Not the first…

Nope, this wasn’t the first time I dropped by here – as a matter of fact, I was here once before and I had the kampua mee and the mackerel fish ball soup. It was quite all right except that at the time, I felt it was a bit too pricey and I never did come back here again.

Besides, if it is good kampua mee that I want, I would go to this coffee shop in the next block for what many say is the best in town…or this one, just a few doors ago – theirs isn’t too bad as well.

I decided to stop by the other morning to see what new stalls they have now and I ended up having the char kway teow (fried flat rice noodles)…

…from this stall…

…at the back. It did not matter one bit that it was not cheap, RM7.50 a plate…

…RM9.90 with prawns or with siham (cockles/kerang) but I would not say it was to my liking. For one thing, I thought it was rather sweet – I noticed that the guy was using the Camel Brand dark soy sauce but I could not see whether it was the kicap manis (sweet soy sauce) or not.

Personally, my current favourite char kway teow in town would be the one here and the one here isn’t too shabby either but looking at the number of customers, this one did look rather popular as well. I suppose, as they say, one man’s meat is another man’s poison and they do have their following.

While I was there, I noticed that they were also selling sambal char kueh aka koay khak or chai thow koi (Chinese fried carrot cake)…

…so I ordered a plate to give it a try and see if theirs was any good or not. No, I wasn’t worried that there would be too much for me to handle because I could just sample a bit and ask for the rest to be packed for me to take home.

Unfortunately, it was quite disastrous because the carrot cake was kind of soggy, not firm and I did not enjoy it…

…at all. It wasn’t even worth the effort of getting it packed to take home so I just left it there just like that. If you are looking for a good one here, a good bet would be this one – I do think theirs was pretty good and worth a try.

Once I was through, I walked around the coffee shop to have a look at what the other stalls had to offer. There was a pan mee stall but no, I am not into that and I also saw a stall selling roast meat rice, nothing to get excited about as well but I did see one that did stir a bit of interest in me – perhaps I’ll go back there to check it out one of these days. We’ll see!

KIING HUAT KOPITIAM (2.301323, 111.843642)… 

…is located among the shops along Jalan Dr Wong Soon Kai in the vicinity of Kim Hock Supermarket, behind Kim Hock Premier Food Court to the right of Nam Heong Ipoh.

Cast the net…

We call this Malay teatime delight, roti jala

Jala is a kind of fishing net that they use when they go fishing. It involves a special skill with which one can cast or throw the net and it will open nicely in a circle while dropping into the water to trap all the fish.

I had it before at Nyonya Colours at The Gardens Mall in KL…

…and also at a mamak nasi kandar shop in Penang…

…as well as a coffee shop here in Sibu…

Other than those, time and time again, I would buy the ones from my favourite Malay kuih stall at Bandong…

…and I did manage to buy it…

…from this roadside stall

…once during the month of Ramadan recently. Of course, it does not look like that anymore – the red canopy has long been replaced by that red wooden hut given to these people by the state government for them to run their roadside businesses.

I happened to drive past two or three times in the morning and I saw them selling some things but I did not stop to go and have a look until the other day. I was delighted to see the roti jala

…from this lady…

– selling for RM4.00, together with the curry gravy and a couple of pieces of chicken and potatoes…

I also bought these fritters (RM2.00)…

…as well. They were cucur ikan pusu (what we call ikan bilis in Sarawak Malay) and yes, they were very nice. Unfortunately, there was only one pack left so I could not buy more. My girl enjoys these cucurs from the Malay stalls.

They were also selling burgers but I did not buy those. After all, I am off red meat so I can’t jolly well be eating those. According to the girl, they are open every day except on Saturdays and Sundays and they have a different variety of things for sale every day so their customers will not be bored, seeing the same stuff day in and day out.

This Malay food stall (2.308672, 111.822740)

…is located at 20, Jalan Ria at its t-junction with Jalan Kampung Datu Baru.

