Can you feel the love tonight…

February 14th was Valentine’s Day but no, we did not go for one of those over-priced romantic set dinners that they were having at many places in town.

We were bringing Melissa’s friend who came that very day all around town and by evening, we had arrived at the town centre. I did get to show her these floating grocery stores parked at a wharf by the river…

Floating shops

If you get on board one of those boats, you will find that it is like any shop or grocery store and is well-stocked with canned foods, stuff in packets or boxes, instant noodles, bottled sauces, rice and the whole works, even kerosene. These will sail along the river and will stop at villages and longhouses along the way and the folks there would usually buy on credit. Everything they take would be recorded in the little 555 notebooks and come pay day at the end of the month, they would pay what they owe.

We parked the car and was about to get out to go on a tour of the pasar malam (night market) when it started to rain and we had to cancel the plan. We drove past the 7-storey pagoda, the Sibu Central Market and made our way here. It was still early and they were all so very busy cleaning up the place and decorating it in preparation for that special night for lovebirds…

Payung 1

They had some special floral decorations for the occasion…

Payung 2

…all around and on the tables like this one, for instance…

Payung 3

…or this one…

Payung 4

I noticed this peculiar looking plant…

Payung 5

…and according to the boss, it is some kind of ginger and the flowers are edible…

Payung 6

In fact, they use it in some of their dishes, he said.

Since it was a special occasion, we ordered some of their special drinks instead of our usual f-o-c iced water. These are their sexy pink lady and their pineapple ginger soda…

Payung 7

They had increased the price just for that day by RM2.00 for everything on the menu which I thought was perfectly all right. I ordered my favourites for Melissa’s friend to try – their mushroom roll and Payung rojak

Payung 8

…their belimbing prawns, the ikan keli (catfish) dish and their otak-otak

Payung 9

I also ordered this what-we-call ikan pusu or what is more commonly known as ikan bilis (dried anchovies)…

Payung 10

Somebody had that before and said it was very nice. I thought it was ok – very tasty with some salt and sugar added plus lots of sliced onions and a squeeze of calamansi lime but I would think it is something that we can easily prepare ourselves at home and not something I would want to order when dining outside…but at least, now I can say that I have tried that before.

Actually, we had intended to order dessert but after eating all that, we could not possibly manage to eat anymore…so we quickly left the place before the lovebirds came in and after a few stops here and there for photographs e.g. at the Sibu Gateway and the Horoscope Garden, we called it a day and headed on home.

Early the next morning, we drove Melissa’s friend to the airport to catch her flight back to the peninsula. We certainly hope she had enjoyed her very very brief stay with us and would come by to visit us again sometime.

Author: suituapui

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

29 thoughts on “Can you feel the love tonight…”

  1. Hi Arthur! The floating grocery stores look really interesting… Taking about the 555 notebooks, I hardly see them anymore… They were very common when I was a boy. There were no handphones, digital diaries, tablets… I remember adults using them for noting down almost everything… from taking down phone numbers to recording illegal gambling bets… πŸ™‚

    Although simple, I like the ikan bilis dish but with lots of chili padi!

    Yes, the ikan bilis was nice…just that we can prepare our own at home.

    They still sell those 555 notebooks at the bookstores here. Not too sure whether the coffee shops still use them. In the past, one would call and order food or drinks and they would be delivered and you would write the outstanding amount in the notebook assigned to you. At the end of the month, you have to total everything and pay the coffee shop people what you owe.

    Ya…I saw the inside of those shops on Astro – there was a documentary on Sibu but I’ve never actually ventured into one of those. Maybe I’ll wait for you to come to Sibu? Hehehehehehe!!!!

  2. they do have floating petrol (diesel) station in Tawau and KK … see, see, even we have to go to Payong ourself… never bring us there oso…

    You people pandai2, rented a car…got map and GPS…went around without me and looking for Ark and ended up at maritime school instead. Hehehehehe!!!! Well, at least you all got free salad by the mere mention of my name, no need for me to go with you all.

  3. This is new to me. Love the decorations and hydrangea… my favourite flower. πŸ™‚

    You have not seen my posts on this place, so many of them? Gee!!! You should have gone when you were back in Sibu the other day. Best lah!!! So rugi if you come to Sibu and you do not go and try the food here – the place is also so very nice.

  4. All those floral arrangements, beautiful! And the dishes look yummy too. Hey, that 555 notebook brings back old memories. Have not seen those for many, many years already. When I was in school we kids like those notebooks a lot. Though I can’t remember what I recorded in there πŸ™‚

    I never had those. My father was a businessman and we would get those little pocket diaries…but I’m pretty sure I never made good use of them – not that systematic or organised – you know, boys! πŸ˜‰

  5. How come we didnt drop by the last time? No time, right? Guess you purposely simpan this “floating grocery boats” aside so that we may go another time again.. hahahaha…

    They are berthed at the wharf beside the 7-storey pagoda. Maybe I had not seen that documentary on Astro yet so I did not know that they still exist. I knew of such boats when I was young but I think those were smaller then. Now that these big motor launches have stopped plying from town to town (replaced by the express boats), I guess they have been put to good use in this way. Very nice!

  6. Oooooo…. I love everything that you posted here today. From the floating grocery store ( very unique, much better than those sampan ones in Thailand and I never knew such things existed! ), to the flowers arrangement ( very tasteful ) to the mouth watering food!!!! All the more reason to visit Sibu again!

    …and I am just as eager as you for the day to come. Come! Come! When? When? When?

  7. I go Sibu, must get you to be my guide… kakaka….

    Come, come… I will be right here waiting! My pleasure, that’s for sure!

  8. I like the idea of putting flowers here and there in the restaurant. It brightens up the whole area and the food looks nice.

