Be careful…

We have heard or read reports of how people get cheated online and yet such things seem to happen again and again. For instance, I received this email just the other day:

BP Promotions Office: The BP Promotions Division
50 Piccadilly London, United Kingdom
Reference Number: BPZ/0031/2012
Batch Number: BTS89/14004

Dear Sir/Madam,

Winning Notification

The management of the BP Promotions division is pleased to confirm that you are a winner of
our Web Mail Sweepstakes Program held on the 27th of May 2012 as part of our on-going
Global out-reach project which was launched in 2010 to quell the negative publicity from the
“Macondo blowout” suffered by BP.

In an effort to be global, BP Promotions selected participants from a database of one billion
web mail subscribers without the sales of lotto tickets and winners were obtained after a
random selection by our “Automatic Quick-Pick E-ballot System” which assigned number
sequences to all participants.

Note that you have been approved for a lump sum pay out of £750,000.00(Seven Hundred and
Fifty Thousand Pounds Sterling) because your web mail account was assigned one of the lucky
winning number sequences [22-14-32-43-26-45] Bonus (14). This is from the total promotional
budget of £12,000,000.00 (Twelve Million Pounds Sterling) which is to be shared amongst the

Write to to start claims and give the details below for registration:
1. Full Name:
2. Address:
3. Gender and Age:
4. Occupation:
5. Ref No and Batch No:
6. Phone No and Cell No:
7. Alternative web mail account:

A Claims officer will assist you in redeeming your Prize.

From The BP Promotions Team

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Claims should start within five days of receiving this notification.

It certainly looks and sounds genuine, doesn’t it? Well, greed is one of the seven deadly sins and has always been one of man’s greatest downfalls and never mind if this is real or a scam, I am not disclosing any of my personal details to anybody I do not know…and anyway, born losers like me can’t possibly be so lucky. Tsk! Tsk! The same goes to any email or sms from the banks or anybody, for that matter…or even phonecalls – I understand there are a lot of those going around and many have fallen victim to those.

And talking about honesty, when I see a sign like this, I would simply get the impression that if I buy more, it would be cheaper…

4+4+2 = 10

I don’t know whether this is a scam or an attempt at deceiving unsuspecting individuals but I must admit that I have fallen victim to something like this at the market. I guess I only have myself to blame for not being careful and after buying more, when I did some mental calculations upon reaching home, I realised that it would cost the same, never mind if I had bought a few or more…and if I had known, I would have bought less actually.

I guess the onus is on each and everyone of us, in our everyday dealings, to be careful…

Ho ho ho…

This is Huai Bin‘s favourite beef noodle place in town…

Aho, Sibu

I do recall having tried it once before when it was still located at the Cathay Cinema, now Star Cineplex, building but I do not remember being wow-ed by it. Anyway, my daughter, Melissa, is back in town for her holidays so the other morning, I took her there for breakfast.

The place was filled to the brim and if the crowd was the gauge to judge how good the food would be at a place, one would expect it to be really very good here. They’ve their menu on the wall…

Aho, Sibu - menu

…so you can just pick what you want from the list. Ooops…sorry for the angle! I’m sure everyone has heard of a horse’s ass – this one’s a bull’s…and that’s supposed to be the tail – don’t you start getting any ideas now! LOL!!! In case you’re wondering, that mee golok is supposed to be kolo mee…or what they usually call mee kolok in local Malay. I assure you that it has no connection whatsoever with that infamous town at the Kelantan/Thai border.

I had their mee golok daging campur (RM4.50) – the dry version with beef, tendon, tripe and all…

Aho beef noodles - dry 1

…which came with a tiny bowl of beef soup…

Aho beef noodles 2

…or at least that was what it was supposed to be.

I would not say it was nice, not at all…but at least, it was edible – this much I would say. The soup did not have any beef fragrance at all – I honestly think I could come out with much nicer plain beef soup at home using Bovril.

