Never had it so good…

After the disappointment that we had at this place, we made it a point to drop by here for the beef noodlesΒ the other day.

Time passes, things change…but some may stay the same, it seems, and like on our last visit, Melissa had the soup version…

AhSian beef noodles soup

…with beef only, no tripe, no tendon – she wouldn’t touch those and she’s not a fan of kampua noodles either.

My missus and I had the kampua kosong – just the noodles without any meat…

AhSian kampua kosong

…and the cheng

AhSian gu bak cheng

– the soup with the beef, tripe and tendon but without any noodles.

While we were there, I saw this advertisement on the wall…

Ngo Kian 1

…and that took me on a trip down memory lane.

The kids today are such a fortunate lot – they can have all the fizzy drinks anytime, anywhere they want. I remember going for kampua noodles after the church service on Sunday mornings and we would only have the noodles and nothing else – no drinks, most of the time, that is…but that was good enough for me. Just getting to eat the noodles was like heaven on earth and the complimentary plain clear soup seemed so very nice in those days unlike what we would get today.

At the time, how we longed to be invited to some relative’s wedding so we could drink the aerated water, as we called them then, like there was no tomorrow. We would only get those, bought in big wooden crates during festivals like Christmas and Chinese New Year but with instructions that they were meant for the guests/visitors and we had to be restricted to a limited number of bottles. There were CocaCola and Red Lion orange, later F&N, as well but those were meant for the more distinguished guests but somehow, at the time, we did not give two hoots about that – whenever we could get to drink the local made ones, that was more than enough for us.

The most popular made-in-Sibu brand then was this one…

Ngo Kian 2

It used its full name at the time – Ngo Kian…ngo meaning a swan or a goose. I don’t know why they have reduced it to just the initials – NK. Perhaps, it has changed hands and has since been renamed, I wouldn’t know.

There were orange, sarsaparilla aka sarsi and cream soda which we somehow would call ice cream soda, for whatever reason, and there were also the cherry and the banana that were red and green in colour respectively. We were so tickled then that after drinking those, our teeth would be red or green in colour depending on what we had. You can imagine the amount of artificial colouring in the stuff but people in those days did not bother one bit about such things. As they say, ignorance is bliss.

And talking about those long gone days, I can also recall the bottle of orange cordial or grenadine in the fridge. I remember one called Cascade which was blackcurrant, something like Ribena. Of course those were meant for guests dropping by the house and we were not allowed to touch them at all…but kids being kids, more often than not, we could not resist the temptation and when caught red-handed (like when the amount in the bottle was getting noticeably less and less), it was time for…the cane!

What a deprived lot we were then and today, when I see the youngsters or the parents with their little kids in tow, feasting away in those fast food joints, it really makes me wonder how lucky they all are and what it would be like for them and the generations to come as time goes by…

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

35 thoughts on “Never had it so good…”

  1. kids nowadays are spoilt. can easily get their hands on ipad la. iphone la. i remembered i only had a pc at 15yo. and my first mobile came at 17. =.=

    Yes, they’re getting those earlier and earlier these days…

  2. Oh thanks for reminding me of the good ol days that we kids used to have. Kids now have so much money to spend. I used to remember that I only had enough pocket money for a roti canai after the tuition classes that we went to only our rickety bicycles. I also never wanted to share the occasional splurge on fried hokkein noodles shared with my friends, coz they would eat so fast that I would have to end up only eating a small portion but still paying my share for the plate.

    Red lion? Ooooer that must have been way before my time! Wakakakaka although we too had our share of oogling over the wooden crates filled with F&N orange, cherri and sarsi. We could only touch them after the 3rd day when visitors have made their rounds to our house. :s

    Talking about pocket money, I got 20 sen a day 5 days a week all through secondary school…and how I loved dancing then. Entrance tickets were either RM3 or RM5 at the time and how I starved to scrimp and save to be able to afford those. Sometimes, my girlfriends would lend me when I could not save enough in time…and they loved dancing too – so they would be willing not to order any drinks (RM1 a glass – Coke or 7Up then) just so we could dance all night and have a great time… And once in a while, I would have some extra change to pamper myself to a plate a kampua noodles and I would go up to the man at his stall and order, “Kampua mai bak, mee chay-chay, eyew chang chay-chay….” (kampua without meat, lots of mee, lots of shallots) – 30 sen a plate at the tiime and while ordering, I would help myself to a slice or two of the meat and eat and the man would scold and scold…and I would laugh. He did not really mind actually as he would know me so well, all in good fun… Sigh!!! Were those what we call the “good old days”? 😦

