Oh so many years…

It was a reunion of sorts when I met up with some very very old friends of mine from the 60s for lunch that day. There was one from the UK, another from Australia and the rest came over from Kuching – all of whom I had not seen for a very long time. We used to go to parties and had a great time dancing together…and we also wrote letters to the radio stations requesting for songs and dedicating them to one another…and we would often get together to loiter around, crack jokes and laugh and have a whole lot of fun. Those were the days…oh so many years ago.

I suggested meeting them at this place that I go to quite frequently as it is just across the road from where they were staying so it would be very convenient and the food is not too bad and not too expensive. I had the sweet and spicy lamb set lunch…

Garden sweet and spicy lamb lunch set

…which had some fried cangkuk manis by the side…

Garden fried cangkuk manis

…and a few slices of cucumber and nasi lemak sambal on top plus a complimentary bowl of soup and a free drink. It was quite nice but I found the lamb a bit over-fried and kind of hard or crispy.

Now what did the rest have? They shared the chicken curry…

Garden chicken curry

…and the mee mamak

Garden mee mamak

…and the nasi goreng istimewa (fried rice special)…

Garden nasi goreng special

…as well as the nasi lemak

Garden nasi lemak

Everybody seemed to be watching their figure or was very careful with their diet. Sigh!!!

It certainly was nice seeing them again and hopefully, our paths would cross again someday…

I’m still here…

It’s been a while since I featured anything from my regular Malay kuih stall at Bandong…but it does not mean that I have not been dropping by. In fact, I do stop by the place quite frequently in the morning on my way to my parents’ house to babysit my bedridden mum. The thing is that they would be selling more or less the same things that I’ve featured before so there is no point doing that again.

However, the other day, I bought these from the stall at 3 for RM1.00…

Bandong bakwon 1

According to the lady, they are an Indonesian delicacy called bakwan. If it had been in the Hokkien dialect, bak would mean meat and wan or wang would mean meatballs. Thus, I would definitely think of those right away if anyone should mention bakwan to me. At least, in the case of the Indonesian bakso, there would be meat or meatballs in the dish.

But no, they’re definitely not meatballs, that’s for sure. Actually, they’re something like what the Chinese here call chai peah and inside, they have some taugeh (bean sprouts) and strips of spring onions or are they koo chai/chives?

Bandong bakwon 2

They tasted all right…and I could sense a lot of pepper in them but they were a bit too salty for my liking and they were a tad too oily. It would be pretty good if they could reduce the salt a little…and drain off the oil on some paper kitchen towels or something.

I also bought these that day, a variation of the kuih talam,  also 3 for RM1.00…

Bandong pandan kuih

…which were all right, not too sweet but I certainly would prefer it to be more lemak – that is with a bit more santan (coconut milk).

These must be the cousin of the lipat pisang

Steamed Malay kuih 1

…made from tapioca flour with gula Melaka-sweetened grated coconut filling…

Steamed Malay kuih 2

I’m not a fan of mashed bananas but I thought these weren’t too bad…

Steamed Malay kuih 3

Now, in my opinion, these were VERY nice – the apom Milo…

Bandong apom Milo

I guess it is some kind of steamed cake and I loved the fragrance of Milo in it. The only thing was that they were 3 for RM1.00 as well…and for over 30 sen each, I must say that the slices were a little bit too thin.

Anyway, there are always so many things at the stall to choose from so it’s really no big deal. I can always choose to buy something else or not to buy at all…and the convenience of its location is a plus point as far as I am concerned.

You made me do it…

You made me do it, smallkucing! You put up a post on egg tarts and I just had to go and have these…

Mitsu Portuguese egg tarts

Oooo…what lovely Portuguese egg tarts these were! The pastry was so flaky that I just couldn’t help making a mess while eating them. Yum! Yum!

LOL!!! Actually, the truth is that my ex-student, Xavier, was leaving for KL on Sunday and then to the UK to further his studies and on Saturday morning, we went out for dim sum or what they call yum char at some places.

