Forevermore…

So there we were…

Dinner World, Bintulu 1

…at this sparkling new restaurant in Bintulu

Dinner World, Bintulu 2

…for my niece’s grand wedding banquet…

Dinner World, Bintulu 3

We made it a point to go earlier so we would find a parking space near the main entrance so we would not have to walk very far – remember I had my two aunties with me and I am no spring chicken myself either. Good excuse, eh? Hehehehehe!!!!

They have an escalator but it was out of order. Luckily, there was also a lift that we could make use of to get to the upper floor. For one thing, the restaurant has a very peculiar design – to get to the washroom you will have to go out one door and then go all the way down the staircase to get there. I, for one, would rather take the lift again and use the ones in the restaurant lobby.

Everything was ready…

Wedding decor 1

…neatly in place…

Wedding decor 2

…waiting for all the guests…

Dinner World, Bintulu 4

…and the bride and the groom to arrive…

Bridal sedan

…before the event could start…

Main table

As soon as the happy couple made their grand entrance, they were ushered onto the stage for the cutting of the wedding cake…

Wedding cake

…and then it was time for dinner to be served.

It seems like it’s the latest fad as far as the lighting of such venues goes whereby the colours of the lights would change alternating between red, yellow, green and blue and that, I find, is a nightmare for people like me without the sophisticated equipment and totally dependent on a cheap and simple digicam.

Dinner 1

That was why I had a problem with the snapshots of the dishes served that night…

Dinner 2

…as no amount of editing and adjusting could get them to look nicer in any way…

Dinner 3

The food, I would say, was, at best, all right…

Dinner 4

…not great and at times, even cold despite the fire down below…but I guess we could just put it down to the lack of experience, this being a new restaurant and they had yet to learn how to cope with such a large crowd. Service was good though, just that for a place this impressive, I would expect the food to be a lot better.

Anyway, that was secondary as on special auspicious occasions such as this, what would be the most important was the getting together with loved ones – family and friends…

All in the family
*Facebook photo taken by one of my cousins*

…and the sharing of the joy of the bride and the groom and their immediate families. Congratulations once again, Diana and Kwang Siang, wishing the both of you love and happiness in abundance forevermore…

The toast

…and to my cousin and her hubby too on the wedding of their youngest daughter, thank you so much for the invitation. Cheers and God bless, all!

Same thing…

I did manage to drop by the Ramadhan Bazaar in Bintulu that afternoon before the grand wedding dinner in the night. I went to the one in front of this supermarket and departmental store…

Sing Kwong Bintulu

…which was a short distance away from the hotel where I was staying.

I would say it was more or less the same thing as the ones in Sibu or elsewhere in the country – you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. I stopped by the first stall on the right…

Ramadhan stalls 1

…and bought these kuih bahulu (traditional Malay egg cake)…

Kuih bahulu

I don’t know how they make them now but in the old days, they would use those copper chuan (mold) and cook them over a hot charcoal stove. The last time I saw some of these was at Tesco in Sungai Petani many years ago and I did buy some home too then. They’re all the same shape now, it seems – in the past, we had some fish-shaped ones, that much I can remember.

I did not fancy the other things they were selling…

Ramadhan stall 1

…nothing that we can’t get in Sibu.

The food looked pretty good at some of the other stalls…

Ramadhan stall 2

…but unlike the ones I would frequent in Sibu, it appeared that there, they would leave everything exposed…

Ramadhan stall 3

…and thankfully, I did not see any flies fluttering around. That would be so disgusting, really.

This one with all the smoke…

BBQ stall

…was selling all the panggang (barbecued) stuff.

It was already past 4 in the evening and if we compare that one…

Ramadhan stalls 2

…to the ones we had here in Sibu, theirs was certainly not as crowded…

Ramadhan stalls 3

Perhaps this was not the main one and there were others all around town that were more popular, I wouldn’t know as this was the only one that I went to check out during my short stay in the town.

There was a stall selling “nasi Arab” (Arabian rice) – I sure would love to try to see what that was…but I was going to a wedding banquet in a few hours’ time so I decided to give it a miss…and of course, I did not buy nor eat any of these…

Durians

…either. LOL!!!

