Something changed…

I dropped by here again one morning and it looked like something had changed about the place. For one thing, I did not see a single Indian employee – I don’t know if they had gone back for Deepavali and had not reported back for work or they had left for good.

Other than that, there were a couple of stalls in front…

New stalls

…that were not there before. I would have ordered the nasi lemak kukus ayam goreng berempah as it looked so good in the photograph…

Looked good

Unfortunately, for reasons unknown, the stalls were not open at that point in time.

There was also another stall by the side in front selling among other snacks, packets of nasi lemak wrapped in brown paper. Initially, I thought it would be like those available all over the kueh stalls in the kampung but later I noticed that they were lined with banana leaf inside. I would have wanted to grab one to try but by the time I saw that, I already had something to eat. Another time perhaps.

I did ask one of the guys and he said that the place was still under the same owner, no change of hands…unlike what I had heard.

So what did I have that morning? A piece of their roti telur (RM2.00)…

Roti telur

…and a piece of their roti canai (RM1.20)…

Roti canai

The former was nice but I did not quite like the doughy taste in the latter.

Another place where something had changed would be the chicken rice shop here

Chopsticks Chicken & Rice

They had moved the counter which was at the back before to the front, formerly occupied by the bakery that had since moved here.

We had the drumstick chicken rice (RM4.50 X 3)…

Drumstick chicken rice

…and I ordered two stewed eggs (RM1.00 each)…

Stewed eggs

…only as my girl could not eat that owing to the soy sauce used.

This meat platter of char siew and siew yoke

Char siew & siew yoke

…was the killer. I just asked for the two types of meat enough for three and that was what we got…for RM15.00 but I think that is more or less what one would have to fork out for a meat dish at a Chinese chu char (cook & fry) restaurant so I guess the price was all right.

Everything was great except that I thought the rice was not as nice as usual – it seemed to lack the usual fragrance and was a little bit dry. I do think they should pay more attention to their quality control but even though I thought it was not as nice that day, it was still nicer than most, if not all, of the chicken rice around town, specifically the rice, that is.

SRI PELITA PERMAI Islamic Cafe (2.2960502,111.8938157) is located along Lorong Ulu Oya 11, off Jalan Oya among the “newer shops” in the Permai area across the road from the Sibu General Hospital, where the outlets of Sugar Bun, Singapore Chicken Rice and 7 Eleven are situated and CHOPSTICKS CHICKEN & RICE (2.312434, 111.845917) is located in the Delta Mall, Jalan Pedada area of shops, facing the church along Lorong Taman Seduan 8, off Jalan Gambir.

The way it’s supposed to be…

That day, my girl and I went looking for something at the mall here and we decided to just go across to this place…

Warung BM

…beside it for lunch. I wonder what has happened to the big red sign/canopy that used to hang prominently in front of the shop.

I had the ais kacang/ang tao peng (RM3.00)…

Ang tao peng

…again and I forgot to tell them not to add the rose syrup. Thankfully, there was just a bit so it was not over-powering and I found it quite bearable.

My girl had the apple juice (RM6.50)…

Apple juice

…and stuck faithfully to her favourite here, their smoked drumstick chicken rice (RM5.50)…

Smoked drumstick chicken rice

…and she ordered this potato salad (RM5.80)…

Potato salad

…to go with it and she loved it! As a matter of fact, she likes anything potatoes.

I saw this sign…

New on their menu

…there but no, of course I would not order that big head prawn (udang galah) tom yam noodles – I sure can think of a lot of things I would enjoy a lot more for that RM45.00.

The nasi kerabu lamb chop (RM15.90)…

Nasi kerabu lamb chop 1

…sounded interesting so I decided to order that to try. They do have daging bakar with their nasi kerabu here but I have never ordered that there, only their ayam percik or fish, depending on the day of the week but these days, they have it only on Saturdays.

To give credit where credit is due, the lamb…

Lamb chop

…was very very nice, so nice that I only ate a few of the pieces and gave the rest to my girl to enjoy – she loves lamb as much as she loves her potatoes.

Other than that, it was nothing like nasi kerabu – the rice was their chicken rice and it wasn’t blue in colour and the bed of vegetables  below the lamb was like what you would get by the side in a dish at a western restaurant…and no, there was no serunding kelapa, no air budu, no sambal cili…just that bit of what came across to me like thick dark and sweet soy sauce with a sprinkling of sesame seeds plus the salted egg, something I would have loved anytime and everytime, wasn’t to my liking at all – if all their salted eggs are like this one, they should go and look for a different source.

