A long time ago…

These have been around since a long time ago. During my younger days they used to sell them at a stall at the front of the now-demolished Sibu (wet) market. Today, that same old lady is still selling them at her stall, now at the Sibu Central Market. I understand that her daughter-in-law also has a stall close by but she makes her own and they say that hers are not as nice.

You can have a choice of the vegetable type…

Sibu chai pao 1

…which my cousin, Gerrie, in Kuching loves a lot. Everytime I go to Kuching, whenever possible, she would ask me to bring along a few for her to enjoy.

These vegetable steamed buns are different from others that we may find here, there and everywhere in that they contain finely-chopped long beans and  whatever else…

Sibu chai pao 2

Usually there would be thinly sliced cabbage, carrots and perhaps salted vegetables but not these.

I don’t know how much they cost when I was young – probably 10 sen…but at one time, I think they were 30 or 35 sen each but for RM1.00 you can get four. Now, they are selling for 50 sen each.

I quite like the meat ones too…

Sibu bak pao 1

…but I find that the filling is getting less and less these days…

Sibu bak pao 2

…and I am pretty sure there was a bit of egg inside before but not anymore.

I must say that I was quite shocked the other day when I bought these as they are now RM1.20 for one. At that price, I think I might as well go and buy the char siew pao from the dim sum places in town which, if I’m not mistaken, will not cost more than RM2.00 each. Whatever it is, RM1.20 each is, in my opinion, a bit too steep for those and I do not think it is really worth it.

Should I happen to pass by the stall again, I think I will just stick to the more affordable vegetable paos…