What u call that…

I did not get to try the porridge here in Kuching but my girl did and she did not like it. According to her, it was like rice drowned in soup.

I guess that was Teochew porridge which Wiki says is rice grains softened from cooking but still whole and not in an overly starchy state. My cousin says that if you order moi (which means “me” in French) in Kuching, that is what you will get and if you want the gooey kind of porridge, you will have to ask for chook (which means chicken or fowl in Australia/New Zealand) and if you are not utterly confused yet, there is also congee and gruel. LOL!!!

Here in Sibu, it is called moi or if there are people calling it anything else, I have yet to hear that and bak moi is meat porridge like what I had here…

Civic Cafe

…one morning.

This coffee shop had a different name before but some people have taken over and have given it a new name – after the Sibu Civic Centre (Dewan Suarah) right next door. There is a kampua mee stall in front and one selling all the fried stuff inside while this one…

Civic Cafe 2nd stall

…is in between the two. I spoke to the tall and friendly guy and he suggested char bee lau too kha (pork leg in fragrant root soup) but I did not feel like it and I wasn’t in the mood for mee sua in traditional Foochow red wine chicken soup either.

In the end, I decided to go for the meat porridge special (RM5.00)…

Civic Cafe meat porridge special

…with century egg (皮蛋/pídàn) and yew char koi (Chinese crullers) because it looked good in the photograph, much nicer than this, and I must say that I enjoyed it very much – one of the nicer places in town to go for this, that’s for sure.

My girl loves meat porridge so I guess I shall be coming back here again soon and while she has that, perhaps I can try something else from the stall or one of the other two.

CIVIC CAFE (2.310423, 111.8312260, formerly Wonderful Cafe, is located at No. 30, Jalan Dewan Suarah, right beside the Sibu Civic Centre. 

Least expected…

Nothing beats a surprise that is least expected!

I might have been to this coffee shop before but that would be so long ago that I could hardly remember it. For one thing, I would hardly stop by that corner of the junction so I would usually go to places on the other side. However, all this while, I did notice a lot of people eating there and that morning, I decided to cross the road to go there and give it a try.

It does not have a name but I reckon it is part and parcel of this restaurant…

Beijing 2008 Restaurant

…that has since closed down – I heard that business was not very good despite the fact that what they dished out was really very nice. Word had it that it was not very popular among that locals as they always catered to those after-funeral lunches. I did notice a small section on the ground floor though – probably, by special request, one can go there for a full course Chinese dinner.

The coffee (RM1.60)…

Beijing Restaurant kopi-o-peng

…was really good, easily one of the best in town and since the 1st of January, to cut down the use of single-use plastic, they do not provide drinking straws anymore. They will give you a spoon in your drink though – probably that is for you to stir when the ice has melted but do not absentmindedly suck it – it’s a spoon, not a straw! LOL!!!

I placed my orders at the stall…

Beijing Restaurant kampua mee stall

…and sat down beside one occupied by a very young couple.

The kampua mee (RM3.00)…

Beijing Restaurant kampua mee

…was very nice, a bit on the firm side but not too firm and I quite liked it.

The pian sip (RM3.00)…

Beijing Restaurant pian sip

…was excellent – the skin was really thin and soft and smooth and there wasn’t too much meat in each of them as well. However, the taste of the soup was different, not quite like the usual bone-stock soup that one would get at the other stalls all over town but it was nice and I rather enjoyed it…and I must give them a double thumbs up for using glass and ceramic, not plastic!

When I wanted to pay for the food, I was duly informed by the old guy helping the old lady at the stall that it had been paid for. What!!!??? I had a glance at the couple but their faces did not ring a bell. The sweet and pretty girl came over and introduced herself as Wilfred‘s sister – she did drop by my house once to pass me the bak kua that he sent all the way from Singapore but I could not remember her. Gosh!!! That certainly was most unexpected and needless to say, it sure was a very pleasant surprise indeed, thank you so much! It sure made my day!

When I was done, I noticed that they had started taking out the dishes for the chap fan (mixed rice)…

Beijing Restaurant chap fan

That sure looked like a whole lot of choices and I must say the ang chao pork…

Beijing Restaurant ang chao pork

…looked really nicely done. At most places, it would be pink, somewhat over-diluted. The other dishes seemed very good too – I really must drop by one of these days to give it a try!

BEIJING 2008 RESTAURANT (2.291109, 111.827983) is located along Jalan Kampung Nyabor Road around the corner of this road and Brooke Drive. It is located at the block of shops, where a Malayan Banking branch is, to the left of the entrance into Hua Kiew Road, somewhere opposite the Sibu General Post Office.