    Yes, as long as they are not those horrendous plastic ones.

  9. Because of your blog, I get to know Sibu so much better now. Thank you.

    So? Planning to come over anytime soon? AirAsia is having it’s zero-fare promo right now. Yesterday, I checked – in March, RM79, KL to Sibu. Not zero fare but cheap enough!!!

  10. Those plants are real right? Very beautiful!

    And it’s a special V day meal! hehe, cause usually people go for Western food for V day celebration.

    Ya, real ones. That is why this place gets my double thumbs up for decor. Not showy, not flamboyant…so very tasteful. Western? I saw even some of those fast food joints and Japanese restaurants – all offering Valentine’s Day set dinners…and they do not come cheap, that’s for sure.

  11. i like all those flowers as decorations, they make the whole place feel more.. errr… what’s that word?? hahaha.. errr.. GREAT!! haha, what a lame word but well that’s how i feel~~ πŸ˜€

    Yes, and the best part is they just use those ordinary flowers that one can find everywhere – no need to spend money to buy those expensive flowers which are not necessarily nicer.

  12. The anchovies looks nice. Eventhough it is something we can easily prepare at home, sometimes, the ones we prepare don’t taste as nice. Okay, maybe the ones MERRYN prepares always doesn’t taste as nice. Just like beansprouts, those served with chicken rice are so easy to prepare but when MERRYN makes them, they are total disaster!!

    I guess you overcook your beansprouts but some people like them that way – none of the “green smell”. I tried frying ikan bilis…the one with caramelised sugar but I have not been very successful in doing that – always ended up burnt. Maybe I can give it another go one of these days.

  13. Nice flower decor. I’ve seen that ginger flower plant before.. never knew it was edible.

    It is. Like bunga kantan that you find in Penang assam laksa – all in the family.

  14. Very interesting, floating grocery stores instead of floating market like in Thailand. Love the flower deco. Ginger flower plant looks new to me. O course, food looks good x’pecially the belimbing prawns.

    Don’t you wish you could drop by and eat all the nice things they have here? See! Come to Sibu lah… Air Asia zero fare promo right now – quick, go and check it out.

  15. I bet Melissa’s friends remember your kind hospitality for many many years. πŸ™‚

    She’s been Melissa’s good friend through thick and thin, always by her side in times of need. Least I could do was to make her brief stay here a pleasant one.

  16. The ikan bilis dish looks interesting. Again, it looks simple to make but it wouldn’t turn out to be good if I would have to try cooking it at home. LOL!! I think Payung is a perfect place for a romantic candlelit dinner.hehhehehehe

    So difficult kah? Hmmmm…think I will try it out and blog about it then…

  17. Happy & Prosperous CNY to you and family πŸ™‚
    The buku 555 reminds me of my childhood too. I used to record that for father’s customers
    who bought the sundries at our home-based sundries shop. Thank you for sharing, I love to visit one of those shop-boat one day…

    Come on over! Would love to show you around… You may grab a few of those 555 notebooks and keep for remembrance of those days gone by. Thanks for your festive greeting and a Happy & Prosperous Chinese New Year to you and your family too.

  18. Hehehe I’ve never seen those floating groceries shops before, looks way cool! πŸ™‚

    Many would have driven past and never pay much attention to them, all lined up like this at the wharf right next to the 7-storey pagoda. In fact, I did not know they were what they were myself till I saw that documentary on Astro.

  19. Very nice! I didn’t know about those floating grocery shop boats!

    That sounds very interesting, yeah I imagine they’ll do a good trade supplying ships that passes through our section of the Rejang River.

    I didn’t even know we can board those ships. Haha!

    Of all things, Astro telling us what the boats in our towns are. πŸ˜€

    Anyway, Payung Cafe looks good as usual and you look like you had a very interesting Valentine’s! Learning something new and spending time with loved ones! Cheers buddy, and see you soon! πŸ™‚

    Ya, Astro has a documentary on the Foochows in Sarawak…so Sibu was very well featured. Thanks for dinner tonight – always great to be able to spend some time with you. Will blog about it in a couple of days.

    1. Yup! It’s great to have dinner with you! I’m heading back before Sunday, let’s head out again if you’re free!

      Documentary about Foochows, that sounds interesting. I didn’t catch it though.

      I am free – would love that very much, really.

      They have the documentary on youtube but it’s in Mandarin, no subtitles. I guess you do not have a problem with that.

  20. The floating grocery stores is very unique. Looks like floating market at Bangkok, but Sibu’s version comes with big boat while bangkok only have sampan.

    I did not go out for valentines day too. Both my wife and I agree spending more times with our boy. The bonding time is priceless. He is our valentines πŸ™‚

    Yes, that’s go dto here. I think all parents’ lives should centre around their children – they’re their love and life, their Valentine. Ya…they should make these floating stores a tourist attraction! So uniquely Sibu!

  21. Oh, i didn’t know those boat are “grocery boat”. I thought it is the boat name. I never got a chance to go up and visit.

    Payung! I think i am the one that said i like that ikan bilis? I order that on my last year visit.

    Yup! You had that last year and you liked it. Hah!!! Now you know what those boats are… Sibu people must know. LOL!!! πŸ˜€

  22. that’s interesting floating shops huh
    well never seen anything like that yet here
    but tho i heard a lot

    You have them there too? Thailand has theirs in small sampans or rowing boats…

  23. that flower was really uniquely interesting too huh
    and it’s edible thats cool
    didn’t you order any dish with those?

    They have that in their rojak (Malaysian salad) dish.

  24. hahaha….temptation. UIks her friend so fast go back. Should stay longer

    Yalor…everybody dropping by for one night only. 😦

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