Brother…

Everytime my brother came home from Auckland, New Zealand, he would walk here every morning from our parents’ house round the corner for the kampua mee

I was not really a fan because I thought that the old lady they were all working for before did a much better job and I enjoyed her noodles a lot more. Unfortunately, she retired, only to reopen elsewhere and retire again after a while – I have not seen her since so I wouldn’t know if she is still around or not.

I can’t remember the last time I had their noodles but the other day, I decided to stop by to see whether it was any better than before. Well, one thing I had to admit was that it was really very popular. The place was crowded and I could not find a place to park my car in the vicinity. I had no choice but to try again a little later and thankfully, there was one car right in front of the coffee shop that was just leaving!

I parked my car and went to place my orders before going to take a seat at one of the vacant tables. In my blogpost on them in 2016, I had this to say about the ladies, “…that morning, I was quite put off by the fact that even though there wasn’t really a crowd, we had to wait for a mighty long time despite the fact that there were three ladies and one young boy helping out as well. Maybe she was a newbie at this thing so she was not all that good at it yet – hopefully, in time, she will be better and her customers would not need to wait…like forever, to be served!

The young boy was no longer around but no, the three ladies took such a long time that I got quite bored just sitting there waiting! For one thing, they were very chatty – it is a wonder that they had so much to talk about when they get to see one another every day. This is definitely one place to avoid should one happen to be in a hurry to go somewhere after having had a bite to eat.

I liked the kampua mee (RM4.00)…

…very much. If I were of the opinion that they were not that great before, well, I must say that I’ve changed my mind now.

I also tried eating them with the bottled chili sauce provided…

…and I found it to be even nicer that way. Incidentally, they are using the authentic handmade Foochow kampua noodles here – the slightly thicker and straight ones as opposed to the machine-made ones that are thinner and more curly. They use the latter for Kuching kolo mee but these days, many are not bothered to differentiate between the two. Those true blue die-hard kampua mee lovers, however, will frown at the latter and not settle for anything less than the former.

I also ordered a bowl of pian sip, small (RM2.50)…

…or kiaw, if you are someone from Kuching or wanton if you’re from the mainland or elsewhere and yes, I did enjoy that. The soup was very flavourful and the pian sip skin was thin and smooth enough and to my liking. I saw somebody having the dry version and it looked pretty good – perhaps I shall order that next time.

Actually, the people at the chu-char (cook and fry) at the back are very good too but they only open at night.

DELTA SEAFOOD & CAFE (2.307832, 111.825125)…

…is located along Lorong Delta 10, in the blocks of shops somewhere right behind the public swimming pool there.

Never know unless you try

I dropped by this coffee shop not long ago because I saw a very nice photograph of the kolo mee that my ex-student shared on Facebook and I simply had to go and try. Unfortunately, it turned out to be somewhat disappointing because it was too sweet for my liking due to the red char siew sauce added.

I told myself I would go back there again and I would tell them not to add the sauce – perhaps I would like it better that way. As I was leaving, however, I saw someone’s order at another table – the kampua mee pok (RM3.80)…

…and it looked so good!!! I simply had to go back there to give it a try.

In that coffee shop, there was this guy manning the stall…

*Sorry for the blurry pic*

…and no, those were not bottles of Bovril inside the glass cabinet. They were the imitation from China (That was what the guy said, not from Taiwan!) that I did not like at all. I asked the guy what he would do with it and he said it was good, tossed with noodles but that would be a bit more expensive – RM4.50 a plate. Perhaps I will give it a try one fine day, perhaps I will not because no matter what I did with it, it turned out that it was not to my liking!

My kampua mee pok

…came and I must say I liked what I saw. I loved how they used real char siew (barbecued meat), not boiled pork coloured red to make it look like char siew. That is what they do at many kampua mee stalls in town! Furthermore, they were not paper thin – there was this joke that the slices of meat they give you with your kampua mee here are so very thin that if you turn on the fan full blast, they will all fly away!!! LOL!!!