One point in their favour was that they left the jars of chili sauce on the table so one would be able to help oneself to as much as one likes…

Aho beef noodles - dry 3

It was very nice and it certainly looked like that was the only thing that I liked there.

My daughter had the mee daging lembu (RM3.50)…

Ah Ho beef noodles - soup

– the soup version with just the beef and nothing else.

She did not like it and complained of the overpowering taste of the taugeh (bean sprouts) in the soup. I tried a bit and I could get what she meant. I thought the broth had hardly any beef flavour and was not worth the calories, not at all. So I told her to just leave it and we could go for something else a whole lot nicer for lunch later…and she did! If you ask for my humble opinion, I would tell you without a second thought that if you want nice beef noodles, you can try this place – frankly, I would think that theirs would be many times nicer despite the commotion from the carwash cum tyre shop right next door.

After breakfast, we went to walk around Wisma Sanyan right across the road to while the time away and it was well after noon when we went here for the nasi kerabu and of course, Melissa loved that a whole lot more. Funny how, according to her, she can’t get any nasi kerabu in Sungai Petani…in the state right next to the one where this originated from (Kelantan) or perhaps, they have that there but she is unaware of it. Imagine having to come back all the way to Sibu to enjoy that!

Amor, amor, amor…

When Quay Po came to Sibu recently, she gave me this big bag of pasta…

From Quay Po 1
*recycled pic*

Correct me if I’m wrong for I’m quite hopeless when it comes to these things but I think what she gave me was what they call armoniche caserecce

From Quay Po 2

…and so far, it had been sitting there as nobody had bothered to cook it all this while.

Melissa, my daughter, came home for the holidays last Friday and she was itching to get down to doing some cooking. She used to do that a lot in her studio apartment in Wellington, New Zealand where there was a kitchenette and she had an electric cooker, a microwave and even a fridge…but she had not had the opportunity to do so since she went back to the institute in Sungai Petani as nothing is provided there and actually, cooking is prohibited in the hostel.

She got down to it right away as soon as she got home and made use of the aforementioned pasta to come out with this baked dish…

Melissa's baked pasta

This was what it looked like inside…

Melissa's baked pasta - inside

…and I helped myself to a serving…

Melissa's baked pasta - one serving

…and a second one and a third. It was indeed very nice and I loved it  a lot…and I’m not saying it just because I am the father.

Don’t ask me for the recipe though for I do not have the slightest clue as I left her to do it all by herself in her kitchen. Like me when I cook or for that matter, when I do anything, she prefers to go about it on her own without anybody breathing down her neck.

Hmmm…I wonder what she will cook next. Yummmm!!!!!

I made it through the rain…

Well, it wasn’t me…but my friend/ex-colleague, Richard did.

It was raining cats and dogs that night and I was lazing around the house enjoying the welcome relief. It had been scorchingly hot here these days, you see…and the torrential downpour certainly helped cool things down a bit. All of a sudden, my handphone came alive:

“…but I set fire to the rain…”

It was Richard who was so nice and thoughtful as to brave the rain just to come all the way to my house to send me these nyonya zhangs (meat dumplings)…

Richard's nyonya zhang 1

He makes them every year and I am indeed most flattered that without fail each passing year, he will never forget to remember me and is always kind enough to set aside some for this poor ol’ friend of his. Hehehehehe!!! It’s a leap year this year on the Chinese lunar calendar and as a result, there are two 4th Months…and the annual Dragon Boat or Zhang Festival on the 5th day of the 5th Month has been pushed back until a month later but Richard is making them earlier now that the school holidays are here.