After that quick walk around the Ramadhan Bazaar, I headed back to the hotel to bathe and change and get ready for the main event of my visit to Bintulu…and that’s coming right up! Make sure you come back for my post on that, okay?

We agree…

I was thinking that perhaps we could go back to that nice restaurant opposite the hotel for lunch but my two aunties who had their breakfast at the hotel cafe were informed that starting that very day itself, there would be an eat-all-you-can lunch buffet promotion for only RM10.00 nett per head and we went in to check out the spread. We all agreed that it was pretty good and since it was so very cheap, we all agreed that we would have lunch there.

There was nasi lemak but they called it pandan rice and I thought it was nicer than when I had the former for breakfast and that wasn’t just because of the pandan added. There was the sambal to go with it and a choice between hard-boiled and fried egg…

Sambal and egg

…plus all the usual condiments…

Nasi lemak condiments

Other than those, there was also the fried chicken and the curry…

Chicken

…and the fried pumpkin with cangkuk manis

Pumpkin and green bean dessert

…with green bean and sago soup for dessert…and there were some nice mini-papadums too.  Other than these, there was a free flow of iced lemon tea or drinking water, plus coffee and tea.

I don’t think this was mine – perhaps it was my missus’…

Helping 1

…and as you can see, it was a lot more neatly-arranged than mine…

Helping 2

LOL!!!

I had a second helping…

Helping 2 - 1

…and the second time around, I opted for the fried egg…

Helping 2 - 2

…which I thought wasn’t too badly done.

Everything was to our satisfaction but we all agreed that the green bean and sago dessert was not sweet enough. Nevertheless, we all agreed that that was fine with all of us as at our age, a little bit less sugar would definitely be a good thing.

After sitting around, chatting and catching up on things in our lives, we all retired to our rooms to rest and get ready for the grand wedding banquet that night.

Do it all over again…

Another cousin of mine and her hubby would be arriving from Kuching that next morning when we were in Bintulu and since my cousin would be real busy, that being the day proper of her daughter’s wedding banquet, I told her I would go and meet them upon arrival as well.

I gave my breakfast voucher to my aunties so the two of them could go for breakfast together (they have one voucher of their own too between the two of them) and while the time away on their own while my missus and I were out. The two of us went to this coffee shop…

Bintulu coffee shop

…opposite the Bintulu bus terminal…

Bintulu bus terminal

…and the Farley supermarket and departmental store.

I had the beef tripe noodles (RM4.00, or was it RM5.00, can’t really remember now)…

Beef tripe noodles

…which was all right, no msg overdose in this one, while my missus had their sambal kway teow (RM6.00)…

Sambal kway teow

…and it was really good.

I tried the steamed paos too…

Bintulu pao 1

…to see if they were any good…

Bintulu pao 2

…as I thought I could buy some back for my friend, Philip, but no, I did not bring any home to Sibu with me, if you catch the drift.

We spotted them selling those Miri phong peah and tau sar peah

Buying phong peah

…that we had when we were there and we liked them a lot so this time around, we did not hesitate in buying some to cart back to Sibu. We also bought two of the made-in-Bintulu pandan phong peah to try and they turned out to be really very nice, maybe even nicer than the ones from Miri, not as sweet.

I went to the washroom first prior to our long drive to the airport and was tickled by the notice…

Notice in Bintulu toilet

…that I saw inside. LOL!!!

After that, we proceeded to the airport to pick up my cousin and her hubby…and there we went again – we took them to the hotel to check in but their room was not ready so they left their luggage in our room and off we went! Where to? My cousin wanted to buy some Bintulu belacan (dried prawn paste) so I drove back to the house and she got some from that Ms Sim there…and I also took them on a drive round Bintulu old town.

Then it was time for lunch, so we contacted our two aunties to see what mischief they had been up to and we all agreed on going for lunch together…but I think I will just leave that till my next post. You’ll stick around, won’t ya?

First in line…

It’s the early bird that catches the worm, or so they say…and we were the first in line, my missus and I. We arrived on Sunday evening and were invited to dinner with my cousin and her family that very first evening in town while my two aunties arrived on Monday morning and my cousin invited the four of us to dinner with her family at her house that night.

