Humble beginnings…

I’m not too sure whether they started their business here…

Medan Mall Sibu

…at the Medan Mall, Jalan Wong King Huo or whether it was at the Catholic Centre, ground floor along Jalan Bukit Lima – right next to the Sacred Heart Cathedral or SK St Rita or perhaps, they started these two places at around more or less the same time. The one at the latter had since closed down and they opened an outlet at Pusat Tanahwang, Jalan Oya…directly opposite Sacred Heart School. I guess that was a very wise move as it certainly seems that they are enjoying brisk business there and the place is crowded any time of day.

This one at the mall…

STC - MM

…is still going strong and it does seem to have its own clientele as well for the business looks pretty good there too. This one is rather small though so it cannot really accommodate a lot of people but it is air-conditioned and would be a lot more comfortable than the other place…and you can get more or less the same things in the menu.

I heard that the egg burger was very nice but I kept forgetting and had never ordered every time I dropped by (usually at the other outlet) but I was at the mall the other day to look around so I took the opportunity to stop by and give it a try…

STC - EBS1

This is the so-called “special” with cheese and everything else including some french fries as well. There was a slice of cucumber and some coleslaw by the side and I decided to just put them on top of the egg in the burger…

STC - EB2

…and eat everything together at one go. Ooooo…it was nice! I loved it! And I certainly wouldn’t mind ordering that again next time.

I think the special was RM4.50 as I paid RM7.00 for that and the ang tao peng (red bean ice) – RM2.50…

STC - ATP

…that I had with it and like the ones at the other place, this one here is just as good. I certainly would say that they’re my favourite in town.

Incidentally, there is a small stall at the mall…

MM - FS

…where the lady sells all the Foochow delights – kompia, chu-nu-miang, lay peang, pek guek tong chiew pia…and so on and the other day, I bought these lung ngor to try (6 for RM2.00)…

MM - LN

– the pandan ones and also the traditional plain  ones.

They were very moist with a very nice soft texture inside and very fragrant. There is a popular place here where the lung ngor seem to sell like hot cakes (Hmmmm!!! They’re hot cakes…literally!) but I did not think they were all that good and I did not like the smell of essence that I could detect in theirs. This was the first time I tried the pandan ones and I think they are nicer than the old-school lung ngor…with a hint of santan or perhaps that was the pandan and my taste buds were a little bit confused. My only complaint was that there seemed to be very little quality control – some were big, very big and some were small, very small…plus I think they could cut down on the sugar. It was kind of a bit too sweet for my liking.

Well, I did not manage to find anything I would want to buy at the mall that day but at least, I got to try the egg burger and enjoyed the ang tao peng…and bought a few of those lung ngor home.

Torn between two lovers…

My missus and I stopped by here for brunch the other day and if you may recall, I was not too happy with what I had on my previous visit as the so-called handmade fish balls from one of the stalls there did not look like they were anything of the sort at all.

Well, I did say I would be back for the bai gu mien (RM5.00)…

SMFC - BGM

…or in English, the pork rib noodles from that exact same stall. The meat was really very good – very nicely-stewed and I would say that I loved the taste. However, the noodles came across kind of mild – it was not bland but I think they used the gravy from the stew to toss the noodles and it was not strong enough to give it enough oomph.

My missus wanted to try the kacang ma chicken with rice (RM6.00)…

SMFC - KMC1

…from this stall…

SMFC - KMC stall

…and since she wanted that, I just let her go ahead even though I did say that I would want to try that myself the next time around.

I tried a bit and gosh!!! That was so very good…and even my missus had to agree one hundred percent – she conceded that it was just as nice and exactly like how she would cook it at home. They were very generous with the chicken…

SMFC - KMC2

– I think there were at least six bite-size pieces in the bowl but when I shared a photo of this on Facebook, a cousin of mine responded right away saying that she had that in Kuching – RM5.00 only and it was served in a claypot. Well, I did not try the one she had so I would not know how good it was but for one thing, this is the only place in town that sells this and if we apply the simple economics principle of supply and demand, we should be thankful that it is only more expensive by…a ringgit!

