MY SON’S BIRTHDAY at HO CHAI-LAI
“Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn’t know you had. And dealing with fears you didn’t know existed.”
While it is my intention to avoid as much as possible the places I’ve been to when my dad is still with us. There’d be times it is inevitable.
Originally, we eyed an Italian restaurant somewhere in Alabang to dine-out on my son’s birthday. Due to some reasons, a slight change of plans took place, we had to switched at the last minute, and ended up at Ho Chai lai.
It is an authentic Chinese restaurant in Muntinlupa City, a few minutes away from Susana Heights exit to and from SLEX (Southern Laguna expressway). My father used to bring us here, several times. For some of you who might want to know, my father’s father was born in Macau. The choice of foods at home is basically of Chinese cuisine.
Ho Chai Lai is one of my father’s favorite places, if he doesn’t feel like cooking for us, he will bring us here. This has been thriving here for more than 10 years I guess. I haven’t seen the place not jam-packed especially lunch and dinner time.
When we arrived around past 7 in the evening. There are a few vacant tables left. We chose the 6 seater, even if we’re just four. Me, my son, his dad and Jen, our family friend cum foodie/ travel buddy.
If you’ve been with me for a while, you’d instantly know the first thing (or two) that I will order from a Chinese restaurant. Both of which my son acquired the liking. And so we ordered for a broccoli this time with scallops.
And certainly, I ordered for Hakaw too. However, they do not have it at that time, but the attendant recommended an option. The steamed seafood roll.
I was a bit surprise to have found that what they used to roll the voluptuous seafood filling is steamed sotanghon. Lots of it with a mild thick sauce almost like a birds’ nest soup. It is distinct and the four of us liked it too. It was more of a surprise since I got used to sea food rolls from Binondo Dimsums which resembles fried lumpia, it’s just that instead of chopped veggies inside, it is chopped shrimps, fillets of fish, crab sticks, squid on the inside. It is deep fried and coated with panko breading I guess. To bring them together, they include mayo on it. Voila!
On top of the two dishes mentioned, the dad (tatty – short for tatay<filipino word for father>) ordered spare ribs in orange sauce for the birthday boy,
stir-fried canton for long life,
and his personal “it’s a must” – chicken feet.
And of course, yang chow rice.
At first glance, it might just seem the usual Chinese food. But since it is my son’s birthday, all the details were fun. You will realize that it is exactly the cozy kind of dinner that you expect in lauding a special person’s birthday.
Again, another plan to watch movie was aborted too, but we compensated all the aborted plans into a nicer activity. Shopping! I’m not the birthday girl, though I went home with 2 blouses, a blouse for my mom, for Jen’s mom, a gift for a niece, and some stuff for the birthday boy and his tatty.
We concluded the celebration with slices of cakes and four glasses of “don’t count the calorie pleeease” iced coffee, all of which are frap from Gloria Jeans.
It was fun trying everyones’ choices. I had my Creme Brulee, Echo had Cookies and cream (it is his favorite cookie since a kid), Jen took Caramelatte (Ms. Caramel) and tatty had Macadamia.
Of all four, tatty’s Macadamia got the nods. Echo’s choice is the least favorite. Ahaha! He kept on convincing the three of us to exchange ours with his cookies & cream and no one would like to swap. Though, I am sure, he adored his blueberry cheesecake. It was gone in a few minutes. It was an addiction he got from me. Another junkie is Jen, her cake is cheesecake in caramel sauce as well on top of slurping caramel flavored coffee drink. Oh well! Mine is an apple muffin. I’ve always loved the combination of coffee and cinnamon flavored pastry. =)
It was a simple yet fun and happy birthday for my son, my hopes are high!