Besides, RM3.80 a bowl is a steal because most everywhere around town now, they are charging RM4.00 and the VERY popular one at the corner down the road is a whooping RM4.50 a bowl. I certainly would not want to go there since this one is cheaper and it is just a few doors away!

Of course, the test of the pudding is in the eating and yes, this awesome bowl of noodles passed with flying colours. It was really good! Even the complimentary soup…

…was good unlike what you will usually get at these noodles stalls – plain water with msg added. I would just leave those untouched but just like the one I got with the kolo mee that day, this one was good till the last drop.

I sure would not mind going for this kampua mee pok again but as I was leaving, I saw one of those in the coffee shop, a lady, sitting down to enjoy her bowl of Sarawak laksa and it looked so good. The colours and everything could beat the one next door, our current No. 1 in town, hands down but of course, I will never know unless I try. No prize for guessing what I shall be having the next time I drop by here!

TOTO CAFE (2.311913, 111.846213)…

…is among the shops right behind Delta Mall, Jalan Pedada – the block on your left if you are coming out of the mall via the back entrance, the second coffee shop after e-Cafe in that block.

The good ones…

I was telling my girl about what used to be our favourite Sarawak laksa in town and how I went to give it a try that day to see if it was still good . Unfortunately, it turned out otherwise, so different from the way it was, definitely nowhere near as nice as before anymore.

I guess that must have triggered a craving in her for our local culinary delight that the late Anthony Bourdain called “the breakfast of the gods so she asked me if we could have that for lunch on Sunday. Of course, we could, just that we would not be going for our former No. 1 and would have to settle for what used to be our No. 2 instead…

Gosh!!! The coffee shops in that area were all so crowded but luckily, somebody was going to vacate his space so I was able to park quite near the one we were going to. Usually, I would be around there for a bite to eat early, at around 8.00 a.m. so I never encountered any problem whatsoever.

I was surprised to see some new people running the kampua mee stall in front, not this guy anymore and according to the ladies, they had taken over the stall for around three months now. Some new people are selling salad chicken rice at the second stall and the 3rd one, the pan mee stall, was vacant. The Malay stall was still around and the chu-char (cook &fry) section at the back sure seemed to be doing brisk business with people queuing up to buy their chap fan (mixed rice). Well, I guess everyone was buying their lunch since it was past 11, almost 12 noon already at the time.

I placed an order for 3 bowls of the Sarawak laksa

…from the stall there and despite the crowd, it was served in no time at all.

This one with the tofu puffs is obviously aimed at the Sibu crowd – you will never see those if you go for it anywhere in Kuching. My girl loves those a lot – she likes to dip them in the broth to soak up the delicious gravy and eat and talking about the gravy, it is also a bit more lemak (richer with the addition of a bit more santan/coconut milk) than the ones in Kuching, the way they like it here in Sibu.

On the whole, everyone was in agreement that it was very good like on those few occasions when we had it before but no, I did not order the special at RM13.00 a bowl with so many giant prawns. What we had was only RM7.00 a bowl so we were given those two tiny shrimps. Somebody was telling me that he would go for the RM9.00 a bowl one – I wonder whether there is a difference. Perhaps I can order that next time just to compare.

They sure did not seem all that generous with the sambal belacan (dried prawn paste dip)…

The laksa was served without any of that, none at all so I asked the boy for it, insisting that he gave us a bit more. He said o.k. but none came so I had to get his attention and asked for it a second time and finally, we got what we wanted.

Obviously, they are not using the top class Bintulu belacan here – it was RM50.00 a kilo before and last I heard, it had gone up to RM80.00 a kilo. I guess that explains the difficulty in getting that little bit to go with the laksa. That, together with a squeeze of the calamansi lime, would surely bring the taste to a whole new level.

