Then and now…

Yes, yes…I know I was here…

Payung Cafe decor

just the other day but I did mention then that I would want to come back and try their butter chicken as it looked really good…

Payung Cafe butter chicken 1
*Archive photo*

…so last Sunday, after the evening service at the cathedral…

Cross at Sacred Heart Cathedral, Sibu

…close by, my missus and I dropped by for dinner.

We ordered the papaya salad (RM8.00)…

Payung Cafe papaya salad

…which was very nice but we thought it could be better. Somehow or other, I missed the exotic fragrances of the Thai basil leaves and the bunga kantan (torch ginger flower), for instance, and it would be nice if they could give a bit of finely-chopped cili padi that one could add, if one so wishes, for that extra kick. The way it was, I think I would prefer their pomelo salad.

My missus wanted one of her favourites here, their tom yam prawns (RM17.00, with rice)…

Payung Cafe tom yam prawns

…and they sure went overboard this time – so many prawns in that big bowl at no extra charge!

I’ve had this very nice butter chicken…

Butter chicken @ Bombay Spices, Kuching

…at an Indian restaurant in Kuching once and also this one…

Butter chicken @ Cafe Ind Sibu

…here in Sibu, cooked by their true-blue North Indian chef and yes, they were nice but at the end of the day, they were what they were supposed to be – curry, or a variation of it and I also had the one here at Payung sometime ago…

Payung Cafe butter chicken then

…but it was something like chicken in some kind of butter sauce, not anything I would be dying for.

Well, that was then, and now, they have this (RM18.00, with rice)…

Payung Cafe butter chicken now

– same name, but with a totally different taste.

No, it wasn’t anything like curry, though it was a little bit spicy. Honestly, I can’t describe the taste – it is in a class of its own and if you’re curious, you can drop by and give it a try. I assure you that you will not regret it, take my word for it. I truly enjoyed it and for sure, I would be back again for more…

PAYUNG  CAFE (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.

Sooner or later…

My niece, my brother-in-law’s daughter, the one working in Singapore, flew home last weekend to celebrate her mum’s 65th birthday…

Cake by Marcus

…a bit earlier as she would not be able to make it this coming weekend which would be a day after the actual date of her birthday. No, we do not prescribe by that Chinese superstition whereby birthdays should be celebrated sooner/earlier and not later. We will just have it at any time convenient, no worries!

They asked us to join them here…

Fat Mum Coffee Shop

…and yes, they still have all the quaint decor at the shop. I was intrigued by this tapestry of a tree with a bird’s nest on a branch and some eggs in it. I thought that was nice…

Fat Mum tapestry

The hot and sour Szechuan soup…

Fat Mum hot & sour Szechuan soup

…was neither hot nor sour but I thought it was rather nice and had more than two servings of that.

I did not like the freshwater prawns…

Fat Mum prawns

…before and I did not think it was that great that night as well. Somehow, it was not succulent and sweet and was somewhat bland.

I wouldn’t say the midin (wild jungle fern)…

Fat Mum midin

…was great either – we can find a lot others in town that are much more to my liking. I think it was the quality of the belacan (dried prawn paste) used.

The cangkuk manis fried with egg…

Fat Mum cangkuk manis with egg

…was very good though and so was the sweet and sour fish fillet…

Fat Mum sweet and sour fish fillet

…and we all enjoyed their claypot pork belly with salted fish and dried chili…

Fat Mum claypot pork belly with salted fish & dried chili

All in all, it was a lovely dinner, RM100 for the food for 6 people…and more than anything else, it was always nice to get together and enjoy the company and catch up with things going on in one another’s lives.

FAT MUM COFFEE SHOP (2.283558, 111.833350) is located along Jalan Lanang, back to back with the Kingwood Hotel multi-storey car park in the same block of shops as Payung Cafe, to the right at the other end of that block.

For her…

Some of you may recall that I had the beef spaghetti

Payung Cafe beef spaghetti
*Archive photo*

…here around a week ago and my girl wanted so much to enjoy it as well but she could not as the pasta was not gluten-free.

I wanted to buy the very special bolognese sauce for her to eat with the gluten-free spaghetti…

Gluten-free from Australia
*Archive photo*

…that my cousin brought all the way from Australia for her not too long ago but Peter, the boss, did not seem all that willing to part with his existing stock and promised to cook it specially for her, extra fresh straight from the wok and he assured me that he would see to it that it would be extra nice too.

I am not a fan of the regular bolognese sauce – somehow, I would feel like eating tomato ketchup straight from the bottle and I can eat just about so much of the very cloyingly rich and creamy carbonara sauce – just a few spoonful and I would feel jelak already. I would much sooner go for aglio olio instead.