It’s your choice…

On their first night in Sibu, my West Malaysian friends from KL came here

Hai Bing Seafood

…for dinner.

I was told that they walked for around an hour from the vicinity of the Tua Pek Kong Temple looking for the place when it is just around 100 metres from the hotel where they were staying and if they were walking back from the temple, it shouldn’t take more than 10-15 minutes. That is the problem when you depend on those modern-day appliances, Waze or whatever you call it – they should have looked at the map(s) that I had printed for them and they would be able to see it there. As a matter of fact, I did suggest this place to them in the itinerary that I prepared for them.

They loved the crabs…

Hai Bing crabs

…of course, so very cheap they said, compared to prices in KL and they had TWO plates – one in their signature recipe, fried with egg and leek and what not, one style that they can’t find back home, they said and the other with black pepper.

They had see ham (cockles) and siput sedut (balitongs)…

Hai Bing siput sudut

…too and they loved them to bits!

For the vegetable dishes, they had their cangkok manis fried with egg and they actually liked the one here more than the one we had on their last day in town. Other than that, they had their midin, of course…

Hai Bingidin with belacan

According to them, they can’t get these two over in KL.

I did suggest to them that should they happen to come here, they must order the drunken prawns…

Hai Bing drunken prawns

…with those giant freshwater big-head prawns/udang galah but it looked like it fell on deaf ears. I had that once and I enjoyed it a lot but of course, that dish would not come cheap, not with those killer prawns!

Well, even without the latter, dinner did not come cheap – over RM400 for the 7 of them but they felt it was absolutely worth it and I am pretty sure that if they had a chance, they sure would want to come back here agian.

HAI BING SEAFOOD RESTAURANT is located right beside Eden Inn (2.285223, 111.831256), to the left, along Jalan Maju, right across the road from the Rejang Esplanade.

What did you do…

Back to my West Malaysian friends from KL who were in town the other day, they were left to their own devices most of the time so I did not really know what mischief they were up to while they were gallivanting all over town.

From the posts that they shared on Facebook, it seemed that they were extremely fascinated by everything at the Sibu Central Market and they enjoyed some of the stuff that they tried at the hawker centre on the 1st floor and they seemed to have fallen head over heels in love with our Sibu Foochow dianpianngu, there at the hawker centre and also at the celebrated place of origin here and also here.

They had lunch here and dinner here and though they felt that some of the dishes were nice, they were not exactly overwhelmed by them. That was why I was wondering if I had made the right decision in insisting on bringing them here for lunch on their final day in town.

Nobody said anything about the pandan chicken…

Ruby pandan chicken

…so I guess it was all right and I did not see anybody getting excited about the butter scotch prawn balls…

Ruby butter scotch prawn balls

…the favourite of many here, either. It appeared to me that they were not all that fond of dishes that were sweet and I could jolly well guess that that was the reason.

We also had the grilled lamb with the very nice lime and mayo sauce…

Ruby grilled lamb with lime & mayo sauce

– one dish that I do enjoy very much around here.

Somebody commented that the cangkuk manis fried with egg…

Ruby cangkok manis with egg

…was not as nice as one place that they went to on their first night in town (coming right up in my next post) but the rest were fine with it. I would agree to some extent that it was not as nice as before – the leaves, for one, were kind of old and I was somewhat put off by that and the eggs looked rather dull, like they had added some kind of sauce or whatever, not nice and yellow. Even my missus felt that same way the last time we were here.

They loved the midin, ching chao (fried plain with garlic)…

Ruby midin ching chao

…though and personally, I did not think the fried mee sua

Ruby fried mee sua

…was all that great that day. One of the ladies does not eat pork so I had asked for the meat to be left out and perhaps, they did not use lard to cook either and probably, that made all the difference. I certainly had very much nicer fried mee sua here on some of my earlier visits.

They all loved the tauhu tear, the Foochow-style tofu soup cooked with canned oysters…

Ruby tofu soup

…and their own-made tofu…

Ruby own-made tofu

…was a hit. They said it tasted so good, with its light hint of hay bee (dried prawns) and it was nice enough on its own, no need for any mayo or sauce.

Well, at least, there were hits and misses so on the whole, it wasn’t too bad, after all. The total for the food for the 8 0f us came up to RM195.00, including one dish of Foochow fried noodles that I did not order and I asked for it to be packed for me to take home and no, if it is Foochow fried noodles that you want, I would suggest that you go some place else – theirs isn’t the best around, that much I would say.

