Melissa’s good friend from Kemaman, Trengganu dropped by Sibu for one night…

Mel & friends

We took her and another coursemate of theirs and her friend from Bintangor here for lunch and all of us had their Penang fried kway teow

Red Carrot ckt

I thought it was kind of odd that they fried 3 plates first and the remaining 3 of us had to wait for quite a while to get ours. Perhaps they did not want to cook a whole lot at one go so that they would be able to maintain the quality and the taste. I did notice on their menu that they had deleted “Thai-style” from their Thai-style fried noodles – probably they read my comment in the earlier post regarding this.

After that, they all went over to my house while I rushed to Rejang Park to buy some kompia and chu-nu-miang. Nobody should leave town without trying these but instead of the usual 4 pieces for RM1, they were selling them at 3 for a ringgit only. They did say, however, that the usual price would resume after the Chinese New Year festive season. Tsk! Tsk!

Later, the two from Bintangor had to make their way back so after they had left, we went on a tour of Sibu – through the Malay and Melanau kampungs (villages) and to Sungai Merah (Red River) – the place where the earliest Foochow settlers landed…

At Sungai Merah

We were lucky as it was ebb tide and the water in the river flowing out from inland was indeed red in colour, true to its name.

There is this very old Chinese house in the vicinity…

Old Chinese house

– one of the very very few remaining ones that are still standing – most would have been demolished and replaced with one of those character-less modern structures. There is a very long history behind this house but I can’t seem to locate the link to the information right now.

From there, we stopped by here, our local version of the Farmers’ Market

Pasar Tamu Sg Merah

…where we saw this little girl setting up her stall selling baby corn…


It was only 3 something in the afternoon, a little  bit too early actually but many of the stalls had already started their business.

There was a lady selling ikan keli (catfish)…


…but I thought that was a tad too expensive and the fish were not very big.

I love these…


They are found stuck to floating logs and wood in the river and one can fry them with soy sauce and ginger and wine – the same way one would cook balitongs…but one can just boil them and eat them just like that, dipped in sambal. To get to the flesh, one would have to use something sharp like a pin, to remove the semi-circular protective cover and get the flesh out. The sad thing is that of late, these shells have become very small unlike the ones we used to have before.

There were a few stalls selling barbecued stuff such as these…


…and others selling our local or jungle produce…


I did not buy this young buah pulo or what we call buah tupang


…but I did grab its older mature brown seeds from the next stall in the yellow basket next to the chilies. One would just have to boil them in hot water with a pinch of salt added and when cooked, the hard shell and the thin brown skin would have to be removed prior to eating the kernel which is something like chestnuts or buah cempedak seeds.

I had dropped by a week or so earlier to buy the terung dayak (Dayak brinjal)…


…for my kampung-themed Chinese New Year treat but I did not get the chance to cook them.

The cangkuk manis (sweet vegetable) seemed cheaper than in the town and at other places…


– only RM1.00 a bundle compared to RM2.00 elsewhere.

They only had the low-grade midin (jungle fern) left…


– the ones with a lot of leaves. Those slightly “hairy” ones at the bottom of the above photo are another variety of edible ferns that we have here but these are slightly bitter and are not as nice and popular as the rest. At the top right-hand corner are the pre-pounded bandong (tapioca) leaves specially for those who are too lazy to do that themselves.

These looked like straw mushrooms…


…but they called them kulat kelapa sawit (oil palm mushrooms). I wouldn’t know whether they are found growing or cultivated in the oil palm estates or why they are thus named – I never bothered to ask.

After that enlightening visit to the tamu, we proceeded to the Bukit Aup Jubilee Park where we stayed till around 5.00 p.m. before we made our way to the town centre whilst enjoying all the sights along the way.

Do stick around for the continuation of the tour in my next post!