Searching…

It seems that a lot of people are talking about the miracle plant, the moringa, which, according to them, can cure cancer and diabetes…and it so happened that somebody shared on Instagram a photograph of some kampua noodles here, own-made using the leaves and of course, I went searching for it to give it a try.

It so happened that I met my friend/ex-classmate, Robert, in town that day and he told me about some own hand-made green noodles at a coffee shop behind a bank in the same vicinity…and when I heard of the moringa noodles, I was quite sure that was the one.

We went to the coffee shop in question and I got my missus to go and check. I don’t know if she asked the people there or not but she came back to the car with the bad news that they did not have any green noodles there.

I’ve mentioned a number of times already about how people love to share photographs on Facebook or Instagram or whatever of what they eat and they never give any information at all. Most of the time, I would have to comment and ask and it does get really frustrating when they give some rather ambiguous reply. Likewise, the one sharing the photo of the morninga noodles did not give any details and in my conversation with the one who received the photograph from the friend, the name of this coffee shop was mentioned.

I did drop by there once but I could not put my finger on it. The name sounded very familiar but which coffee shop would that be? Where? That was what got us to the Rejang Park commercial centre the day before…and no, the name of one of the coffee shops there sounds similar but it was not the one we were looking for. Finally, it dawned on me which one it was and the very next morning, we made our way there.

Well, there were no green noodles there either and looking around, I saw almost everybody eating the mee sua in the traditional Foochow red wine chicken soup and I could detect the strong fragrance of the wine. Boy, I thought, that must be really good! However, I did not feel like having that so we went here…

New coffee shop

…instead – a new coffee shop at the other end of that same block of shops, right below the gym…

Empire Gym

…there.

There was a wide selection available at the stall in front and everything in the photographs looked nice. In the end, I settled for their spicy pan mee (RM5.00)…

Spicy pan mee

…and I certainly would give them full marks for the beautiful poached egg…

Poached egg

…that was indeed perfectly done.

It was not spicy but yes, I did enjoy it very much. I particular loved the garlicky minced meat and when mixed with the noodles along with the fried shallots and the fried ikan bilis (dried anchovies), it tasted really good.

My missus chose what they call their “health mee” (RM5.00)…

Health mee 1

…but no, it was not the elusive green moringa noodles but something that looked like what I had seen at those organic shops…

Health mee 2

…but if I am not wrong, they did say that they made it themselves.

My missus said that it looked like something they had in Korea and yes, she thought it…

Health mee 3

…was quite good. I did try a bit but between the two, I think the pan mee that I had was nicer.

The kopi-o-peng (iced black coffee) was good, RM1.60 a glass…and the girl making and serving the drinks looked somewhat familiar plus she seemed to remember me and was smiling all the time. I asked her where I had seen her before and she said she was at this place previously. Hmmm…small world!

That certainly was a fairly good start and yes, I wouldn’t mind dropping by again for the same or to try some of the other things they have in store.

The show is over…

Yes, the show is over and the cinemas…

Zenith Mint Cinema, Rejang Park, Sibu

…stand, looking somewhat sad and desolate today, as bleak reminders of the glory days gone by.

In my growing up years, long before there was television, our much-looked-forward-to form of entertainment was a movie at one of the cinemas in town. We had three in the town centre, the Rex Cinema and the Palace Theatre and the Lido that was burnt down and now turned into a hotel…

Leh Do Hotel, Sibu
*Archive photo*

…and then the Cathay Cinema came along, later to become the Star Cineplex but it has closed down quite recently. The King’s Cinema was opened even later and despite having been in a fire a couple of times, it is the only one that is still going strong except that it is now what they call a trioplex by virtue of the fact that it is a cineplex with three halls showing different movies simultaneously.

Going to a movie these days can be very expensive, over RM10.00 a ticket compared to 50 cents in the front seats during the good old days and RM1.00 for 1st class and RM1.50 for the reserved seats, usually upstairs. I had my share of the sword and sandal movies, the westerns, the Shaw Brothers’ productions and so on and so forth, even the Malay and the Hindi ones.

The Zenith Mint at the Rejang Park commercial centre here (in the first photograph above) was one of the cinemas outside the town centre along with the Rejang Cinema at the Sungai Merah Bazaar. It made its appearance much later and I do recall seeing some very nice movies here including Fame and Voices, just to name two. I don’t know what they have upstairs these days but at the ground floor, you will find all kinds of shops and no less than four coffee shops including this one, this one, this one and this one…

Hua's Cafe Rejang Park

I heard from my paternal aunt and cousins that the noodles here were quite nice so we decided to drop by that day to give it a try.