However, Peter’s special bolognese pasta sauce is nothing like the usual. There is tomato in it too but he uses fresh ones, one kilo of it with one kilo of beef, pureed and I don’t know what else goes into the cooking, probably Bombay onions, blended finely and some herbs as well. I hear there is kiwi fruit in it even and all in all, I would say that it tastes really good.

Well, true to his word, he and one of his boys, Andy, came knocking on my door on Friday last week and they passed me this…

Special Payung bolognese sauce

He had timed it in such a way so that my girl could enjoy it to her heart’s content when she came home for the weekend but unfortunately, it was our usual no-meat Friday so we had to wait until lunch the following day, Saturday.

This was what my girl had…

With gluten-free spaghetti

…with her gluten-free spaghetti and she loved it to the max!

She was getting kinda sick and tired of some of the (expensive) gluten-free stuff that she bought to eat, the biscuits or cookies and what not – they all tasted so different, the texture and taste were all not quite the same as the regular ones but she was delighted that the spaghetti was like…spaghetti.

Peter cooked her two packs of the most delightful sauce and we finished off one and she said that she would bring the other one with her back to her school in the jungle to eat with pasta or rice or maybe as a dip for some chips that she bought from a supermarket here.

I did not want to eat up her supply of the gluten-free pasta so I went and bought some angel hair and this was what I had…

With angel hair pasta

…and yes, I enjoyed it a lot too!

Thank you so much, Peter – you certainly made my girl very happy!

PAYUNG  CAFE (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.

Where do you come from…

That night, I went searching for this place…

Restoran Muhajirin

…after I saw somebody sharing on Facebook some photographs of the noodles available there.

I tried their kopi serbuk Muhajirin, black (RM2.50)…

Kopi serbuk Muhajirin

…which was not too bad with a kind of nutty sort of taste so it was different from our local coffee but I thought it was quite nice.

I asked the people where the guy was from and they were not too sure – some of them said Lanzhou but probably they arrived at that conclusion from the name of the la mian, his handmade pulled noodles…

Restoran Mhuajirin noodle chef 1

I watched him fold and twist and twirl the dough and pull until the strands of noodles miraculously appeared…

Restoran Muhajirin noodle chef 2

I asked him, “你哪裡來的?” (Where are you from) and he replied, “中國,” (China) so I probed further, “中國在哪裡?” (Where in China?) to which he replied, “新疆.” (Xinjiang)

My missus had the pulled noodles…

Restoran Muhajirin pulled noodles

…with braised beef (RM8.90)…

Restoran Mhuajirin pulled noodles with braised beef

…and it was very good. The soup was great too and the beef was really nice and tender.

I picked their sliced noodles with clear beef soup (RM7.00)…

Restoran Muhajirin sliced noodles in clear beef soup

…but I did not like the noodles, hard and chewy in some parts and the soup was somewhat light, not thick enough for me.

Those of you who are not into wan sui/daun ketumbar (coriander leaves), be forewarned that they do add those so you will have to tell them not to do so. I know a lot of people here, unlike the people in Kuching, do not like the smell – they say it smells like bed bugs.

We also had their dumplings, beef (RM7.90)…

Restoran Muhajirin beef dumplings

…but no, I did not think they were anything to get excited about. I certainly would try something else instead should I happen to drop by here again.

RESTORAN MUHAJIRIN (2.325989, 111.840810) is located along Lorong Sg Merah 2, off Jalan Teng Chin Hua to the left of its traffic lights junction with Jalan Igan, with the RHB Bank, Sg Merah branch, on the opposite side of the junction, back to back with the Mega Store Supermarket.

Ain’t what it used to be…

I dropped by the pasar malam (night market) here the other day. My girl said she felt like having some tee peang

Tee peang
*Archive photo*

…so I headed straight to the stall for what we feel is the best in town in the hope that I could get hold of some for her. This is one of few kuehs (local cakes) left that she can eat as most would be made using wheat flour so they are not gluten free.

Incidentally, I heard that they are no longer running the stall at a coffee shop in town in the morning so if you insist on getting theirs and theirs alone, you will have to try your luck at their stall at the pasar malam.

Yes, the handsome young boy was there…

Handsome boy
*Archive photo*

…helping his mum at the stall at night and he was all apologetic that there wasn’t a single one left.

One thing I’ve noticed about them is that if they are frying something, they would do just that and nothing else so if that is not what you want, you will just have to wait. They were frying the ngor hiang/lor bak at the time and looking at the crowd gathered at the stall that evening, I decided to come back and try my luck another day.