  3. A really good read today, Arthur πŸ™‚ I may not be as old( ahem!.. Muahahaha ) as you but I do remember those days where aerated drinks came in bottles etc. Things in those days were so simple… Get a bottle of those drinks, we already so happy. No need McDonald’s, KFC, iPad, iPhone etc.To be fair to J, we don’t really spoil him to bits although we do give him things that a kid doesn’t really need. It’s our fault fully as he never actually asked for them. We don’t give him any pocket money and everyday he brings food from home without complain. He works hard in school and when he’s home, he never has time for tv time. It is unfair for us to say that he’s spoilt when we are the one to blame…hehehehe. Anyway, I like my noodle to be kosong too.I don’t really like all the sampan-sarap that comes with it πŸ™‚

    He’s a good boy, such a sweet kid, not spoilt at all… Hard to find kids living overseas so nice, obedient and respectful. Hope he stays that way. I am blessed that my girl doesn’t want anything…other than books (which she’ll keep in perfect condition and she may read the same ones again and again – I was never like that, that’s for sure…even though I did read quite a bit during my time) so I do not have to spend much on all those things. She enjoys good food and I would encourage her to go out to eat, never mind the price, I would keep telling her…and here, I would take her here and there too. She certainly deserves it…and I do hope she’ll stay that way too.

  4. Good post. It reminds me of my younger days and those drinks with artificial colouring. I remember I like to drink the red colour ones to make my lip red and looks as though I put on lip stick, hehehehe. The ice cream soda tastes nice though. Nowadays kids are spoilt for and not like our times. Those were the days.

    …and we did not know a thing about the dangers of artificial colouring then. πŸ˜‰

    1. There is also another type of drink called Green Spot and I don’t think it still exist. I miss those drink though.

      It is! Made in Kuching…except that it is now called Sundrop. I like that – no gas and very refreshing drink!

      1. Oh, Green Spot and Sundrop are the same. Have been drinking Sundrop but don’t know it is actually Green Spot. I like Sundrop, like you say, no gas and refreshing.

        I prefer the old bottle with the green spot to the present black tin with an orange…

      2. Arthur and Irene,
        Greenspot is still around…even in NZ..hahahaha.We are not so old lar afterall. Another drink I like was the Sinalco…orange in colour but not orange taste.

        It is? Maybe they closed down the company here, probably a colonial one…and somebody bought the factory over and continued making using a new brand name. I wouldn’t know though, just guessing…

  5. Oh, I love my 70 sen packet of kickapoo tapau. Will drink too fast tat the gas will rush out from the nose. Your kosong kampua makes me hungry, now tat am at klia waiting for flight to jakarta. Gotta go bedal nasi padang first, then take another flight 1045pm, to timika, somewhere on top of darwin.

    We never had Kickapoo here then…so when we went to Singapore or KL, we would order that. Wanna be Lil’ Abner kot! LOL!!! πŸ˜€ You’re heading south? What about Kapit? Coming this way anytime soon… Take care there, earn lots of money…to come and spend in Sibu again. LOL!!! πŸ˜€

  6. hmmm..talking about those days… i remember my family only have these aerated water only once a year! When it comes to CNY or during weddings..(which I rarely went those days) they served these orange, sarsi in glass bottles. Those were the days… the kids are memang blessed these days….
    The other day when I went for my dinner in a coffeeshop, there was this family with two kids, one around 5 and the other one still sitting in baby chair…maybe around 2… and … both of them were playing ipad! Imagine… real ipads..not toy ones.. hahaha… I myself dont have an ipad yet… hahaha…

    Neither have I…but it’s no great loss really. I think it’s more a want rather than a need. You got the drinks in bottles? Lucky you… We would have them in little glasses, so small that if we opened our mouths wide enough, we could swallow them whole. I wonder if those tiny glasses are still available or not – good for serving tuak… πŸ˜‰

  7. noodles without meat plus soup with meat without noodles.. so that’s the dry version lah, haha!!

    That’s the kosong plus cheng… We did not order the dry version -not even sure if they have it there, the one with the beef and the innards all tossed together with the noodles. We prefer it this way…

  8. never heard if that brand of drinks before.. hmmm, I think using the initials NK sounds more international than the chinapek “ngo kin”, perhaps they are modernizing and rebranding.. πŸ™‚

    Made in Sibu…and sold only in Sibu and the kawasan-kawasan yang sewaktu dengannya… LOL!!! πŸ˜€ Must add that to the list of must-eat and must-drink stuff when in Sibu! πŸ˜‰

  9. now talking about going down the memory lane….. it certainly is a good way to reminisce some goof old memories, it brings back one’s youth….. well at least even in just our memories.