We certainly would come again for more of this…

…unless we are able to find something just as nice or even better. There are others that are very popular but are not quite what we are looking for and of course, some are quite hopeless, like the one here or here, not worth the calories at all. You will never catch me going for those.

e-CAFE (2.311913, 111.846213)…

…is the first shop right behind Delta Mall, Jalan Pedada – the block a little to your left if you are coming out of the mall via the back entrance.

Vegetarian…

There are a few vegetarian restaurants and food stalls here in Sibu but we’ve never gone to check any of them out. So far, the closest we’ve got to one would be at one of our favourites here where there are quite a lot of options on their menu that are suitable for vegans.

It so happened that we dropped by our favourite Indian/Indonesian restaurant for lunch last Saturday and it turned out that what my girl ordered was something vegetarians could sit down and enjoy as well. She had the naan cheese aloo gobi (RM15.00)…

…from their Indian menu, baked in the traditional Indian tandoori (oven). I did not try it myself but she said it was good. She certainly seemed to enjoy eating it with the mixed vegetable curry (RM13.00)…

…that she ordered to go with it.

I wanted the fish curry with basmati rice…

…also from the Indian menu, but it appeared that they had discontinued the item as it did not seem to be very popular among the customers.

In the end, I opted for the tenggiri (mackerel) penyet (RM19.00)…

…from the Indonesian kitchen.

I gave the piece of tempe to my girl – she seems to enjoy that a lot and left the fried tofu…

…by the side. They turned out to be extremely salty – it certainly could do with a lot less salt or none at all, especially in my case as I am on a low salt diet at this point in time. The acar (pickled cucumber and carrot)…

…was great and I enjoyed the fish with their very special own-made chili dip.

My missus had the ayam bakar berempah (RM16.00)…

…that I tried before and I could remember how I enjoyed the sauce so much and yes, she was likewise impressed and enjoyed the chicken a great deal. Of course if that had been my order, I would not have been very pleased with the fried egg but my missus is not as fussy as I am so I did not hear her complain. LOL!!!

We were going to the sunset service in church that evening so I ordered their chicken vindaloo biryani (RM21.00) and their butter tandoori chicken biryani (RM21.00)…

…to take home and heat up for our dinner so that my missus would not have to slave in the kitchen that evening.

The ladies had their authentic Indian ginger tea (RM7.00 each) that they enjoy a lot here while I just has a glass of drinking water. The total came up to RM123.00 and the boss just collected RM120.00 from me.

I don’t know if it was because of this video clip shared recently by some wedding planner on Facebook but business sure seemed to be booming these days – all the tables in the outer section were filled and they refused to open the other section for customers who showed up a lot later than us for fear that they might have to wait a mighty long time. I thought that was really good – this way, they would be able to ensure there is quality control in what they serve. We certainly will have to make sure that we go a little bit earlier the next time we intend to drop by for lunch or for dinner again.

The CAFE IND (2.290813, 111.829294)…

…is located along Laichee Lane, right behind one block of shops facing the main road (Jalan Kampung Nyabor) where the Bank Simpanan Nasional, Sibu branch (2.290561, 111.829071), is.

Should I…

I enjoy eating fruits a lot more than what I have for my meals in my low salt/low sugar/low carbs/no red meat diet but the problem is not all fruits are good for me. That is why I have to go online to read up on all kinds of fruits, what I should eat a lot of and what I should stay away from.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, they say…but avocados, bananas, oranges and so on are not for the likes of me, it seems. Thankfully, papayas…

…are good!

I got this from one website…

…so you can all go and click the link and read all about it.

These days, I only buy this variety…

The fruit is not big, smaller than a rugby ball and round in shape, not long and oval.

Inside, it is more like yellow in colour, not the usual red or orange and other than the fact that it is very sweet, it is not strong on that papaya smell that can be a bit over-powering in some papayas. At one time, everyone went crazy over the small round ones – just cut it open and eat with a spoon! I never liked those because I got somewhat put off by the smell.

Another thing about me when I eat papayas is after I have got rid of the seeds, I shall have to cut away the rough part inside where the seeds stick to the fruit so in the end, I have something like this…

– completely smooth and no seeds.