I was told that there was a stall selling this during the recent Borneo Cultural Festival here and they had people queuing up every day to buy. Well, I did not try that one either – I, for one, would not want to queue up for food; nothing can be as good as that, I think…and I would much sooner go and eat something else at some other place, thank you very much…never mind even if it is not as good.

Wait a minute! There IS one other place that I know of that sells this Hakka delicacy (that mothers eat during their confinement period) here in Sibu – it is served at this cafe but being a more upscale dining venue,  it is A LOT more expensive…and frankly, between the two, despite all the fave reviews in other blogs, I personally prefer this one as it is more like our own home-cooked ones – the “hiam-ness” of the pounded ginger is strong enough plus there is sufficient Chinese traditional white wine in it without my having to tell them to add more…more…and more.

Anyway, that morning, I also saw that they had Hakka vinegar pork trotters on their menu and I wanted to try that too but the lady told me that actually, that item should not have been in the list as they do not cook that. What they have is something different – using lime…

SMFC - SLPT

She gave me this for RM4.00 to try…and it certainly was very nice too. It tasted good with its pleasant slightly-sourish flavour and a light hint of spices like star anise or cinnamon sticks being used in the cooking.

Now, it looks like I would be torn between two lovers the next time I drop by this place again – the kacang ma chicken or this special sour lime pork trotters. Sigh!!! Decision! Decision! I guess when the time comes, I will just have to toss a coin…

It’s not far…

Last year, when my friend, Philip, was home from the US, he drove me to Bintangor and the year before that, we went to Kanowit. These are towns about an hour or so away from Sibu by road and this year, we went a little further, via the bypass/shortcut just before reaching Bintangor, to Sarikei…

Sarikei symbol

This is the main town, the capital, so to speak, in a division (that comprises all the districts under its jurisdiction) on its own…

Sarikei clock tower

…so it is quite busy, unlike Bintangor.

This is the boat jetty by the river – the very impressively named Terminal Satu

Sarikei Terminal 1

…and I would say that from where I stood, it did look nicer than that dreadful LCCT.

It seems to have grown a lot since the last time I was there on one of my working trips but some of the old shops are still around…

Sarikei old shops

…though they do look like they need a coat of paint…and the market is there at the same place, still looking the same…

Sarikei market

…and if you go straight ahead (you will need to go around the market though as the part in front of it is a one-way street…or so I thought), you will get to Bank Road where this coffee shop is located…

Sarikei Glory Cafe

– home to the celebrated prawn noodles…

Sarikei tom yam prawn noodles 1

This is the tom yam version…

Sarikei tom yam prawn noodles 2

…which is very nice, very fragrant and despite the fact that I found one calamansi lime, unsqueezed, and one asam (tamarind) jawa seed in it, it was not really sour and was, in fact, a bit sweet. I think I would prefer it a little bit more sour – perhaps if I had spotted the lime earlier and squeezed that, it would have been just perfect.

I heard that I would be able to get only this tom yam version of the prawn noodles here and if I wanted the Foochow char chu mee version like the one in Sibu, I would have to go to a town nearby, Jakar. That, of course, is not true as we can actually get that here as well…

Glory Cafe hay mee

I found the taste a bit different from the one in Sibu – it seemed that they had more wine in the soup and I liked it a lot. The one in Sibu comes across to me like any char chu mee (Foochow fried-cooked noodles, soup version) with those freshwater prawns added…and the ones here were a lot bigger.

As for the price, oh me oh my!!! The ones here aren’t all that cheap either – at RM26.00 a bowl…

Sarikei hay mee 2

– RM4.00 cheaper than the ones in Sibu (RM30.00 now) but between the two of us, it would come to RM8.00 already and if you have a lot of people in your group, I guess it does make quite a lot of difference.