I walked around looking for the stall that was selling this yeu chang koi (fried shallot cake)…

Pasar malam yeu chang koi

…but I did not see it anywhere so I left the place empty handed, disappointed that my effort had all been in vain.

The one I had here was quite like the ones I used to enjoy so much in my younger days except that they used a shallow saucer, not a bowl, so it was not as thick as the ones before but at least, it tasted pretty much the same.

It so happened that I came across this…

Lok Ming Yuen yeu chang koi 1

…at this coffee shop behind the medical centre where my mum was warded at the time and of course, I wasted no time whatsoever in grabbing a pack to try.

Inside, you can find the koi (cake) with the special soy sauce…

Lok Ming Yuen yeu chang koi 2

…and the yeu chang (fried shallots)…

Yeu chang

You will have to sprinkle the yeu chang all over the koi

Fried shallots, sprinkled

…and  pour the sauce over everything…

Pour the sauce

…before you start eating.

Yes, it was nice but no, it just ain’t the same. For one thing, the koi was very thin and it reminded me of chee cheong fun, nothing like what we had before and loved so well…and not anything I would go out of my way to buy again. Sighhhh!!!!

Loved you first…

This…

Nur Islamic Cafe

…was probably the first place, or one of the two at least, in Sibu where one could get to eat nasi bryani and yes, I did blog about it time and time again like here for instance and this was the other place at the time but it has since closed down and has now relocated to this place in town.

I remember when my girl attained straight A’s in her UPSR, I ordered over 100 packs from this shop to give my colleagues in my former school a treat at the time and that was way back in 2001, if I am not wrong.

Well, we happened to drop by again the other day and it looked like the prices had increased a bit…

Nur Islamic menu

…but RM12.00 for their mutton bryani ain’t too bad, considering that some places are charging RM15.00 for that.

My missus had the chicken (RM9.00)…

Chicken

…and I must say that they were very generous with the curry gravy and there was this nice-looking acar timun (cucumber pickle)…

Acar timun

…and the dhal dip by the side as well.

Dhal dip

I had the mutton (RM12.00)…

Nur Islamic mutton bryani

…of course and no, there wasn’t all that much meat…

Kari kambing

…but I reckoned that was enough and no, they did not use the long-grained rice…

Bryani rice

…that some elsewhere are using for their bryani rice but that was fine by me.

On the whole, I thought it was still as nice as before and I sure would not mind dropping by again…provided I could find a place to park the car – this is another one of those places in town where parking can be such a pain.

NUR ISLAMIC CAFE (2.292183, 111.825945) is located along Jalan Kampung Nyabor in the Tuanku Osman area of shops, right beside the Academy Book Centre, Sibu, across the road from the RH Hotel.

How lucky…

My girl was home for three nights this week as she had to attend a two-day course here. We had to go and get her on Monday, after school, and we had dinner at home that night and the next. On the third night, we decided to stop by here for some western dishes.

I remember we thought the chicken chop (RM9.50)…

Colourful Cafe chicken chop 1

…was the best of the lot and the ladies ordered that…

Colourful Cafe chicken chop 2

…and yes, they did enjoy it very much – it was still as good as ever.

I asked for the lamb chop (RM14.50)…

Colourful Cafe lamb chop

…so at least I would have something else to blog about. I do recall it was quite good, nicer than the beef but not as nice as the chicken, and true enough, it was somewhat thin and I am not really a fan of black pepper sauce even though it was kind of mild and not straight from the bottle.

We had just about finished our dinner when the lady brought this…

Colourful Cafe wat tan hor 1

…to our table and told us, “老闆邀請你們吃!” My! My! It sure was our lucky night!

This was a special treat from the boss himself, this big plate of wat tan hor/yin yong kway teow/bihun

Colourful Cafe wat tan hor 2

– fried flat rice noodles and rice vermicelli, Cantonese style. The guy being originally from KL, probably Cantonese himself, for sure you can’t get anything more authentic than that here and yes, he could do it so very well even though there were just some fish slices and thinly sliced bitter gourd in it…

Colourful Cafe wat tan hor 3

…plus the lovely egg sauce/gravy. It could definitely beat all that we have had here hands down but unfortunately, the guy said that he would not add it to his existing menu as it would entail a little bit more work as he would have to fry the noodles first and then cook the egg sauce/gravy to pour all over it.

We sure enjoyed it to the max and went back home happily that night!

COLOURFUL CAFE (2.316673, 111.837539) is located in the Renew4U building at the junction of Brooke Drive and Lorong Kwong Ann 8, across the road from the Church of Jesus  Christ of the Latter Day Saints