About time…

I guess it was about time that I dropped by here…

HLH

…to try the kampua noodles at this particular stall…

HLH kampua stall

Why? Well, I have heard so many people singing its praises and claiming that it is the best in Sibu and in fact, I myself have asked friends staying at the hotel in the vicinity…

Kingwood

…to go over in the morning to eat it.

It is the corner coffee shop at the traffic lights at the junction of Lanang Road and Lanang Lane 2…

Junction

…and you can see this hotel across the road a little to the right…

Kawan

…while the aforementioned hotel is located at the back.

I did drop by for the beef noodles (RM3.50)…

HLH beef noodles

…a couple of times before but that was a long time ago and I understand that since then, they have opened another outlet in the town centre and more recently, a shop of their own. We love what they serve at the latter and do go there quite often for breakfast or brunch. That morning, Melissa had the one here and she liked it – I tried a bit myself and reckoned it was all right.

My missus had the mee pok (RM2.50)…

HLH mee pok

…with chili sauce added and she said it was good.

I ordered the kampua noodles (RM2.50)…

HLH kampua

…for myself and the pian sip (RM2.50)…

HLH piansip

…to be shared among the three of us.

I thought the kampua was good – very authentic, the way the original kampua has been and always will be, but I would not say it is my favourite. Personally, there are a few others elsewhere that I would very much prefer but I would say that the pian sip we had was very nice. The skin was so very thin that it was translucent and it was not oily and not overloaded with msg as well so as a whole, it was pretty well done.

I certainly would not mind dropping by again should I happen to be in the area and if I can find a parking space – this can be a quite a pain actually and the road tends to be rather busy especially in the morning – this much, I would say.

This is the moment (2)…

After the church wedding in my previous post, we proceeded to the grand reception at one of the ballrooms in a leading hotel in town…

A&S WB 1

This was the backdrop on the stage at the designated venue…

A&S WB2

…and I must say that I was very impressed when the couple made their grand entrance…

A&S WB3

…in their Melanau traditional costume. For the uninitiated, the Melanaus are one of the ethnic races here in Sarawak and my maternal grandmother was a Melanau too.

The food served was the usual fare, starting off with the Four Seasons…

A&S WB4

…and I loved this duck stuffed with glutinous rice, very nicely cooked with a lot of dried prawns and chestnuts inside…

A&S WB5

The steamed fish was all right…

A&S WB6

…but after feasting on the duck, I was really so very full and merely nibbled at the rest of the dishes that were served which included this dish of broccoli and mushrooms…

A&S WB7

…and another one of prawns…

A&S WB8

…before the dessert was served. We had the Chinese fried pancake with white tau sar (bean paste) filling…

A&S WB9

…and also the honeydew and sago pearls in coconut cream…

A&S WB10

Fellow-blogger, Yan, who happens to be the bride’s boss, was there to share the joy at the wedding too that day…

A&S WB11

Thank you so much, Alexius & Stephanie, for the invitation, our heartiest congratulations once again and  here’s a toast to your everlasting happiness! Tuuuuuuuu…..terng!!!!

A&S WB12

(“Tuterng” is a Melanau word meaning “drink” and is used for toasts as in “Yam seng!” or “Cheers!”)

This is the moment (1)…

We hailed from the same kampung (village) and he was my ex-student in the early 90’s and we are in some way related…and he finally tied the knot with his girlfriend of 8 years here last week…

A & S 1

I wonder what was going through his mind in his last few moments of bachelorhood…

A & S 2

Hehehehehehe!!!!

Well, as soon as the bridal car arrived…

A & S 3

…the father escorted his daughter into the church, up the aisle to the altar to hand over her hand in marriage…

A & S 4

…and once the service was over, the sacred union blessed in the eyes of God…

A&S wedding mass

…the happy couple walked out of the church as man and wife…

A & S 5

Incidentally, something in the booklet caught my eye…

A & S 6

…and I could not help but wonder who that “handsome bestman” was. Eyewwwwwww!!!! It turned out to be Louis, my lawyer-friend and also an ex-student of mine…

A & S 7

*choke*choke* Muahahahahahaha!!!!!!

Well, congratulations, Alexius & Stephanie, and here’s wishing the two of you every happiness and may God bless the two of you abundantly each and every day in the years ahead.

The wedding reception followed…but that will be in the next post.