I can’t remember if I read something about that part that I cut and throw away but I hear the seeds are good for health!!! The aforementioned website has this to say about papaya seeds:
Papaya seeds are also named as “traditional healers treat”. As we are aware, kidneys are responsible for removing waste and impure substances from the body. These unwanted materials include metabolic waste, toxins, excess water, infection, drugs, etc. Once they suffer from a disease, they tend to lose this function leading to multiple medical conditions. Papaya seeds in this case help to heal the damage caused and prevent further complications. Papaya seeds easily remove the toxins produced in the metabolism of the whole body and excreted in the urine. An alkaloid named Caprine is present in the papaya seeds that help in detoxifying the body.

Unfortunately, I have tried eating the seeds but they are so bitter and quite impossible to eat. Some people told me not to chew – just swallow, they say but no, I think I’d just stick to the fruit proper and enjoy it…

…as it is. Having said that, hopefully, my condition will improve otherwise I would have no choice but to go and eat the seeds and pray that they will work as claimed.

Time changes…

Time goes by so slowly…and time can do so much!” Thus goes the line in the very popular song, “Unchained Melody and indeed, there can be no denying that time changes everything!

I’ve been wanting to go back here to try their Sarawak laksa

…for a long time now (we did go twice – once, the place was packed and another time, we were too early and they had not started for the day yet) but I only managed to do so last Friday morning.

It was raining the whole morning so there were very few customers around and parking was a breeze. Besides, I went at around 11, too late for the 10 o’clock tea and too early for lunch.

It appeared that they are using a new system of ordering now – they will not come to your table to see what you would like to eat or drink – instead, you have to place your orders with this lady…

…seated in the corner and pay her for everything before going to take your seat.

I don’t know if she submitted my order via computer like the very sophisticated system that they have here because as soon as I was through, she got up and went to the counter/kitchen at the back so she could have done everything verbally. If that is what she has to do everytime, it probably will get somewhat messy if there are a lot of customers going there to eat.

The Sarawak laksa came soon enough. It was only RM6.00 in 2019 and like everything else, the price has gone up. It is now RM7.00 a bowl…

…which is no big deal really – I am getting quite used to these rising prices but the thing was it did not look quite like what we used to enjoy so much here before…

…and yes, it tasted quite different…like they had used a different brand of the Sarawak laksa sambal and I thought it tasted a bit sweet. I used to think it was the best in town because it was very close to what the good ones in Kuching taste like, just as nice or perhaps even nicer. Now, I’m afraid that is no longer the case.

Even the sambal belacan

…paled in comparison to the one before but I guess we cannot blame them for using something cheaper, not the best exclusive one from Bintulu anymore because it is no longer that affordable to use, not at all.

Well, if it’s any consolation, I would still say it was all right but no, I would not say it is the best in town, not anymore.

Moving on from the Sarawak laksa, my sister gave us these ang ku koi

…from her ex-student…

…who is running some kind of home business. The ones with the red bean paste were sweet but these with the mung bean filling…

…were slightly savoury, not sweet at all. As a matter of fact, it had its own special taste that might need a little getting used to and though this is better for me, being on a low/no sugar diet, I prefer the slightly sweet ones here that I would buy once in a while.

SIBU THOMSON CORNER (2.296517, 111.840710)…

…is located at Pusat Tanahwang, opposite Sacred Heart Secondary School, Oya Road or you can go to their other outlet on the 1st floor of the Medan Mall, Jalan Wong King Huo.

Not by choice…

I guess everybody knows by now that I am staying away from a lot of things, not by choice but because of health reasons. For instance, I am off red meat and I’m staying off noodles – I will eat just a bit of rice and anything made of rice e.g. bihun, kway teow and dianpianngu. and I shall have to control myself when eating those as well – a little bit is fine, not too much! Of course, I have to stay away from sugar and go low on salt. I guess it comes as no surprise that what I eat these days isn’t very appetising, not anything that I would be looking forward to at all.

