Have you heard…

…that there is a new stall here…

Delta Seafood & Cafe

…at this coffee shop where the old lady has her kampua noodle stall?

Well, if you haven’t, you’ve heard it now. There is this new one…

New stall

…that sells their own-made noodles…

Own-made noodles

– made and cooked and served right away.

You have a choice between wet/soup (RM5.00) or dry (RM4.00), flat…

Flat

…or round and thin…

Thin

I could not understand why as I would have thought they were basically the same thing, just different in shape but I thought the flat one that my missus had was a whole lot nicer. The noodles on their own would be tasty enough – I did not see any need for the fried ikan bilis (anchovies) and the cangkuk manis and one point in their favour was that they used real char siew (barbecued meat), not the usual boiled meat imitation that one would find in a plate of kampua noodles, even though it tasted something like lap cheong (Chinese sausage). On the whole, I would say it was very good and I sure would not mind going back there again for this – and the next time around, I would opt for the flat noodles, of course!

We also ordered the soup (RM5.00)…

Soup

…which was very nice with lots of minced meat, intestines…and this was the first time I had such big ones…and pork skin – yes, just the skin (and they say that has high collagen content), no fat! I wish there was liver too though but unfortunately, there was none.

They do not have an extensive menu – just these and lor mee and kueh chap…and porridge…but when we were there around 10.30 that morning, I heard somebody at the next table ordering the latter but it was already sold out. Hmmm…it must be really nice seeing that they had run out of it so quickly!

For the uninitiated who are not familiar with this place and do not have the slightest clue where it is, this shop is located in the second block of the row of shops in Delta Estate, along Lorong Delta 10 (2.307781,111.825128) – the back of the shops faces the (inward) side of the public swimming pool.

I heard…

…that they have the best nasi kerabu in town here every Ramadhan so the previous Sunday, after sending my girl back to her school, we stopped by…

Kem Rascom 1

…on the way back.

This is one of the army camps around the Sibu area…

Kem Rascom 2

…and this one’s at the 10th Mile along the Old Oya Road past the road to the Sibu Golf Club, just a short distance away, both on your left if you are going in that direction.

They have a small Ramadhan Bazaar by the roadside outside the camp every year…

Ramadhan Bazaar

…and my guess is that the stalls are run by the wives and families of the army personnel at this camp.

I spent a bit of time taking snapshots of this and that and by the time I got to the stalls, my missus had bought the nasi kerabu from one of the stalls there, pre-packed. However, when I walked around the place, I saw this one…

Nasi kerabu stall 1

…that certainly seemed to be a lot more popular – everybody was buying from there…

Nasi kerabu stall 2

…and they let you pick what you want and once done, they would wrap everything up in paper, which is a commendable thing. The use of styrofoam containers is banned in Sibu and I certainly would not buy anything from any place that still uses that. The flimsy cardboard ones or those using some environment-friendly plastic (that I can wash and reuse again and again) are all right. Why, this one even had a banner at the back with their handphone contact…and one look at the girl would tell you this one would be very good – as they say, “Never trust a skinny cook!”

Other than the nasi kerabu, there weren’t a lot of other things around…

Ramadhan bazaar stall

…other than the usual stuff that one can get most anywhere else.

These young boys were very friendly and asked me to take their photograph…

Ramadhan drinks stall

…after which they asked me to buy their drinks but I said I should not take too much sweet stuff so they did not insist.

We had the nasi kerabu

Nasi kerabu 1

… that my missus bought for dinner that night and yes, it was very very nice…

Nasi kerabu 2

– very much nicer than the very good one that we would always go for here in the town proper and this was only RM4.50 a pack plus they also gave a bit of some kind of curry gravy separately that was very nice indeed and went very well with everything else including the rice. It is RM5.00 for fish and RM5.50 for chicken at our regular place and they do not give that stuffed chili. Besides, they also marinate the fish quite differently here, not the simple deep-fried ones that we would usually get – and this one’s a whole lot nicer as well, I must say. However, be forewarned that this one is super-duper spicy hot, so very hot that I actually felt I was blowing out fire as I was eating it.

My missus also bought this traditional Malay masak lemak perut sapi dengan rebung (tripe and bamboo shoots cooked in rich and creamy coconut milk gravy) dish…

Tripe

…from dunno-which-stall to try and yes, it was very very good too.

Well, we’re halfway through Ramadhan now and we only have around two weeks to go so if you would like to try the really very nice nasi kerabu and whatever they may have to offer here, you’d better make it fast…or wait till this time next year.