Walk right in…

The Payung Mahkota Cafe here…

PM Sibu

…held an open house recently and I had the privilege to be invited.

The Chinese New Year decorations are up…

PM CNY 1

…and I love how they use those rattan “trays” and “recycled” flowers from friends (old flowers from their homes that would otherwise have been thrown away) for that purpose…

PM CNY 2

They are really so creative and innovative when it comes to these things like the floral arrangement decor…

PM floral decor

…that has become synonymous with this place or their original outlet along Lanang Road.

It was a buffet dinner and for drinks, we had a choice of roselle or the very nice pineapple and ginger soda…

PM drinks

This was new – their Cambodian-style beef rendang

PM beef rendang

…which was pretty good, I would say.

I’ve had their Payung chicken before…

Payung chicken

– cooked with yogurt but it was the first time my missus and Melissa were having it and they loved it very much. The thick gravy went very well with the rice.

There was my favourite Payung rojak, of course…

Payung rojak

…and also their pomelo salad…

PM pomelo salad

…and this green salad as well…

PM green salad

There was also their tomato noodles but I did not feel like having that but I did help myself to their lovely banana cake…

PM banana cake

…and sandwiches…

PM sandwiches & cake

There was quite a crowd that night…

PM guests

…and I was not fast enough to take photographs of some of the dishes before somebody had helped himself or herself to it like the asam chicken, for instance…

PM asam chicken

…that I just had not too long ago and quite liked it.

The Myanmar-style pumpkin…

Myanmar pumpkin

…was absolutely out of this world! It was really very very nice but the boss said that he made the mistake of covering it after he had cooked it and it went all soft and mushy – it would have been a whole lot nicer, otherwise. Still, all of us thought it was great and kept going back for more.

The paku (wild jungle fern), masak lemak (cooked with coconut milk)…

PM paku

…was very nice too. Unfortunately, this and also the pumpkin are not on the regular menu of the cafe – be it at this outlet or the other but the boss said that he would be able to cook that if one were to call the cafe a day or so earlier and put in a special request for these. If anyone is interested, the contact number is 016-890 6061.

It seemed they had forgotten to serve the very popular mushroom roll and somebody had to rush to go and get it but by then, we were already very full…and anyway, we had had that many times before. So we left before that made it to the buffet table that night.

Thank you so much to the management and staff of Payung for the invitation – we certainly had a delightful dinner feasting on all that was on the scrumptious spread and rest assured you will be seeing me again…and again…again. I certainly will be back for more.

P.S.:
Come Chinese New Year’s Eve, Saturday, 9th February, 2013, should anyone be feeling lazy or not that keen to go through all that hassle to cook, he or she can drop by here for the special buffet dinner:
Chinese New Year’s Eve Buffet!
5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Adult RM58.00 per person, children (below 13 years old) RM48.00 per person.
For booking, please contact 016 890 6061 or 016 893 7614.

Let me see…

Normally, I would eat tempuyak (fermented durian) as it is…as a dip with ikan bilis (dried anchovies) or with rice. I have tried cooking prawns with it before, and also fish…and I hear that some people fry it with shallots, chili and ikan bilis too. The other day, however, I stumbled upon this recipe and I thought I could give it a try…and see if it was any good. Of course, being one who cannot follow recipes, I decided to just grasp the idea and went about it my own way.

I got the ingredients ready…

Sambal tempuyak - ingredients

– a handful of ikan bilis and pounded one shallot – peeled & sliced,  one chili, sliced…and a little bit of kunyit (tumeric) – not in the photo, a little bit of belacan (dried prawn paste) and lengkuas (galangal)…and bruised the end of one stalk of serai (lemon grass).

First, I fried the ikan bilis in a little bit of oil till golden brown before throwing in the pounded ingredients and the serai and finally, I added three scoops of tempuyak. It seemed kind of dry and since I did not have any santan (coconut milk), I just used a little bit of fresh milk and pretty soon, it was ready…

STP's sambal tempuyak

So, was it nice? Hmmm…I would say it was – very pleasingly fragrant with all the ingredients used but unfortunately, I think that drowned out the smell of the durian. It went very well with rice too…but personally, I think tempuyak is best eaten on its own.

