the actual ‘old boys weekend’ or OBW of the malay college kuala kangsar (MCKK) has come and gone weeks ago, but as usual the old boys of MCKK in dubai don’t want to be left out from the annual gathering.
back home in MCKK, the old boys gather over sporting events, musical gigs or simply to catch up. here in dubai, OBW meant to borak and makan. chat and eat! regular party-planner mr. khairul (who also happens to be the most junior among the attendees) started the ball rolling, sending out invites.
this year’s turn-out doubles last year’s – 6 old boys from MCKK spoke of school, business, politics and the usual gossips – all over spicy tomyam gung and thirst-quenching iced tea at ‘papa junior’.
from left : shamsul v86, shon v84, zaim v82, nizalman v90, hassanal v90, kay v96
this time they brought their ‘old boys weekend’ from our usual hotspot al-tawasol mandi restaurant to a thai place in dubai international city. this humble thai restaurant is called ‘papa junior’, very near dragon mart.
i’ve heard of this place since years ago, but this was the first time i went. it’s a popular place among malaysians, to get a little taste of our thai neighbour. ade la rasa macam pegi kedai abe goreng-goreng!
the ladies made their appearance too to support the husbands’ reunion – kak muna (abg shon’s wife), kak noni (bro nizalman’s wife) and kak rozi (abg zaim’s wife) provide all the laughter and words of wisdom at our little ladies table!
from left : kak muna, kiddos, kak noni, kak rozi, & me
* * *
for a place that is said to sell cheap thai food, ‘papa junior’ was really lovely. the decor is nice with bright orange walls, and colorful fake flowers on the walls. the general feel is that the owner really put an effort to beautify the place eventhough it sells food at a cheaper price.
before food was served, the waiter put these telur masin (salted egg) on the table. this is seriously the first time i was served telur masin at a restaurant in dubai! that was a good start!
i always say this about thai restaurant – you DO NOT go to a thai restaurant and not order TOM YAM! so yeah, this is a must-try – tomyam gong in ‘papa junior’ is really delicious, spicy and not too oily. the serving is also huge with generous portion of prawn. i’m not much of a tomyam fan – but yum!
this is a beef dish, but i can’t remember the specific. it could be soy-sauce or black pepper based. what i remember was that the texture if the beef was quite crispy because of the dry-fry. also, it’s a bit more salty that i would like it to be. not really a favorite.
what i find interesting though, is what was on the side…
yes, notice the presentation of the dishes? the decor on the plate? the carvings on the veggie? lovely, right? i mean, ‘papa junior’ is just a small place in little international city, dubai but they still put huge effort in decorating their dishes with carved veggies. nice touch there, ‘papa junior’!
this dish is shrimp tempura – freshly fried tender shrimp. kazim loves this!
kailan ikan masin (veggie with salted fish) was fresh, well-seasoned and tasty. complements the rest of the dishes very well. another yum.
we went ‘fishing’ too at ‘papa junior’ – bad pun, sorry! haha. the top one is steamed fish, and at the bottom is ikan tiga rasa (and yes, kak muna actually ordered in BM and the waiter understood what she meant!) both tasty, both well-marinated and fresh. a must-try too – either one, or just get both!
this is definitely my favorite – fried calamari. crunchy on the outside, and tender flesh on the inside. again, the pretty carved tomato in the middle, and yummy dips on the side that are served with the dish. i would just order this and tomyam gong alone! burp!
this is papaya salad thai style (som tam) or was it mango? either way, it’s a nice addition to all the savoury dishes and spicy gravy. sweet-spicy with a tangy twist. if you like that kind of thing…
the kakak-kakak said (they’ve been here countless times) that this is one heckuva sambal belacan. really brings out the best in all the dishes!
another item that the kakak-kakak really recommend was THIS – a tall glass of iced-tea. i told them i was having a bout of coughing, and that didn’t stop them! haha. they still urged me to try and have the ICED-tea because the hot one is just not the same. ok, i’m NOT a fan of tea with milk (most of the time i prefer teh o) but this one is really good.
the secret? a pinch of brown sugar and coconut milk! delicious!
* * *
our group filled the restaurant with so much noise and laughter, that i was glad we were the only ones there before a small group came in.
i’ve been joining these ‘small’ reunions between these MCKK old boys in dubai a lot of times, but i am still amazed that they’re never bored talking about their school AND never tired of wearing anything with the quad-colors on them!
such commendable spirit; or like how they would put it – speret koleq!
the outside of ‘papa junior’ is also eye-candy. there’s this really cool benches that’s also like a bridge of some sort – really cute to put in my garden one day! hihi. the area at the front entrance is also extremely spacious, that the boys from MCKK took some extra time to chat, lagi! dah nak balik pun nak bersembang lagi!
‘papa junior’ is highly recommended, especially for fans of thai food. should really give it a try. the food is delicious, affordable, great effort in presentation of the dishes, AND the service is friendly and fast.
the ambiance is also nice and pretty, spacious for family with kiddos and a relaxing place to bring friends. there are tons of parking spaces behind the restaurant, but you gotta know exactly where to park, or else you end up walking quite a bit. good luck!
for us, the only drawback is that the place is so far away! nways, it could be worth it if you really, really want tasty, cheap tomyam!
* * *
...and speaking of old boys of malay college, here are some of mr. khairul's unforgettable meetings with a couple of his seniors - including a really super-senior - even older than my abah (class of 65)!
this was with sir mohd ibrahim a.k.a mad bra v59. mr. khairul first noticed his small mckk pin on his coat during a MATRADE event, and thus started his 'koleq' networking. OMG. a pin? a small tiny MCKK pin, and THAT can get these two generations to connect? that's huge, man.
he's all that is wise and golden (hihi) and what mr. khairul commended about him was how fit he was to travel far and wide and getting involved in all these events!
this shot was with dato adissadikin v87 - ceo of exim bank. mr. khairul met him in his recent trip to qatar. again, with the *magic* of koleq connection, both fell into informal chats once they knew they belonged to the same alumni. no 'dato-dato', no protocol. just plain brotherhood. he shared his experience in the corporate world - brother to brother!
..and this is bro node (azhar) v80, batchmate of our pal here bro ikmal from ras al khaimah. also met when mr. khairul was in qatar, at one of the booths. always great to finally meet another mcob no matter where he is! he's an aspiring businessman in qatar, making a name for himself - a fine example for any young fellow (especially a *junior* like mr. khairul!) to emulate.