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Something to keep me going…

You would have seen in my previous post, the fried rice, kampung-style, that I cooked earlier last week and as I have mentioned it (many times) before, my girl isn’t all that fond of it this way as she  had had an overdose of that from having it almost every day at the roadside stalls across the road from the teacher-training institute where she was in Sungai Petani. After having seen the multitude of flies and the uncovered food there, I had cautioned her about eating their nasi campur and to be on the safe side, I told her that it would be best to have something cooked on the spot and served piping hot from the wok.

This was why last Saturday morning, when she was home and there was more leftover rice in the fridge, I fried it differently for our breakfast – with the made-in-Canada Ma Ling luncheon meat that I got from my friend, Philip in the US, and some eggs…

Fried rice with luncheon meat and eggs

Melissa loves luncheon meat so she would not mind fried rice cooked this way. This was the last can from the lot that Philip gave me when he was home this year. Actually, there were two left and I gave one to my father to try – luncheon meat, Ma Ling no less…and from Canada some more. He uses dentures and it seems that it hurts when he eats anything hard or tough…and of course, he does not have a problem with luncheon meat and like most everybody else, he enjoys it too.

And that same Saturday morning, my friend, Yan, dropped by my house to give me these…

Bread from Yan

…loaves of bread that she made herself. She had sent me a message earlier in the week to see if I would be home as she would be flying in from Kuching and she would like to stop by my house on the way home from the airport to give me some of her own-made pumpkin bread and milk bread…

Pumpkin bread & milk bread

Of course, I would be home! Warga emas (senior citizens) like me do not go out all that much. LOL!!! We tried the bread and they were so good we could eat it on its own and as a matter of fact, upon Melissa’s request, I had to put aside some for her to take back to her school to enjoy during the course of the week. Thank you so much, Yan, for remembering me and wanting to let me try your lovely bread.

That evening, like what we would usually do every Saturday, we went for the sunset service at a church here (so we would be able to drive Melissa back to her school on Sunday and help her resettle for the week) and I was pleasantly surprised when a friend of mine stopped me to give me this bag of goodies…

Goodies from Perth

They were from her daughter and no, she was not my student nor did I get really acquainted with her personally but I knew her then as she was in the debating team representing her school and I was the teacher in charge of the one in mine. I remember she went overseas to further her studies soon after and the last I heard, she was married and was residing in Australia and has been there since – Perth, to be exact.

Yes, I do feel extremely flattered that this silent reader of my blog is so thoughtful as to go through all the trouble to send me this just because she enjoys reading what I write…

Appreciated

Some bloggers blog for money and that would keep them going as long as the cheques keep coming in but not me. I thrive on comments even though there aren’t all that many, averaging around 20 a day, sometimes more and sometimes less (even though I get around 1,000 views a day) as that is an indication that there are people out there who actually drop by to see what I have up my sleeves and yes, I do find a sweet gesture such as this one most encouraging indeed – at least, I know there are some who actually appreciate what I am doing, day in and day out and that sure is enough to keep me going. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Eileen.

Be careful what you ask for…

We were here…

Sri Tanjung Cafe Sibu

…among the shops in the Sungai Antu area, opposite RTM Sibu, again last Saturday as Melissa wanted their nasi kerabu (RM5.50)…

Nasi kerabu

…for lunch.

I did not feel like having that as the previous morning, I had fried some rice, kampung-style…

Salted fish & air budu kampung-style fried rice

…with long kiam hu, the very special salted fish that is so much nicer than the ordinary/usual ones… and I also added some of the air budu that my Trengganu friends gave me when they came to town.

So I asked for a plate of char kway teow (RM4.00)…

Sri Tanjung char kway teow 1

…for myself and I sure liked what I was served. I would say that they did it very well and Melissa did try a bit and immediately declared that she would order that next time.