Wait…

Everyone can fly, the tagline says…but at times, it may be a case of everyone can wait. Of course, whenever I fly, I do not mind a little delay as long as I can get to my destination safely sooner or later.

No, I was not flying anywhere but I was at the airport here in Sibu to pick my friend, Philip, who is currently home again for the summer holidays. I must say it amazes me greatly, the wonders of the internet. These days, you can go to one of these websites and see the progress of any flight…

Flight route

…and they will also tell you if the aircraft is on time…

Flight details

…or delayed.

Well, Philip’s flight was on time and he even boarded the aircraft on time but when I reached the airport, I checked the website and found that it would land at past 6.45 p.m. instead of the scheduled time – 6.20 p.m. I went to check the information board inside the airport – no, it did not say the plane had been delayed but it was confirmed to arrive at 6.50 p.m.

So, I waited…and waited…and eventually, the word CONFIRMED was replaced by LANDED on the board but by 7.20 p.m., half an hour after the time it was supposed to have landed, still no one had emerged from the arrival hall. Oh yes! There were lots of people but they were on another flight, the MasWings flight from Kuching and whatever other flights from elsewhere. Maybe it was just my imagination but it sure seemed to me that when several flights landed at the same time, the budget airline would have to give way to the others. Perhaps that was why Philip said that he had to sit in the aircraft for a long time before it finally took off – maybe there were many other flights at KLIA taking off and landing at the time…so where this airline is concerned, everyone can wait!

He came out at around 7.30 p.m. and we promptly made our way back to the town…and as I had not had dinner yet, I gladly accepted his suggestion to stop by one place along the way, round the corner from where his mum lives…

Ying Siang Corner

…for a bite to eat. If anyone is interested, it’s at the t-junction of Jalan Teruntum and Lorong Merdeka 15 (2.305101,111.840016). You can go straight into Rejang Park, go straight ahead – past the shops and the defunct cinema in the commercial area – till you see a block of only two double-storey shops on your right at a corner of the aforementioned junction. Generally, this place is very crowded, lots of cars parked by the roadside, and is most popular for its steamboat.

I remember telling Philip that the food here would be pretty good but despite staying just around the corner, all these years, he had never got down to checking it out. I could vaguely remember that their fried kway teow with beef was good but when we were there that night, we were informed that they did not have it on the menu. Maybe they have discontinued the item as we can’t get fresh beef here and the imported ones do not come cheap…but they told us that they had fried kway teow with cockles so we decided to have that…

Fried kwayteow 1

…instead.

Wowwwww!!!! It was so so good! If there were others elsewhere that I loved before, they would have to step aside now and make way for the one we had…

Fried kway teow 2

…here. There were hardly any ingredients other than the egg and a bit of taugeh (bean sprouts) and whatever – even the cockles were so few and far between, so difficult to find but the taste, the wok hei fragrance sure blew us away! Both Philip and I enjoyed it a lot and the fried cangkuk manis with egg…

Fried cangkuk manis with egg

…was really good too.

Philip insisted on paying and when I asked him, he said that the total came up to RM15.00 plus, less than USD4.00. He did not ask for the breakdown but my guess would be that minus the drinks, it was RM6.00 for the kway teow and RM8.00 for the cangkuk manis, the standard price for a plate of vegetables at such places around town here. No wonder there are always lots of people eating here – not only is the food good but it is cheap too…but of course, that may depend upon what you order.

Well, since I did not have dinner at home that night and I don’t think the rest ate very much either after a late lunch and a trip to the Ramadhan stalls, there was a lot of leftover rice the next morning which I fried in my simple kampung (village) style…

Kampung-style fried rice

…and we had that for our breakfast and lunch before our special Dumpling/Dragon Boat Festival plus Father’s Day dinner that night.

It sure was nice seeing my old friend again and I really must thank him for these goodies…

From Philip

…that he brought all the way from the US. Ooooo…Godiva, no less!!!

Well, in  case anyone’s wondering what the crème brûlée dessert truffles look like inside, here’s the cross-section…

Godiva truffles

Nice – lovely creamy chocolate but very sweet. Thankfully, there weren’t all that many in the pack so no, I did not over-indulge…and no prize for guessing what I used the Made-in-Canada Ma Ling luncheon meat for…

Fried rice with luncheon meat & salted egg

Hehehehehe!!!!

I also sliced and pan-fried the rest…

Luncheon meat & egg breakfast

…for breakfast with my old school-style fried eggs and tomatoes by the side. Yum yummmm!!!!

