She likes…

Finally, after much persuasion, my dear friend, Mandy came to town.

After picking her up at the airport upon arrival at around 2 something in the afternoon, we headed here…

@ Noodle House Sibu

No, no! This was not a matchmaking agency, not at all…but it certainly was love at first sight…

Mandy meets Mille

Mandy liked the vanilla mille crepe but opted not to try the double chocolate one as she was afraid that it might be too sweet for her liking…plus, she kept insisting that she was sweet enough. Hmmmm!!!! LOL!!!

And of course, you can’t come to Sibu and this place without eating these…

NoodleHouse kompia

– deep-fried kompia with stewed three-layer pork and minced meat. Ah!!! She has good taste! Just like me, she likes the ones with the yummy slices of pork belly. Drool! Drool!

This is new so I also ordered it to try – dry-fried dumplings (RM8.80)…

NoodleHouse dry fried dumplings

They’re pretty good…but I think they’re somewhat overpriced.

After that welcoming tea, we went around the town and stopped by a few places for this and that – including Mui Hock (ground floor at the former Palace Theatre building) to buy the best coffee powder in town for her to take home for her folks – they love good coffee, I know. Then, we took her to the hotel to check in and to bathe and freshen up and by 6.30, we were out again…and this time to this restaurant which has since become the favourite of many who came to town.

She had their specialty – the pandan chicken…

Ruby pandan chicken 1

…which was so good – very nicely-marinated and I could sense the flavours of kunyit (tumeric) and/or serai (lemon grass) and don’t know what else…

Ruby pandan chicken 2

Mandy loved it and declared it to be better than any that she had had before anywhere else.

And of course, she loved the butter scotch prawns…

Ruby butter scotch prawns

I decided not to order their prawn balls as usually, they would deep fry them first, coated with batter and by the time the dish is served, they would have gone all soggy.

She said she had not seen cangkuk manis fried this way…

Ruby fried cangkuk manis with egg

– most of the time, she would see it cooked in soup and she had had them in pan mien too but she liked it so much better this way.

It was the midin fried with belacan that bowled her over…

Ruby midin with belacan

She found it to be crunchy and sweet and with the belacan, it certainly was a winning combination.

She also enjoyed the fried mee sua (Foochow longevity noodles) very much…

Ruby fried mee sua

…but I thought it was much better the last time around – I found it a little hard for my liking that night. Other than that, even though I do not expect them to bother about any nice presentations that cannot be eaten, I do wish they would at least make sure that what they serve is presentable enough. No doubt it was a busy night and the place was almost full (except for one table for 12) and diners kept coming and going but that is certainly no excuse for dishing out anything looking so shoddy. Tsk! Tsk!

The meal, inclusive of rice and drinks, came up to RM50.00 altogether…but whatever it is, it was worth it as everyone enjoyed it and before we knew it, it was already 8 and we headed back to the airport to pick up Yee Ling and her two daughters who arrived before 9 that night…

Safe and sound…

When my friend from New Zealand came to Sibu last year, she dropped by this place…

Sibu poslaju 1

…to send something via our national courier, poslaju (fast mail), to her friend in the peninsula. Smart move! It certainly would be a whole lot cheaper than sending it all the way from Auckland. While she was in the office, she was impressed by how friendly the people were and how they processed everything for her efficiently and she was out of the place in a jiffy.

I often use their service as well if I have anything to send so I would keep a whole lot of their forms…

Sibu poslaju 2

…in the house so that I could fill everything first before proceeding to the office to save time and I could go about everything slowly and steadily…and smoothly.

Well, my friend from Perth, Western Australia, told me that she would be in Penang from the 25th to the 28th of  April so I decided to send her something c/o the hotel where she would be staying and what better way to do it than via poslaju. While I was in the premises, I saw this sign…

Sibu poslaju 3

Hmmmm….sorry, my NZ friend! Food is prohibited so you can just forget about getting any made-in-Sibu Mee Daddy through the mail. LOL!!!

In actual fact, I have received quite a lot of stuff from friends via poslaju but I did not know until sometime ago that some did not know that they could actually keep track of the whereabouts of their mail online. Once, I had sent some things to some people and I texted them to tell them that the things had arrived and they were surprised and asked me how I knew – they did not know as they were still at work and had not gone home yet at the time.

To do so, you will just have to log in to their webpage at http://www.poslaju.com.my/ and click “TRACK AND TRACE” at the top right hand corner and you will get to this page…

poslaju track & trace 1

…which tells you to enter your tracking number or numbers.

To do so, you have to type the number that you can see in your form…

poslaju track & trace 2

…and in my case, it was EM017092315MY.

Do not leave any space in between the letters and the numbers…

poslaju track & trace 3

…and click “Track”.