    You mean “goof” as in Goofy or “good”? πŸ˜€

    1. I really mean “goof”… silly mistakes, that is, that only children do with innocence. lol

      Ya…it does make sense – the silly things we did when we were kids… They certainly are sweet and interesting memories to cherish and to laugh over time and again.

  10. I rmbr buying cordial drinks (artificial color, artificial flavorings) during school days. Less than 50 cent a big pack of colored drinks (sumtimes ppl said mixed with tap water). And there are so many types of snacks back then. Kids these days are very ‘ho mia’. They don’t really need to save or work hard to get something. Parents can easily get them anything they want. Parents getting iPads for toddlers who doesn’t know how to speak pun…where else I only managed to get an iPad at this old* age. Primary school childrens swiping/ flipping thru their smart phone during dinner/lunch. While I’m still using an old phone for several years (u call it a tahan lasak brand). Look..the difference btw each era.

    Yup! We had those for our home parties too! Red Man Brand! One bottle of orange flavour (colouring) for pails and pails of tap water (with blocks of ice added) and kilos of sugar dissolved in it. We did not care – all we wanted was to party and have fun.

    You should see my handphone… LOL!!! With little kids and controlled use, they’re very good babysitters but I’ve seen families with teenage children going out for dinner…and after placing their orders, they just took out their ipads, iphones and what have you…and they all did their own thing till the food was served and they stared eating (while still playing with their gadgets) – real sad that they’re spending time together but I would not consider that as being quality time. Is it any wonder that social problems are on the rise in the world today?

    1. Exactly! It’s like a common thing these days. I was like…why do you bring an iPad out for dinner and switch on a game while waiting for the meal to arrive. All conversations already end at home?? If I would to do so, I’m sure I’ll get scolding from my dad. The same goes to couples too. Hmmm….dating is no longer meaningful??

      From the look o fit, I don’t think they talk very much at home either which makes it kind sad really. People don’t talk anymore…

  11. I do not pamper my kids with soft drink. Only 100Plus and Sundrop orange.

    Over here, it is hard to find those fizzy drink in glass bottles but there is one kolo mee stall in Green Road that still have such fizzy drink. Choice of Ice Soda, Sarsi, and Miranda (red). We called it “Pop Drink” because when you opened the lid, it released a “pop” sound. :p

    Yes, the Chinese call it “pok chui”. Green Road? The very nice kolo mee place somewhere in the middle of the row of old shops? Nice mee…but the place so small, so crowded and the furniture so wobbly and miserable. In Sibu, sure will fail one…

  12. Now everywhere seeing kids playing with iphone and ipad…last time, we used to play sands, badminton and we really get sweat. STP, you always go out for a meal? why lar I’m seeing your foodie post at this time…I’m hungry

    Not all the time…but now that my daughter’s home for the holidays, we may go out for breakfast so she can eat all that she loves before she leaves town again…and sometimes, we may go out for lunch or dinner as well but not as often, will usually cook and eat at home. I spread out my posts – like this beef noodle breakfast was sometime last week, I think – post bit by bit, all lined up and scheduled till sometime next week atm…

  13. I remember those drinks too. Usually CNy go my grandma’s house, my uncle would buy a crate or two sarsi and kickapoo. That time don’t have ice. my granny’s freezer were used to store sundry stuffs like dried oyster, haybee and rakan sekutu dengannya. We drank the fizzy drinks at room temperature.

    Come to think of it, I can’t exactly remember when we started to take our drinks, cold…but I do remember collecting those empty bottles and putting them back in the crates and sending them to the factory for a refund of the deposit or to sell to them for a bit of money. Gee!!! We were so advanced – even in those days, we were already way into recycling – unlike today with all the plastic and the cans.

  14. Loose cigarettes was 5cts each from the hawkers in front of the cinemas…..LOL

    I wouldn’t know that – did not buy. Used to win by the cartons in dance competitions during those dances at SRC and I would take them to sell at the cendol stalls, I remember that! Extra income, to put aside for very good use when needed. But much later, even when I had started teaching, those cigs were still 5 sen but pretty soon, after that, the price went up and up and up…

  15. I love NK soft drinks!!!! I had it a lot when i am still a kid, everytime when go out for kampua supper, i sure get a bottle of ice cream soda or the green one or the red one. I just love and miss the taste!