Yes, my darling daughter…

Last Sunday, the 3rd Sunday in June, was Father’s Day. We had a delightful family dinner together the previous night to celebrate that simultaneously with the Dumpling or Dragon Boat Festival, with a lovely cake thrown in for good measure.

My girl did get me a present – some lovely t-shirts and believe you me, it is not easy trying to find any my size these days…and I would insist on white ones some more so that would make it even more difficult but somehow, she did manage to get me quite a few at one go. Then, she said she would want to take me out for a nice treat after the Sunday service in the morning (we could not go for the sunset one the previous evening as we were having our special dinner at my parents’ place) but I said that would not be necessary as we had celebrated the occasion altogether at one go and she had got me a present as well. However, she would not take no for an answer and in the end, I had to give in.

Most of the nicer/classier cafes and restaurants would not open till 11 or noon and that would be rather late as it being a Sunday, I would have to drive my girl back to her school for the week so in the end we decided to drop by this Chinese restaurant

Good Happiness dim sum

…for a dim sum breakfast.

They have some things on a trolley now – something that I did not notice on my previous visits but I did not really fancy what they had on it that morning – chicken claws (Shudders!!!), steamed pork ribs with black fermented beans and these…

Rolls 1

…which we decided to try. They were very nice but I think these…

Rolls 2

…that I ordered from their menu were nicer – prawns wrapped in bean curd skin or something.

I asked for these dumplings…

Dumplings

…for my girl – she seems to love those a lot and yes, the lightly pan-fried ones here were pretty good and very much to her liking.

We also had their very nice yam cake…

Yam cake

…steamed and pan-fried lightly as well. They really did it so well with the fragrance of the fried shallots and garlic and the sweetness and taste of the udang kering (dried prawns) and they had tiny chunks of yam in it – unlike most others where they would just mash the yam and add flour, lots of it, to come out with something very wobbly and not at all nice…and no, it was yam, not chai thow (Chinese white carrot/radish) – I did ask but they did not have that unlike another place here where they would serve that this same way or fry it with egg (chai thow koi/koay khak).

Other than those, we had the usual dim sum favourites – the har kao (prawn dumplings)…

Har kao

…and the char siew (BBQ meat) pao

Char siew pao

…and we also had their Foochow-style fried noodles…

Foochow fried noodles

…so after that rather heavy breakfast, we could skip lunch for the day.

The bill came up to RM61.40 (exclusive of GST) for the four of us, including my girl’s colleague/housemate who was down for the weekend too and while she was paying at the counter, I walked around the place and spotted this lovely vase…

Vase

I have this soft spot for blue and white but then again, I don’t think I would want a vase – whatever would I want one for.

That certainly was a scrumptious Father’s Day treat and we all enjoyed it very much – thank you so much, my darling daughter.

At the same time…

Last Saturday was the Chinese Dumpling or Dragon Boat Festival and Sunday, being the 3rd Sunday in June, was Father’s Day so we decided to celebrate both at the same time that evening.

Well, what happened was a couple of days after the dinner we had to celebrate my father’s birthday, my bedridden mum said she wanted to have a party again. “But we just had one,” we told her. “Maybe we can have another one in September for your birthday.” She persisted for a while and then she did not say anymore but she sure did not look happy. That was why seeing that there were these two occasions that we could celebrate at one go, I decided to cook some stuff for a simple “party”, just a small family affair.

I made some more meatballs but I decided not to have them the same way as the previous time so this time around, I cooked soup with them…

Meatball soup

…with quail eggs, thinly-sliced canned mushroom and Chinese cabbage. The soup tasted great but no, I did not like the meatballs this way – it certainly was a whole lot nicer the way we had them the previous time, deep fried and served with sweet and sour sauce.

I cannot remember if I’ve blogged about this but in my growing up years, my mum would slaughter the chickens herself and she would fry the innards with canned peas in tomato sauce…

Canned peas with chicken liver in tomato sauce

So to replicate that dish, I went to the market to buy some chicken liver. I asked the lady at one of the stalls the price and she said it was RM8.00 for a kilo. I told her that I wanted one piece – and instantly, the smile on her face disappeared. With that very disgruntled look, she picked out a couple, weighed them and said that would be RM1.00. I could not understand why she was so unhappy about it – I only needed a piece so I would not want to buy much more than that. If she had been very sweet and friendly, the next time I needed chicken or anything, I certainly would come back to her stall…but with that kind of attitude, no prize for guessing which stall would be the last I would go to. Tsk! Tsk!