They will let you know the status of your mail like this…

poslaju track & trace 4

…and if you want more details, you can click “More Details Tracking”, and you will get some further information about the progress of the delivery…

poslaju tarck & trace 5

When your mail has been delivered, this is what you will see…

poslaju track & trace 6

In my Perth’s friend’s case, the hotel people accepted the mail while awaiting her arrival the next day and they used their official stamp. Otherwise, you would be able to see the name of the person who received the mail and his or her identity card number.

For one thing, I must say that they were not very prompt in updating the status. I received a call at around 10-11.00 in the morning from the hotel people and I confirmed that she and her hubby would be checking in the following day and requested them to hold on to the mail for them and I only got the update online after 6.00 p.m. Still, I feel that it is good that they have this so one would be able to track and trace anything one has sent.

Of course, it is more expensive compared to the regular snail mail or registered mail but what’s a few extra ringgit for the speed – “dijamin sampai hari esok” (quaranteed to arrive the following day) as well as the peace of mind. It sure helps when there are people who never bother or take their sweet time to let you know that they have received whatever you have sent to them…

Yours and mine…

Well, you have your siew mai…and I have my sio bee

Sibu sio bee 1

…but actually, I think they’re one and the same thing except that they’re in different Chinese dialects – the former is in Cantonese and the latter is in Hokkien. We did not use to have siew mai before there was dim sum here so all this while, right from my childhood days, we would have our own version of it which we call sio bee.

We certainly were a very deprived lot then, so very different from the kids today! How we craved for them and usually, it would be among the last few dishes at a Chinese dinner so everytime our mums were invited to one, we would sit by the doorway waiting for them to come home. More often than not, everybody would be too full by then so there would be a lot of the sio bee left over and our mums would use the  pink-coloured paper serviette to wrap a few to take home for the children. Imagine our delight at being able to get hold of one, savouring it like it was something that had dropped down from heaven, never mind that it was already badly stained by the pink colour that had come off the paper.

I had these here when my West Malaysian blogger-friends and their families were in town…

Sibu sio bee 2

…and I went back there again the other night to buy some for the people doing the renovation works at my house. I thought they were quite nice and besides, at only 50 sen each, they’re the cheapest in town.

In siew mai, the filling is made up of meat and prawns, beaten well till firm but the texture of our sio bee is very different. The good ones will have minced meat and shredded turnip (mangkuang/sengkuang) and whatever else in the right proportions, wrapped in the skin with chopped carrot on top…

Sibu sio bee 3

– if I’m not mistaken, when I was young, they used salted egg yolk for the orange topping but for obvious reasons, they do not have that anymore.

These days, it is not easy to find some really good ones…but these, though not the best, are good enough. Just ask smallkucing

smallkucing & Sibu sio bee
*smallkucing’s photo*

I think he had three at one go…or was it Claire‘s son that had so many? Well, at 50 sen each, I certainly see no cause for complaint. What do you think?

I told you so…

I told him so – that somebody that I used to know. I said that I would be back to try his stewed pork leg and I did.

My missus and I dropped by for lunch that day and had that at RM7.00 each for this…

9SIX stewed pork leg 1

…and a plate of rice.

It was all right but again, unfortunately, it was not like what my mum or my missus or most of the rest in the family would cook. I think he did not add any five-spice powder and instead, he used these cinnamon sticks…

9SIX stewed pork leg 2

If I’m not mistaken, other than garlic, we also have ginger and a bit of galangal (lengkuas) in ours and of course, we add five spice powder as well.

Another thing that I feel is that they should stew the eggs as well instead of serving them hardboiled and plain like that. I really wonder why they did not do that – after all, they would have to simmer the pork leg so they could have just thrown the eggs into the sauce and get them to become nice and brown like the ones here instead.

I also ordered a bit of his chicken curry to try…

9SIX chciken curry

…and got this bowl with two pieces of meat and lots of potatoes swimming in a whole lot of curry gravy for RM5.00. I thought it looked like the so-called Chinese curry but when I tried it, I found that it really wasn’t too bad after all – anytime better than any curry that you may find at those economical fast food stalls.

I’ve also tried his char bee lau chicken soup but I reckon the one here would be a little bit nicer as his was not  as strong and therefore, not as fragrant.

The bottom line, therefore, is that the food is quite nice but I do not think I would take the trouble to go all the way there to eat – not unless it so happens that I  am in the vicinity for one reason or other.

Happy people…

I do believe that happy people will be more efficient, more productive and they will go that extra mile for you and to make people happy, one would have to treat them really nice and well. That is why when I had some people to do some renovation works at my house, I would go out of my way to make sure that they had nice things to eat every day. After all, as the saying goes, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach! LOL!!!

Well, I did mention in passing a few times before this that I was going to buy them some char siew pao (steamed barbecue pork buns)…

HongFu char siew pao
*recycled pic*

…from this dim sum place and I finally did in the  end.

