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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!!!

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.

Don’t let me be misunderstood…

Now, don’t misunderstand – despite the name, this place…

Noodle House, Sibu

…is not all about noodles. Maybe they started out as that, a place selling noodles but I wouldn’t know as I was not familiar with it when it just opened.

My daughter was still in secondary school (and I did not even have a blog then) when I heard about it and somebody told me it was at Lai Chee Lane so I went looking around the shops along that lane but failed to find it. About a year later, I heard of it again…and went looking for it again and still, I could not find it. I cannot remember how I managed in the end but actually, if you come in via the aforementioned lane, you will have to turn left at the first turning into that lane going towards Hua Kiew Road (in fact, it is nearer to this road…than that lane) and you will find it on your right, one half of a small building on its own with private parking spaces all around so you will not need to worry about paying the fees. Actually, it is somewhere right behind the Sibu Central Police Station and if you come in from Hua Kiew Road, it is the second turning to the right and you will see it behind the block  of shophouses in front along that road, on your left.

They used to have a topic in the English Language syllabus in school on “Directions” and I could not understand why the students seemed to have so much problem telling people the way. They certainly did not seem to know their left from their right…and it seems that they ‘re not the only ones. People will give me directions and I would have a tough time trying to locate the place and in fact, when I do find it, it would not be quite like what they have told me.

Anyway, going back to this place we were talking about, I quite like their mee sua (Foochow longevity noodles), their kueh chap and also their sizzling kampua with black pepper beef. Others may like their other combinations of the latter but I have not tried all of them and those that I did try, I can’t say I’m a fan.  Their original/classic kampua isn’t all that great to me either and I can’t say their pian sip (wantons, they call them) would sweep me off my feet. I’m no fan of their lor mee, their Q-Q noodles and their beef noodles either…and while many are quite fond of their laksa, I did not think it was quite like the authentic thing though it does taste rather nice. If I’m not mistaken, those are about all the noodle dishes that they have here…so perhaps, they started with those and kept on adding to their menu bit by bit till what it is today – a whole lot of other delights, just that they’re not noodles.

One of the newest additions would be their peri peri chicken with potato gratin (RM25.90)…

Noodle House peri-peri chicken

…and I suggested going to give it a try last Saturday as my girl used to frequent that South African/Mozambique-Portuguese franchise when she was in Wellington, New Zealand, the one that is well-known for this peri-peri sauce…and she agreed. However, when we got there, she had a change of heart so her mum had that instead. We all tried and thought it was very good…and my missus loved it very much as it was somewhat spicy, just the way she would love it. I thought it had its own special unique taste but at that price, I don’t think this would be  enough to make me go back for more…though I would say it was quite reasonably-priced considering that they actually gave half a chicken. I wish they would make plain bowls of rice available (at a price, of course) so people would be able to order those to enjoy with the chicken on a sharing basis.

That was what happened the other day. I did not want to order their stewed/braised pork belly rice (not many pieces of the meat in this) but I wanted their stewed/braised pork belly (RM6.50)…

Noodle House braised pork belly

…so I ordered their nasi lemak (RM7.50)…

Noodle House nasi lemak 1

…to go with it and that came with a complimentary bowl of very nice soup.

Yes, the rice was very good – I could actually taste the lemak-ness, the santan or coconut milk in it…

Noodle House nasi lemak 2

…(though I would not mind a little bit more of it) and so was everything else that came with it.

So what did my girl order for herself in the end? She had this…

Noodle House sizzling honey pork ribs 1

…their sizzling roasted honey spare ribs (RM24.80) and for some reason or other, that too came with a bowl of potato gratin instead of the usual deep-fried potato wedges, not that we’re complaining. In fact, she liked it a lot and licked the bowl clean!

She could not manage the mammoth task of finishing that huge stack of ribs…

Noodle House sizzling pork ribs 2

…of course and no prize for guessing who had to help her with that. Hehehehehe!!!!

Personally, I prefer the ribs at this place to the ones here. Both are nice, very nice, but in the case of this one, the sauce does not go completely into the meat so one would be able to actually enjoy the taste of the meat…and other than that, the one here is tender enough but not so tender so there would still be some bite to it. This is a bit cheaper too unlike that other place where they started off at RM24.00…but the very next time I dropped by for more, they had jacked up the price to RM26.00, dunno how much it is now…plus theirs seem to keep shrinking on each consecutive visit. Tsk! Tsk!

