Can’t keep a good man down…

…or a good woman, for that matter. This lady…

Kampua lady

…used to run her kampua noodle stall here but then she retired and her grandson took over, a university graduate who has chosen to carry on the trade instead and in fact, he has also gone into the manufacture of those packs of instant kampua noodles.

I sure was surprised that she now has a stall at a coffee shop that I used to frequent sometime ago. I quite liked what the lady, originally at this kampua stall there, used to serve at the time but eventually, she wrapped up her business and the ones who took over were not all that great. I also liked the fried stuff from the chu char (cook/fry) place at the back…

Delta Seafood & Cafe

…and many a time, I had stopped by there to tapao their Foochow fried noodles home…but the last time I went there, it seemed they had different people running the place and what we had was not good so we never went again. This time around, however, there are new people there too and I would say the one who came out to talk to me was very nice and friendly….and what they dish out are pretty good, so  I’ve been told.

Well, when I heard that this lady had set up her business here now, I decided to drop by and check it out. I would not say she was one of those who would snap at you once you make a wrong move or ask one question too many but I felt she was kind of reserved, not one to flash you a cheerful smile and a lady of very few words. My missus wanted pian sip, dry (RM2.70)…

Delta Seafood & Cafe pian sip, dry 1

…so I asked if that was available but she said that she would need to wrap some more. Upon hearing that, I just ordered two plates of kampua noodles for the two of us.

Then I saw her taking out the pian sip skin and minced meat to wrap and cook for a lady at the next table and another lady from another table came to change her initial order for a plate of bihun – she said that she ordered that as what she understood was that there was no more pian sip and now that she was making fresh ones, she would like to have those instead of the bihun. No, I did not bother to change my order for fear that it might confuse her more so I just left it at that.

When she was about to cook our orders, out of the blue, she asked if I wanted the pian sip dry or in soup – our table was right beside  her stall and that was why I could take her above photograph. Oh? It seemed that she heard me the first time so I just told her that my missus would like it dry. Next, she asked me if I wanted my kampua noodles white (RM2.70)…

Delta Sefood & Cafe kampua, white 1

…or black and I told her I would prefer the white…and we were served in no time at all. However, there was one guy who walked out from inside the coffee shop and told her that he would want to cancel his order and he left. I was not too sure if she did not hear him…or she heard but had forgotten all about it but the man was quite pleasant about it so I thought that was very nice of him. In cases such as this, some people can be quite temperamental and nasty and of course, one should be more understanding considering that the lady was no longer all that young.

Her pian sip seemed to have a lot more meat inside…

Delta Seafood & Cafe pian sip, dry 2

…and my missus said they were all right and I would say the same about her kampua noodles…

Delta Seafood & Cafe kampua, white 2

…that were served with stewed pork instead of those boiled ones, coloured in that radioactive shade of red on the outside…but the next time I drop by, I probably would want to try something from the chu char place at the back. The prawn noodles look pretty good…

Delta Seafood & Cafe, prawn noodles

…and are a lot cheaper than the highly-acclaimed ones at some places here, going for some RM35-40.00 or more these days but of course, if you look closely, those aren’t the much-coveted udang galah or freshwater prawns but never mind! I do think one can’t go wrong with prawns, whichever type they may be and actually, even if they’re seawater prawns or tiger prawns, they do not come cheap either. The ones I had for my Sarawak laksa that day were RM35.00 a kilo!

There is an Indian stall there too and if I’m not mistaken, there is a burger stall as well but that probably only opens at night. For one thing, parking is a breeze here, especially compared to the lady’s former location, and if anyone is interested in checking this place out,  it is located in one of the two blocks of shophouses right BEHIND the Delta Public Swimming Pool (GPS coordinate: 2.307942,111.825264) – Lorong Delta 10, the third left turn (not including the back lane that goes around those shops) if you are coming from Queensway (now Jalan Tun Abg Hj Openg).

Dazed and confused…

Have you ever tried googling for a recipe only to find different people telling you different ways to cook the same thing? That was exactly what happened when I went in search of the way to cook nasi lemak kukus (steamed coconut rice). There was one that had three or four 10-minute steps and then I came across another where the rice was steamed first before the santan (coconut milk) was added. Of course, the less-complex latter sounded a lot more attractive to me since it would be a lot simpler so I thought I could give it a try.