These are different from the regular Chinese zhangs as they are a bit sweet and at the same time, savoury…and there is ketumbar (coriander) in them that gives them the special and delightful fragrance whereas for the ordinary bak zhangs, they would use five-spice powder instead. If I’m not mistaken, they would fry the coriander seeds and then pound/blend into powder to use as an ingredient in cooking the meat filling for the making of these zhangs. The glutinous rice is not dark too…

Richard's nyonya zhang 2

…as soy sauce is not used in the frying prior to the wrapping using bamboo leaves. The meat is not minced but instead, it must be cut into little cubes and the dried shitake mushrooms as well – hence, it can be quite tedious and would not be as easy as preparing the filling for the regular Chinese zhangs.

Most commercially-sold nyonya zhangs are wrapped in pandan (screwpine) leaves for the fragrance but if not kept in the fridge and eaten quickly, they will not last very long and will go bad pretty soon. According to Richard, these bamboo leaves have a special quality and the zhangs that are wrapped in these will last very much longer. Sometimes, he will put a piece of pandan leaf inside and at other times, he would use the pandan to wrap the zhang on the outside,the bamboo leaf inside. That, of course, would mean extra work in the already-very-tedious process of making the zhang. I would think that putting a lot of pandan leaves in the water while cooking the dumplings would probably suffice and would  serve to give them the much-desired fragrance and flavour.

We can’t buy this version of the zhang here in Sibu and we used to buy them from Kuching…and my brother, on the way back from New Zealand, would go all the way to Katong in Singapore to buy some to bring home but somehow, other than the fact that they were very expensive (those from Singapore, that is…especially after conversion), personally I did not think that they were all that nice – definitely not as nice as these…

Richard's nyonya zhang 3

…that Richard makes. Just look at that – it certainly looks good, doesn’t it?

Thanks so much, Richard. I really appreciate it…and yes, I will pass some to my mum who, I’m sure, will definitely love them a lot as well.

Richard's nyonya zhang 4

Ok, enough said! Time for me to get down to enjoying one or maybe, two… Yummmmm!!! LOL!!!

Be healthy…

My foster-cousin gave me this sometime ago…

Dayak new unpolished rice

Some native workers at the construction site where the husband was working gave it to him but he and the daughter would not eat it as they were quite put off by the colour, so she gave it to me.

This is the rice that they planted themselves in their padi (rice) fields, quite recently harvested and not totally polished – that explains the colour and it is supposed to be a lot healthier than those white rice sold commercially. When I was young, my mother used to buy from the shops and cook for us and I had no problem eating that (Ah well! I guess everybody knows that I do not have  a problem eating most things, hence the shape and the size! LOL!!!) but if I remember correctly, what we had when I was young was of a very much darker shade of red than this. Perhaps, this was partially polished, not completely unpolished…so that some folks would not find the colour too different for their liking.

For some reason known only to her, my missus just left the bag of rice sitting there on the kitchen table and did not bother to cook it at all. Eventually, I decided to take things into my own hands and took a bit of it to cook some sweet potato porridge for breakfast the other morning…

STP's sweet potato porridge 1

I think I had a post on cooking the porridge sometime ago, I’m not too sure now but anyway, it is very easy to do so. I just used the rice cooker – one cup of rice to 6 parts water…and I added some sweet potatoes, cut into cubes and two slices of ginger. You may wish to add more if it pleases you but I, for one, would not like things with an extra-strong ginger taste. What I do know is that when my mum cooked sweet potatoes in syrup (water, sugar added) and pandan (screwpine) leaves, she would add a bit of ginger. She said that it was to counter the “coldness” of the sweet potatoes. Do keep stirring and when the water has started boiling, you must leave the lid open a little bit so that it will not boil over and make a miserable mess. You may wish to add a bit of salt and msg, according to taste or a chicken or ikan bilis (dried anchovies) stock cube or granules. I would have put in some pandan leaves for added fragrance but unfortunately, when the people came to do the renovation works on the house recently, they had to remove the plant at the back of the house and right now, I am still in the process of re-planting but it is not big enough at the moment.

