Here…

Huai Bin was here

Ruby Restaurant, Sibu

…when he was home for a while around a week ago and he blogged about what he had and liked very much in his blog.

I noticed that they had taken down the sign at the top in front of the place – the boss said that it was in pretty bad shape and I wasn’t in the least surprised as this place has been around for some 10 years or so already. This, of course, means that if you’re looking for the place, you will need to look out for those neon-lit Chinese characters or the name on the door.

The Christmas decorations were up…

Christmas decor 1Christmas decor 2

…and they were playing those familiar Christmas carols and songs already.

It was evening but I just  had to throw caution to the wind and risk the possiblilty of not being to sleep all night long and ordered their kopi-o-peng kao kao (iced coffee, black & extra strong), blended…

Ruby kopi-o-peng kao2

…so that is why you can see a lot of froth on top making it look like Guiness Stout. This is my favourite in town and I had not had it for quite a while now, you see.

I let my girl choose whatever she wanted to eat and she picked these specialties of the house, their butter scotch prawn balls…

Ruby butter scotch prawns

…and their sea cucumber soup…

Ruby sea cucumber soup

We also had their Thai-style chicken with strips of fresh mango…

Rubu Thai-style chciken with mango

…which was very very good but unfortunately, due to the dimness of the place in the evening, the photograph did not turn out too well with the horrendous shades of purple and red – even the colour of the chicken was not in any way like what it looked like actually.

Well, there is a perfect explanation for it. This was the first time I was using my new camera, you see, so I had yet to get familiar with it and learn how to work around its limitations…like how I was able to take photos that were not too bad using the digicam I was using before…and that did not happen overnight either.

Even the photograph of the cangkuk manis fried with egg that we had…

Rubu cangkuk manis with egg

…turned out a bit blur. I should have brought along both cameras and taken snapshots of the same things with both so when one did not turn out too well, I could always use the other instead. I certainly would do that next time…till I can adapt much better to the new one.

The food we had came up to RM41.00 but the nice boss, like what he would always do, just rounded it up to RM40.00. I know it’s just RM1.00, nothing much (but at times, it was more), but little gestures such as this sure would help keep the customers coming back – those young ones in the business have yet to learn about what they call “goodwill” in basic economics, it seems…and would not even waive a miserable 10 sen in the bill. Tsk! Tsk!

Replay…

I used to drop by this place very frequently way back in those days five years ago when it first started as a very small stall but it certainly has grown by leaps and bounds. The thing is I do not go out so early in the morning anymore so they do not get to see me so much these days.

However, the other morning, I had to go to town and I went very early to avoid the peak-hour traffic between 7.45 and 8.30 a.m. and I decided to make a detour and stop by the kuih stall to see what I could get for the family for breakfast. The problem when one gets to the stall is that there are so many things that it is so difficult to make up one’s mind…and one would end up buying more than what one should. That morning, I got all these for RM10.00…

From Bandong kuih stall

…for our breakfast for 3 persons. In that plate of goodies, starting from the top and going clockwise, there were the vadai (3 for RM1.00) followed by the murtabak with potatoes inside (3 for RM1.00), the cucur (fried fritters, 4 for RM1.00) stuffed with sambal and the kueh lenggang or ketayap (3 for RM1.00) as they are also called.

The paper-wrapped packets (top right) were the nasi lemak with sotong sambal, RM1.50 each…

Bandong nasi lemak

…but you can get those with plain sambal (without the sotong) for RM1.00 each only.

To the left of the packets of the nasi lemak was the packet of kueh jala, 6 pieces for RM3.00…

Bandong kuih jala

…and it came with curry gravy plus a piece of chicken and two chunks of potatoes. This was the most expensive of the lot and the one that I enjoyed the least. I don’t quite fancy the soft and wobbly roti jala – I would prefer it thin and crispy like the ones I would get here

Yummy Kafe kuih jala
*Archive photo*

…and the curry gravy wasn’t all that great either.

The lady-owner of the stall saw me and she gave me these…

Bandong new kuih

…to try, on the house. I don’t know what they’re called but they really tasted great! I think they’re something like the ones I had here except that they do not colour the white part green…

Nyonya Colours kuih
*Archive photo*

We all liked those a lot and I sure would want to buy them the next time I drop by.

I’ve tried the kampua noodles at this coffee shop before too – the Kim Chuo Food Centre, next to SESCO Payment Collection Centre among the shops in the Dewan Suarah (Civic Centre) area and I could clearly remember that it was not bad at all and had the original/authentic Sibu kampua mee taste. They used to have a stall in front selling those local kuehs (cakes) as well but I am not sure whether they still have that or not.