I took him to the old place which I feel is nicer than the new one – even though it may not be as cheap. We also had the char siew pao (barbecued pork steamed buns)…

Mitsu char siew pao

…and the steamed buns with butter and salted egg custard filling…

Mitsu steamed butter salted egg buns

…that I like a lot. Ooooo…so creamy, so very nice.

Xavier mentioned xiao lung pao (small dragon steamed buns) so I ordered them for him…

Mitsu xiao lung pao

…just in case. People say that if you’re travelling and you talk about eating something, you will just have to eat it. What a good excuse to gorge oneself with something, don’t you think? LOL!!! Well, personally, I’m not crazy about those as I don’t really fancy the very gingery soup inside.

Now, I really must get rid of my habit of looking around at what the other people are eating everytime I go somewhere. I saw this at one table…

Mitsu wat tan hor

…and of course, I just had to order it for myself. Oooo…wat tan hor!!! I guess that’s what it is called. All this while, I would just refer to it as Cantonese-style fried kway teow. It was just so-so – I would expect the kway teow to be slightly-browned or burnt for that very nice fragrance or what people call wok hei, if I’m not mistaken.

Then, when I went to the gents, I saw some people eating what looked like KL Hokkien mee. Now, I would have to try that but I guess that will have to wait till the next time I drop by the place…and don’t blame me for that! They made me do it! LOL!!!

What a surprise…

I dropped by the Guardian outlet (the pharmacy) near my house to pick up some stuff the other day and then I stopped by the stationery store next door to browse around. Imagine my surprise when I saw two packets of these…

Sibu sio bee 1

…on the cashier’s counter, together with the complimentary chili dip. The last thing I would expect to see in a shop like that would be food and my initial guess was that they belonged to the employees and they had bought them to eat for their break or for lunch.

These are our Sibu Foochow-style sio bee

Sibu sio bee 2

…which are different from the siew mai at the dim sum places where they mix the meat with prawns and beat them till firm and springy. These are all minced meat usually mixed with mangkuang/sengkuang (turnip)…and the better ones would have more meat while the not-so-good ones would have more turnip…or worse still, mostly flour.

When they told me that someone had left them there for them to help sell to anyone interested, I decided to buy the two remaining packets on the counter to give it a try. They cost me RM7.oo for a packet of 10 so that worked out to 70 sen each. Not cheap, I must say, but the consoling part was that they were nice – a lot of meat inside…

Sibu sio bee 3

…and on the whole, they tasted good…especially with the chili dip.

I wouldn’t mind buying some more, should I happen to see them again at the shop.

Main attraction…

This is slowly becoming a major attraction here in Sibu – the burger (RM14.90) at this place with their own-made patties…

SecretGarden cheese burger

Why? Because whoever comes to town, I would take them there and they would all agree with me that it is so much better than the ones you would get at the fast food joints…and may be cheaper too (with all the fries and coleslaw inclusive).

I first went there with my daughter when the place first opened – she was home for the holidays at the time. She had the double cheese burger and loved it to bits. More recently, I took my friend, ah^kam_koko’, there and on another occasion, I went with two of my ex-students who were home for the holidays. Then, when one of my cousins came to town during the Hari Raya break, I took her and her hubby there to eat that…and last week, another cousin was in town and he simply had to stop there to give it a try.

Here! If you are not convinced, you can have a closer look…

SecretGarden cheese burger 2

Doesn’t it make you drool? LOL!!!

I wanted to bring Huai Bin there when he was home but he said he would prefer the local stuff that would not be available in KL. Annie-Q was home too but it just slipped her mind till she saw my post on it…and was quite annoyed that she had forgotten all about it when she was here.

I did not have the burger myself that day as I wanted to take a photograph of the mee mamak (RM8.90)…

SecretGarden mee mamak 1

…that my missus had on a previous visit and I forgot to bring my camera that day.