On their final night here, they went here for the super expensive prawn noodles (The last I heard, it was already RM45.00 a bowl – word had it that they had to fork out a whooping RM80 for that!!!) and their chao chai hung ngang (noodles in preserved vegetable fish soup which they actually liked more than the prawn mee) and here for the super super expensive empurau aka wang poo liao (unforgettable), steamed, before flying back the very next morning.

They came to Sibu with individual suitcases, all quite empty and after 4 days/3 nights, they went back to KL with all of them packed to the brim plus at least three extra styrofoam boxes filled with frozen fish and prawns and what not and their hand-carried luggage! They had to buy extra baggage for all that! And of course, they ate A LOT too while they were here but they did not manage to eat everything – too many things, too little time! Now, who says there is nothing in Sibu?

RUBY RESTAURANT  is located at No. 71, Jalan Kampung Nyabor right next to HOME COOK CORNER  (2.292756, 111.825335) with the AmBank Tunku Osman branch in the very next block.

Like it’s her birthday…

Well, it most certainly WAS her birthday, my sister’s, on the 13th of January and she took us all out for dinner here…

MJ Hu Seafood Restoran

I had never been here before but I had seen a foodie friend’s Instagram posts on Facebook so of course, I was keen on going to give it a try.

The curry fish (RM60.00)…

Curry fish

…was very good, very spicy and the lovely gravy went absolutely well with rice. I did not think much of the fish though – I think it was a red snapper.

The butter prawns (RM40.00)…

Butter prawns

…were very nicely done too and the crustaceans were very firm, very fresh but this is one dish that one can get at most any other place and some can do it just as well and it was the same with the tofu dish…

Minced meat tofu

…that we also had that night.

The Thai-style midin

Thai-style midin

…on the other hand, was in a class of its own and the strips of mango in it sure were an added bonus. Everyone loved it to bits!

However, the star of the evening had got to be their specialty, the pig’s tail (RM25.00)…

Pig's tail

I never had that before and I could not believe how nice that was – I loved it so much and I sure would want to go back here again for more.  We were joking about it that night – how a pig only had one tail and a very short one at that and how many pig’s tails would be needed to cook one dish. That was hilarious!

It was a lovely dinner, indeed – I certainly would want to go back there again to see what other nice dishes they have on their menu. Thanks so much to my sis for the treat and a very Happy Birthday once again – God bless always and may all your dreams come true. Cheers!!!

MJ HU SEAFOOD RESTAURANT(2.291971, 111.834740) is located along Lorong Mahsuri 2, the second shop on the left after Kuching Cafe, opposite Bateras Supermarket.

One time…

I was here…

Sing Hin Corner

…just one time, many many years ago. I am quite sure that I did blog about it but I can’t, for the dear life of me, locate that post now. I had not gone back since and I don’t quite remember being overwhelmed by it.

In the meantime, I had been seeing people coming back to Sibu from here, there and everywhere and sharing photographs of the kampua mee there on Facebook and openly declaring it as the best in town…so much so that I started feeling like going back there to give it a second chance.

However, I never did because it would not open early in the morning – everytime I drove past at 6 something after dropping my girl off at school, it would still be closed. Later in the morning, parking in that area would be virtually impossible and the road might be rather jammed, best avoided.

The chance came that day when my girl had a meeting at school and it was not that early, almost 8, so it was already open and maybe because it was raining or maybe some people had just left, there were a few parking spaces available right in front of the shop.

I ordered the kampua mee (RM3.30)…

Sing Hin Corner kampua mee

…at the stall there…

Sing Hin Corner kampua stall

…and yes, it was indeed very good! I would say that it was as original and authentic as it could get, just like what we enjoyed all throughout our growing up years.

I also ordered a bowl of their liver soup…

Sing Hin Corner liver soup
*sorry for the blurry pic*

…and the moment it was served, I quickly fished all the vegetables out for the simple reason that it would affect the taste of the soup and render it different from what liver soup should taste like. I can’t remember how much that was now, RM3.00, I think and yes, it was good.

In the meantime, I also went to this shop with no name here for their kampua mee (RM3.20)…

Shop with no mae kampua mee

I loved their Foochow fried noodles that day but while the taste of their kampua mee was pretty good, I felt the noodles were a bit too firm for my liking. I guess I shall not be rushing back there for more anytime soon and besides, seeing the rampant use of plastic everything there, I will  have second thoughts should the idea ever cross my mind.

Well, on their first morning in Sibu, I took my West Malaysian friends to the former simply because it was round the corner and very convenient for us to just walk there.