That day, I had to go to the payment collection centre to settle some matters and I decided to stop by the coffee shop for the kampua noodles (RM2.50)…

Kim Chua kampua mee

…and yes, they were as good as I remembered them to be. In case anyone is wondering, I did not bring my camera along so I had to snap the picture using my new handphone. It certainly turned out all right…but I must remember to turn it sideways next time so I would have  the usual horizontal shots instead of a vertical one like this one. It certainly takes very much nicer photographs than my old, antique one, that’s for sure.

As for the new camera that I got for my birthday, come back tomorrow and I’l tell you all about it. Hehehehehehe!!!!

Any given Sunday…

Usually, after an early lunch on Sundays, we would drive my girl to her school, half an hour past Selangau Bazaar which is around an hour’s journey from Sibu. Once there, we would help her clean up the place a bit and resettle for the week and then we would sit down for tea together after which my missus and I would head on home.

Now that she’s on holiday, this being the schools’ long year-end break here, we would not need to do that and unless we have something on, we would go for the mid-day service at the cathedral in town, after which we would go some place for lunch like here, for instance.

My girl would tend to stick to what she likes best and here, it is their very nice nasi bryani

Sri Pelita nasi bryani

…with mutton curry…

Sri Pelita mutton curry

We enjoyed the kampua noodles very much the other day so this time around, my missus wanted that again, tossed with chili sauce but unfortunately, it was rather soft and soggy, obviously overcooked and starchy – either the result of the failure to drain and rinse the noodles well or the chili sauce added…or maybe the lady who did the cooking that  previous time was not around and somebody else did it or there was a dire need for some good quality control. Otherwise, we certainly would think twice about ordering that again.

I also ordered the ayam madu (honey roasted chicken)…

Sri Pelita ayam madu

…to try and yes, it was very nice, just that we did not think it was anything that would stand a head above the rest – just something one might want to have when dropping by here but not quite the thing that would make anyone come back specially for it.

I tried their beef noodles (RM5.00)…

Sri Pelita beef noodles 1

…like I said I would the previous time I blogged about this place.

Well, for one thing, I had to get used to eating noodles in soup with a fork and spoon – I guess I am more accustomed to using chopsticks for anything like this and I am not all that fond of the taugeh (bean sprouts) in it plus this was the first time I had seen black fungus in beef noodles…

Sri Pelita beef noodles 2

…though I did not think it made any difference to the taste. It was all right, this much I would say, but personally, I do feel that it comes nowhere near our favourites in town here…or here plus I was not all that fond of the colour of the purple PLASTIC bowl used either.

All things considered, I guess it would be best to just stick to the nasi campur (mixed rice) or the nasi bryani here. They never fail to please.

Getting back to our Sundays, back in the house, I would have my nap in the afternoon and my girl and the mum would go out to visit my MIL or maybe go browsing around the shops…and when I get up, I would think of cooking some stuff for dinner – unless we have already agreed to go out some place to eat. The other Sunday, I fried this dish of peas…

Fried peas with minced meat

…with one Bombay onion, sliced and some garlic, finely chopped and a bit of minced meat plus tomato sauce and sugar. In my growing up years, my mum would cook this everytime we had chicken which she would slaughter herself, using the innards from the bird – the liver, the gizzard and what not. It would have been very nice, this version that I cooked with minced meat instead, but the peas were a bit hard. I would never buy that brand (Marina) again – they tell me the best would be Ayam…or Ma Ling.

For our meat dish, I roasted this chicken thigh…

Roast chicken thigh with baked potatoes

…with some chunks of potatoes. When I shared the photograph on Facebook, Sharon asked me for the recipe – well, there’s nothing much to it, really! I just simply marinated the meat with some smoked barbecue sauce and a bot of honey mustard and mixed spices for around an hour and placing it on a baking tray, I put it in the oven to bake – the bottom side first and then, the other side. As for the potatoes, I just rubbed the chunks with butter and a pinch of salt and pepper and placed them beside the meat on the baking tray to bake, sprinkling some parmesan cheese all over them.

Yes, yes…I know! The meat was a little charred! It would have been perfect had I taken it out as soon as it was done but we had some of the lokan left in the fridge and I just placed them by the side of the tray to heat them up in the residual heat after turning off the oven. I guess in cooking, there are no shortcuts…but it was all right. Both the chicken and the potatoes tasted great and the burnt bits of skin had that added special fragrance to it. Hehehehehe!!!!

So how do you all spend your Sundays?

In return…

In my previous post, I blogged about the dinner that I treated Huai Bin to when he was back home in Sibu for a while and that nice guy insisted on going out again so he could reciprocate and return the gesture.

