History (2)…

Nope, this isn’t going to be a tribute to the late MJ who passed away on the 25th of June a year ago. Gee! How time flies!

Actually, in this post, you will get to learn a bit about the history of kompia

History of kompia

…dating back to 1563 in the Fujian Province in China. Interesting, eh?

Well, you can get to see this in the former Applebee Bakery, now renamed the KomPia Tiam…

KomPia Tiam

I do not recall seeing all these the last two times I dropped by the place and on the earlier occasion, I even put up a post on it.

My! My! Don’t you think the logo looks familiar?

KomPia Tiam logo

Well, as they say, anything you can do, I can do better. LOL!!!

In case you still don’t know, this is a kompia

Kompia

…a bagel-like unleavened bread baked while stuck to the sides of a charcoal oven. It tastes quite bland actually, a little salty and crusty on the top with its own special fragrance. I bought a bagful for my friends at a course once…and there was this lady from Miri who commented that she could not understand why it was so tasteless…but she could not stop eating and had one after another – in the end, she placed an order for RM10 worth of kompia to take back and share with her family and friends.

In my earlier post, I mentioned that the humble kompia had undergone some kind of upgrading and you can now buy them with all kinds of filling…

Kompia with filling

These are the lamb curry and beef masak hitam. I had the beef rendang and the chicken mayo the other time and I thought they were very good. The lamb curry was just so-so…and Clare did not like biting into the spices in the masak hitam. By the way, the more you buy, the cheaper it gets – 2 for RM2.00, 4 for RM3.00 and 6 for RM4.00.

We also tried the chu-nu-miang

Chu-nu-miang

…the sweeter version of the kompia – the cheese topping and the chicken floss. The girl at the counter told me previously that the chicken floss was their best seller…but I did not really like it…

Chu-nu-miang - chicken floss

Personally, I felt that the saltiness of the chicken floss did not blend in too well with the sweetness of the chu-nu-miang. The one with the cheese was very nice though…

Chu-nu-miang - cheese

…but I still think my favourite is the Nestum topping that I really liked when I tried it the last time.

There are a lot of other toppings to choose from, some of which are really bright and colourful and very attractive – like these, for instance…

Chu-nu-miang - assorted toppings

…but I do not think they would tickle my fancy – most possibly a bit too sweet for my liking.

Anyway, as they say, one man’s meat is another man’s poison…so you can just hop over there and try them yourself. A word of caution though – if you are eating them there, do take a table at the far end because when they start baking the kompia, it can get a little bit too hot for comfort!

Have you seen it…

Well, I saw it on the shelves in one of the two mini-supermarkets near my house and I decided to buy a pack to try…

A1 bak kut teh noodles 1

I am sure most of us are familiar with the packaging. Those A1 pouches of mixed bak-kut-teh herbs seem to be very popular and I see them being sold at virtually every supermarket around. If I’m not mistaken, I think I have used them myself for my own home-cooked bak-kut-teh at one time or another.

I like this particularly…

A1 bak kut teh noodles 2

…as I seem to have develop an aversion to too much msg these days.

Anyway, I tried a packet…

A1 bak kut teh noodles 3

…and found that it was very nice even though I did not add any extra ingredient, just an egg. The taste was exactly like what we would get when we cook bak-kut-teh with those mixed herbs of the same brand.

However, it costs RM4.50 a pack and there are 4 packets only inside so that works out to about RM1.20 each. Comparatively, it is definitely more expensive than any other normal brand of instant noodles which would usually work out to 70-80 sen a packet.

There is also another variety – the Emperor herbs chicken spices noodles…

A1 Emperor herbs chicken spices noodles 1

…which is even more expensive, by 40 sen – RM4.90 for a pack of four. I’ve tried it but I did not think it was very nice. Then, I tried it again with a whole lot of ingredients added…

A1 Emperor herbs chicken spices noodles 2

…and still, I thought it wasn’t that great. The bak-kut-teh variety is definitely the better of the two, albeit being the  cheaper.

Whatever it is, they’re cheaper than the Korean noodles but considering the higher prices, I probably would stick to the usual cheaper brands. After all, at the end of the day, they all serve the same purpose which is simply to appease any craving or hunger. Period.

Those days are gone…

…but the memories linger on.

The pupils of St. Rita along Bukit Assek Road here would fondly recall this man called Ah Hua who used to sell kompia across the road from their school.