I had some santan (coconut milk) left in the fridge left over from when I cooked the Sarawak laksa a while ago. It said on the pack that it should not be kept in the freezer and could be stored in the fridge but one would have to use whatever was left within three days. Gosh!!! That was almost two weeks ago but since it seemed all right still, I decided that I would just go ahead and use it and be done with it. Waste not, want not!

I got the ingredients ready – a few thin slices of ginger, one shallot, peeled and sliced, two stalks of serai (lemon grass), bruised…and a pandan (screw pine) leaf cut into short 2 or 3-inch lengths…

Ingredients

…and a bit of salt and mixed them with some leftover rice that I had in the fridge that morning…

Mix with rice

Then, I poured in the santan but ooooopsss!!!! There was too much of it for that little bit of rice…

Santan added

…but what the heck!!! I decided to just go ahead with it and steamed it for some half an hour or so.

I also had two half-eaten tubs of sambal ikan bilis in the fridge from God-knows-when. We can buy that here, very nice ones, in those little plastic tubs that they use for homemade kaya (coconut jam), for only RM5.00 each. I remember I bought two as I thought my girl would want to take one back to her school to eat with rice or whatever sometimes but somehow or other, she never did. I did eat half of what was in one tub and I had no idea who had a bit of what was in the other one. Well, they probably were shoved into some obscure corner in the fridge and were conveniently forgotten until that day, when I decided to do a little bit of cleaning and found them. It seemed all right still so I heated all of it and served it with the nasi lemak kukus

STP's nasi lemak kukus 1

I also cooked one egg, hard-boiled for the purpose and since there was no cucumber in the house, tomatoes would just have to do…

STP's nasi lemak kukus 2

Hey!!! It sure didn’t taste too bad, really! Hmmm…since that was the case, I probably would want to try cooking this again – starting from scratch this time and with all fresh ingredients, no more leftovers.

Hey brother…

I was in the vicinity of the Rejang Park shops here that day as I had to go to the mini-post office there to send some stuff and I stopped by this coffee shop…

Happy Hours

…that I’ve blogged about several times before, here and here, for instance.

Sometime ago, there used to be a stall here selling fish noodles and it was very popular. Long queues were the order of the day and after you had asked for what you wanted, you would have to stand there and wait. Once it was ready, you would have to take it yourself, self-service. The tom yam was everyone’s favourite but when I went once, I had the clear soup fish bihun and I thought it was all right – it certainly did not get me running back for more. Well, the lady has moved elsewhere and no, I have never gone to check her out at her new place but I hear the situation has remained unchanged. For one thing, she certainly is no Miss Congeniality and I certainly have no intention of patronising places with people like that. We pay them money, they make a living out of us so they should show us at least a little bit of respect. Surely it does not hurt one bit to be a little bit nice to people and I just cannot understand why people would want to keep going to such places at the risk of being scolded. Real silly, don’t you think? There are things that I can live without and I certainly can do without those things sold by this kind of people.

Well, I heard that her brother has set up his own stall at the old place selling the same things and no, he will serve you at your table – you will not have to do it yourself. Since I was around there that morning, I thought I would just check it out…

Happy Hours stall 1

…and yes, the guy was very nice and friendly. Who says the fruits from the same tree are all the same?

My missus would probably want the zhao cai – she loves that with its sourish preserved vegetable soup and somehow, I could not get myself to go for the tom yam. Boring ol’ me, I just asked for the chin tan or clear soup with hung ngang, the big bihun (RM6.00)…

Chin tan hung ngang 1

…which was nice even though I had a problem with eating the noodles using a pair of chopsticks – I’m not very good at using those. I wasn’t exactly fond of the fish either. If I’m not mistaken, it was just those frozen fish fillet, usually Dory, that isn’t my favourite. Preferably, he could  use some of the local fish fillet and he can always charge more should anyone asks for that.

Other than that, the soup was very much to my liking – light and tasty and I enjoyed the minced meat balls…

Chin tan hung ngang 2

…that came with it.

