Give me another chance…

After the somewhat disappointing first time with my girl and the mum here, we never did want to go back again especially when it was not all that affordable nor was it all that nice to merit the high price tags. However, it seems that a lot of people have been there and I see them sharing their photographs on Facebook but it was only because we were in that area of shops that day to check out the brand new supermarket in town that we decided to drop by for lunch.

They were out of boat noodles and they did not have pad Thai either that day but we did not plan on ordering that, anyway. I had the boat noodles once and it did not tickle my fancy and the last time I had their pad Thai, I thought there was a whole lot of the sweet Thai chili sauce in it making it taste something like mee mamak at the roadside stalls. We had their pad woon sen (RM14.00)…

Sakhon pad woon sen

…instead and though the girl said it was bihun, we were pretty sure those were glass noodles. Whatever it was, we thought it was not bad and we all gave our nods of approval.

The kangkong (RM12.50)…

Sakhon kangkong

…was huge and there was this taste of some kind of sauce or seasoning that stood out a little too strongly. It would have been nicer just to fry it plain with garlic like at the Chinese restaurants so one may enjoy the sweetness and the freshness of the vegetable…and besides, for that kind of price, I certainly would expect to see a lot more leaves and fewer stalks.

The fish cakes (RM12.50 for 5)…

Sakhon fish cake

…or what the Thais called the Tod Mun Pla, were very nice. We loved the dip by the side but the cakes may not go down too well with those who are not all that fond of the very strong exotic Thai herbs that went into the cooking – we loved those so I would say we enjoyed them.

However, it was the clear tom yum seafood soup (RM23.00)…

Sakhon tom yam soup

…that I liked a lot. No, there wasn’t much seafood, just three lokan (clams) and I did spot one very small prawn, dunno if the ladies managed to fish out any or not and at that price, I would expect freshly-made fish balls, not those cheap frozen supermarket ones. It was the very strong and sourish and spicy soup that won the day – I could just have that along with rice, no need for much else…and as I was not feeling too well at the time and did not have much of an appetite, that sure helped in no small way.

Yes, I know I shouldn’t have, not in my condition, but I could not resist ordering their pulut hitam with ice cream dessert (RM14.00)…

Sakhon pulut hitam dessert

It was all right, nothing to get excited about really. I prefer the way they serve this black sticky rice at nyonya/peranakan restaurants a lot more.

No, it was not cheap – plain rice was RM1.60 a serving and drinking water was 60 sen a glass, no ice. All in all, the total for our lunch that day came up to RM80.80 and though it was all right, since it was our weekend special, I would not say we would be in such a hurry to go back there again all that soon. For one thing, their playing of those modern Malay kutu rock songs with all that screeching like their pants were way too tight or something ruined the ambiance of the place and took away much of the enjoyment of our lunch.

I’ll wait…

We have known all this while since our first visit here that they only have nasi bryani on Fridays so that was why we dropped by there last week – I wanted to give it a try…

Hari Jumaat sahaja

It was already 11 something but the girl told us that it was not ready so my missus decided to have their nasi campur (RM5.00)…

Hari Hari Daun Pisang nasi campur

…instead. They had a lot of dishes ready in the display cabinet by then and to give credit where credit is due, everything looked very good and based on what I had on a previous visit, everything tasted good too and this time around, it was no exception. My missus loved her picks – the shrimps and the pineapples and the sambal buah kedundung – a distant cousin of the buah emplam. I guess the latter is not in season right now and I never liked this as an alternative but surprisingly, they did it so well that both my missus and I were so very impressed.

As for me, I was not about to give up so easily so I asked how long I would need to wait and they said around 10-15 minutes so I said I would wait.

In the meantime, I decided to try this new stall…

Sajian d'Rahmat

…at the place.

They have rojak tambi Sibo (Sibu Indian rojak)…

Rojak Tambi Sibo

…on their menu and for the uninitiated, nang nyaman is Sarawak Malay for memang sedap, delicious.

I would say it was not bad (RM4.00)…

Rojak Tambi Sibo

…and what I liked best was that there were potatoes and half an egg in it like the original Rojak Kassim that we used to enjoy so much here a long long time ago. These days, we have a lot of Rojak Kassim wannabes all over town and if I am not wrong, they go for around RM3.00 only, no egg, no potatoes.

Finally, the elusive nasi bryani kambing – the mutton bryani rice (RM10.00)…

Hari Hari Daun Pisang nasi bryani 1

…was served.