Well, he is still around, looking exactly the way he did back then, and now runs a stall at the Sibu Central Market…

Sibu Ce</a>ntral Market - jungle produce section

…at the hawker centre on the first floor…

Kedai Bukit Assek AH HUA

Gundot went to eat at his stall when she was in town and posted some photographs on Facebook. Clare saw that and when she and Alvin came to town for the weekend, she simply had to make a beeline to that place for the kompia

Ah Hua's kompia 1Ah Hua's kompia 2
*Gundot’s photos on Facebook

Ah Hua's kompia

We walked around the whole place looking for the stall and was about to give up when I saw two of my ex-students, now in the university and back in town on holiday, eating there. I asked them where Ah Hua’s kompia stall was located and they said that was the one! Gee! The sign was so small that it would be quite difficult actually to notice it.

Personally though, I would very much prefer the kompia at the Sugar Bun, Gateway branch and I thought the ang tau peng (iced red beans)…

Ah Hua'a ang tau peng

…that I had wasn’t much to shout about either. In my opinion, the one I had at Rinta Cafe was a lot nicer or even the one at Thomson Corner.

Alvin had the ang tau cendol (red beans with the green jelly-like thing)…

Ah Hua's ang tao cendol

…and Clare had the ngor-bee therng (five flavoured soup), the five being red dates, barley, jelly, some kind of little white nuts plus sliced jelly candy which is a popular cooling dessert drink around here…

Ah Hua's ngor-bee therng

Well, it certainly was a walk down memory for Clare that day…and it looks like we will have to go back there again sometime…for the Ah Kia Teochew Noodles – something that we had and loved during our younger days along the lane behind the Chartered Bank, as it was called then, along Cross Road. The stall was not open that day…so I’m afraid that will have to wait till the next time we get to drop by the place again.

O happy day…

Well, Father’s Day was last Sunday and my missus made me a cake…

STP's Father's Day cake 1

Of course, it was nothing like the breathtaking professional creations of my blogger-friend, Breadpitt, but it certainly was very special and definitely a lot more meaningful than just picking up one from a bakery in town.

It was her apple sauce butter cake, my favourite…

STP's Father's Day cake 2

…and she made some whipped cream for the icing and used dragon fruit and some leaves for the decoration.

That night we went out for dinner at Cafécafé and we were joined by Clare and Alvin who were in town for the weekend.

Clare had the beef pandan nasi lemak (RM16.00)…

Cafecafe's beef pandan nasi lemak

…which was ok except that the rice tasted more like nasi bryani than nasi lemak. I thought the masak hitam beef that came with it was very nice though.

Alvin opted for the chicken kurma set (RM14.90)…

Cafecafe's ayam rendang set

…but when it was served, we were quite positive that it was chicken rendang. It certainly did not look nor taste like kurma, not in the least!

My missus had the creamy baked chicken chop rice (RM18.00)…

Cafecafe's creamy baked chicken chop rice

…which was really very nice! The rice was simply fragrant and the meat was perfectly done with the right combination of herbs – not overpowering, just nice. The only thing is that to have this dish, you will need to give them 30 minutes’ cooking time…but that was absolutely all right for us as we were not in any hurry to go anywhere that night.

The tuna toast…

Cafecafe's tuna toast

…was well-liked by everybody but personally, I think I prefer the turkey ham toast that I had on my previous visit.

The pad thai (RM9.50) tasted much nicer than what I had at the Ark a couple of days earlier…

Cafecafe's pad thai

…though I prefer the fine translucent hor fun noodles that they used over at the other side.

All in all, it was a delightful evening – nice food, nice company…but the waitress who came to take our orders who certainly seemed to know a lot about what would be available – due credit should be given to her for that, rattled on like a machine gun…in Mandarin. I don’t know whether it was because she could not speak English or simply refused to do so and considering that it is not a Chinese restaurant and more of a fusion kind of place, they should employ people who are conversant in English…or at least, the ones who can speak the predominant local Chinese dialect – Foochow, or perhaps even Hokkien. Anyhow, she could easily have asked one of the other waiters or waitresses to replace her at our table…as on my previous visits to the place, I did not encounter any such sort of situation at all.

And by the way, guys, there are errors in your menu…

Cafecafe's menu

…if you haven’t realised that, that is! LOL!!!

Big ship…

I used to love coming to this place – The Ark, located at the Rejang Esplanade along Jalan Maju here. I loved the lamb curry and the sambal ladies’ fingers in particular and there were other nice dishes as well…and I loved the unique architectural design, the whole setting plus the pleasant ambience at the place as a whole.

But the last time I went, the food was really very bad, to say the least…and I found out that the chef had left. So I stopped going to the place ever since then. However, I heard from some people that it was quite nice now…and the other day, I decided to give it another try.