My missus and I had plain water with our orders while Melissa had her favourite – the mixed fruit soda (RM6.90)…

Noodle House mixed fruit soda

…and the total came up to RM72.60 for that delightful lunch. This time around, my girl insisted on picking up the tab and would not take no for an answer, thank you so much, darling!

We intended to have some of the nice desserts here but in the end, we were all too full and did not think we could manage so that would have to wait till our next visit to the place…but for one thing, I would avoid going during lunch hour as it was packed to the brim, full house, and many had to go away, disappointed and I told my girl this, “If my class were ever this noisy, I would have mengamuk-ed already!!!”

Fortunate…

How fortunate I was last Thursday to be invited out for breakfast by my friend, Rose! Actually, she has already blogged about it here.

Well, she said she was feeling like having something fried and I remember seeing a photograph that a friend of mine shared on Facebook of a plate of yee mee (noodles) in tomato sauce gravy and it did seem really nice. I sent her the photo to have a look and she agreed that we could drop by to see if it was as good as it looked.

I got there first and I searched high and low…

The road

…but could not find the coffee shop that my friend was talking about. He gave me the location and I do know the place – the same block of shops where this place used to be but in the middle. Well, if it’s the one in the middle, then it would have to be this one…

Full Fortune Cafe

- the other one in the previous photo (Daisy Cafe), to the extreme right of the block, was not open.

In a couple of minutes, Rose arrived with her little girl – she was having the day off owing to the UPSR resit and needless to say, she was overjoyed by the fact that she had an extra two days off as a result of the leakage…but of course, many others were not at all happy over that most disgraceful and humiliating fiasco. Anyway, back to our breakfast, we decided that since we were already there, we might as well give this place a try…

Full Fortune Cafe - front

Rose had the Foochow-style fried noodles…

Full Fortune Cafe Foochow fried noodles

…and I ordered the tomato kway teow…

Full Fortune Cafe tomato kway teow

…from the stall at the back. We both liked what we were served just that I thought they could perhaps give a little prawn or two and/or sotong (squid) plus a couple of fish cake slices instead of only those few bits of meat. Actually, I would not mind if they charge a little bit more or perhaps, they could give customers the option to choose between the normal (what we had above) or the special and pay a little bit extra for the added ingredients. I’m not too sure how much they were that morning but Rose paid RM8.30 for both and I guess it might be RM3.80 for hers (which is the standard price these days here for Foochow-style fried noodles) and RM4.50 for mine…which made me wonder what would account for the 70 sen extra for what I had. The tomato sauce used?

Incidentally, something happened that I would like to give special mention to here. I placed the order before we took our seats at the table of our choice and the kway teow was served first – TWO plates of it when I had ordered only one. I said I had ordered one plate of kway teow and one plate of mee and the lady said that the mee was in the process of being cooked and would be coming out soon. She did not seem too keen on taking the extra plate of kway teow back so I said if that was the case, she could just tapao it for us to take away. Ok, we’ll stop here for a short break and I’ll get back to the story later. Hehehehehe!!!!

Rose’s daughter had the kolo mee

Full Fortune Cafe kolo mee

…from the stall in front and she said it was very nice, nicer than what she had here (and they went back for more the following weekend as they thought it was so very good!!!).

It came with the usual sliced chili in vinegar dip and they even gave the chopped spring onions and fried shallots…

Kolo mee chili dip & garnishings

…separately, something I had not seen done elsewhere before. This way, you need not add them to your noodles if you are not so fond of the garnishes.

This was the guy selling the kolo mee plus a whole list of things that you may fancy…

Full Fortune kolo mee stall

…but I’m afraid you can’t see it in the photograph. I noticed that the stall further in sold popiah (spring roll) but it was not open when we were there. We were told that she would cook her stuff at home and bring over so she would open a bit later, say, after 9.00 a.m. She did show up later but we were too full already and decided that we would give it a miss this time around and come back again another day to try.