I eat a lot of fruits but I have to be selective – some are too high in their sugar content, others have too much potassium and phosphorus. Sweet cakes and cookies are out which leaves very little that I can eat for breakfast or for tea in the morning. No, my weekly tests show that I do not have a problem with my blood sugar but of course, it pays to be careful when it comes to these things.

The other day, I saw them selling these tausar peah (bean paste biscuits)…

…at a coffee shop here. They said a lot of things but in Mandarin and they insisted that they were not sweet. In the end, I decided to buy some to give them a try.

They were only RM1.10 each, the skin was very flaky and very nice, not sweet at all…

…but as far as the tausar filling was concerned, even though it was not very sweet, to me, it was sweet enough to be of concern. I think I would have to spread them out, one piece a day for breakfast or tea…or less and I would give some of them away.

I also dropped by this bakery that day – they make the nicest Swiss rolls in town. My girl loves the strawberry…

…but they have not been making that since those one or two times when I managed to grab one from there. They only had the coffee/vanilla so I bought one…

…and took it home. The ladies in the house said it was very nice but of course, I was very good and kept my distance the whole time. I felt I could do without the sweetness, never mind that it was not VERY sweet.

I’m eating the buns that I bought from there though, the pandan lotus paste…

…and the butter buns…

They’re very nice and we have enjoyed eating them all this while. The filling is a little on the sweet side so just like the tausar peah, I shall have to control myself and spread them out instead of eating too many at a time.

I don’t know if it was just my imagination but things did not look too good at the bakery. It was rather dim inside – they did not switch on all the lights and the Indon helper who used to man the cashier’s counter was no longer around. They probably sent her home already.

Other than that, there were not many things available, all placed on a small table beside the door – they used to fill the shelves but this time around, whatever was available was quite limited. There was only one pack of each of the buns that I bought, for instance. I did see the nice coconut roll…

…that I bought from there once, just one, but I did not feel like having that so I did not buy that.

YAT BAKERY (2.293035, 111.835887)…

…is located along Lorong Chew Siik Hiong 1A, directly opposite Uncle Dom, at the other end of the block of shops where Sushi Tie is in the commercial centre behind the Rejang Medical Centre.

Shocking…

I remember once upon a time, not that long ago, roti canai was only RM1.00 a piece. Of course the prices have gone up over the years but I found it somewhat shocking that it…

…is now RM2.00 a piece here!

This was only RM1.20 a piece here and the roti telur (with egg) was just RM2.00…

…and that was in 2019, not that long ago.

The other day, I was fuming mad when I was charged RM3.00 for the roti telur here

…soon after the initial shock I had at another place where I had to fork out RM2.70 for a piece

Of course I never went back to those two places again.

Well, it so happened that I felt like having roti canai one morning but the ladies here have called it quits – they are no longer making them. Eventually, I decided to check out this place…

…where I once had the roti telur but some young boys were running the stall at the time in 2015…

…and also this one at Bandong…

Now, there is an old man here, making the roti at the back and a young guy manning the counter in front.

I also asked for the roti telur which was a whooping RM4.00 a piece…

…and the boy asked if I wanted it kahwin (married), sandwiched, that is and I replied, “Sukati” which is Sarawak Malay slang for suka hati (as you wish).

My orders came with this very nice dhal dip…

…but in all honestly, I cannot say that I did not feel the pinch – RM6.00 altogether for what I had.

Yes, what I had was all right, nice enough but no, it was not THAT nice and for that kind of money, I can go for some other things a whole lot nicer elsewhere so if you’re thinking that they will not see me back there again, you are absolutely right!

The SEDC food stalls (MEDAN NIAGA SIMPANG TIGA)…

…is located facing the MDS Mart (2.306563, 111.819176) at the junction where Jalan Awang Ramli Amit, Jalan Kpg Hilir and Jalan Kpg Nangka meet.