I also bought these udang galah (freshwater prawns)…

Soy sauce prawns

…and fried them with ginger and soy sauce plus a little bit of sugar, the way my mum used to do it. There was a little bit egg left after making the aforementioned meatballs so I poured that in as well. These prawns were a bit bigger than the medium-sized ones that we would usually buy – RM50 a kilo…and the ones that day were not really good as the meat was not all that firm and succulent. However, there was a whole lot of that reddish pinkish stuff in the heads, what we call “kor“, and that is the best (very delicious) and also the worse (high cholesterol) part of the prawn. Never mind, at the current prices, we would not be buying them so often so we will only get to eat it once in a long while.

I also bought some salmon…

Salmon

…for my girl to enjoy – skin crispy and the fish nicely grilled on medium high in the pan and of course, she loved it…very very much!

I had to go out for something at around 11.00 a.m. that morning so I stopped by here to get the lovely barbecued pork ribs (RM28.00 a rack)…

Jack Pork barbecued pork ribs

…and I asked them to leave out the french fries (and the pickled cucumber) as the last time I bought this home, the fries were not nice at all by dinnertime (after reheating) but I asked them for more of their lovely potato salad…

Potato salad

– they usually serve the ribs on a bed of this and they did – they gave me quite a lot of it! This was only half of it – I saved the other half for my girl to bring back to her school and enjoy it there. Well, I certainly was glad that I went and bought the ribs as my dad loved it so very much and kept singing its praises!!!

 My sister also went and bought these Sibu-style sio bee and dumplings…

Sio bee and sui jiao

…and on top of all the above, my girl and the mum went to the bakery around here and bought this cute-looking Father’s Day cake…

Father's Day cake

…that we had for dessert and enjoyed very much. They said it was strawberry so I expected some reddish sponge cake inside but no, the cake was something like what one would find in blackforest cakes and they had strawberries in the cream in between the layers. It was very nice and yes, despite having had so much for dinner, I had a second helping!

Needless to say, it was a delightful gathering – the best times would be those times spent with one’s loved ones, I am sure everyone would agree with me on this.

Why can’t I…

The other day, I shared this photograph of my fried kway teow

Fried kway teow

…in my post and no, I would not say that it was an attempt on my part to whip up some Penang char kway teow as I am sure those armchair critics would come and start slamming me, insisting that it is nowhere like the real thing. Where is the duck egg? The taugeh (bean sprouts)? You did not fry it over a charcoal fire? Did you use lard? Where are the pork fat crusts? Does it have the wok hei smell? Sometimes, I really wonder whether they can even cook themselves at all but never mind! Sticks and stone may break my bones – words never will…and I will just say that I just fried the kway teow with garlic, soy sauce, prawns, fish cake slices and chopped spring onions plus two eggs and if I choose to do it in any which way I like, why can’t I?

Well, what happened that day was I went and bought one kilo of fresh kway teow (around RM2.00, I think – did not really take note of the exact price) just because I felt like it and the next morning, I cooked around half of it for breakfast. Of course, it was nice – you can’t go wrong with prawns! I had a plate of it myself, and it sure was a generous serving, and I left the rest for my missus. Normally, with my fried rice or fried bihun, there would be some left by lunch time and I would finish everything off then but that day, there was none left! Hmmmm…that probably was an indication as to how nice it was. Wink! Wink!

A few days later, I decided to finish off what was left of the 1 kilo and got the ingredients ready…

Ingredients

– finely chopped garlic and cilantro (daun sup – from my garden), a few prawns and pieces of squid and some fish cake slices.

I tossed the kway teow with fish sauce and Thai chili sauce…

Kway teow with fish sauce and chili sauce

…and I was ready to start cooking.

I fried the garlic in a bit of oil till golden brown and then in went the prawns, squid and fish cake and cilantro…followed by the kway teow and once I had mixed everything together thoroughly and fried it all well enough, I added two eggs. When the eggs were cooked, it was done and I dished it all out…

My fried kway teow 1

…sprinkled some chopped spring onions (also from my garden) on top and served. There you are – another version of my fried kway teow that I am sure is not like any other sold outside – just the way I like it!

I was quite tempted to use my tom yam sauce but decided against it as I wanted to try something different to see if it…

My fried kway teow 2

…was any good.