Now, please don’t think that I am being very generous for at this particular shop, everything is quite cheap really – RM10.00 for any three lau (storey) or baskets and since there are 3 char siew pao in each basket, that works out to around RM3.33 per basket and RM1.11 per pao. The small and miserable meat ones sold at the market are RM1.20-1.50 each, if the prices have not gone up again…and they are  not even half as nice. I know of other places selling bigger ones at RM1.70-2.50 (or more) and the last time  I bought some…and they were mostly skin and quite hollow inside. I would say, therefore, that these are indeed value for money and the best part would be the fact that they are very nice!

While I was there that day, I noticed that they were also selling bak pao (steamed meat bun)…

HongFu bak pao 1

…also at RM10.00 for 3 baskets but these are bigger and there are only 2 in each basket so it works out to less than RM1.70 each. I had not seen them before so either they have just started making and selling these or I was unaware of their existence prior to this.

Anyway, I bought two baskets to try and I must say that they were pretty good…

HongFu bak pao 2

There was so much meat inside, chunks of it, in fact, and a big slice of shitake mushroom and a bit of egg…

HongFu bak pao 3

I would say that I wouldn’t mind having that again should I happen to be dropping by there for dim sum…but considering the price, perhaps it would be better just to stick to the char siew pao.

In case you’re wondering why I only bought 2 baskets of those and what happened to the 3rd one, well, actually I also asked for 1 basket of the lau sar pao – the ones with the gooey, runny butter plus salted egg custard filling…

HongFu lau sar pao

I quite like the ones here and I wouldn’t mind having them once in a while. After all, at only RM1.11 each, I don’t see any cause whatsoever to complain. Real cheap, don’t you think?

He’s my brother-in-law…

My missus and I were invited to where-else-but-here for dinner on the occasion of my brother-in-law’s birthday…

BIL's birthday cake

Don’t ask me why there is no writing on the cake – the daughter got this very nice chocolate blueberry cake for him from the very popular Marcus who runs his own home-based cake business here.

There was, of course, the longevity noodles – the fried mee sua

BIL's birthday mee sua

…which was very well done that night. I certainly liked it a lot.

Then, we had the sweet and sour fish…

MMS sweet & sour fish

…which was also good. It is my brother-in-law’s favourite and everytime we go out for dinner, he simply must order this dish.

He also ordered the pork belly fried with salted fish and dried chilies…

MMS pork belly with salted fish

…which would normally be served in a claypot but came out on a plate here. Never mind, for at least, it was very well done with the strong fragrance from the generous use of salted fish. I’ve had this at some other places before and more often than not, it was not really satisfactory and came across as something like pork in soy sauce.

The kiam sor hay (salted crusty prawns)…

MMS salty crusty prawns

…was extraordinarily good that night as well. I think it must be due to the fact that the prawns were very fresh so they were really firm and tasty.

We had the sea cucumber soup, no photo of that, and the fried midin (jungle fern) in belacan

MMS fried midin belacan

…and my sister-in-law made this pickled jellyfish salad…

SIL's pickled jellyfish salad

…for her daughter who is working in Singapore and was home that day for the birthday celebration. She wanted this but unfortunately, they do not serve it at this restaurant so the mum had to do it for her instead.

I must say that we really enjoyed the dinner but if anybody is thinking of dropping by these few days, don’t. They’re closed for the whole week since Monday, 23rd April, 2012 and will only resume business of 1st May, 2012. Gee! This must be the 2nd or 3rd time that they’ve closed shop to go on a holiday within this year alone – they must be  making tonnes of money, don’t you think? After all, it is pretty obvious that they have been enjoying very brisk business all this while…

Somebody that I used to know…

I bumped into somebody that I used to know the other day at this new coffee shop…

9SIX Sibu

He used to sell the drinks at another coffee shop in the area opposite Sacred Heart School where I used to teach. He is presently at this one and it seems that he is selling a whole lot of things at his stall, including fruit rojak – I’ve tried that before when he was at the old place and his sambal rojak was really very good. Actually, this is a new place at the shops to the left of Medan Mall along Jalan Wong King Huo located at the very end of the blocks of shops where this dim sum place is located.

Unfortunately, I did not see him earlier and I had already ordered this from another stall…

9SIX Singapore laksa 1

They call it Singapore laksa and I expected it to be something like the nyonya curry laksa/noodles but unfortunately, it did not live up to my expectations. To me, it was Sarawak laksa, more or less…and if there was any difference, I certainly did not notice it. It tasted all right though but I think I prefer those that I had here and here.

Priced at RM5.00 a bowl, it is certainly more expensive than those two places but I was very impressed by the prawns…

9SIX Singapore laksa 2

Not only were they huge but they were also so very fresh. They were so firm and so sweet that I wished I could have a couple more.

They certainly were not very generous with the sambal belacan

9SIX Singapore laksa 3

…but it did not matter much to me. I did not really like the sambal so I wasn’t really keen on having more of it. I think it was the belacan used – not the best quality, not nicely fragrant…plus it was not spicy.

I definitely will go back there again sometime soon but not for this, that’s for sure. The next time around, I think I would like to check out what that somebody that I used to know has to offer at his stall…