Moving away from the main topic of this post, I just want to add here that if anyone is thinking about what to buy and serve to family and friends who will drop by during Chinese New Year, this is a good option – the kerepek gunting

Kerepek gunting

…or if you translate that, it means crisps cut with scissors. These are sold at my regular Malay kuih stall at Bandong here in packets, each containing more than enough to fill a bottle or two – those in which people usually keep their cookies and leave them on their coffee tables in their sitting rooms for guests to help themselves. They’re savoury, and just a little bit spicy and so very fragrant with the curry leaves and all the other ingredients used…and the best part is – they are only RM5.00 a packet. Considering the prices of cookies they are selling all over these days, I think I would rather have these anytime.

Gosh!!! How time flies and Chinese New Year is just two weeks away! Have you got everything ready yet?

Give me love (3)…

My friend, Philip, who is residing in the US, came home to Sibu while I was in NZ. I did not hear from him at all when I returned so I just assumed that he had gone back. He will get a new mobile phone number each time he comes back so I will usually wait for him to get in touch with me first…and this time around, he finally did – a few days before he left!

So we went out for breakfast and had the very nice kampua noodles at Rasa Sayang

Rasa Sayang kampua

…and as always, he did not come home empty-handed…

From P

Thanks so much, Philip but please don’t trouble yourself next time. I know the hassle of flying long hauls and having to cart along a whole lot of stuff. Looking forward to seeing you again in July.

In the meantime, I did drop by this place for tea one afternoon and they gave me a packet of this…

From NH

…and I insisted on an extra packet and they willingly obliged! I remember last year, it was a different story altogether – no matter how I tried to persuade them, the answer was no. It certainly pays to be a regular customer, eh? Wink! Wink!

I also received this from Hayley via poslaju

From Hayley

She went to New York on holiday and was so nice as to send me this fridge magnet that she got from there. Thanks, Hayley – now I must look around for something I can send to you to reciprocate…and thank you to chinneq as well for these…

From ChinNee

I think that was the prize for taking part in this contest she was hosting sometime ago…and it certainly was timely indeed. I would not need to buy any tissue paper, come Chinese New Year. Hehehehehe!!!!! Hey! I did not know Jusco has changed its name to AEON now – I had to google to find out what I could get for those gift vouchers. There does not seem to be any grace period, no expiry date so I guess I can keep them till my next trip to KL and I would be able to use those to buy something. Hopefully, I will remember where I have kept them when the time comes – this old man can be so very forgetful sometimes. LOL!!!

Then, there was Julia too, home on holiday from Perth! If you may recall, we went out for dinner together at the new Italian restaurant in town and also at Payung…and she too gave me some stuff that she had brought back from Down Under…

From J 1

There were these chocolates…

From J 2

…and these…

From J 3

…and some Scottish shortbread as well….

From J 4

That is certainly so sweet of you, Julia – thank you so very much to you too…and thank you also to Mandy, on behalf of Melissa, for these very lovely key chains…

From Mandy

…and for the Chinese New Year card. That was the first I received and I reckon it would be the only one I would be getting this year. Sobssss!!!!!!

Next, a very BIGGGGGG thank you to [SK] for the cd…

From SK 1

…and the passport holder. Huh? A passport holder kah? Not a free air ticket to a country for which I would need to use a passport kah? Muahahahahaha!!!!!

Well, actually, the cd’s a prize similar to the one that I won last year

From SK 2

…and don’t play-play! It’s a personalised one, complete with a recent photograph of mine, and recorded under [SK]’s personal recording level, mind you!

If anyone is interested in the songs that I selected for him to compile the playlist on the cd, here they are…

From SK 3

…the first 10 songs with the exception of No. 1 and the rest from No. 11 onwards are entirely [SK]’s own. I bet he had a real hard time trying to locate all of them for me. Couldn’t manage to get James Brown’s “Regrets”, [SK]? Hehehehehehe!!!!!!

Other than the aforementioned, I also received these very nice mixed nut cookies…

From Annie 1

…from Annie-Q. She is currently back in Sibu for the long weekend and she brought me those and also some very special bak kua (barbecued sliced meat)…

From Annie 2

…that is so very nice, she says, that I must reserve it and eat it all by myself. Ahhhhh!!!! I’m going to save that for Chinese New Year – I would usually cut  them into little squares and while sitting there, waiting for family and friends to drop by, I would munch on those for some jaw exercise.

Thank you, Annie…thank you, everybody…thank you all….