We had the kampua mee, white and black (with dark soy sauce) and yes, they agreed with me that the white was nicer – the subtle tastes were not drowned out by the strong soy sauce. We also ordered the beef tripe kampua and the pian sip, dry…

Sing Hin Corner pian sip, dry & kampua, black

…and wet (soup)…

Sing Hin Corner pian sip, soup

…and I asked for the mee sua in the traditional Foochow red wine chicken soup…

Sing Hin Corner mee sua

…which they also tried.

They did enjoy what we had – I did read their comments on their Facebook posts and one asked which they thought was better, Sitiawan or Sibu…and they answered Sibu!

Nonetheless, they did not seem all that overwhelmed by it and of course, I was not in the least surprised as even though many would declare this place to be the best in town, personally, I can’t say I am all that impressed by it either – there are other places in town that I like a whole lot more…just that there were 7 of them, 8 including me and they couldn’t all fit into my old jalopy so this would have to do.

Sing Hin Corner 新兴阁 (2.284607, 111.832116) is located to the right of Li Hua Hotel along Lorong Lanang 2 and the coffee shop with no name (2.288662, 111.831366) is located in the block of shops at the junction of Huo Ping Road and Jalan Kpg Nyabor, to the right of Garden Hotel, right next to Ocean Car Accessories, facing Jalan Dr Wong Soon Kai (formerly Jalan Pedada).

They came from the city…

They came from the city, Kuala Lumpur, to our humble little town of Sibu, seven of them altogether…

My KL friends and I

One of them, Jenn, my blogger friend, contacted me to let me know and of course, I was delighted and offered to be their food and tour guide but she told me there would be seven of them. In the end, I prepared an elaborate itinerary for the 3 days when they would be here – where to go, what to eat, what to see but they would have to walk around on their own or call Grab since they can’t jolly well fit into my old jalopy, all of them.

On the day they arrived, I waited for them at the hotel and after they had checked in, we walked round the corner to the back to where else, if not here!

They brought along these goodies…

Goodies from KL 1

…for me…

Goodies from KL 2

…thank you so much. I must say that the heong peah in the first photograph (extreme left) was really good, a whole lot nicer than all that I had bought before from the bak kua shops in KL and elsewhere. The pastry was so very nice and flaky and the filling was moist and sticky, just the way I like it – the rest were all hard and dry! I’ve not tried the other things though – will probably save them all for Chinese New Year.

For our lunch, we had the pomelo salad…

Payung Cafe pomelo salad

…and the Payung rojak

Payung rojak

…to start off and they enjoyed them both. They were particularly intrigued by the bunga kantan (torch ginger flower) petals and the buah kedondong leaves in the rojak.

I ordered the kacang ma chicken…

Payung kacang ma chicken

…for them to try, knowing that this Kuching Hakka specialty would be something they had never tried before. I was not in the least surprised that some of them did not like it and the rest weren’t exactly excited by it either. I guess this is an acquired taste and many will not like it the first time. As the Campari slogan goes, “The first time is never the best!” – if you can catch the drift. LOL!!! I did not eat it that day, of course, as they came on a Friday, my no-meat day, and that was why I did not order all the other very nice meat dishes.

On the other hand, they loved the Payung otak-otak

Payung otak-otak

…so much – in fact, they were so impressed by it that they immediately placed orders for some to take home and they were head over heels in love with the belimbing prawns…

Payung Cafe belimbing prawns

…too so much so that they kept going for the soup even after they had eaten all the crustaceans and they were full of praises for the mushroom roll…

Mushroom roll

…as well!

For dessert, I ordered their dreamy nite…

Dreamy nite

…and what a coincidence it was when it was served and this song came on right at that very moment! Talk about making a grand entrance. LOL!!!

We also had the favourite of many going back to my teenage years in the 70’s, the jelly pisang

Payung jelly pisang

Well, as expected, they enjoyed the lunch so much that even after they had left and gone elsewhere they were still talking about these Payung specialties that they had – obviously, they had left a lasting impression on their minds.

I asked them why they decided to come here, of all the places, especially when I have been asking everyone to come and visit but no, they are more keen on going elsewhere. Well, they said that one of them found out that the air fares were very cheap and asked the rest and on the spur of the moment, they decided to make the trip. Well, thank you so much to everybody for coming – it was great having you all here…and do come again sometime!

PAYUNG CAFÉ (2.284049, 111.833014) is located at No.20F, Lanang Road, Sibu, Malaysia, back to back with the multi-storey car park of the Kingwood Hotel which faces the majestic Rejang River.