My missus asked for the mee goreng (fried noodles) with a special request for extra pedas (spicy) and got this (RM3.50)…

Sri Tanjung kwayteow goreng

It was kway teow!!! Ah well, when you go and eat at such places, be prepared for such little blunders sometimes. We are quite used to it, those people at places such as this one  getting your orders mixed up and what not, so we just confirmed that it was not meant for somebody else, served to the wrong table…and once we were sure that it was definitely meant for us, without further ado, my missus dived into it!

It was very nice too but we could not understand the difference as kway teow goreng (in Malay) is, in fact, char kway teow (in Hokkien), the one and the same thing but when we asked the girl waiting at the tables, she said if we asked for kway teow goreng, we would get what my missus got and if we asked for char kway teow, then it would be like what I got…and I could not, for the dear life of me, understand how this very confusing confusion came about but never mind! Personally, if I only had to pay 50 sen more to get some six prawns…

Sri Tanjung char kway teow 2

…or maybe more, without any second thought, I would definitely go for the char kway teow here, not the kway teow goreng.

The bottom line here is that we should be careful what we ask for so as to get what we may have in mind…HOPEFULLY.

Leaving soon…

My ex-student, Xavier, contacted me to tell me that he would be leaving soon – the following week, in fact, to go back to the UK to continue his studies at Cambridge there. I had wanted to take him here once but they were having the week off at the time and we ended up elsewhere so this time around, I made sure that he could have the more authentic dim sum at this restaurant…

Good Happiness Restaurant, Sibu
*Archive photo*

…before going off. Another ex-student of mine, Lawrence, Xavier’s good friend and former classmate, was leaving in a few days for Miri to start work there and needless to say, we were delighted that he was able to join us as well that morning.

Of course, they would be able to get the same where they were going but for Xavier especially, what he would get there would probably cost an arm or a leg, especially after the conversion of our currencies. Anyway, I do think what they serve here is very good – as good as many of the better dim sum places that I’ve been to here, there and everywhere. They told me that the chef was from Shanghai but I am not too sure whether he is still around or not.

I ordered some of the items that I had had before, their char siew (barbecued pork) pao

Good Happiness char siew pao

…and the three-flavour siew mai (meat dumplings)…

Good Happiness siew mai

…and the har kao (prawn dumpling)…

Good Happiness har kao

Of course, I simply had to order that favourite of mine, the lau sar pao

Good Happiness lau sar pao

- the steamed buns with the salted egg custard filling. It turned out that Xavier had never tried these before…and he almost had all the filling on his shirt when he bit into it. LOL!!!

I asked for this…

Good Happiness prawn rolls

…because I thought Rose had it when she was here and I wanted to give it a try myself but when I checked her blog, it seems that this was not among the things that she had. Nonetheless, it was very good and if I’m not wrong, this is some kind of prawn roll wrapped in bean curd skin and deep-fried and served in its special sauce. I enjoyed it very much, lots of little prawns inside.

We also had their tomato kway teow

Good Happiness tomato kwayteow

I thought we could have that for a change as on my previous visits, I had ordered their Foochow-style fried noodles and even though theirs had never failed to please, I wanted something different this time around…and yes, they do it very well here and I would not mind having it again in future.

That was all that we had and though it did not look like we had a lot, we were very full after we had finished everything. Probably the kway teow and the buns were very filling and did not leave much tummy space for anything else. The bill came up to only RM38.50, inclusive of free flow of Chinese tea. Well, if anyone is interested in dropping by to give it a try and has no idea where this restaurant is, it is opposite SMK Deshon along Jalan Sena (2.308964,111.848674) and I would suggest that you come in from the Lot 9 side (opposite Delta Mall, Jalan Pedada) as the sinking swampy land has made the road atrociously uneven in parts on the Sibu Bus Terminal side.

After that delightful brunch, I took the boys here

Islamic Centre

…because they asked me about THE book and they did not know where (and how) they could get a copy.

They went up to the Sibu Resident’s Office on the 5th Floor to ask for it and after signing their names, they were given a copy each, no questions asked, and they left the place happily, book in hand…

Lawrence, Xavier & the book

They did say that it was a breeze and the people there were very nice and friendly.