Back to the aforementioned kway teow, we waited for the lady to bring it out again but it never came so we called her to find out…and she told us that it was all right – they would just take the plate of kway teow back and would not charge us for it. Wasn’t that nice? Nobody else was having that so they could not just serve that to them. I guess they would just have to eat it themselves but I must say that such gestures are definitely a feather in their cap – it is these little things that will keep customers coming back.

Incidentally, if anyone is interested, she told us that they also serve tom yam noodles with the giant freshwater prawns but I did not ask how much they are selling that for…and I’m not really into this, tom yam style. Perhaps the next  time I drop by, I will ask them if they do it any other way. For those of you who cannot make out the exact location from the first photograph above, that is the Everwin Supermarket in the distance, the one beside the Sibu Bus Terminal. Yes, the roads in this area are atrocious  owing to the sinking swampy land but if you drive straight ahead from the traffic lights at Jalan Pahlawan and turn left at Yum Yum Cafe, this coffee shop is in that lane in the middle of the block of shops on your right. They seemed to have resurfaced the roads around there so for the time being, you should not have any problem getting there.

Oopsss!!!! I almost forgot! Thank you so much, Rose, for the delightful breakfast treat. Would love to do it again sometime…before you and your family move back to Kuching.

P.S.:
For your general information, those of you who have not managed to get hold of a copy of the book…

Book
*Archive photo*

…can now browse through or download the e-book copy of it here:
http://online.3dpageflip.com/ptrm/jxir/

However, if you’re a local and you would like the hard copy for keeps, you can go to the Sibu Resident’s Office, 5th Floor of the new Islamic Complex (opposite St Mary’s Church) to ask for it – they will give you one but if you can tell them some nice stories like you would like  more to send to your overseas siblings or relatives or friends, you may get a few more.

One more round…

I mentioned in an earlier post that my brother-in-law from Bintulu was home for the long weekend and he brought us a lot of stuff from there, mainly fresh fish…but we had not got round to cooking those yet when my other brother-in-law, the one in Sibu, called to ask us out for dinner…again. It seemed that he had given him one big one too and like the last time, he went and asked a restaurant in town to cook it…and this time, he chose this one that we go to quite a lot.

So there we were that night, 10 of us altogether, to feast on the fish…

Fish, sweet and sour

…done in my brother-in-law’s favourite style, sweet and sour. Needless to say, it was very fresh and very nicely done but in my honest opinion, they did it better at that other place. They charged a bit more there though, RM25.00, to cook the fish whereas here, they did it for RM20.00 only.

My niece, the one currently based in Singapore, wanted the Foochow-style tofu soup so we had that and knowing that this would be Melissa’s favourite, I ordered it too…

Ming Mei Shi creamy butter prawns

This had always been everyone’s favourite without fail every time we had it and it sure was a hit again that night – their deep fried pumpkin in salted egg batter…

Ming Mei Shi salted egg pumpkin

I only had a bit of it though as I was way too busy feasting on the awesome fish – the head! It certainly was finger-licking good! Hehehehehe!!!!

I can’t remember whether I had any of the vegetable dish…

Ming Mei Shi Fried cangkuk manis with egg

…though – maybe I did have a spoonful or two…and I also had a piece or two of the lemon chicken…

Ming Mei Shi lemon chicken

…which I must say, came nowhere near what we had here.

The bill that night came up to a whooping RM168.00 but minus the drinks and the rice and the RM20 for cooking the fish, I estimated that the total for the five dishes that we ordered would be around RM120.00. For one thing, the pumpkin (RM20.00) and chicken (RM32.00) dishes were extremely big – they could have just served around half of each and charged less…as in the case of the prawns (RM30.00).

Nonetheless, everyone enjoyed the food and it certainly was a delightful family gathering. The very next day, my brother-in-law and his family went back to Bintulu, my niece flew back to KL and then proceeded back to Singapore while my missus and I drove Melissa back to her school, a day later than usual because of the public holiday.

Clearer…

Well, THIS is definitely clearer now than before…

Excluding...

No, you will NOT get any complimentary ice [SIC]/hot lemon tea with your lunch on weekends and public holidays. If you remember, I had a bone to pick over the sign that they had before and had a not-very-pleasant experience when I went and pointed it out. Well, at least, now they have an additional line, underlined some more, so I guess there is no dispute now as to who should get a free drink and when.