I would prefer my porridge to be a bit mushy but I was too hungry and could not wait any longer. I had it with some salted egg and leftover canned stewed pork that I found in the fridge…

STP's sweet potato porridge 2

…and I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed that sumptuous breakfast which I had that morning.

Now, I do not think this is all that healthy but on another morning, I had some prawn curry left. I usually buy that from my regular Malay food stall at Bandong and they are very generous with the curry gravy. Well, rather than letting it all go to waste, I thought I could boil some noodles and eat it with the curry and I did…

Curry prawn noodles 1

I did add some fish cake that my sister-in-law gave us, thinly-sliced and I also added some salt as I thought that once the noodles were added to the curry gravy, it would render it somewhat bland.

Curry prawn noodles 2

So, was it nice? I’m sure anyone can tell from the look of it that it most certainly was… Yummmmm!!! LOL!!!


I dropped by this place again the other day to meet an ex-classmate of mine for tea and to discuss the plans for another reunion with the rest of our friends sometime next year like the one we had last year.

When I arrived, the moment I got out of my car, I noticed this banner…

IPK Mother's Day special

It looks like they have something special for the ladies in conjunction with Mother’s Day…so if any of you would like to enjoy that special treat, you still have a few days left to drop by and get your free drink. Do read the fine print though. It says there at the bottom: “Terms and conditions apply. Free drinks with any purchase of main course, rice or noodles.” Drinks with any purchase? How many? More than one? I guess not… And do we say “free drinks to all ladies” or should we use the preposition “for” instead…and “from 12th to 31st May” instead of “on“?

Well, that’s not all! If you take a look at this other banner, it seems that there are situations vacant at this present moment…

IPK vacancies

My! My! Do they have so many legal matters to settle, so much so that they would have to engage their own barrister? LOL!!!

Well, while my ex-classmate and I were there, I tried their mini-burgers…

IPK mini burgers 1

I must say that they were quite big – not as big as those regular ones at the fast food joints and the roadside burger stalls but they were definitely not as “mini” as they appeared to be in their menu.

One of them had sardine in it which was all right by me – not something that I would particularly enjoy but the other one had turkey ham…

IPK mini burgers 2

…and whatever ham will go down well with me…anytime.

Well, I can honestly say that neither the food nor the drinks that we had were anything to shout about but I, for one, had a great time, chatting and catching up with things that had been going on in our lives. I suppose the kids and the younger set of clientele would love stuff like this and it certainly looks like I’m not the only one who feels this way….

Kids' favourite

I don’t know how much those mini-burgers cost as my ex-classmate picked up the tab when it was time to leave. Thanks a lot, Matthew, for the treat. We’ll get together again sometime…

Long long time…

This place has been around for a long long time. As a matter of fact, the young and good-looking guy was running a coffee shop right across the road from Sacred Heart School where I was teaching before I retired – the place where Thomson Corner is right now. Then the coffee shop closed down…and eventually, I saw him at this one – Yum Yum, in the vicinity of the Sibu bus terminal here. I can’t remember the last time I was there but looking at the blogpost that I had on the place, that was way back in October, 2008 but the last few times I was there, I did not see the guy anymore. I wonder if he had gone some place else and somebody took over the running of the coffee shop  in the end.

The main attraction at the time was the mee sua in chicken soup cooked with lots of ginger and Foochow red wine and I also quite liked the beef noodles there. When I dropped by the other morning, the beef noodles stall is still there and is still enjoying brisk business. I’m not too sure if the mee sua stall is run by the same people as at one time, it was closed so I do not really know if the lady came back or it is now operated by some other person. The kampua noodle stall certainly seemed to be very popular but I did not have that. Perhaps I should go and give a try one of these days.

I went to a stall selling pan mien or handmade noodles…

YumYum pan mien 1

…and I did not even realise that it was already there when I last went there in 2008. It did not appear to be as popular as the other stalls but I was not about to write it off just yet.