Thanks so much for the very pleasant get-together, boys. All the best to the two of you in your undertakings ahead. Do take care, and God bless always.

Never try…

My friend, Lim, and his wife used to plant…A LOT and they would send some over to my house very regularly so we had had our fair share of it at the time and would never order that when eating out. It did not occur to me that my girl was away studying at the time, not at home, so she had never got to try it ever. She mentioned that to me after seeing it in THE book so that was why I took her here…

Y2K Cafe

…for this…

Y2K sweet potato leaves

- their sweet potato leaves. I positively remember ordering that with belacan (dried prawn paste) hay bee (dried prawns) but that was not what we got in the end. This is what they call ching chao or something like that – fried plain/clear with garlic which would allow one to taste the sweetness of the vegetable cooked this way. Thankfully, it was very nicely done and the best thing was that they picked all the young leaves – the old ones can be quite a task to chew and are not as nice.

This is their menu…

Y2K menu

…on the wall but I don’t think that’s an exhaustive list – mostly the noodles or fried rice and stuff like that when one drops by for breakfast or something light(er). They do have a lot more than just these and actually, we did drop by earlier in that one-week school break but the place was not open. My girl wanted their sweet and sour fish…

Y2K sweet and sour fish

…and theirs is her favourite in town and I would say yes, they do it pretty well here.

We also had their lemon chicken…

Y2K lemon chicken

…and one thing in their favour would be the fact that they use fresh lemon juice. I do know of some other places that probably use lemon essence for the purpose and one would see the sauce in a peculiar shade of yellow and no lemon slices at all…plus it comes nowhere near and does not taste as nice either.

We tried their salted vegetable tofu soup…

Y2K salted vegetable soup

…but at best, I thought it was just so-so, kind of bland and not sour enough.

The total came up to RM53.00 inclusive of rice and drinks for 3 persons and yes, this place is not known for being cheap unlike the one next door which is always overflowing with people, come dinnertime. The saving grace is that they do dish out some pretty good stuff and that is why we keep coming back for more.

If you have no idea where this is, it is in the far end of the Tunku Osman area, in the block to the far left of the blocks of shops where the Big Thumb Bakery is. In fact, if you walk out of the side gate of the Methodist Secondary School here…

MSS side gate

…you can go into this restaurant through the back entrance/kitchen.

Same day…

On that very same day, before we went to the church to attend my ex-student’s wedding, we had to go somewhere as we had a bit of business to see to…but that did not take very long and since we had almost an hour to kill, we dropped by here…

Kiaw Hin, Sibu

…for breakfast.

This coffee shop is beside the Methodist Book Room which is right next to the church where the wedding would be held. I used to drop by to buy the Sibu Foochow-style sio bee which, I think, are one of the better ones in town and my friend, Philip, in the US did try their paos (steamed buns) once and he said the one with the stewed pork was quite nice. However, what I gathered was that all the paos are made by some other people – they only make the sio bee and the chang

Kiaw Hin, Sibu - chang

…which I’ve also tried before and I did think it was nice too, by our local standard, that is.

However, I had never tried anything sold at the stalls at this coffee shop before but on one or two occasions, I did notice that their noodles were red in colour, something like my favourite in Kanowit so that day, I ordered the kolo mee

Kiaw Hin, Sibu - kolo mee

…from this stall…

Kiaw Hin, Sibu - stall

…and boy, was it red!!! Despite the colour, I thought it tasted really good, just like the real thing one can get in Kuching and can, in fact, rival a few that I have had at some places there and the best part is that it is not one of those kampua noodles here and there around town, disguised to look like kolo mee and sold at almost double the price. I wouldn’t mind dropping by here for this again though I wish they would tone down the colour a bit – I feel that is a little too red for comfort. Perhaps when I go here again, I would order the same, minus the red colour and see if it tastes as good, white.