Popular demand…

Melissa and her mum dropped by this place once…

Red Carrot, Sibu

…sometime ago and they enjoyed the Penang char kway teow there so the other Sunday, they wanted to go there again for that so there we were at the Red Carrot, Pedada branch for lunch. For the uninitiated, they now have any outlet in the Salim area round the corner from Farley.

Well, it looked like they were all geared up for Chinese New Year with these plastic cherry blossoms all over the ceiling…

RC CNY 1

…and lanterns here and there…

RC CNY 2

There was a good crowd, I must say – business certainly appeared really brisk and we had to wait for quite a while for our orders to be served. Both mother and daughter had the aforementioned Penang char kway teow (RM5.50 per plate)…

RC Penang ckt 1

…with all the cockles, prawns and everything…

RC Penang ckt 2

I tried a bit and it certainly was very good – just like the real thing and I would not mind having that should I drop by the place again.

I ordered the Thai fried noodles (RM6.50)…

RC Thai fried noodles

…with a lot of sotong (squid) and prawns in it but from the name, I was expecting something sour or tom yam-ish and spicy with a sprinkling of crushed peanuts…but it turned out to be something like our mee mamak. It was very good though, let me be very clear on this – just that I had expected something different and it wasn’t.

I also ordered the honey chicken wings (RM9.50) to share…

RC honey chicken wings

Hmmmm!!!! Tell me frankly – does the plating of those wings conjure some images in your mind? Come, come…tell the truth now! What do they remind you of? LOL!!!

The wings were all right – quite nice…but I would think that the price was a little bit too steep but then again, this is a cafe so one should be ready to fork out a little more than usual.

All in all, we were happy with what we had…and considering that this place is just round the corner from my house, we certainly would be dropping by again sometime.

It’s your turn…

After our Italian dinner that night, Justin invited me out for dinner again as he had promised me to give me a treat sometime ago and had not got down to doing that. Well, since they had not tried the food here before, we all agreed to meet there – the two of us and also Julia and her brother, Gabriel – both home on holiday from Perth.

They did not want anything spicy so I steered away from the usual belimbing or tom yam prawns and the like but I did order the special Payung otak-otak which they thought was spicy but they were fine with it. Of course, we had the mushroom roll as well and I also ordered their lamb masala

Lamb masala

…which was pretty nice.

When Mandy was in town, she had the asam chicken…

Asam chicken

…which was new and she liked it, so I ordered that too to give it a try. It was good but between the two, I think I prefer the masala.

Everybody loved the Payung rojak and they also wanted the aromatic kacang ma chicken

Kacang ma chicken

…so I asked for that with extra Chinese white wine. Justin had that in Kuching before and was pretty impressed by the one here. Julia, on the other hand, was having it for the first time and she loved it.

For dessert, I ordered the banana cake with ice cream

Banana cake + ice cream

…and their Mulu ice cream…

Mulu ice cream

…and also their durian ice cream…

Durian ice cream

…with a special request for extra durian. Yum! Yum!

Julia wanted the jelly pisang that she had read so much about in my blog so she ordered a glass of that as well.

All in all, everyone loved what we had that night but I would say that although they had maintained the prices of everything on their menu, it seemed that the portions had shrunk somewhat. In the past, I think there would be enough to be shared among 3-4 persons but looking at what we had that night, I would think there would be sufficient for 2 or 3 only. Thankfully, they had not scrimped on the ingredients so in my opinion, everything still tasted as great as ever!

Thank you so very much, Justin, for the very nice dinner and to Julia & Gabriel for your delightful company. I certainly had a great time and I hope you all did too!

It’s my turn…

My dear friend, Mandy, was in Sibu for a couple of nights on a working trip but unfortunately, I did not get to see her while she was here as she and her colleagues stayed at a hotel in town and in the early morning, they would drive off to their work site somewhere along the Sibu-Bintulu road and would not be back till late evening or night. She was here before though so she did take them to Payung and also to Ruby, now that she knows jolly well where they are located.

We only managed to get to meet her at around 3.00 p.m. that day when she was leaving and we went for something to eat here…and after that, we dropped by my house to sit and chat. Then, we went here for an early dinner before sending her off to the airport to catch her flight home that very night itself – on her last trip to Sibu, it was closed for the Gawai holidays so she did not get to try some of the great stuff that they serve here like this pork belly dish, for instance…

DwM 1

…served with mantao (steamed buns). I wanted her to try our version of something similar that we had when she took us all for dinner at  Dengkil…and she loved it very much! She said it was definitely different and the meat was softer but both were good in their own ways.