After that very delightful brunch, we went in search of the Hung Kiew Kee Restaurant along Jalan Berjaya as I wanted to try their “gold coins”…

Sarikei gold coins 1

They’re actually layers of meat, fat and liver…

Sarikei gold coins 2

…marinated with char siew sauce and barbecued to perfection and I would say they were absolutely out of this world. So very nice, indeed!!! No worries, while indulging in that, I did make an effort to remove the fat…a bit. Hehehehehehe!!!! It was, by no means, cheap though – over RM20 for that little bit and actually, the restaurant people were not all that keen on selling it as they were busy with a wedding reception going on at the time when we were there. However, Philip told them that we had come all the way from Sibu just to try their “gold coins” and in the end, they relented and agreed to sell us that little bit to sample.

After that, we made our way back to Sibu, stopping at the market in Bintangor along the way for the very famous and very popular rojak

Bintangor rojak

 …before making our way home after a most delightful day trip.

Thank you so much, Philip – I had a great time and I sure enjoyed the food…and the company and thanks also for the can of luncheon meat that you got for me…

EU LM

– Singapore recipe, made in the E.U. Hmmmm…just can’t wait to give it a try!!!

All in one day…

The gospel reading in church last Sunday (not today) made me think of our own situation at home. You see, my missus would sweat it out in the kitchen every weekend cooking all kinds of dishes for Melissa to bring back to her quarters at her school in Selangau so it would make things easier for her there – she would just heat up what she wants and eat that for lunch or dinner. I, for one, do not think it is a good idea as the weekend, when Melissa comes home, would be the only time for us to spend quality time together and it would be better to do all the cooking on Thursday or Friday and then, enjoy Friday afternoon and the whole of Saturday doing things that may be of general interest before  we send her back on Sunday…like last Saturday (not yesterday), for instance.

While everyone was still asleep (I get up very early in the morning, you see), I cooked this simple fried rice dish, Chinese style with lap cheong (Chinese sausages) and egg and some frozen peas that I found in the freezer…

FR

…for breakfast. I would prefer it kampung-style but Melissa is not fond of that as she had been eating it that way at the stalls across the road from her teacher-training institute in Sungai Petani, Kedah all the years she was there and has grown quite sick of it.

Later, we went out for lunch at this place as I wanted her to try the tiramisu mille crepe (RM9.00) and crème brûlée (RM7.00) that I had not too long ago and thought they were both really very good. She had their sizzling chicken chop with creamy mushroom sauce (RM18.80)…

CC

…and she loved it! I don’t know how they cook it but she particularly liked the corn-on-the-cob.

My missus had their sizzling beef with rice (RM10.20)…

SBR

I had this before but with kampua noodles and to me, that would be one of the must-try items on their menu. I certainly thought it was really good.

The baked cheese rice with pork chop (RM14.90)…

BCR 1

…that I had was very good too except that it was served with a fork and spoon and eating that slab of meat could be quite a hassle. I would think that they should provide a knife to eat it with…or they could bring along a pair of kitchen shears and cut it into smaller bite-size pieces to make it more manageable.

It was not a very big bowl actually – you can see that the bowl was, in fact, quite shallow…

BCR 2

…but there was quite a lot though – definitely substantial enough for a good meal for one.

We spent the afternoon shopping for stuff for Melissa’s quarters and things that she needed for her lessons and in the evening, we went for the sunset service in  church before going for a late dinner. For that, we went back to this place as we enjoyed the food there the first time around and Melissa said she wanted pasta. However, when we got there, she had a change of heart and wanted the fish and chips that I had the last time around (RM14.90) instead…

F&C

Probably she saw that the pasta dishes cost a little bit more, I wouldn’t know…but that girl of mine is always very careful with her spending.

In the end, I ordered pasta myself – their spaghetti carbonara (RM15.90)…

SC

…and shared that with her. It was very nice, really well done and with all that ham and cheese in it, I would say that the pricing was pretty fair. Anyway, we do not get to eat it all the time so I guess it is all right once in a while to pamper ourselves a bit.

My missus ordered the seafood tom yam with rice (RM13.90)…

STY

…which was good but not spicy and I think their version had a bit of santan (coconut milk) added so to me, it wasn’t exactly my favourite. The ones here taste a lot better except that theirs are more expensive and they are not as generous with the ingredients, unfortunately.