There used to be an old lady at the stall next to this one…

Happy Hours stall 2

- she used to dish out some pretty nice stuff and I remember specifically her char kway teow and her pek koi. I did not see her that morning and I was not sure if these people were related to her or they had taken over that stall.

For one thing, I think the coffee here is cheaper – my kopi-o-peng (iced black coffee) was only RM1.60 compared to RM1.80 elsewhere and besides, I enjoyed the old Mandarin favourites that they played not too loudly at the place including this one…


在雨中 – 劉家昌/尤雅

…that I love a lot! Ahhhh!!! What sweet memories that song brings!!!

I’m only human…

A car is like a human being too. When it is new and flashy, it will look great and will be the envy of all. People will admire and sing its praises and everything will run smoothly. However, it will grow old too – time will take its toll and problems may crop up time and again. However, if one takes good care of oneself from young and eat the right diet and have proper nutrition, stay away from all bad habits, go for regular check-ups and keep oneself active, one should be in pretty good shape once one grows old. Many people do not take good care of their cars – as long as it runs, it’s fine. In Hokkien, they refer to this as oo cho, boh ciak (direct translation: got do/work, no eat) and of course, it would come as no surprise that trouble would come knocking on one’s door.

I drive to Selangau and beyond once a week and very often, I would see cars breaking down, stalled by the side of the road and some of them are actually very new…not to mention, those with a flat tyre! I guess they feel it is not too far, just an hour and a half away (even though there is nothing much all along the way other than a few longhouses and jungle, trees, trees and more trees), so they never bother to make sure their cars are in tip-top shape before embarking on the journey. Every week, I would make it a point to fill up the petrol tank, check the air pressure in the tyres including the spare in the boot, check the engine oil, the battery water, the water in the radiator and the storage tank for the wipers/windscreen…and of course, every 5,000 km, I would send the car to the mechanic to change the engine oil and get him to look at everything to make sure everything is in perfect running order.

Humans have the daily ritual of keeping clean and may go out once in a while to pamper oneself – go to the salon for a hair wash or go for a massage, a manicure and a pedicure or something. Likewise, cars need to be pampered too…

Wira

…like this old car of mine, already 20 years old and is in pretty good shape, I would say. Of course, it’s a manual but that is not a problem here. People tell me that it would be tough not driving an auto-gear vehicle in KL with all the horrendous jams all over and having to shift gear all the time for hours on end when they get caught in one.

Humans fall sick too once in a while and so it is with my car. There may be some problems cropping up once in a long while – a flat battery, the plugs need to be replaced, the treads are all worn out so the tyres need to be replaced…stuff like that. In fact, once I feel that something does not seem right, I would drive to the mechanic right away to have him look at it. A stitch in time saves nine, they say. If you ask me, I do think it does not look too shabby really, with its original paint and all, but of course, there will be people who will sneer, “Aiyor!!! Get rid of it lah, this old junk! Go get a new car! Don’t be so kiamsiap (stingy)! What for you save all your money? Can’t take it with you when you go!” Bla…bla…bla!!! True, how very true – that last bit especially but I do not see a need to get a new one when it is running well, no problems cropping up and no need to spend and spend on regular visits to the mechanic and it gets me from here to there and back through the sun and the rain…

Rain

…so I really have no complaint whatsoever plus an old man like me sure doesn’t need to show off and drive a flashy car, zooming down our two-minute streets (yes, it takes two minutes or less to drive from one end of our roads to the other unless you go out of town, like me…and I can’t for the dear life of me understand why they need to go so fast) and parking the beauty illegally by the road side outside the coffee shops, flaunting away for all to see.

Yes, yes, I know. Old cars have no resale value. Neither have humans. Imagine if I were to go and ask for a job now, people would just laugh it off saying, “We can’t afford you lah!!!” when deep down inside, they’re actually whispering to themselves, “Who wants to employ you, you old goat?” Just look at the recent Budget, for instance – civil servants will get a bonus, 50% of their salaries, but sorry, no 50% for pensioners. We will get RM250.00, that’s all, and even that, we will have to wait till January! It is pretty obvious, isn’t it? They think we are not actively contributing anymore, never mind what contributions we might have made during our years of service…and it does seem quite clear that they can’t wait for us to kick the bucket and join the heavenly choir so they will not have to pay us our measly pensions anymore. Tsk! Tsk!