I had the Foochow fried noodles (RM3.50)…

Hua's Cafe Foochow fried noodles 1

…which I thought was all right – I do prefer some elsewhere but they certainly were very generous with the meat…

Hua's Cafe Foochow fried noodles 2

…and the green vegetables.

I had some very nice fried kway teow at this coffee shop in that same building but I would say that the one my missus had (RM3.50)…

Hua's Cafe fried kway teow, dry 1

…was just as nice or maybe, even nicer…and the serving was so big that I had to help her to finish all of it…

Hua's Cafe fried kway toew 2

I loved the wok hei fragrance and also the pleasant taste of the chives.

The kopi-o-peng (iced black coffee) here was all right, good enough for me and at RM1.50 a glass, it is much cheaper than a lot of other places in town. I certainly would not mind dropping by here again should I happen to be in the vicinity and no prize for guessing what I would be ordering…

Expect…

Wow!!! I certainly did not expect this! My dear friend, Mary of Flavours Thai Kitchen here, picked this…

Thai Curries & Soups

…up at the airport in Bangkok, a lovely box set of four instant pastes – tom yum soup, tom ka soup, green curry and masman curry. I did hear she was flying here and there on some private matters and she must have been pretty occupied all the time and yet, she was so sweet as to think of me when she was already at the airport to go through the trouble of buying this to cart all the way back to give to me. Thank you so much, Mary.

I hear she has a new chef from Thailand at her restaurant in addition to Jos, the one who has been around all this while dishing out all the awesome Thai culinary delights…and of course, I look forward to dropping by to see what this new one has got up her sleeves. In the meantime, my missus took the masman curry and cooked it – I am not blogging about it as I was not expecting it earlier so I did not take any photographs but yes, it was very nice and we did enjoy it very much. One  down, three to go!

Then, two Sundays ago, we went for the morning church service because my girl was invited to her good friend’s brother’s wedding reception the night before so we could not go for the sunset service the previous evening. After it was over and done, I asked her what she wanted to eat for brunch and she said she wanted meat porridge. I know two places where the porridge is very good but both of them were out of the way. That was why I decided to drop by here.

I was thinking of ordering plain porridge and a few dishes to go with it but unexpectedly, my missus was not keen on having porridge and wanted this instead – the Foochow noodles, soup (RM4.00)…

Y2K Foochow noodles, soup

…and my girl wanted the meat porridge so in the end, I decided to go with the flow and ordered the same (RM5.00)…

Y2K meat porridge

…for myself. Oh dear! They broke the egg! Tsk! Tsk!

It was, at best, all right…

Y2K meat porridge 2

…with just a little bit of meat inside and luckily, I did order a few dishes to go with it as I was thinking that that bowl alone would not be enough to tide us over the whole day through till tea time or in my girl’s case, most probably, dinner!

We had the fried kangkong or water spinach in English (RM8.00)…

Y2K fried kangkong

ching chao (fried, plain) and I don’t know how they did it but it was so very nice. Somehow or other, despite all the special ingredients used – all the udang kering (dried prawns) and what not, I can never dish out anything quite as nice. They say it has got something to do with the wok and the fire.

Other than that, we had a fish fillet dish and for a change, instead of the sweet and sour that we would usually have, I asked for the one with tau cheo or fermented beans (RM12.00)…

Y2K fish fillet in fermented beans sauce

…as I reckoned this would go better with the porridge.

After we were through, we went back to the house to get all my girls’ things and off we went to her school. Since everyone of them was away for over a week, I had expected to do a lot of sweeping, mopping and cleaning but it was not too bad and with all of us doing a bit of this and that, it was in done in no time at all…and my missus and I made our way home.

I don’t understand…

My girl loves yong tau foo and I do too…and though I prefer it in soup like the one here

Yong tau foo, soup
*Archive photo*

…and also the one that we went for quite a number of times at the Red Garden Food Centre at Penang Road in Georgetown, I do enjoy the dry version as well like the one here…or here.

But wait a minute! Whenever people talked about yong tau foo, I would think of fish balls and all those things stuffed with fish paste. What I do not understand is why it is called tau foo (bean curd) when I had not had any tofu all those times when I had  yong tau foo. I went and googled and what I gathered from the article was that it is primarily tofu stuffed with ground meat or fish paste and the name literally means stuffed bean curd. Oh my!!! It certainly looks like everytime I had that, I had everything except the actual or the real thing!

All this while, we only had one solitary place selling something like that here, the one I mentioned earlier, and if there are any others, I do not know of them…and finally, this place opened…

Hakka Yong Tau Foo Restaurant Sibu

…on the 14th of September and of course, we wasted no time in dropping by to give it a try. For those of you who have not heard of it and have no idea where it is, well, it’s (2.291684, 111.838253) among the new shops along Jalan Tong San fronting its junction with Lorong Langsat – behind the shops/buildings opposite the Rejang Medical Centre.