As a matter of fact, my friend had the dry version then and he said it was nice…

YumYum pan mien 2

and when I had the same that morning (RM3.50), I must say that I would agree with him – it wasn’t too bad and I would not mind having it again sometime for something different for a change.

YumYum pan mien 3

Well, if it has survived all these years, you can be quite sure that it really isn’t too bad, not at all…

Carry me…

Don’t worry! I would not expect anyone of you to do that as it would be virtually impossible, considering my shape and size. LOL!!! I’m just using that song title for this post as it sounds quite close to what I’m going to blog about – curry mee…

BusTerminal curry mee 1

You see, I’ve been wanting to go back to this coffee shop where I had the very nice Penang prawn noodles and the not-so-great pan mien to try their curry mee and I’m glad I did.

I must say that it was very nice…

BusTerminal curry mee

– very tasty and very spicy and there were a lot of ingredients in it including two pieces of chicken, prawns, some slices of fish cake, taupok, half a hardboiled egg and at least four fried wantons/pian sip, all that for only RM6.00. I was so full after having that for lunch so much so that I decided to skip afternoon tea that day.

The sambal (chili dip) that came with it was very nice as usual and went absolutely well with the noodles…

BusTerminal curry mee 3

I only have one bone to pick. I do wish they would not serve the fried wantons IN the curry gravy as that would make them soft and soggy. Instead, they could place them nicely on top of everything else like that solitary one in the photograph as that would be a whole lot nicer for it was still crispy and very much more satisfying than the rest. Other than that, I was thinking that if they had added some curry leaves, the fragrance would bring the taste to a whole new level. Maybe the next time I go for this, I could bring some of  my own since I have one whole big tree growing in my garden.

Incidentally, while I was at the coffee shop, I noticed this on one of the stalls there…

BuaTerminal Kuantan

Holy Moses!!! You can buy the whole of Kuantan for only RM2.50, just fancy that! Muahahahahahahaha!!!!!


It was way back in 1973 when I was in Singapore. I was staying at Teluk Kurau in Katong, not far from where my father’s friend and his family lived in Siglap. They were a Peranakan family and his wife, a true blue nyonya, would cook the most delicious dishes and since their house was within walking distance, I would stroll over especially during weekends and stayed for dinner.

I loved going on Sundays – their “casino” days. The wife would cook one huge tray of mee siam with the whole works – the fried mihun with its generous garnishing of chopped chives, fresh red chilies, thinly sliced omelette and prawns, surrounded by hardboiled eggs cut into eights…and there would be a pot of spicy-looking gravy for everyone to help themselves. I did not know what actually went into the making of the delicious broth but all I knew was that there was tau cheo (fermented beans) in it and it was slightly sweet and sour and spicy. I would scoop the mihun and all the condiments to go with it onto a plate and pour the gravy over everything and eat. It was sooooooo delicious and I loved it a lot. I was able to find mee siam in some stalls in some coffee shops in the island republic as well, probably in Katong – I can’t remember exactly where now…but unfortunately, they all paled in comparison.

I tried cooking it myself once, following a recipe in some cookbook that my missus had but it was a total disaster. For one thing, at that time, I wasn’t really into cooking yet…and for another, I was and I still am hopeless at following recipes. Perhaps I should give it a try again one of these days and see if I could fare better this time around.

Of course, I was thrilled to bits when I heard that I could get to eat it at this coffee shop in town – their “Singapore Mee Siam” (RM4.00)…

AhHockKia mee siam 1

…but when it was served, I must say that I was very very disappointed.

It did not look anything like what I had in Singapore back in 1973. The only consolation was that despite the lack of colour, the gravy was very nice – it did taste something like what I had way back then, with the tau cheo and all. Unfortunately, the mihun was a bit too hard…

AhHockKia mee siam 2

…like it had not been soaked in hot boiling water long enough and not only did the colour not look like the mee siam that I knew it to be but it was, in fact, quite colourless. Besides, there wasn’t much garnishing other than the slices of hardboiled egg, the chives and the bits of taupok (fried bean curd). On the whole, it tasted all right – not too bad…if only the mihun had been softer.

