’t want FB to go bugging everyone telling them to wish me. My real friends will remember my birthday even without FB reminding them 🙂

    • Don’t tempt me!

      Haha I know some people who turn off the notification for the same reason as you: see how many people remembers their birthdays without reminder. My reason is not like that. I hope my birthday is not a celebration, just another day. And I don’t expect people to remember my birthday, because I don’t remember theirs too! 😀

  11. Cod fish and garlic, I like!

    I agree with this statement of yours: “If a person has zero interaction with me throughout the year, then I don’t need that person to interact with me on one specific day of the year.” What I want is friends who are really friends, not just friends who wish you Happy Birthday on facebook once a year and never interact with you at all on normal days, what is the point. Oops, I think I offended some people also.

    So nice of your mother to say that to you. She really dote on you.

    • I guess that’s the problem with being straightforward huh. You just have to be prepared to accept that you will offend people on and off. I’m not like that in real life though. In real life I think I’m more polite and reserved 😳

    • It is not due to busy or not busy, the thing is I just don’t really care about things like birthday, so I never really paid a lot of attention to it.

  12. OK, not going to wish you then. That’s a very nice meal you made for yourself on that day. Ouch! Too spicy hot, can imagine how to feel to have an anesthetized tongue for the next two hours.

    I did not know about that 母难日mǔ nàn rì until this post. Who taught you that phrase when you were very young?

    • Can’t really remember who taught me that. It probably was one of my teachers in primary school. Or was it actually my mom? I’m surprised not many people know of this.

  13. eih, i thought i am going to see another 1P100W post, don’t tell me you are giving it up already, hahaha!! oooh, you cooked yourself something nice on your birthday, i like this woh.. beehoon for me anytime, and the cod fish looks so chunky and inviting!!! i like~~

    • I’m not giving up. If you read the 1st one, I already said I will mix things up. Sometimes full post, sometimes 1P100W post. It’s not always I have solitary picture for the 1P100W thing. 🙂

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