They strongly recommended their signature dish – the stuffed tofu puffs (RM1.70 each)…

Hakka Yong Tau Foo stuffed tauhu pok

…in the very nice soup or you can have stuffed tau kua (bean curd cake) instead but I noticed the people at the next table having it and the tau kua was white. Normally when I cook my own at home, I would lightly fry the pieces till lightly brown and as a matter of fact, I just cooked it the other day and my girl loved it! I did not take any photographs though as I was not planning on blogging about it.

Yes, it was nice and we enjoyed the very refreshing clear soup too and everybody loved these eggplant slices (RM1.70 each)…

Hakka Yong Tau Foo eggplant

…as well – the meat tasted like it had salted fish mixed with it and was very nice! As a matter of fact, they were so nice that the rest of our orders (all RM1.70 each)…

Hakka Yong Tau Foo selections

…paled in comparison. Of the three, my girl thought the bitter gourd had an edge over the other two including this one with the long beans…

Hakka Yong Tau Foo long beans

For one thing, it seemed that they used meat, not fish paste, to stuff everything and if there was fish, they probably mixed it with meat. I would prefer the ones with fish paste a lot more but I guess beggars can’t be choosers – as they say in Chinese (Hokkien), “Boh hu, hay ya hor!” (No fish, prawn is good too!) so meat will have to do.

I did hear that we may choose to have everything served in soup but that day, we did not put in that special request. Another time, perhaps.

I saw this black vinegar pork leg (RM15.00)…

Hakka Yong Tau Foo black vinegar pork leg

…on the menu and I just had to order it but the ladies were not all that keen on it, leaving me to eat all of it on my own while they had most of the rest of our orders. It was very nice though I was wishing the whole time that the gravy had been thicker – not so watery, and if only they had hardboiled eggs in it! That would have been great!

I went prying for more information and spoke to one young guy with my somewhat limited command of Mandarin and I found out that they all came from Kuala Lumpur. They were open seven days a week as at the time, they had not decided which day they would pick as their off day. Opening hours, he said, were from 9.30 a.m. till 2.00 p.m. and 5.00 p.m. till 9.30 p.m.

What we had that day totalled RM37.40, inclusive of rice and drinks – I guess that was all right for a pleasantly delightful brunch for three.

We will meet again…

It was on Malaysia Day, September 16th last week – the reunion gathering…

SMK Kanowit reunion September 2016

…that I was invited to by my ex-students in Kanowit where I taught from 1978 till 1982.

As a matter of fact, an ex-student of mine, not the same year – probably a year younger than the ones organising the function, from that same school owns this restaurant…

168 Restaurant Sibu 1

…where the reunion was held on the first floor…

168 Restaurant Sibu 2

…of the Sibu Express Terminal…

Sibu Express Wharf
*Archive photo*

 I did hear of him running this restaurant there and I even met him once at the wharf when I was waiting for someone but somehow or other, I never got round to dropping by to check this place out.

I was glad that this batch of students decided to hold the gathering there – that would be an opportunity for me to drop by, killing two birds with one stone so to speak. The food was good – there was this more-than-four seasons…

168 Restaurant more-than-four seasons

…and this pumpkin dish…

168 Restaurant pumpkin dish

…came towards the end when I was very full already so I did not eat whatever that was inside and after this one, there was a prawn dish but I did not take any photograph of it as I was up and about, mingling when it was served and when I came back, the rest at the table was already halfway through – I did try one though despite the fact that I could hardly take in anymore and I thought it was pretty good.

So what did we have, other than the three aforementioned dishes plus a fruit platter? They got somebody to cook a few local Cantonese delights such as the sour duck…

Sour duck

…and the kampung chicken dish…

Kampung chicken

Both were very nice but I did not eat much of the meat. Instead, I just enjoyed the gravy with my rice and between the two, I thought the sourish and very much stronger-tasting duck sauce had an edge over the chicken.

There was a sourish soup of pork knuckle and dried cuttle fish and I just had the soup – I had a HUGE bowl of pork knuckle for lunch that day (This will be in my next post!) so I did not want to have anymore and for that same reason, I only had a piece of what is called in Hokkien, the Dayak pig (lakia too)…

Pork

…which probably means that the meat was organic, the product of some livestock rearing in some ethnic village or longhouse, hence the name.

Then, this…

Ikan semah 1

…was served – the exclusive worth-its-weight-in-gold ikan semah from the upper reaches of the Rejang River, second only to the empurau, known as Wang Poo Liao (unforgettable) in Mandarin…and I always say that for the amount of money you would have to pay for the fish, it would come as no surprise at all that you will never ever forget it.