We drove past here the last time he was in town and I thought he might want to give it a try…so there we were that night and while browsing through the menu, he was pleasantly surprised that they had so many different varieties of Bundaberg drinks and he ordered the “blood orange”…

Bistecca & Bistro Bundaberg blood orange

All this while, I only knew they had ginger beer – my girl’s favourite which is available at that supermarket in town that stocks up on all kinds of imported stuff from all over and she would buy that once in a while…and all this while, I just assumed from the sound of the name that it was German but no, as a matter of fact, it’s Australian!

The smoked salmon salad was great…

Bistecca & Bistro smoked salmon salad

…but I thought it looked better the last time I had that and personally, I would prefer their Ceasar’s as there would be a hard-boiled egg in that and I love eggs…in any form.

I also suggested their pork bacon burger…

Bistecca & Bistro pork bacon burger

…but Huai Bin thought the ones here were nicer. He was put off by the fact that there were two tiny bits of bone in his half of the burger – thankfully, there wasn’t any in mine. While he was cutting the thing, a small piece of bacon fell out, around the size of a postage stamp. I am not sure whether that was all there was in it but I sure did not see nor taste any bacon while I was eating my share. Still, I quite liked it even though I thought it tasted more like beef probably because of the spices and herbs or whatever they used to marinate the meat in making the patty.

We also had their double cut…

Bistecca & Bistro Double cut

- two generous slabs of chicken chops served with mushroom sauce. I loved the coleslaw very much, nicer than many that I had had elsewhere, but I thought their terrayaki chicken was very much nicer while the mild taste of this one was over-powered by the stronger flavours of the other things that we had like this very nice pizza…

Bistecca & Bistro Pizza Bracio di Ferro 1

their Pizza Bracio di Ferro that we had the last time we were here.

Huai Bin insisted on having that (he had seen it in my blog, prior to this) as according to him, the last time he had egg in a pizza…

Bistecca & Bistro Pizza Bracio di Ferro  2

…was when he was in Australia a long time ago. He did remark that he had had thinner crusts elsewhere but I was fine with what they have here – as long as it is nice and crusty, that’s all right by me unlike the very hard one that we had here.

I thought that was an enjoyable dinner even though we ordered more than what we could handle and in the end, I got to take two slices of the pizza home…but I had the feeling that Huai Bin, having had his share of so many similar restaurants all over the world including those very exclusive Michelin-starred ones, was hoping I could have taken him here instead, just that he was simply too sweet to insist on where to go when I asked him initially. Never mind, buddy, we’ll go there the next time you’re back in town…and thanks for the dinner treat. Cheers!!!

What you want…

…others may not and so it was with Huai Bin when he was back in Sibu. He wanted to go for some umai (an ethnic Melanau delicacy of raw fish with lime juice and everything), RM15.00…

Fisherman Restaurant, umai

…but nobody else was keen. That was why when we were able to go out for dinner one night last week, we made a bee line to this place for that. They use ikan bawal hitam (black pomfret) to make their umai here and what we had that night was very fresh and very nicely done.

We also had the paku (jungle fern) in santan (coconut milk), RM8.00…

Fisherman Restaurant, paku lemak

…and knowing how he loves our udang galah (freshwater/big-head prawns), I also ordered these…

Fisherman Restaurant, asam prawns 1

Just like the noodles that he went all the way to Sarikei for or the one right here in Sibu, these did not come cheap – RM20 EACH!!!…

Fisherman Restaurant, asam prawns 2

…but it was very nice – a little bit too sour but it was very flavourful and went so very well with rice.

One would probably think this sticks out like a sore thumb in a somewhat ethnic restaurant like this but I just had to order their roast lamb…

Fisherman Restaurant, roast lamb 1

…for Huai Bin to try and indeed, it swept him off his feet! You can read all about what he says about it in his blog.

Yes, it did not come cheap – RM50.00 for two huge and thick slabs and a bit more on a chunk of bone but considering that it was around RM25.00 each for it…

Fisherman Restaurant, roast lamb 2

…I would say it wasn’t all that expensive. If you have one of those thin and not-as-nice lamb chops at some western restaurant, it would cost more or less the same or perhaps, even more.

They always serve you these Mukah keropok

Fisherman Restaurant, Mukah keropok

…the moment you’re seated but no, they’re not on the house, I’m afraid – that lot was RM4.00 altogether.

Huai Bin had this glass of bitter gourd juice (RM5.00)…

Fisherman Restaurant, bitter gourd juice

…and he said it was very nice, very bitter. Hmmmm….no, thank you. LOL!!!