Gosh! I can imagine how busy she must have been with her youngest daughter getting married and all the things to see to…and yet, she was able to come up with one really impressive spread exclusively for the dinner. I loved her masak merah

Masak merah

…and her beef dish…

Beef

Initially, I thought that was masak hitam but no, it wasn’t anything Malaysian and yes, it was very nice too!

She even went through the trouble of cooking her chicken curry…

Chicken curry

…from scratch. These days, I would just use those pastes in packets which can be real nice as well. Of course, hers was good though I wondered who dished out the curry and made such a mess – probably the hubby or one of the kids. Muahahahahaha!!!!

If I remember correctly, I think this was pork…

Pork

…and I enjoyed it very much and I absolutely loved her ladies’ fingers with the sambal on top…

Ladies fingers with sambal

…but the dish that stole the limelight was this -

Baked fish with sambal

- fish (bawal hitam/black pomfret) wrapped in banana leaf and baked and served with the oh-so-delicious sambal. I was told she had tom yam paste in the dip. Hmmmm…gotta try it sometime!

I think I just had a piece of the tofu…

Fried tofu with mayo

…and I don’t remember helping myself to the ngor hiang/lor bak

Ngor hiang

…nor the dishes she ordered from outside, the butter prawns…

Butter prawns

…and the mixed vegetables…

Mixed vegetables

I wouldn’t want to waste my tummy space on those when there are so many lovely own home-cooked dishes to savour and enjoy.

Don’t ask me how many helpings I had for honestly, I just cannot remember. I just feasted on the delicious fare till I was bursting at the seams. Too bad for the other guests to her daughter’s wedding who arrived the following day and those who were not able to come – now they can see what they all missed! Muahahahahaha!!!!

Thanks so much, cousin, for that wonderful dinner – hope it was not too much trouble. Truly, that was very much appreciated…by all of us, thank you on everybody’s behalf.


P.S.:
SELAMAT HARI RAYA MAAF ZAHIR DAN BATIN to all family and friends celebrating this very auspicious occasion today…

Hari Raya greeting

God bless, everyone.

Looking around…

At the end of my previous post, I mentioned that we took my two aunties to the market in Bintulu

Bintulu tamu 1

There wasn’t much in the market proper and neither was there anything to buy at the tamu, the native/ethnic side with their jungle produce and other stuff…

Bintulu tamu 2

We did not buy the belacan (dried prawn paste) here…

Bintulu tamu 3

…as my cousin told me of a house in the vicinity of Tanjung Batu where we could get very good belacan from a lady surnamed Sim. Following my cousin’s directions, I managed to locate the place and bought all that we wanted from her. Unfortunately, it was not the season so she did not have any more cincaluk (fermented shrimps) for sale. We did not want to buy those at the tamu as they looked kind of overly pinkish, probably the result of the use of colouring though some say they use ang chao (the residue obtained from the making of the traditional Foochow red wine).

After we had got our belacan, we stopped by this shopping mall…

Parkcity Mall, Bintulu 1

…as I heard they have a “New World” in Bintulu…

New World, Bintulu

…and I was expecting it to be affiliated to the ones in New Zealand. Unfortunately, I was rather disappointed that it was no different from any other supermarket around and in fact, some of ours can be a whole lot better in terms of the availability of imported stuff including those from New Zealand and also Australia.

There wasn’t much at the mall proper – it was a mall like any other anywhere else…

Parkcity Mall, Bintulu 2

…but I spotted this stall…

Twinkle Pan, Bintulu 1

…selling pretzels, popcorn and cream puffs…

Twinkle Pan, Bintulu 2

I have not come across any place in Sibu selling really good cream puffs so I decided to buy these and try even though they did not come cheap at RM1.70 each. Ouch!!! I asked for a box of 6, RM9.60, meaning that there would be a discount of 10 sen each and the girl took these empty cream puff shells…

Cream puff shells

…and pumped in the cream of my choice – I went for the vanilla, the only one that I like…

Pumping in the cream

…and goodness me! She actually weighed each puff shell and repeated the action each time she had pumped in a bit of the cream to make sure that she would get that exact same amount of cream in each puff, no more no less.

I tried one right away and thought it wasn’t too bad and I finished off the rest later in the hotel…but at RM1.70 each…or even at RM1.60 after the 10 sen discount, I don’t think I would want to buy anymore ever again, thank you very much.