One of the students had these specially ordered and delivered for the dinner that night and of course, I feasted on it…

Ikan semah 2

Opportunities like this to enjoy the fish would be extremely few and very very far between…and somebody even commented that each spoonful is worth at least RM50.00 so you can imagine how expensive one is.

There was karaoke too…

Karaoke

…that night but no, I did not sing though not too long ago, I would have gone on stage singing my heart out. I had a terrible cough once and lost my voice completely and when I finally got it back, I was speaking like Rod Stewart for quite sometime before I got my normal voice back. To my horror, I discovered that I could no longer sing – my voice would be all over the place and after a verse or two, my voice would be gone. I guess it looks like I will be never ever be able to sing again. Sobssss!!!!

Well, I certainly enjoyed the dinner and meeting all my lovely ex-students again…

One for the memory
*Photo through the kind courtesy of one of my ex-students*

– thank you all for remembering and inviting me again. We had our first ever reunion in December last year and this is the second time we got together and hopefully, we’ll meet again.

Like no other…

Last Saturday, we dropped by here…

Payung Cafe table decor

…again for lunch…

Payung Cafe floral decor

…as we did not get to enjoy their green chicken curry (RM16,with rice)…

Payung Cafe green chicken curry

…on our previous visit and I wanted to take my girl there for that before she went back to her school in the jungle the following day.

Of course we had to have other things to go with it so I ordered the Payung rojak, small (RM10.00)…

Payung Cafe Payung rojak

…and the ikan bilis special  (RM8.00)…

Payung Cafe ikan bilis special

– note how they have had all the heads and insides removed unlike some places here…and also the mushroom roll (RM8.00)…

Payung Cafe mushroom roll 1

…and here’s a glimpse of what it looks like inside…

Payung Cafe mushroom roll, inside

…in case you’re wondering.

It so happened that the boss, Peter, celebrated his birthday the day before, September 16th – Malaysia Day…and he treated us to a slice of his birthday cake…

Secret Recipe - Chocolate Indulgence

I guess most everyone would be able to tell what cake that was – the Chocolate Indulgence from Secret Recipe which was nice, very sweet…and would come nowhere near the cakes here made by Marcus who, as you can see, has an eye for detail…

Marcus' cake - icing 1

…and is really good with his hands in the decoration of his cakes…

Marcus' cake - icing 2

…and this blueberry one that we got for my girl…

Blueberry cake from Marcus

…who celebrated her birthday the following day, 17th September (and hence our little celebration, the simple lunch that afternoon – she was going for a wedding dinner that evening, her good friend’s brother got married that same day), is no exception – of course, it was very very nice, like no other, true and true.

Cosy corner…

We’ve been here…

Cafe Cafe, Giant 1

…before and yes, I did blog about it, the branch of the one in the rather congested part of town where parking can be such a pain, tucked in a nice cosy corner of the Giant Megamall…

Cafe Cafe, Giant 2

…here. Other than the fact that parking is a breeze, it is covered so you will not have to endure the unbearable oven-like heat in the vehicle once you have finished your lunch and are getting into your car to drive home.

We were there for lunch the day of the Mooncake Festival and the place was gaily decked up and ready for the occasion…

Cafe Cafe, Giant 3

My girl had what she would always order everytime she drops by here – the crispy chicken with maltaise sauce (RM19.90)…

Cafe Cafe, Giant crispy chicken with maltaise sauce

She enjoys it so much but this time around, they did not seem that generous with the sauce but still, it was good and she loved the potato salad by the side a lot too.

The mum had the grilled chicken with homemade brown sauce (RM19.90)…

Cafe Cafe, Giant grilled chicken with homemade brown sauce

…and yes, it was very much to her liking.

I loved their tuna toast so I decided to try the turkey ham and cheese toast (RM14.90)…

Cafe Cafe turkey ham & cheese toast 1

…for a change. It was all right just that it felt like I was eating pizza…

Cafe Cafe Giant turkey ham & cheese toast 2

…but I added the coleslaw and sliced lettuce on top and ate and that sure made a difference and I would say that I did enjoy my order as well.

We had their red velvet (RM9.00)…

Cafe Cafe Giant red velvet cake

…for dessert and though it tasted quite nice, especially the cream, we did not like the coarse and somewhat dry texture of the cake so let’s just say we have had better ones elsewhere.

The bill came up to only RM61.35, inclusive of GST, and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised as I had expected a lot more. However, I did not say anything and just paid and left. Later, I heard from somebody that there was an on-going special promotion with a 15% discount for lunch or whatever and when I checked the cashier’s receipt, true enough, we got a deduction of RM10.83 from the gross total of around RM72.20. Now, ain’t that nice?

We just had a simple steamboat dinner at home that night, so I would say that this delightful lunch sort of made up for the lack of anything special in conjunction with the festival.