I would want to sell off my other car…

Saga

…though – my 24-year old 1st generation Saga. No, no, there’s nothing wrong with it…just that, both my missus and I are no longer working so we do not need two cars anymore and this one is hardly ever used (since it’s parked on the inside of the car porch all the time) except when I have gone out and maybe my missus would need to go out for some reason, usually to the shops round the corner to get something. As I did say earlier, humans need to stay active, both physically and mentally or the body tissues and muscles would waste away and they will start becoming forgetful and eventually, senile…and similarly, if you do not use your car regularly, it is not good for it at all.

I had a problem with this one as like all those national cars from that time, they would rust…badly and it did not help one bit that my missus used to work shifts so it was left outside in the sun, moon and rain day in, day out. The guy at the paint shop said it was like cancer, eating you up inside out and I had to replace the top/cover of the boot as there was a hole going right through it when I got it resprayed two years ago, after my missus retired. It’s the same with humans, isn’t it? If there is a cancerous growth, you may need to go for surgery to remove that problematic part of your anatomy.

Actually, between the two, I think this one has more power and the body is much stronger, more solid…but I am more used to the other one since I’ve been driving that one all the time. I went and asked my mechanic and he too told me that I would not get much for it and since it is running well and is not causing any problem, I might as well keep it as a spare. Sigh!!! I guess I will just hang on to it…or both, actually, till they decide for whatever reason to call it a day and then I can sell it off as scrap metal or something. It’s the same with humans, isn’t it? Once the time comes, they will just send you off to your new home and it’s adios…bye bye!!! Life’s like that, I guess.

A little too late…

It was past 12 noon when we went out for lunch last Saturday and that seemed to be a little too late as I noticed that many of the stalls at many of the coffee shops in town were already closed. This seems to be the case around here these days especially on Saturdays and Sundays because probably, many would go out for breakfast or brunch in the morning and once they have sold out everything, they would just close shop and call it a day.

Melissa wanted fried noodles, Malay-style so we stopped by this coffee shop – the stall was still open but the lady said that they were already out of noodles and kway teow and all she lad left was bihun…so that would just have to do…

Yummy Kafe fried bihun, Malay-style

It was all right, I guess but from what I could observe, it really wasn’t anything that was all that great.

I cannot remember how much that was, probably RM4.00 or RM5.00 but this was RM6.00 – the beef noodles that my missus had…

Yummy Kafe beef noodles

…which I had tried before and I thought it was very nice. Melissa sampled a bit and promptly declared that she would have that the next time should we happen to drop by this place again.

I did not really have anything in mind so I just ordered myself a plate of kampua noodles…

Yummy Kafe kampua mee

…and this bowl of soup…

Yummy Kafe mixed soup

…with some pian sip, fried fish balls, meat balls and liver. If I remember correctly, the total for both came up to RM6.20…and that was lunch.

On our way home, we stopped by this bakery…

New bakery 1

…in a brand new block of shops (where this cafe is located) along Brooke Drive on the left if you’re coming from town, past Sheraton Restaurant. It has just opened not too long ago…

New bakery 2

…so we decided to check it out.

There wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, I’m afraid – just the usual bread and buns and cakes. In the end, I decided to buy their “signature egg tarts” (RM1.50 each)…

Egg tarts

…to try.

They were good, despite the slightly wrinkled surface…

Egg tart

…but I can get something pretty much the same at the other bakeries in town and seeing that there is nothing here that’s special to pull in the crowd, I guess I’d probably drop by again, if at all, to pick up a loaf of bread or something out of convenience since more likely than not, I would be driving past there on my way home from town.

Incidentally, I noticed this signboard a few doors away…

Manglish

It is not very clear due to the choice of font used but I think that’s direct translation. I don’t think the Chinese characters mean the same though or it would have looked something like this – 天天好. Enlighten me, somebody, please! I can guess, however, from all that double happiness character in the sign that this place has got something to do with weddings. Ah yes! I can see that now on the glass, bottom left.

So that was our lunchtime outing last Saturday – nothing really fancy this week, I’m afraid.