The serving was actually much bigger than it looked in the photograph and it was really very nice, very fragrantly done…but frankly, if they were out of calamansi lime, they could have just left it out altogether…

SecretGarden mee mamak 2

I’m pretty sure I would not have noticed nor would I want to squeeze that old slightly-shrivelled thing all over the noodles. LOL!!!

One good thing here is that there is no ++ , none of those 10% and 6% extra charges, so you only need to pay the prices as you see them on the menu…and iced water is free of charge (They actually charge you for that in the miserable coffee shops in town! Tsk! Tsk!) even though I would always request for a giant glass…and when you pay the bill, they will stamp the back of the receipt which will entitle you to a 5% discount on the total the next time you eat at this place. I’ve already used that special privilege from my previous visit…and now I have another opportunity from this visit to be used within a month.

So, who wants a burger? Come, let’s go…


A friend of mine shared this on Facebook the other day and I thought it was so beautiful – something that I myself would like to share with everyone here…

When I was a kid, my mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then. I remember one night in particular when she had made breakfast after a long, hard day at work. On that evening so long ago, my mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage and extremely burnt biscuits in front of my dad.

I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed! Yet all my dad did was reach for his biscuit, smile at my mom and ask me how my day was at school. I don’t remember what I told him that night, but I do remember hearing my mom apologise to my dad for burning the biscuits. And I’ll never forget what he said: “Honey, I love burnt biscuits.”

Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy good night and I asked him if he really liked his biscuits burnt. He wrapped me in his arms and said, “Your momma put in a long hard day at work today and she’s real tired. And besides, a burnt biscuit never hurts anyone!”

Life is full of imperfect things… and imperfect people. I’m the best at hardly anything, and I am just like everyone else. What I’ve learned over the years is that learning to accept each other’s faults and choosing to celebrate each other’s differences are among the most important keys to creating a healthy, growing and lasting relationship.

Life is too short to wake up with regrets. ENJOY LIFE NOW – IT HAS AN EXPIRY DATE! So…please pass me a biscuit. And yes, the burnt one will do just fine! It is in our imperfections that we are perfect… And please share this with someone who has enriched your life. I just did!

Have a Blessed Sunday, everyone…

Heartiest congratulations to my blogger-friend, Isaac Tan, who is tying the knot in Penang today…

Isaac & Janice
*Isaac Tan’s photo on Facebook*

Here’s wishing you and Janice, Isaac, blue skies and everything nice in the years ahead. May your life together be perpetually blessed with abundant bliss. Cheers!!!

Knock, knock, who’s there…

I had an unexpected visitor the other day. His name is Ilya, a Dutchman residing in Kuala Lumpur. Hmmm…the only person I know (not personally, of course) whose name is closest to his would be Illya Kuryakin (David MaCullum), Napoleon Solo‘s (Robert Vaughn) sidekick on “The Man from U.N.C.L.E“…and the only Dutch people that I have known all my life would be the priests from the church.

Anyway, Ilya posted a comment on an old post of mine on Lot 10 Hutong. He said:

We used to live within 5 minutes’ walk from Hutong Lot 10…

Lot 10 Hutong KL
*recycled pic*

…We went there many times immediately after the launch. As we are foreigners, we were very happy with this Chinese style food court (and also didn’t mind the fact that it is non-halal). We even introduced a few of our local friends to Hutong, and up to this date, everybody liked the food over there…

KL Hokkien mee
*recycled pic*

…All complained about the prices though, and most thought it lacked the right ‘vibe’.

Tourists, however, (those that we brought along, but also read about it at other places) love the fact that it is relatively clean, that it has aircon, that it is very easy to get to if you are staying in the BB area…

Lot 10 Hutong stall
*recycled pic*

…I also loved the fact that it is right next to Isetan super market, which meant we could always combine it with a visit to the grocery store . Now that we have moved out to another area of KL, we kinda miss Hutong. Luckily, we now regularly visit the authentic places, and even a few that have their shops at Hutong too . I personally still like the place…and never skip a chance to have lunch over there when I’m in KL city centre .