    The other day while i was at Payung, i saw NK word next to that Jelly Pisang picture, i just cannot take my eye away from that word, i told my mum so long i never drink NK soft drinks, i wonder do they serve at Payung. hahaha..and i wonder why i put it next to that Jelly Pisang picture.

    If i still can find that Sarsi bottle, i want to collect the bottle, look vintage, very nice.

    AH!!! This time go back, i didn’t get a chance to try the beef noodles at ah xiang!! 😦 Since they only serve kampua and beef, we prefer coffee shop with more choice, so my boys can have something else where by i can enjoy my kampua.

    Maybe it was just a prop for the photograph – I would think that those drinks were real popular among young people during the jelly pisang days – when I was a teenager, that is. Ya…I would have that problem with visitors in groups – I had to choose places where they would be able to order a lot of things and try all of them at one go…not a place that specialises in one thing only, no matter how good it is. 😦

  16. luckily i m not a huge fan of fizzy drinks….my mom save a lot on that..hahahhahaha

    You were a very good girl, eh? Well-disciplined… LOL!!! πŸ˜€

  17. I miss the brand “swan river soft drink”. My dad used to buy that kind of soft drink during CNY cause it is much cheaper that other kind of soft drink like Coca-Cola, Seven-Up, Fanta or Pepsi. And they came in a big wooden box and you got to look for the flavour that you like. I remember there only have few banana flavour in there and we always had to search carefully for it. And also, when we went to coffee shop, no drink, just noodle (without meat). I always do that when i back to Sibu for holiday.

    Yup, they were very cheap. I can’t remember now – can you remember the exact price? Was it something like 20 or 30 sen a bottle? I never went for the banana – I guess the green colour put me off. I think I liked the sarsi most of all… Oh? You must be from my time too then, no drink in the coffee shop – just ate the noodles. You’re not living in Sibu anymore? Overseas? How often do you come back for the holidays?

    1. My brothers and sister and i can only had kampua, that it. Never had other like char kuay teow or char mee (what i mean is when we ate outside). And we always went to the same kampua stall so that we can get discount, let say the bill came is RM5.10 (of course we didn’t know at that time, still a kid).

      My mum still is Sibu and i go back every two years. I am younger than you but i consider i am not young anymore. If can, will call you out for drink when i go back (and Huai Bin too, i also read his blog).

      Ok. Huai Bin’s in Sibu right now. His mum doesn’t look like she’s in very good shape – she was my classmate and later my colleague – we retired together, same year. Yes, people in the past did not have it so good as those today – sometimes, the kids in the family had to share one plate of kampua…and nothing could be wasted, never mind nice or not.

  18. Those were the days my friend (great song this!)….what a beautiful trip down memory lane. You and I….still young enough to remember!

    Of course! As the Fun song goes: We are young!!! πŸ˜‰

    1. Ya ya!! As the song goes…Tonight, we are young! Love today’s write-up, cheers.

      Thanks… πŸ˜‰

      1. Oh, is that the group/ singer’s called?… Love that song to bits but never quite catch the name from the radio. Don’t even know the title actually.. Lol! Thanks for the info. Going to download it now πŸ™‚

        I like the cover of it on Glee too…

      2. Shereen, if you haven’t already got the song, Don’t Look Back in Anger by Oasis, check it out – also a great song. But for tonight…we are young πŸ™‚

        Oasis who? Muahahahahaha!!! That’s quite an old song – had a lot of fans at the time, Wonderworld and all… Not really crazy over them.

  19. I remember they have soya bean milk in bottles too. And there was another brand of soft drink….I think is Sweeppes and also Fanta….

    There’s a brand of soya bean now that has it in bottles. Schweppes and Fanta, aren’t they still around? Those would be quite recent, I think.

  20. like Yen, tripe and tendon is a must for my beef noodles…i can’t imagine it without them.

    That makes three of us now…

  21. the kampua kosong looks like a plate of instant noodles. I wished we could easily get some kampua noodles here as well.

    You can try the Sarawak dry noodles…or kolo mee. Usually they’re failed attempts to cook what we can get in Kuching…and in the end, they turn out to be a bit like kampua mee. Anyway, you can always hop over to Sibu one weekend or sometime to try… πŸ˜‰

  22. I am not a big fan of aerated drinks. I remember those bottled drinks but I don’t remember liking them.

    I was ok with them when I was a kid…but I’ve stopped drinking for so long, not even Coke…and when I have a bit, I will come down with a bad cough and will be very ill. It’s iced water for me…and kopi-o-peng in the morning, that’s all.

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own. For food and other reviews, you may email me at

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