I was very disappointed that the papadum had gone limp, masuk angin, as we say in Malay, and the rice was like what it is usually like when we scoop it out immediately and serve once the auto switch goes click. Anyway, I was still under the weather so my taste buds were not in perfect form and besides, I had just finished that big plate of rojak so on the whole, I did not think it swept me off my feet…

Hari Hari Daun Pisang nasi bryani 2

…and I only managed to finish half of it.

I loved the mutton curry…

Hari Hari Daun Pisang mutton curry

…a lot though – it wasn’t actually authentically Indian curry but it was very nice and they were so very generous with the meat – all lean! Most of the time elsewhere, you would get slices of lamb with a whole lot of bone and fat and once you’ve got rid of those, you find that you do not have much meat left. If this is their usual standard, the next time, I drop by here again, I sure would not mind having it along with their other nice delights in their nasi campur selection…and yes, we would want to come again, that’s for sure.

Running late…

I was supposed to go here for dinner with some friends on Wednesday night but I was under the weather and in the end, I decided to give it a miss.

However, my missus and I did stop by the following morning way past 10.00 a.m. but before 11.00 and there was nothing in the display cabinet and there wasn’t anybody around. I noted with interest this notice…

Anak Borneo new pricing

…placed strategically on top for all to see. It sure looks like the old price list is no longer applicable.

My missus had this (RM3.50)…

Missus' chap fan

…from the chap fan (mixed rice) selections at the chu char place at the back – some chicken, a serving of green vegetables and cangkuk manis. I did go and have a look but I did not see anything I fancied so I decided to try this stall…

Champion Corner Ah Ching chicken rice stall

…instead.

I wasn’t really in the mood for chicken but they had pork…

Ah Ching chicken rice menu

…as well and it did take me a moment or two to figure out what this one…

Nasi ayam saleh

…was. I’ve mentioned many times before that here, if you have a plate of some fried stuff such as chicken, sotong (squid), fish fillet or whatever with a whole lot of mayonnaise squeezed all over it, they will call it salad…so this in fact, is salad chicken rice.

I asked for the pork…

Mixed platter

…and an egg plus the chicken liver…

Egg and gizzard

…though they did give me a few pieces of the gizzard as well which I left behind by the side of the plate but I would say that I did enjoy all the rest that was in the platter (RM6.00) and the pickled cucumber underneath was very nice too. Unfortunately, the rice was nothing to shout about so if you are looking for really good (chicken) rice, you’d be better off going elsewhere.

There were quite a lot of people there that morning, a number from the nursing college a stone’s throw away which made me wonder whether they, like us, came in the hope of getting to enjoy the Dayak ethnic delights but since it was not open at the time, they went for something else instead. It was way past 11.00 a.m. when we left…and the first two dishes first made their appearance but of course, we were already full and would not want to eat anymore.

It so happened that I had forgotten my umbrella and the nice people at that chicken rice stall came shouting and running to return it to me. Ain’t that nice of them? They could have just kept it and not bothered at all.

Sick…

Oh dear!!! Oh dear!!! Time is running out and there are a thousand and one things that have yet to be done, the cleaning and the washing of every nook and cranny in the house, the weeding and trimming in the garden and the putting up of the decorations…and the cooking and so on and so forth. Everything was going well until I fell sick, so so so sick!

I think it was the dabai! In the old days, the fruit season would be around the end of the year, all kinds of fruits – durians, dabai, lenggeng

Lenggeng
*Archive photo*

…mangosteens, rambutans, langsat…and everyone would feast on these and they say that this would be the time when doctors would be laughing all the way to the bank. These fruits are all very heaty and should be consumed in moderation or one will end up with a bad cough and other kinds of ailments.

These days, you may find these fruits at odd times in the year but the end of the year is still the time when they will come out in abundance. Dabai and durians have been out for a few months now – it did not use to last this long – and are cheaper. I guess people are getting tired of the fruits so not many are buying them anymore…but we did buy some dabai last weekend at RM16.00 a kg, very good ones that would probably fetch around RM25.00-30.00 a kg earlier in the season. Despite the drop in prices, I do not usually buy any to eat – even at the lower prices, I still think it is expensive but I would buy on weekends as my girl enjoys eating them.

We had a few on Saturday night for dinner but my missus “forgot” to prepare any for lunch the following day before we sent our girl back to her school in the jungle. She did not want to bring along any with her to eat there so there we were, stuck with the rest of the fruit. That evening, my missus “forgot” AGAIN…so I took the whole lot and prepared all of them to finish them off at one go. We cannot keep this fruit for long as the skin will become wrinkled and thick so it will not be nice anymore. I guess I lived to face the consequence and the very next day, I came down with a terrible cough.