I would say I enjoyed the dish…

Nasi kerabu lamb chop 2

…especially the lamb, but it was in no way what it was supposed to be – nasi kerabu, it sure wasn’t…and at that price, it is not likely that I will ever order that again, thank you very much.

WARUNG BM (2.293317, 111.841781) is located right beside Medan Mall, among the shops to the right at No. 2, Ground Floor, Lorong Wong King Huo 1D.

A change is gonna come…

We had been to the classier western fusion section of the restaurant

Christmas decor

…and we had been to the food court a few times, including that morning when I dropped by for breakfast but we never went there for dinner.

Well, the other day, we dropped by there to see if it was any good. After all, we had been going to the same old restaurants again and again for want of some other nicer ones and we thought that if this one was any good, we could come here sometimes for a change.

I saw photographs on the wall of their banana leaf-wrapped salt baked tilapia (RM25.00) and I wanted to order that but it seemed that this fish dish would come from the people inside the western fusion section, not the chu char (cook & fry) kitchen at the back, and sadly, they were out of tilapia so we could not have it.

We had the Foochow-style tofu soup with canned oysters (RM13.00)…

Foochow tofu soup 1

…and yes, it was good plus they did have a lot of ingredients…

Foochow tofu soup 2

…in it.

We ordered their bitter gourd with three types of eggs (RM12.00)…

Bitter gourd with three types of eggs

…thinking that it would be something like what we had here but it turned out to be the omelette version…

Bitter gourd with three types of eggs

…which we enjoyed though I wasn’t exactly sure as to whether there was any salted egg in it, just sporadic bits of century egg and yes, I did feel the price was a bit steep considering that it was a non-meat vegetable dish.

I decided to throw caution to the wind and order the butter prawns (RM20.00)…

Butter prawns

…as we had not had that for a while now. Usually, we would go for the creamy or butter scotch or honey “prawn balls” – prawns without head or shell, all curled up into a ball after cooking as it seemed to be cheaper that way. I expected whole prawns like the ones we had that evening to cost a hand or a foot but it did not turn out to be very expensive, after all and of course, the best part would be the fact that they did it really well. The buttery fibrous egg topping was perfectly done and we sure enjoyed this dish very much.

I am not sure if this pork dish (RM15.00)…

Fried spare ribs

…was cooked with ang chao or tau joo (fermented tofu) but it did not matter as we did like it just that I thought they could do with a bit of presentation to make it look a little bit nicer upon serving – as it was, there were just a few slices of cucumber underneath, nothing else.

Well, I would say that we were not disappointed by what we had and we liked how the lady who took out orders was very accommodating, taking into consideration that we did not want anything with wheat flour or soy sauce while making her suggestions. The total came up to only RM60.00, pretty reasonable, I must say, especially considering that we had prawns…and rest assured that we will be going back there again to see what else they have on their menu.

ECO-DELITE FOOD COURT (2.330846, 111.855645) is located at the shops on your left along Jalan Ulu Sg Merah, a short distance from the roundabout if you are coming along Jalan Ling Kai Cheng and take the right turn from there.

Come and join us…

That evening, I asked my girl if she wanted to go back to that very nice Korean place for dinner and no prize for guessing what her answer was.

I asked her to whatsapp my sister to see if she was keen to join us. As far as I know she had never been there as all these years she had to take care of our parents especially at night when we would not be around and they had  a caregiver there in the daytime only – on “crucial days”, they did get some night nurses to come in and help. Well, she was fine with the idea so we went to pick her up and headed to the place.

We had the complimentary starters…

Starters

…as usual and even though we could request for a refill should we felt like it, I read a review in their Facebook page that somehow or other, everything was “out of stock” when he or she asked for it. My missus loved the kimchi and another one of the eight, I can’t remember which one now, and she said she would ask for more later. I guess she was already too full after we had had all our orders so she did not do so in the end…so I do not actually know how valid that comment was.

I ordered the moksal (목살) (RM25.00)…

Moksal

…or neck meat which I said I would come back to try when we were here previously. It was very nice wrapped in the lettuce provided, along with the chili paste and the garlic slices and the shallots and what not…

For the moksal

…and the mushroom and onion that came with the pork and we enjoyed it a lot but I could not tell if there was any difference from the samgyeopsal (삼겹살) or pork belly slices that we used to order before but for one thing, it was quite obvious that this one had a lot less fat.

Of course we did not want to grill the meat ourselves and end up stinking of what we had cooked so we got the guy…

Let him do it

…to do it for us.