Well, don’t just take my word for it. When I shared the photograph of these noodles on Facebook, my Kuching friend, Rose, quickly went to try and she liked it…and  the following weekend, she went again because the kids asked for it! They must have loved it a lot!!!

My girl did not want anything to eat so she just sampled a bit of my noodles and she too thought they were good and she also tried her mum’s pian sip

Kiaw Hin, Sibu - kolo mee

…which we liked as well.

Lunch was served after the wedding but we did not want to linger to mingle with the crowd so we left and stopped by here

My Chef Restaurant, Sibu

…for a light lunch since we already had breakfast…and we would be going for the wedding dinner in the evening. My missus ordered the fried noodles, wet (with sauce/gravy) thinking that she would be getting something like our Sibu Foochow-style fried noodles but no, it came out looking like this…

My Chef - fried noodles, wet

Thankfully, it tasted all right though it simply wasn’t what she had in mind.

My daughter had their fish head bihun once before when she and her mum dropped by and she loved it so she wanted that…

My Chef fish head bihun

…again. I tried a bit and I thought it was all right, just that the serving was rather huge and of course, she could not finish the whole lot – they could have cut down on the quantity and work a bit more on the quality.

I ordered their butter prawn rice…but later, they came back and told me that they had run out of seawater prawns…but I could have the same with the freshwater ones at RM25.00 a plate. No, thank you!!! I opted for their sweet and sour pork instead…

My Chef sweet & sour pork rice

…and yes, it was very nice. I would say this was very much nicer than  my missus’ fried noodles or my girl’s bihun.

After that quick lunch, we headed home for a nap and rested till it was time to get ready to go for the grand wedding banquet that evening…

Two together…

I went to Andrew’s wedding last Friday, 19th September – he and his siblings, an elder brother and two sisters, were all in my English language tuition class when they were in school…

Andrew & Sandra and family

It was indeed a very nice ceremony in one of the churches in town. The string quartet played a beautiful rendition of Canon in D on the violins as the father of the bride walked with his daughter, Sandra, into the church and up the aisle to give away her hand in marriage. What caught everyone by surprise was when the wedding rings were transported by air via an RC helicopter to the pastor at the altar – that was…different and very impressive though if I had been the coordinator of the event, I probably would arrange for some music to be played to add to the excitement – the theme song from one of those movies,  my favourite – the one from Godzilla perhaps.

Lunch was served but we decided to skip that and head on home. They gave away these door gifts to everyone who came – some homemade cookies in the very lovely mini-tins…

Door gifts, church wedding

…and that night, we went for the very lavish banquet, held at the grand ballroom in the leading hotel in town…

A & S 1

The wedding planner sure did a great job with the decor…

A & S 2

…all over the lobby and in the ballroom itself. There were more door gifts and I was wondering why they had the wedding cake in packs…

Door gift, banquet 1

…that resembled those complimentary pieces of soap in hotels. Actually, inside, one would find two pieces of (fridge) magnets, two pieces of a puzzle…

Door gift, banquet 2

…and that explained the jigsaw theme that they had for the wedding – two become one, the  perfect fit.

The menu for the dinner that night was very special, starting off with this very nice selection of starters…

Starters

…that I enjoyed so much until I realised what one of them was – pickled chicken feet! Eyewwwwww!!!!! LOL!!!

Oh dear!!! They were having those alternating coloured spotlights in the ballroom too that night so the photos of the dishes did not come out too well except for this giant bowl of chicken and fish maw plus dried scallop soup…

Soup

…and this one did not turn out too badly either – the deep-fried almond slice-coated scallops and the scallops with whatever in the middle…

Scallops

…and I managed to snap this one when one of those young friends of the groom at my table was taking a shot at it using her smartphone…

Duck

- my favourite at this place, their stuffed duck with the lor mai kai-like glutinous rice filling.