I woke up with a bad cough the next morning but that did not stop me from doing the spring cleaning that had to be done and my t-shirt was a little wet with my sweat, just a little, so I did not bother to change it when I went and had my nap that afternoon…and later that day, I did get caught in a slight drizzle and that did it! I came down with a fever and started sneezing and had a running nose…and I was up all night, every half an hour, to go to the toilet and I was shivering away the whole time. By morning, I was already half dead! I stayed in bed all day the next day, slept a lot and was better the day after, still very weak but no, life goes on – there are things that need to be done. I guess with the little time I have left and since I am not in top form, I would just have to be happy with what I can do…and leave out the rest.

In the meantime, my god-son/ex-student, Andrew and family are home from New Zealand for Chinese New Year and they brought me these…

From Andrew

I guess I’m the only one in the house who can eat the Tim Tams now as it has wheat in its ingredients but I really wonder what this is supposed to mean…

Warning

I see this at the back of boxes and packets of a lot of products. Is this just a precautionary warning just in case someone eats it and comes out with some adverse reactions and the company ends up getting sued for it? I am pretty sure they do clean all the machines and their premises as well. I suppose this boils down to one thing – eat at your own risk?

I’ve tried the new Tim Tam, mango flavour…

New Tim Tam mango flavour

…but I could hardly detect the mango flavour, maybe just a bit as it was almost completely drowned out by the overwhelming taste of the chocolate. It did come across like fresh mango though, not the horrible mango essence flavour that we may find sometimes in the cream in some of our local-made biscuits.

Nonetheless, it was nice…but like all Tim Tams, it was very sweet so I would have to confine myself to maybe just one a day which obviously means that it would be quite a while before I can get to try the pineapple…or maybe I’ll just keep that to serve to the people who drop by for Chinese New year on a first come, first serve basis – pineapples, very auspicious…ONG LAI!!!

Signs…

I’ve read of eateries here and there that do not have a name or a sign so they call themselves Boh Zhao Pai, literally translated as no sign. Well, I was in this part of town that day…

Sibu

…and I decided to check this place out – Wu Ziao Pai and not only do they have a sign, I thought theirs is very nicely done…

Wu Zhao Pai

The ladies who were here before enjoyed really brisk business and the customers were literally spilling onto the road and when they moved to their present location, they took all the business along with them.

I did not hear much of what they dish out here but I noticed that most of the time, business was somewhat slow – there were people, but few and far between, Well, it so happened that somebody told me that their Moonlight fried kway teow was nice so I wanted to give it a try. Unfortunately, it was past 11 that day and the cook was busy getting all the dishes for the chap fan (mixed rice) ready for the lunchtime crowd so it was not available.

In the end, we had no choice but to go for what was available and thankfully, what they had all looked very nice. My missus had this tofu…

Wu Zhao Pai tofu

….and this Szechuan preserved vegetable with minced pork…

Wu Zhao Pai Szechuan preserved vegetable with minced pork

…that she loved a lot and enjoyed to the max. She also had cangkuk manis and for the three items, the total came up to RM4.00.

These were my picks that day and I only had to fork out RM5.00 for what I had…

Wu Zhao Pai chap fan

…and I just could not resist the dabai, our local black olives…

Wu Zhao Pai dabai

They’re much cheaper now than when the season started but these were  kinda wrinkled and not that great, just all right.

This asam fish…

Wu Zhao Pai asam fish

…came out after we had finished eating and it sure looked good. I would love to give it a try but I was already full so I guess this would have to wait till another time perhaps when we happen to drop by that part of town again.

Weekend special…

Now that school has reopened, it is back to the usual routine and for lunch on Saturdays, we would go for something that is, at least, a little special from our usual as I do think my girl would deserve a little treat that would be a welcome break from what she would have for her meals at her school in the jungle.

We would be around the vicinity of this restaurant…

Nice House Restaurant

…which we quite like but parking around there can be such a pain. However, we were in luck that day and I was able to grab a space to leave the car. Having done all that we had to do at places around there, we headed to the restaurant for a bite to eat.

A nice and handsome young boy, rather thin though, looking like he was one of the kitchen staff there, came and took our orders – on our previous visits, it would either be the lady boss or one of the ladies there. He could only speak Mandarin but we did manage quite well and he dutifully wrote down everything we could/would not eat on the order chit to inform the staff in the kitchen – no soy sauce and the like, no wheat flour and so on.