After dinner, we called it a day and headed back home. That, I must say, was a day well-spent – bonding with loved ones and enjoying all the food as well.

Easy to be hard…

I guess it is easy to cook hard-boiled egg – you just put it in water and boil it for as long as you like. There’s no way you can go wrong…but wait a minute! I have heard of cases where the egg exploded and they ended up with a horrible mess in the water…or cases where they boiled the egg till the water ran dry…and of course, there were some who tried cooking it using a microwave oven and the oven exploded. Hmmm…perhaps, it is not that easy after all, is it?

Well, I, for one, love my eggs half-boiled but with the white already hard but the yolk still runny…or at times, I would like it moist, not runny nor hard. It so happened that I shared some photographs of my noodles or fried rice on Facebook with the two versions of my half-cooked eggs by the side and people started asking me how to go about cooking it.

It isn’t hard at all, I must say. All you need to do is to put the egg in a saucepan and fill it with water, covering just half of the egg. Do not drown it completely…

Egg

…and do not cover the pot. Place the saucepan over the fire…

Fire

– I always use the smallest burner so if you do not have that, you should turn down the flame…and when you see bubbles, you can put the lid on if you are cooking hard-boiled eggs…

Bubbles

It should be quite safe by then and I am pretty sure the egg would not explode anymore after that.

Keep rolling the egg around in the water so that the white would be evenly cooked and when it starts boiling vigorously…

Boiling

…cover the saucepan and start keeping time there and then.

That morning, I wanted it moist but not runny nor hard so I let it boil for 5 minutes. After that, I removed it from the fire and put it under running tap water…

Cooling

…to cool it down and then, I took it out of the pot.

I put the egg aside for a while and went on to cook my noodles. I was having the US-made Annie Chun’s udon that morning…and the whole process of getting that ready took around 5 minutes or so…in which time, whatever residual heat there might be after the cooling-down process would probably affect the texture of the egg yolk but I guess it would not make much of a difference.

Once the noodles were ready, I peeled the egg and voilà!!!…

Udon with egg and fishballs

See! The yolk was moist, not hard and not runny…

Moist yolk

…exactly how I wanted it!

If you want the egg yolk runny like this…

Runny yolk

…and the white hard, just boil it for 3 minutes – that would be sufficient…like when I was cooking the made-in-Singapore KOKA brand purple wheat noodles, chili and lime flavour, for breakfast the other morning…

KOKA noodles

Honestly, I do think it is easy…not hard at all to get our eggs the way we want them! Wink! Wink! LOL!!!

Another you…

They have been around for a long time now and if I’m not mistaken, they were initially at the coffee shop on the ground floor of the Star Cineplex, formerly the Cathay Cinema but eventually, they moved to its present location at  a corner coffee shop along Causeway, opposite Wisma Sanyan. They certainly enjoy brisk business and the place is always very crowded but the one time when I went with my daughter, we did not really think what we had was nice which, of course, would confirm my conviction that one man’s meat is another man’s poison. Obviously, many enjoy what they’re selling or there would not be such a crowd there every day. To each his own!

Anyway, my missus and I were going around the same vicinity as this place when I spotted this new branch of theirs…

Ahho 1

…and since it was approaching lunch time, we decided to just drop by and eat there instead of going back to cook our own.

This is the stall where they prepare the beef noodles and the Sarawak laksa

Ahho 2

…while the chicken rice stall is to the left on the other side…

Ahho 3

My missus had their beef noodle set (RM6.00) with the kampua kosong

KK

…and the soup…

BS

With all the beef, the tendons and the tripe in it, I would say it was not really expensive. After all, beef does not come cheap these days.

I, on the other hand, decided to try their chicken rice…

CR menu

…and I opted for the stewed drumstick (RM4.50)…

SD

…which came with the rice –  inclusive, of course…

CR

…and I had one stewed egg, added (RM1.00)…

SE

On the whole, we did like what we had but when it comes to beef noodles, I would still prefer the ones here except that it is not halal…and in my opinion, the best chicken rice is here though some would probably prefer the roast chicken and whatever meat here.