I had not dropped by there since…not because I was pissed off by the uncalled-for behaviour but somehow or other, it just happened that we did not go back to the place again. For one thing, parking is always such a pain…be it lunch or dinnertime and that is, at times, a deterrent, the mere idea of going round and round in search of a parking space.

Anyway, my niece, the one who is working in Singapore, was home for the long weekend and she invited us there…

Jack Pork 2

…for dinner last Saturday night. It was her birthday sometime in the middle of last month but she did not manage to come back around that time so this could be considered as a belated birthday treat.

Well, if the lighting at this place is kind of dim around lunchtime, it is even more so…

Jack Pork 3

…at night. That was why I did not take a photo of everything that we ordered that night but I did manage to snap one of their signature pork ribs…

Jack Pork signature pork ribs

…which were very good and as always, I enjoyed that a lot.

I had their classic burger before…

Jack Pork Classic Burger

…and with so many things that we ordered to share that night I did not bother to go through the hassle of eating that.

The pork belly sizzling noodles…

Jack Pork Sizzling pork belly noodles

…were not sizzling when it was served and many of us thought that they were not very nice. I tried a bit and found that the taste of the five spice powder was rather strong but that was fine by me. I would say that I quite liked it…but if you are not into that ngor hiang hoon, then  perhaps you should give this one a miss.

We had quite a few other items from their menu but like I said earlier, it was simply too dark to take any decently-good photographs that would do the food justice, so I just gave up after a while and spent the rest of the evening chatting away with everybody and enjoying the food.

My niece brought us a number of things from Singapore and all the places that she had been too since the last time she was home and my brother-in-law in Bintulu was home too that weekend with a whole lot of goodies in tow for us as well. I guess everybody must be so tired and bored of the photographs that I’ve featured ever so often showing what I got and who they came from…so I did not take any this time around. Still, I guess I should slip in a word of thank you here to the two of them for all that they gave us…and also to my niece for the belated birthday treat.

Next time…

We have not been here for quite a while so that day, we decided to drop by for lunch. Other than the fact that the food is always pretty good and the boss is very nice and friendly, I always love the fact that parking here is a breeze and I would not have to go into the rather congested town centre proper.

Melissa and I had the nasi bryani so we got one of this each…

Sri Pelita nasi bryani

…plus a bowl of the curry of our choice – mutton…

Sri Pelita mutton curry

…and I also ordered a bit of their fried paku (wild jungle fern)…

Sri Pelita paku

…and two of these lovely eggs…

Sri Pelita eggs

…to share.

My missus had their nasi campur (mixed rice) comprising her choices of fried fish, fried paku and fried cangkuk manis with egg…

Sri Pelita nasi campur

…and was full of praises for this fish. Melissa tried a bit and she loved it too. The bill came up to RM30.00 for all that, inclusive of drinks – not too bad, cheaper than going to eat at some fancy cafes and restaurants which may not be necessarily all that nice.

While we were there, I noticed that they had some new stalls in their premises including this one…

Sri Pelita new stall 1

…manned by this very pleasantly-friendly guy from Kelantan…

Sri Pelita - from Kelantan

Taken by surprise, he asked me why I took his photograph and when I told him I would help him promote his business in my blog, he seemed rather pleased with it.

This was his ayam madu (honey chicken)…

Sri Pelita ayam madu

…and he also had one steamed (white) chicken on display. I asked him about his ayam presso aka ayam penyet and he said that for that one, he did not have any pre-prepared as he would cook upon any order and serve.

This stall is also new…

Sri Pelita new stall 2

…but it was closed. I was told that it will be open only in the morning, not for lunch or the rest of the day.

Well, it looks like I will have to go back again to sample these new things available at this shop the next time around and see if they are any good. For the uninitiated, Sri Pelita is the first one in the block of shops to the right of Paramount Hotel, Jalan Kpg. Datu…and if you have not checked out this place yet, go ahead and give it a try – many have gone and their feedback has been rather positive…but do go for breakfast or lunch though as they may not be open still come dinnertime and even if they are, there may not be much of anything left.