They had lajong so we wanted that, steamed (RM29.00)…

Nice House Restaurant steamed lajong 1

…and it looked like they followed our wishes to the letter – no light soy sauce, nothing so it looked rather plain other than the strips of ginger and the garnishing on top…

Nice House Restaurant steamed lajong 2

That is not to say it was not nice though – the fish was fresh and tasty and yes, we enjoyed it very much. It’s a little cheaper than here and though the fish was obviously smaller, on the whole, it sure looked like a bigger piece. Anyway, the difference is minimal, just a few ringgit and since it is very nicely done at both places, we would not mind having that again should we drop by any of the two in future.

We wanted something different for a change and asked for the butter kai lan (RM12.00)…

Nice House Restaurant butter kai lan

I thought that was quite expensive for a vegetable dish but then again, butter does not come cheap and most importantly, it was very nice.

We had had their honey prawn balls (RM12.00)…

Nice House Restaurant honey prawn balls

…quite often before and having been assured by the young boy that they would not coat it in wheat flour and deep fry before cooking and adding the sauce, we decided we would want to have that again and yes, we loved that!

So there you have it – our lunch last Saturday, RM53.00 for the dishes and with the rice and drinks for three, the total came up to a  little over RM60.00 but that was mainly because of the fish that we had. One thing’s for sure, we certainly would be back…if we can find a place to park the car, that is.

Each and every day…

When I was teaching at the school right across the road, before I retired, I used to drop by here…

Wan Sen Corner

…each and every day or almost, at least. For one thing, it was the nearest and I did not have to go too far and for another, there was a stall selling nice kampua noodles and Sarawak laksa and another stall with a lady whose fried stuff I enjoyed a lot. They are no longer there, of course – that was a long time ago but this lady…

Wan Sen Corner old stall

…was around then and is still there. I never tried anything from her though as at the time she was selling kompia and fritters. It looked like she has taken over the frying so if you are into things like our Foochow-style fried noodles, you can order that from her.

The guy running the coffee shop was nowhere to be seen – a young boy was in charge, probably the son and the coffee…

Wan Sen Corner kopi o peng

…was pretty good. If I am not wrong, I think I heard that it was only RM1.40 here, cheaper than all the rest elsewhere.

For some reason or other, they have these bubu (fish traps)…

Wan Sen Corner bubu

…hanging from the ceiling. Perhaps that is good feng shui and would attract more customers to the shop.

What brought me there that morning as I was walking past was the fragrance of something nice from this stall…

Wan Sen Corner kampua mee stall

I went in and asked and was told that the guy was frying kampua mee

Wan Sen Corner fried kampua mee 1

…so of course, I ordered a plate and sat down to wait.

Everything looked rather faded so I reckoned these people must have been around for quite a while. Hey! I’ve retired for 10 years now though it seemed like just yesterday when I called it a day. Time sure flies!!!

Then I spotted this…

Wan Sen Corner RM2.00 kampua mee

Wait a minute!!! This must be the stall that they were talking about on Facebook, with one of the cheapest  kampua mee in town!

I did confirm with the guy running the car air conditioner repair shop, an ex-student of mine from another school, a stone’s throw away and yes, he said it was RM2.00 all right…with meat! He would buy to eat sometimes but he added that he would get more if he asked for the RM3.00 one. I guess I would have to go back there again and order that to see for myself but that morning, there were a lot of people eating that and the portion seemed quite a lot – maybe that was the RM3.00 one, I wouldn’t know.

The fried kampua mee (RM3.00)…

Wan Sen Corner fried kampua mee 2

…was very nice but obviously the word “presentation” does not exist in the guys’s vocabulary. He just fried everything and dished it out onto a plate and served. I had to dig out the meat from underneath all the noodles and “borrowed” the spring onions from the soup that I was having just to add a bit of colour and make it look a little nicer.

Yes, I also ordered their gu tor th’ng, the beef tripe soup (RM3.00)…

Wan Sen Corner gu tor th'ng

…to try. The gu tor was very nice, very nicely done, very soft and not at all rubbery or chewy like some that I have had elsewhere but I did not like the vinegar in it. It would have been perfect if they had just used the clear bone-stock soup on its own like how these stalls would serve their pian sip (meat dumplings/wantons), soup. I sure would ask them to hold the vinegar should I happen to drop by and order this again.

There was quite a crowd that morning – it was quite obvious that these people here are doing very well and that is good.