Well, beggars can’t be choosers. I did have what they called mee siam at this place once – when it was under the previous management (before it became a Thai restaurant) and they had a new chef reporting for duty that very day when I dropped by. It came out looking like any fried mihun in any of the coffee shops around and it did not even taste half as great, plus it was so very oily that I could barely finish half of it. I don’t know of any other place in town where I can get mee siam so I will just have to be happy with this one or try and cook my own or wait till I go over to Auckland where I’m sure my most wonderful friend there will cook her mee siam

S's mee siam 1
*My NZ friend’s photo*

…for me to enjoy to my heart’s content.

One thing’s for sure, hers certainly looks like what I had in 1973…

S's mee siam 2

…but of course, the test of the pudding is in the eating and until I can get to eat that myself, I will reserve any further comments on her culinary skills. Hint! Hint! Hehehehehehe!!!!!

Don’t you remember…

Teachers’ Day came and went and other than a handful of people who wished me on Facebook or here in my blog plus a couple of sms’es, I guess as far as the rest were concerned, it just slipped their minds. Sobssss!!!! But I certainly was delighted when I received an invitation from the tuition centre where I was teaching before – obviously, they did remember my contribution over the years and saw it fitting to invite me to join their Teachers’ Day dinner on Sunday at this restaurant in town.

For starters, we had their pickled jellyfish…

NewCapitol pickled jellyfish

…which was all right but I thought that the one we had at Ruby was nicer. For one thing, I wished they had cut the jellyfish into strips a whole lot thinner. I love century eggs though…so I had the lion’s share of those. LOL!!!

Then we had the sio pua (hot plate), our more-than-4 Seasons…

NewCapitol hot plate

…which had a lot of treasures in it including scallops, fish maw, prawns and slices of abalone and very sweet and fresh pek chio/ikan bawal putih (white/silver pomfret) which costs a bomb at the market these days – given the choice, it definitely isn’t something that I would buy, I’m afraid…not at the current price.

Then we had the duck stuffed with glutinous rice. I have not had that for quite a while and I was delighted that they had done it really well that night. I enjoyed that very much but unfortunately, the photograph that I took of it came out blur as the waitress was in a helluva hurry to cut it all up. Thus, all that I have to show of the dish is this…

NewCapitol duck with glutinous rice

I had a lot more than just a few helpings, you can bet on that.

The steamed fish looked very good…

NewCapitol steamed fish

…but I had a bit and did not bother to have more. Looks can be deceiving, that we all know, don’t we? I thought it was quite bland and tasteless, probably having been frozen for quite a while but the rest at my table seemed to enjoy it a lot and finished it all off, leaving only the head and the bones.

The Thai-style midin (wild jungle fern)…

NewCapitol Thai-style midin

…was pretty ok – not bad and very spicy like they had cili padi in it…but I do feel that the ones here or here would be very much nicer.

The highlight of the dinner was the crabs…

NewCapitol crabs

They were small – not as big as the ones here but they tasted more or less the same and at least, they were not so over-generous with the msg here – everybody enjoyed eating that.

Lastly, we had the fruit platter…

NewCapitol fruit platter

– I had the pomelo but skipped the pineapples and I would not eat those jambu air without any asamboi (sour plums)…or my soy sauce with belacan, sugar and chili dip.

All in all, it was a sumptuous meal, much to my satisfaction, and considering the fact that the tuition centre is a money-making entity and once you’re no longer in their employment, they would not have any more use for you, I must say that it made it a lot more meaningful and I honestly felt so very flattered that they were gracious enough to ask me to join them on this very auspicious annual event unlike others that seem to have chosen to conveniently forget to remember. Sigh!!!