Of course, I had to order the midin (wild fern) fried with belacan (dried prawn paste) for her…

DwM 2

…as she loved it so much and simply must have that! If I’m not mistaken, she had it for every meal in those two days plus that she was here.

I  also ordered their creamy version of the butter prawns…

DwM 3

…which would be different from the salted egg ones that are found elsewhere and she loved it too. I particularly liked how the prawns were firm and so very fresh.

My daughter wanted the lemon chicken…

DwM 4

…and as always, her wish is my command even though personally, I can jolly well live without eating that. No doubt it was very nice but then again, we can get that dish everywhere, can’t we?

This is a Foochow soup – the chao chai (preserved vegetables) fish soup…

DwM5

…but though it was very nice and they used very good fish for this, I personally felt that it was not exactly like how that soup should be like. It just was not sour enough and I did not detect the fragrance of the traditional Foochow red wine in it.

Dinner did not come cheap though – it came up to around RM97 but they all had buah kedondong juice, unadulterated and undiluted…

DwM 6

…which would be at least, RM3-4.00 a glass and if we deduct that, it was probably around RM85 for 4 persons, inclusive of rice.

For one thing, the servings were very big – probably for 4 and we had to struggle to finish everything. I had forgotten to tell them to cook for 3 or maybe even 2…in which case, it would probably cost much less.

Mandy was furious and gave the poor lady boss (who was only following orders as she had specific instructions from me not to accept payment from anybody that I bring there to eat) a good piece of her mind for refusing to accept payment from her. Muahahahahahaha!!!! It’s my turn lah, Mandy – you picked up the tab at Dengkil so this round is on me. Fair and square!

And actually, I do feel that if I go some place, the people there would be the hosts and it would only be right that they foot the bill – though not all the time. Shy lah…like that! I should get to pay sometimes as well…and likewise, when anybody comes here, I’m the host so I should be the one paying, right or not? Come! Come! Let’s hear your honest opinion on this…

Cover me…

I took my missus and Melissa to Sri Pelita for lunch that day – Melissa had never been there before so I wanted to let her give it a try. When we got there, I must say that I was impressed by what I saw…

Good practice

See! They took the trouble to cover up the food unlike many places that I have seen in the peninsula where they would simply leave the food exposed to flies and what not. Such sliding netting would definitely be more convenient than individual food covers as somebody can just slide them from one side to the other and need not have to open the covers one by one, especially when they are  not transparent, to see what’s inside. They even have lights inside so one would be able to see everything clearly…and for all that, I would say that they deserve my double thumbs up. Bravo! Bravo!

These people in the food business should jolly well know that they depend on their customers…so instead of just making money and more money, they should, at least, think of the well-being of their clientele – the cleanliness, the comfort and so on. I simply cannot understand how some people seem to take pride in going to those horrible murky-looking places to eat, some even without proper tables and stools for them to sit and enjoy the food…and they’re not even nice and friendly. Some are so rude and temperamental that you cannot even go and ask if you have waited a little bit too long. I, for one, would not bother going back to such places…though I know many would – the very same people who would complain like hell about the service everywhere else like in the offices or the banks, for example. Frankly, I just can’t understand why there is this double standard.

Well, my missus had the nasi campur (mixed rice)…

Nasi campur

…and she particularly loved the sambal chicken that she picked.

My daughter had the nasi brayani kambing

Nasi bryani + fried chicken

…so she was given this bowl of mutton curry to go with the rice…

Mutton curry

She liked both the rice and the curry and while she was making up her mind, she said that the fried chicken looked nice so I ordered it for her as well. Unfortunately, that was a little bit too much for her to handle so guess who helped her to finish it all up. Hehehehehehe!!!

I had the nasi bryani too and I chose their fish curry…

Fish curry

…over their chicken kurma to go with it but that was not a good choice, I’m afraid. No, there was nothing wrong with the curry – it was very nice, I would say and I enjoyed the gravy with the rice. However, the ikan bawal hitam (black pomfret) was not fresh – probably those frozen ones bought from the cold storage shops and the texture of the meat was mushy and not quite palatable. Anyway, I had my daughter’s mutton and the chicken to make up for that.

I am not too sure how much each individual item cost but inclusive of drinks for the three of us, the bill came up to RM27.00 and I thought that was pretty all right considering that the food, with the exception of the fish, was really good.