Btw, my name is Ilya Houben. I recently launched a huge travel website about Malaysia, Wonderful Malaysia (http://www.wonderfulmalaysia.com/). The website is still ‘brand new’ and I am trying to get some other sites to link to me in order to get it more popular. You would be able to help me out bigtime by putting up a link within the sidebar section (blogroll). I can of course imagine that this is only reserved for those that you actually know .

Hope you are willing to help me with this. It would be of great help in getting my new website more popular. This, in turn, will lead to more awareness of Malaysia as a tourism destination.

Kind regards,
Wonderful Malaysia

If you’re interested, you can hop over to the website to have a look. Hey! There is a page on this little town of Sibu as well (though the information may not be completely up to date) with some nice photographs of some of the attractions here! Well, if Ilya or anybody for that matter is interested in dropping by Sibu, I shall be glad to show everybody all around. Welcome!

Moment of truth…

It was 1986 and I was doing a one-year in-service specialist course at the Language Institute at Lembah Pantai, KL, now called IBA (Institut Bahasa Antarabangsa) when my missus took leave from work and flew over to join me and we went on a holiday together at this place

LakeToba 1

I remember we joined a MAS Golden Holidays package which cost around RM500 per person only, inclusive of air fare, ground transfers and tours, hotel and meals. It certainly was very cheap…and we did not spend much. I think I brought over another RM500 and came home with most of it.


Perhaps things have changed by now but there wasn’t much to shop at the time. My missus bought a few very nice batek dresses but at first wash, the colours ran so it really was not worth it at all. Other than a few odds and ends here and there, I don’t think we bought much else.

It was a very nice, relaxing holiday though. The place was cool and peaceful…


…and all in all, we had a great time. So where was this place? The answer is: Lake Toba in Sumatra, Indonesia…and the specific place where we had the horse ride was Berastagi or Brastagi.

We have two winners who gave the most specific correct answer: Gratitude and Claire…and I have decided to send prizes to both of them instead of picking one by lucky draw. So if you two will give me your mailing addresses via the inbox on Facebook, the postman will be on his way to you soon. Congratulations.

To the rest, thanks for your participation…and hang around! Who knows I may hold another competition soon? In the meantime, if anybody is interested in going to Lake Toba, you can click on this link and see the many photographs taken during a tour of the place.

Have a great weekend, everyone. Cheers!

Better than before…

Was it better than before? Unfortunately, no…

My missus and I were in the vicinity and we decided to stop by this coffee shop where there used to be an old couple serving one of the best Sarawak laksa in town. However, subsequently, they decided to close shop to go and visit their children overseas and they never resumed their thriving business after that.

The stall is still there, manned by a young man and I decided to give his laksa a try…

eCafe laksa 1

It was nice, a little bit salty but on the whole, I thought it was pretty good…

eCafe laksa 2

…and I would not comment on the two miserable prawns that came with it as it was only RM3.50 a bowl.

My missus had the beef noodles, also RM3.50 a bowl…

eCafe beef noodles

…and it wasn’t too bad except that I could not taste the beef in the soup. I certainly would prefer something stronger and richer even if it means paying a little bit more.

All in all, from my personal point of view, both were o.k…not great, just o.k.

Two out of three ain’t bad…

I would give this two out of three…

nasi goreng kampung 1

– the nasi goreng kampung or literally translated, the village fried rice. A couple of people told me that it was very nice so I just had to go back to this place

HonHin Sibu 2

…to give it a try.

The so-called special (RM4.00) was fried with ikan bilis (dried anchovies) and egg with bits of kangkong (water spinach) and long beans, plus pieces of fried chicken and one fried egg – sunny side up…and slices of cucumber with the nasi lemak sambal…

nasi goreng kampung 2

On the whole, it was all right but unfortunately , it paled in comparison with what we would dish out ourselves at home. It was nice but my missus’ or even my own would be nicer.

Some say the laksa there is nice too so I guess I’ll be trying that next…