Hidden away…

Sigh!!! How many of you would agree that women are very good at hiding things? Wait a minute! Let me correct myself. They’re good at putting away things but they do it so very well. More often than not, they would be so well-hidden away that they themselves cannot find them and would have to turn the whole house upside down to find them. What do the rest of you think about this? Hehehehehe!!!!

Well, that always seems to be the case with the things in our fridge. Very often, I would discover things that I can hardly remember when we had them or where they came from and some would have grown moldy already but moldy or not, I would just throw them all away. Well, that day, there were already two tubs of leftover rice in the fridge and yes, this is going to be another fried rice post again. While looking through the fridge in search of something that I could fry it with, I found another tub, “hidden” in the compartment where we would usually keep out chocolates and stuff. That being much older than the other two tubs, I decided to fry it first and save the most recent one for another day.

That morning, I decided to use the fermented/salted dabai that I had kept in a bottle in the fridge. I have blogged about that here but this time around, I decided that I would remove the skin so the end product would not have that unpleasant-looking bits of black and besides, if the skin is thick, it does not taste very nice – siap-siap, they say in Hokkien, whatever that is in English. Other than that, I thought I would use the air budu I got from my friends from Trengganu and also some leftover calamansi lime juice plus sugar and chili dip that I had made the day before for my fried fish balls…

Ingredients

…and of course, I had my usual sliced shallots and garlic and I also got some of the skinny stalks of serai (lemon grass) from my garden.

After frying the shallots and garlic in a bit of oil till brown, I added the dabai

Steps 1 & 2

…followed by the rice and after mixing everything together well, I fried that for a while before adding the air budu and the lime/sugar/chili dip…and half an ikan bilis (anchovies) stock cube…

Step 3

…and finally, I added some eggs…

Step 4

…and once I felt everything had been sufficiently fried, I dished it all out…

Dabai fried rice 1

Yes, it was very nice with the flavours of all the ingredients used and it sure looked much better than I last time I cooked this, without the bits of dabai skin…

Dabai fried rice 2

…all over but I would prefer it if I had added a handful of ikan bilis (dried anchovies) and maybe some thinly-sliced long beans or french beans to give more bite to it and perhaps, our own local stronger-smelling/more fragrant air budu aur would bring the taste to a whole new level. I think I will try that next time…

Thinking of me…

Melissa went shopping with her mum the other day – I didn’t go…and I have this feeling that the two do not like me to tag along when they go shopping as I would get bored and tired very quickly and would want to go back home. Hehehehehe!!!!

Anyway, they went to this supermarket in town that stocks up on all the imported stuff from all over the world and when they got home, she passed me these…

Korean cookies 1

I can’t only read a few words on the box but judging from the glyphs, I guess it must have been made in Korea.

Well, obviously it’s organic as stated and I guess that’s also what they mean in their reference to being green…

Korean cookies 2

I don’t think it has anything to do with being environment-friendly, what with the box plus the individual packaging of each cookie inside…

Korean cookies 3

Actually, I quite like it when they do this as it would ensure that the contents would not go limp if not kept properly in an air-tight container.

These cookies aren’t all that cheap – RM2.99 for a box and even though they’re quite big, that would work out to over 35 sen each…

Korean cookies 4

Maybe it’s because it’s supposed to be healthy so it was kind of bland to me – not sweet, not much taste…but my missus loved them and went back to grab some more! Ah well…like I always say, one man’s meat is another man’s poison. To each his own.

Other than those, my girl also got me these…

Dutch biscuits 1

…and likewise, I can’t read most of what’s printed on the pack. In cases such as this, I guess all that talk about having to read labels carefully before buying anything would just come to nought.

Well, at least, I know these are made in Holland…or the Netherlands…

Dutch biscuits 2

…and I did see the word “Dutch” somewhere as well.

Between the two, I thought these…

Dutch biscuits 3

…had a bit more taste and were a little sweeter and even though they were going at over RM6.00 a pack, it would work out to around 40 sen a piece only as there were 16 altogether though comparatively, these were a bit smaller.

For one thing, I think I’ve lost my sweet tooth and these days, I am more into things savoury rather than sweet but whatever it is, even though they did not get me jumping with delight, it is always the thought that counts…and it certainly was so sweet of my girl to be thinking of me when out shopping (and having fun) and to get them for me to enjoy. Thank you so much, girl.