It went absolutely well with my missus’ own blended chili and garlic…

Blended chili and garlic

…and I would say that I enjoyed it very much but come lunchtime that day, there was a little bit left – less than one serving of the whole lot that I cooked…

My fried kway teow 3

Maybe I did not divide the kway teow equally so there was more this time around…or maybe, the way I cooked it the previous time was nicer? Never mind! There is no law that says I must cook it in any one way or other and if I choose to cook it like this or like that, why can’t I? Too bad if you  prefer it some other way, just eat! LOL!!!

Moving away from the post proper, I really must thank my girl’s ex-coursemate who has been posted to a school here in Sibu. He made some lovely banana cake…

Bubu's banana cake

…for his buka puasa (breaking of fast) and the nice and thoughtful guy went through the trouble of sending some to my house to let me enjoy. Isn’t that so sweet of him?

Can’t win ’em all…

I’ve tried the chicken kapitan and it was really good and the rendang was good too even though it did not turn out quite like rendang as I know it but then again, it could be because I did not really cook it right or I did not simmer it till the gravy had dried up. I can’t remember exactly what else I have tried or what my missus had taken to cook but so far, it all had been good. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about this one…

Pajeri nenas

To cook it, I had to go and buy some pineapples and that was why I was in the vicinity of this coffee shop that day. There is a stall selling fruits at a corner beside the big furniture shop in that area, durians when they are in season and presently, they are selling pineapples. I was shocked when they told me the price of ONE Sarikei pineapple, not all that big. It was 50 cents to a dollar in my younger days, colonial currency…and maybe, RM2.00 sometime ago, depending on whether it was in season and in abundance or not. The guy there told me it  was RM4.00 each (and I noticed that one was a lot bigger than the other and yet they were both going at that same price!). I asked about the “kelapa sawit ones” and he conceded that those would be sweeter but they would not be as fragrant and they were selling those at RM4.00 a kilo! In the end, I settled for the offer of 4 of the Sarikei ones for RM10.00…

Sarikei pineapples

…already peeled. People tell me that they are cheaper elsewhere in town but honestly, I would have thought the prices at a roadside stall like this one, dunno if it is licensed or not, would be a lot more competitive.

Anyway, I took them home and cooked two, using the instant paste following the instructions at the back…

Directions

I did add one cinnamon stick and two star anise plus a little bit of sugar to counter the sourish taste of the pineapples…but not the rest in the suggested list on the right.

The end result did look really good…

Pajeri nenas

…and ah yes! I added some prawns too as my cousin, who gave this to me, said it would enhance the taste and make it a whole lot nicer. Of course, we all know that one can never go wrong with prawns, don’t we? However, an old (literally) friend commented on my photograph on Facebook and said that pajeri nenas should not have any prawns and very sarcastically asked if it was my original recipe. I just replied saying that my cousin who gave me the paste asked me to add some, period! Really!!! Is there any steadfast rule that we must follow “rules” rigidly, no bending, no doing things our own way? Personally, I do not follow recipes and I will always do things my way, never mind how others do it – as long as it is nice, that is all that matters, right?

Anyway, back to the pajeri nenas

Pajeri nenas 2

…I am afraid to say that it was not as great as it looked. That taste was fine but somehow the gravy had some kind of peculiar “texture” – my missus said it was kind of “powdery” but it came in paste form, not powder. Maybe it was the blended ingredients but whatever it was, we did not enjoy it as much as we would have…and for RM8.64. I would much sooner go and buy something else instead.

Well, I had two of the four pineapples left so the following day, I decided to cook them in our simple kampung (village) style. Usually, to cook what we call sayur rebus, we would just boil some belacan (dried prawn paste), ikan bilis (dried anchovies) and fresh chilies in water and simmer to get all the flavours out and then throw in whatever vegetables we may be cooking, adding salt and msg according to taste, if so desired and that is it! This time around, I decided to substitute the ikan bilis with what we call kerutuh

Kerutuh
*Cousin’s photo on Facebook*

…or dried smoked prawns which would give the soup the sweetness of the prawns and the special smoked fragrance. I bought something like this once at my regular Malay/kampung food stall at Bandong…

Nenas salai ikan
*Archive photo*

…and they used salai ikan or smoked fish instead but it was also very nice, nonetheless. As they say, “the world is your oyster,” so who’s to say that it has to be ikan bilis or salai ikan or anything for that matter. I did add one star anise and a bit off a cinnamon stick for the added fragrance…and one stalk of serai (lemon grass) as well and this was the end result…

Nenas kerutuh rebus 1

…and yes, it was very very nice…

Nenas rebus kerutuh 2

– a lot nicer than what we had using the somewhat pricey over RM8.00 instant paste and this is just as hassle free too…or maybe, even more so.