My girl insisted on having their dolsot bibimbap (돌솥 비빔밥) (RM20.00)…

Dolsot bibimbap

– she loves it so much but I gave it a miss this time around and happily ate the plain rice that came with the galbi tang (갈비탕) (RM30.00)…

Galbi tang

…that I liked a lot, the rich flavourful soup especially.

We also had their Korean version of the sushi, the gimbap (김밥) (RM18.00)…

Gimbap

…and yes, it was very nice too. We did order something else, another beef dish, but they came back later to tell us it was not available so we decided to cancel it and probably order something else later but we all had our fill so that was it!

That sure was a delightful dinner that the four of us had that night and the total, inclusive of the jug of green tea (RM10.00), came up to RM103.00. Yes, they do accept credit cards here, no terms and conditions but I wanted to pay in cash…except that I did not have any small change and gave the lady RM150.00. The lady asked if I had RM3.00 and digging into my wallet, I could only come up with RM2.00…but no, that was RM1.00 short and she would rather give me the RM47.00 change instead of giving me a little discount. Tsk! Tsk!!!

In another comment in their Facebook page, somebody had this to say: “Btw, nobody would greet or say thank you so maybe the management didn’t think it’s important to be courteous too,” and I couldn’t agree more. The food is great, service is good and prompt but I wish they could be friendlier and at least, smile if nothing else. Except for that guy in the above photograph – he did say thank you to us when we walked past him as we were leaving – if it is niceties that you want, it is best that you go elsewhere.

KIMCHEE KOREAN BAR.BQ (2.296883,111.825859) is located on the first floor in the block of shops to the right of the Old Sing Kwong Supermarket (Kin Orient Plaza) along Jalan Tun Abang Hj Openg.

In the meantime…

…my girl has used the other box of the gluten-free pizza and focaccia bread mix to make these delightful buns…

Gluten-free garlic cheese buns

…with melted mozarella cheese inside…

Cheese inside

…coated with butter, garlic powder and all the herbs on the outside. It turned out really well and of course, she was very pleased.

She also came home from one of her shopping trips that day with these…

Digestives, plain 1

…that she bought for me from one of the shops round the corner from my house, made in Johore…

Made in Johore

I loved the packaging but no, it came nowhere near those original digestives but when I dunked them…

Digestives, plain 2

…in fresh milk to eat, I did enjoy them a lot more with the added richness of the milk.

She also bought this other variety, chocolate flavoured…

Digestives, chocolate 1

…and between the two, on their own, I thought this one…

Digestives, chocolate 2

…was a bit nicer with the light taste of chocolate and I found that when dunked in my coffee, it was really very nice.

Well, they’re inexpensive especially compared to those imported digestives, some of which may not be all that nice as well so personally, I wouldn’t mind grabbing these should I see them in the shop.

And talking about those shops, I was at the one at the other end of the block, the one that we frequent a lot more, and I saw this mee sua

mee sua

…selling for RM6.00 a bag. It did not look like one of those factory-made ones and the noodles did look finer than those so I grabbed a bag to try. The people at the shop did say it was homemade/handmade and dried but of course, those people would say anything as long as they can sell you something – the test of the pudding is in the eating.

I did not cook any traditional Foochow red wine chicken soup so I could not eat the noodles with that…and these days, considering the prices, I am not all that keen on buying Bovril or Marmite anymore. As a matter of fact, at some shops and supermarkets here, they keep those bottles under lock and key alongside the abalone and the sharks’ fins and birds’ nest. I had no choice but to cook it that same way, kampua mee style but substituting the Bovril with the far more affordable dark soy sauce instead and it actually turned out really nice…

Kampua mee-style mee sua 1

I sure wouldn’t mind buying some more of this mee sua

Kampua mee-style mee sua 2

…again when the current stock runs out.

You gotta go…

You gotta go and try the Foochow fried noodles here…

Chu Lai Cafe

…they told me. Obviously they liked it a lot and felt it would be worth my while.

It is located right across the road from the old Sibu mosque…

Old Sibu mosque

…that is undergoing massive restoration works at this point in time. Some may recall that a photograph of this coffee shop was in the news at one time like it was the epitome of the racial harmony between the races here, quite unlike in some other parts of the country.

I would never have dropped by if I had not been urged by my friends as parking around here would be a pain especially when there is that forever-crowded bank at the other end of the block. Often I would see cars lining the side of the street, illegally parked, so of course, it would be virtually impossible to find a parking space around there.