I dropped by with an old friend for lunch and it appeared to me that they had changed the menu completely, now specialising exclusively in Thai cuisine. We had the mango sticky rice…

The Ark's mango sticky rice

…which was very nice but…..psssst…chef, usually people have the rich and yummy coconut cream to pour over the thing, so how come yours doesn’t have?

We narrowed down our choices to two – the Thai kway teow and the Thai hor fun and eventually ordered the latter…

The Ark's Thai hor fun 1

I thought they usually call this pad thai or something like that but never mind! It tasted all right but I think we were already a bit full from the sticky rice, so it was quite a struggle trying to finish the whole lot…

The Ark's Thai hor fun 2

…and towards the end, I really was not enjoying it anymore.

I’m curious though as to where they get the hor fun from as I have not seen it sold anywhere in town. We can only get our local kway teow at most places and it is not as nice. Maybe they made their own for their own use.

It wasn’t cheap though – I think the bill came up to over RM35.00 inclusive of drinks. We could go to the coffee shop behind the Sibu Kidney Foundation and have this plate of delicious sambal char kway teow

SKF's sambal char kway teow

…and this sambal mihun

SKF's sambal mihun

…and still get change for RM10.00, inclusive of drinks.

So where do you think you would rather go?

Butterfly…

Sibu is well-known for its kampua noodles and kompia plus the sweet variety of the latter – the chu-nu-miang. Another Foochow delicacy that one can find in Sibu is the ma-ngee

Sibu's ma-nging 1

It has its own special batter which brings about its own unique texture. Some people, I think, use the same recipe that they use for doughnuts…and though the end product looks similar, it is, in actual fact, not the same at all.

I saw a stall something like this in KL – piping hot from the wok at a stall along Jalan Alor…somewhere across the road from KFC (Bukit Bintang) and they called them “butterfly”. I did not buy any to try as I am not really a fan of deep-fried stuff as such. My parents’ Indon maid calls it telinga kuda (horse’s ear)…

Sibu's ma-nging 2

Now, don’t ask me what we call them? You wouldn’t want to know. ROTFL!!! And stop right there, Cleffairy! Chup! Chup! No wise cracks from you, no…no!!! Hahahahahaha!!!!

Well, these are from the WeCare Bakery in the vicinity of the Sibu Bus Terminal, available only in the afternoon while stocks last. They’re not cheap – RM1.00 each but they’re very big and very nice. Even someone like me who is not really fond of the authentic ma-ngee they sell elsewhere in town, fell in love with its rich fragrant taste at the very first bite!

And talking about butterflies brings to mind that one-time very popular song – I can’t remember the original singer now but there was a cover by the Malaysian band, October Cherries…and there were other songs with the same name by people like Crazy Town, Jason Mraz…and even Malaya Curry, oops…I mean Mariah Carey. LOL!!! But one of my favourite songs with the word in the title would be “Butterfly for Bucky” by Bobby Goldsboro. Just listen to the beautiful, very touching story in the song…

Save a butterfly for us, Bucky
We’re all so blind, it seems
If we could only see the magic
In the power of a little boy’s dreams…

Thirteen…

I dropped by this coffee shop along Lane 13, Oya Road (approximate GPS: 2.29838,111.840091) the other day. When I was teaching in the secondary school a stone’s throw away, my colleagues and I used to come here for breakfast. I remember there was a stall where there was a nice-looking lady whose Foochow fried noodles and other things were very nice and we used to opt for what she had to offer. The kampua noodles stall then was pretty good too, so we had the liberty to choose what we wanted during each visit.

The lady is no longer there, I’m afraid, but I think the people in the back section of the shop do fry things…and I saw some people eating the fried noodles from there. The kampua noodles stall is still there but it is not run by the same people anymore. In fact, they do not even look Chinese…

Lane 13 kampua stall

…and when I asked the little girl helping with the serving, she told me that they were Melanaus.

I had the kampua noodles kosong (without meat)…

Lane 13 kampua kosong

…and the pork liver soup…

Lane 13 pork liver soup

…for RM3.50. The soup was very nice with just the right amount of traditional Foochow red wine. It was not over-powering, the way my missus likes it. The liver was just right, not overcooked and hard. As for the noodles, they were quite good but between this one and the non-Chinese kampua noodles special that I had at Sunny Cafe at this same price, I think the latter is much nicer…especially with the prawn fritters!

The kopi-o-peng (iced black coffee) was RM1.30, more expensive than a number of other places – unless they too have jacked up the price owing to the current sugar shortage…and I thought it was just so-so, and definitely not as nice as what I had at Kopitiam Fantasy.

Lane 13 kopi-o-peng

Well, that’s my opinion…and maybe you would beg to differ?