After we had left this mall, we stopped by the Farley branch there…

Farley, Bintulu

- we have one in Sibu and each looks like a replica of the other, almost exactly the same. You can see the Promenade at the back – that’s a new hotel coming up in Bintulu but it isn’t completed yet at this point in time.

It was way past noon already so we decided to go for lunch and I took everybody here…

All Joy, Bintulu

…for the ethnic/Dayak cuisine.

This was what I had…

What I had

- the pansoh babi (pork cooked in bamboo) and the lumuk (aka as buah terap) muda, both of which were so very good…plus the bandong (tapioca) and cucumber leaves…

Bandong & timun leaves

I loved the bandong leaves – the cucumber was all right but they had a milder taste and were overshadowed by the former. The ikan patin masak asam

Patin masak asam

…was simply excellent – I truly liked it a lot!

That was indeed a delightful meal but I had to fork out RM8.00 for all that I had picked. It certainly was a lot more expensive than what I had in Kuching which was half the price and equally nice. I guess that’s to be expected in a town with all the highly-paid “gas people” walking around with wallets and pockets bursting at the seams. Anybody would like to raise an objection to that sweeping remark? Muahahahahahaha!!!!!

Morning comes…

When morning came that first morning when my missus and I were in Bintulu, we had to go to the airport…

Bintulu airport 1

…to pick two aunties of mine from Kuching, one Ah Ee (mother’s sister) and one Ah Kim (mother’s brother’s wife), as my cousin was busy and I offered to do that for her.

The Bintulu airport is nice…

Bintulu airport 2

…smaller than the one in Sibu but it is as good as new, unlike the one in Miri

Bintulu airport 3

It was very cold inside when we were there that day, a welcome change from the hot and dry weather that we are experiencing here currently.

When the two ladies had landed, we took them to the hotel to check in and then, off we went for breakfast here…

Breakfast

…which was in the same commercial area as the hotel where we were staying. I could not see any name anywhere so I do not know exactly what it is called. Most of the stalls were closed (on Mondays) except for one bak kut teh stall and since we did not fancy that, we settled for this one…

Kampua stall, Bintulu

…instead.

I had the piansip mee, dry (RM4.00)…

Bintulu piansip mee

…which was in fact, kampua mee plus pian sip…even though on the stall, it was listed as mee wanton which it definitely was not, not at all!

My missus and aunties had their chao chai bihun (RM5.00)…

Bintulu chao chai bihun

…and all in all, we thought that what we had were all quite good but yes, things in Bintulu are obviously more expensive than in Sibu and I did think that my noodles had too much msg in it, so much so that I had to endure the lingering taste for quite a while before it disappeared.

After breakfast, we dropped by this bakery…

Chef's Secret Bintulu

…which was right across the road from the coffee shop.

I remember my very dear friend, the late Jimmy, bought these pineapple cakes

Bintulu pineapple cakes 1

…from there for me when he was still teaching in Bintulu. Good grief! They’re RM2.40 each!!! The ones in Sibu are selling for RM1.50 and I already feel that is mighty expensive. I certainly would not want to fork out all that money for that one small mouthful when I can go for a nice plate of kampua noodles in Sibu for the same amount or maybe just a bit more, depending on where you go.

They do have the mini ones as well now…

Mini pineapple cookies, Bintulu

…and a whole lot of stuff that people would go to Taiwan and buy and cart home…

Taiwan-style biscuits

…to give to their families and friends.

I loved the sun biscuit that my friend, Alex, gave me many years ago when he came back from Taiwan after a trip there so I bought two boxes of these (RM2.00 a piece)…

Sun biscuits, Bintulu

- one for my parents and one for my mother-in-law though I do not know whether they are any good or not as I did not get myself any to try.

My missus bought these panggang sambal (RM3.00)…

Bintulu panggang sambal

…and we had it in the hotel that afternoon for our afternoon tea. It was very nice – the sambal was very fragrant and spicy but of course, the pulut had none of that panggang fragrance…and at RM3.00 each, I certainly would think many many times before buying one.

After that, we headed to the market…

Bintulu market

…to see if there was anything we could buy and take home.