Gee! It certainly looks like more and more new eating places are sprouting up here, there and everywhere these days. Never mind what they say about a recession or a flagging economy, inflation and rising prices and what not, everyone has to eat, I guess…like it or not.

STOP PRESS:
This just reached me the day before yesterday…

From Singapore

Thank you so much, somewhereinsingapore – it certainly is so sweet and thoughtful of you…and thank you also for dropping by my blog regularly and for your unfailing support. Cheers!

You learn…

I saw people blogging about this place and sharing photographs on Facebook but my attempts to locate the place were all in vain. Then I stumbled upon a blog that gave a rough sketch map to the place…and looking at it, I could more or less guess how I could get there so one morning, Philip, that friend of mine home from the US, and I went out again in search of this seemingly-elusive destination.

If you are driving into Old Oya Road from the St E/Sibu bus terminal side, you would come to a building where there are a few shops – there is a sign in front of it and I think it’s supposed to say the Swan City Ville, probably referring to the housing estate in the vicinity but the “s” has dropped off and you will see ‘Wan City Ville” instead.

Turn right into RTM Road (Long long ago, when they did not have a station in Sibu, they had their transmitting station or something here…and hence, the name). Don’t drive straight ahead along Old Oya Road like what I did once and you would come to the JPJ office before coming out at the roundabout along the road to the airport just before you turn left to go to the Sibu Hospital…and there was no sign of the place I was looking for.

Now, along this RTM Road, you will see the lanes on both sides of the road and for once, the numbering  is an orderly manner and in the correct sequence – even numbers on the right and odd numbers on the left. Go straight ahead until you come to the end of that road and there is nowhere else to turn but left – now, that is Lane 13. Go straight ahead…and never mind if it seems to you that you are in the middle of nowhere and there are no houses all around – just keep going till you come to an area where there are some (new) houses and a block of shops – not many, just four, if I remember correctly…and the second one from the right is this one…

RTM Cafe 1

It is a nice and clean coffee shop…

RTM Cafe 2

…and parking is free and not a problem and probably because of the absence of buildings and traffic, the place is quite windy – I actually found it very comfortable with the cool breeze blowing that morning.

Of course, we had to try the kampua noodles (RM2.50)…

RTM Cafe kampua

…since everyone seemed to praise them to the skies and to my delight, we found them to be really very good. I would think it was nicer than my favourite ones here. In comparison, the noodles and also the stewed pork slices and minced meat all tasted nicer, a cut above what I would find at that other place.

We also ordered the piansip, dry (RM2.50)…

RTM Cafe, piansip - dry

…and it was pretty good too.

Business seemed kind of slow though. There were two other guys who were there and they also had the kampua noodles – one like what we had and the other had his with dark soy sauce. Then there were two ladies who came and they had some of the fried stuff which we did not try…and other than the old man in the photograph, that was about all the other people at the shop the whole time we were there.

There was a lady running the shop single-handedly, doing all the cooking and making the drinks (Incidentally, the coffee was good too!) and I kept thinking that she looked very familiar. I was quite positive that I knew her from somewhere so eventually, my curiosity got the better of me and I went to ask her. It all came back to me when she told me who she was – she was the one waiting at tables at the other place going back all the way to many years ago when it was still at its original location…and later, at its present one and I was such a regular that I did not even need to place my orders whenever she saw me – she would know exactly what I wanted! Gee! It seems that she has learnt the tricks of the trade and has now ventured out on her own, good for her! No wonder in ancient China, the old kung fu master would never teach his disciple all the tricks he had up his sleeves – they might learn to be as good…or even better!

Incidentally, while I was there, I also noticed how she reuses old cans…

Ashtray

…as ashtrays in her shop – that’s somewhat environment-friendly, I would think.

Well, since I liked the kampua noodles so much and now that I know exactly where the shop is, you can be sure that I would be dropping by again…and again…and again.