All in all, it was a very delightful dinner and I’ve always enjoyed Huai Bin’s very delightful company each time he comes home and I must thank him and his better half for these gifts that he brought all the way from KL…

From Huai Bin & Yee Ling

I would say this is indeed a very nice place to go for dinner – the food they serve seems to be a whole lot nicer now than years and years ago but personally, I do wish they would give their walls a new coat of paint and get rid of the old and worn-out carpet and spruce up the place a little bit to make it a lot more presentable, especially when one is bringing friends from other places in the country or overseas…and some new air-conditioners would be nice too – obviously, theirs do not work so well anymore as on hot evenings, the place can get rather uncomfortable and would not be quite the place for one to enjoy dining the night away. Actually, those old ones consume a lot of electricity and in fact, I have been able to cut my bill by half, more or less, once I replaced my old ones with the current energy-savers…and they’re not all that expensive either these days – around RM1K, maybe less or a bit more, depending on the unit of your choice and usually, you will get a pretty nice gift, absolutely free.

Terminal…

This is the Sibu Bus Terminal…

Sibu Bus Terminal

…and right across the road is this coffee shop

Bus Terminal Food Court, Sibu

…located below this very cheap and nice hotel. We dropped by there on Wednesday last week because my girl felt like having pecel lele for dinner but it was still a bit early and the place that we would always go to had not started their business for the day yet. I remembered having had the ayam penyet at a stall here

Food stall, Sibu Bus Terminal

…and it  was quite good as well so we decided to drop by here instead.

It looked like they had different types of fish to choose from…

Choose your fish

…but my girl insisted on sticking to the ikan keli (cat fish)…

Ikan keli

…which, unfortunately, turned out to be a bit overdone – it was ok, just slightly crustier than the way we would like it.

I had the tilapia…

Tilapia 1

…which was all right…

Tilapia 2

…and I would say that we did enjoy it.

My missus wanted to order something else but it seemed that most of the other stalls were closed. Perhaps they do not open on Wednesdays, I’m not too sure.  In the end, she also asked for something from this same stall – the ikan duai, we call it here…or the bawal hitam (black pomfret) as it is usually known as elsewhere…

Black pomfret

My girl saw that and commented that she would want to have that next time. We did not see it when we went to check out the stall.

All of them were RM8.00 each – I recall it being much cheaper at our regular place…and very much nicer too especially their banana-leaf wrapped rice and their sambal dip.

I also ordered this bowl of sup tulang (bone soup)…

Sup tulang

…for RM6.00. It would be a ringgit more had it come with a plate of rice. It was nice but if the little that I had with the halal kampua noodles at this place was  a sample of their sup tulang, that one would win hands down.

I did not want any coffee as it was already evening so I asked for the iced teh-c special…

Teh-c special picture

…instead and it was pretty good…

Teh-c special

…though it did not look like what was on their display.

All in all, even though I would not say we had the best in town, it was a pretty good dinner.

Any other day…

It was a day like any other day, the Sunday during the wedding weekend. Everything was over so we were settling back into our usual routine though I did go out that night for dinner before my cousins from KK left for home the next day.

We went to the midday service at the cathedral in town and when it was all over, we went looking for a bite to eat and I decided to drop by here for my girl’s favourite beef noodles in town…

Yummy Kafe beef noodles

…and the dumplings (RM8.00)…

Yummy Kafe dumplings 1

My girl remarked that she found it kind of comforting eating those noodles – I guess that would be what people call comfort food then and of course, she enjoyed the dumplings too…

Yummy Kafe dumplings 2

My missus ordered the fried kway teow with cockles (RM4.00)…

Yummy Kafe fried kway teow with cockles

…from the stall at the back. The serving sure was huge! I did not try but she and my girl said that was very nice as well.

I had the kueh chap special…

Yummy Kafe kueh chap 1

…from another stall in this coffee shop and I can’t remember now how much that was – probably RM7.00 or RM7.50, I think…

Yummy Kafe kueh chap 2

It was quite good though I would not say it was the best I had had in town. I have not it anywhere much these days so I cannot say for sure which one would be better but I can say for sure this one (RM7.90)…

Noodle House kueh chap
*Archive photo*

here is very much nicer. That was it for our lunch that day.

Gosh!!! We are already roundabout halfway through the long end-of-year school holidays now – time sure goes by real fast when you’re caught up with so many things and having a lot of fun. So far, my girl had not been into cooking very much but she did make this gnocchi in creamy tomato sauce with bacon and broccoli…

Mel's gnocchi

…and also these cheese sticks…

Mel's cheese sticks

Personally, I would prefer taking her out to eat the things she loves to having her slaving away in the kitchen even though she enjoys that as well…and so do I.