There was a jazz band from Kuching in attendance, playing all those romantic songs, oldies – English and Chinese, a bi-lingual emcee from KL…and this guest performer, James…

Violin solo

…sure stole the limelight with his very nice instrumental version of Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal.

I also loved the song that they had picked for the video presentation of their wedding album…

The reception went on till very late and it was already way past 10 and there were still a couple of dishes yet to be served but we were feeling tired as it had been a long day and so we decided to leave a little earlier than most.

Thank you so very much for the invitation and our congratulations once again, Andrew & Sandra. May God shower His blessings abundantly upon the two of you in your life ahead…together as man and wife. Cheers!!!

Time to go…

All too soon, it was time for my Trengganu friends to pack up and go back home but not before we dropped by here to see them making  kompia and of course, they bought some to take back with them. After that, I drove them here for the kampua noodles, the white and also the black version…

RTM Cafe kampua, black & white

They thought they were good but they still liked the red kampua in Kanowit better.

I had the Sibu Foochow-style fried noodles…

RTM Cafe Sibu Foochow fried noodles

…and after that, we dropped by my regular Malay kuih stall here at Bandong so they could buy some of the kek lapis (layer cake) home – everybody’s favourite, the sisik ikan, but unfortunately, they had run out of the hati parek which is also very nice. In the end, I persuaded them to buy the Horlicks Honey cake too – it is, in fact, kek batek but instead of chocolate, they use Horlicks and honey to hold the biscuits together. I quite like that one and I hope they would too.

My friends wanted to stop by here to buy some of the out-of-this-world kompia that they had the day they arrived for their daughter-in-law but before that, I took them here

Sibu Islamic Centre

…to ask for a copy of the book

The book

…for the daughter-in-law and another one to replace the one that I gave to them from the few copies that I was given myself.

Perhaps some of you may still recall that sometime ago, I went out all over town with some friends of mine…

Teamwork

…to eateateateateateateateateat…and eat…but I was not at liberty at the time to reveal what it was all about. Actually, one of them was given this project by the Resident’s Office here to work on a book on the food in Sibu and he would be taking the photographs…

Photos

…and he roped me in and also another friend to write brief descriptions…

Descriptions

…of whatever he had shortlisted for the publication.

There are also some maps in the book…

Map

…and a glossary at the back…

Glossary

Finally, the book has been published and officially launched and is now made available to visitors/tourists…but one would have to go to the Sibu Resident’s Office on the 5th Floor of the newly-completed Islamic Centre, Jalan Awang Ramli Amit to ask for a copy. I hear they are not very strict with the distribution so anyone dropping by will be asked to write his or her name and where he or she is from and leave with a copy in hand…

I got one!

…though I wonder why any local would want to have one when they can just go out and look at the real thing…and enjoy eating it!

After having got what we wanted, we went on our way to get the kompia…and upon my friends’ insisting, I sent them to the airport and dropped them off there, a good four hours or so before their flight. I did suggest that they went to the Sugar Bun outlet there to try our very own Sarawak franchise and I strongly recommended the fish burger/sandwich that is anytime better than those available at the other better-known franchises. The missus had that and she loved it but the hubby went and had their cheeseburger and he said it was just so so. Cheeseburger??? I didn’t say anything about cheeseburgers! Tsk! Tsk! Their flight was on schedule and I guess they would have arrived before 5.00 p.m. but later, I gathered that they were waiting for the son to pick them up at KL Sentral and they only got back to their place by around 9.00 p.m. Gosh!!! That certainly was a very very long day.

Anyway, thanks again, my friends, for dropping by our little town – I certainly hope you two have no regrets over your decision to make the trip and come all the way and that you have had a more-than-delightful stay here. Well, they did say they had been to many places in the Asian and ASEAN region but this was the only place where they had chauffeured tours to some of the places of interest and nowhere else did they ever seem to be shovelling food into the mouth all day long! LOL!!! Do come again – still some places that you did not manage to visit and lots more delights that you have yet to try…and bring everybody along as well! In the meantime, take care, you two, and God bless always.