Well, I was early last Saturday morning and it was raining as a result of which, business was slow…

Chu Lai Cafe, inside

…plus it was the weekend, not a working day so there were ample parking spaces all around.

There is a Malay/Muslim stall…

Chu Lai Cafe Malay/Muslim stall

…in front and it looked like it had its following for while I was there, I saw customers dropping by for the nasi biryani with curry chicken (and pickles by the side), RM6.50, available only on Saturdays. Good grief! Somehow or other, you would not see me having that or chicken rice at 8 o’ clock in the morning even though I would go for nasi lemak for breakfast once in a while.

No, I did not order the A Mo coffee…

Chu Lai Cafe A mo coffee

Literally translated, A Mo or ang mo, to be exact, means red hair, a local reference to westerners or Caucasians so that probably was their version of the kind of coffee one would get at those celebrated coffee places at at least four times the price. The one with ice is RM3.00 a glass.

I happily had my local coffee, black and extra strong with ice (RM1.80)…

Chu Lai Cafe kopi-o-peng

…and yes, they did it pretty well and it was very much to my liking.

I had the Foochow fried noodles special (RM8.00)…

Chu Lai Cafe Foochow fried noodles special 1

…and yes, it was good, loaded with a whole lot of ingredients…

Chu Lai Cafe Foochow fried noodles 2

…and if you’re from out of town and you are staying at the hotel around 100 metres away from this coffee shop, this would be a good place to drop by for this authentic Foochow dish – not everybody does it well, that much I can tell you but for me, at that price especially, I would much sooner go for this cheaper and to me, nicer moon version round the corner from my house and other than its very much closer location away from the congestion in the town centre, parking is a breeze there plus it is free!

CHU LAI CAFE (2.292279, 111.824598) is located along Jalan Kamoung Nyabor beside/behind the WTK Building directly across the road from the old Sibu mosque and two blocks of shops away, within walking distance, from the RH Hotel.

The least I can do…

My niece, my brother-in-law’s daughter, the one working in Singapore came home during the long Deepavali weekend and of course, she asked us out to dinner and she picked one of the places that she likes in town so there we were again that night like when she was home for her birthday not too long ago.

We got there first and when she showed up a while later with her parents, she brought along a huge bag of goodies for us…

Goodies from Singapore

…all the way from Singapore and this time around, knowing that my girl is gluten-intolerant, she bought a whole lot of gluten-free stuff. She’s such a sweet and thoughtful…and generous girl really!

The boss said that they had wild boar and no, there would not be any soy sauce in it so of course, we wanted that…

Wild boar

No, they did not cook it the way we would do it all our lives, soup or with soy sauce and I did like it done in their style. It sort of reminded me of how some people cooked goat’s meat – I had that before when I was young, probably with a lot of spices such as cinnamon, star anise, cloves, cardamon…or maybe they just used five spice powder but no, it did not taste quite like it. The rest did not seem too impressed by it so I had the lion’s share and I sure would not mind ordering that again it they have it the next time we drop by.

My niece wanted the venison…

Venison

…so we had that too. My girl could not eat that as they had soy sauce in it but she did take a piece to appease the craving. Personally, I am not so into venison as to me, it does not really stand out to make it different from the rest and I would much sooner go for beef or lamb instead.

Other than the two, we had two of our favourites here – the salted egg spare ribs…

Salted egg spare ribs

…and the Thai-style mango chicken…

Thai-style mango chicken

My niece wanted more vegetables so we had the ones not that easily available in Singapore – the midin (wild jungle fern), fried ching chao – clear/plain fried…

Midin, ching chao

…and the cangkuk manis, fried with egg…

Cangkuk manis with egg

…plus the bitter gourd fried with three types of eggs…

Tri-egg bitter gourd

– regular egg, salted egg and century egg.

We ordered the omelette with lap cheong (Chinese sausage)…

Omelette with lap cheong

…for my brother-in-law in particular as he loves the ones cooked outside.

I would say the food that night was very good – we literally cleaned up every plate, not a trace of anything left…and I quietly went to the counter to pay the bill. I guess that was the least I could do to reciprocate for all that trouble my niece went through to buy all the things and cart them all the way back from Singapore to give to us.

The dinner was inexpensive – all those dishes, 8 altogether, for 6 persons came up to only RM103.00. Together with the rice and drinks, it was RM118.30 only and the nice and generous boss gave me a discount like what he would do everytime and collected RM115.00 from me only. Some people are just so very nice!

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.