Let me try…

I saw it on a banner in the vicinity of some food stalls at Bandong here and I had seen it on the menu at this place in Kuching as well but I had never tried it before, much less cooked it myself.

Initially, I tried it with some fresh dabai (local wild black olives) and even though it was nice and I could feel the richness of the fruit, it did not really stand out as something so nice that everyone would not be able to wait to have a go at it too. Then, I guessed that they probably used the salted or preserved fruit and not the fresh ones so I decided to make some myself…

PD1

It seems that some people do it in some other way and they end up with some seedless preserved dabai paste but what we usually do in my family would be to soak the fruit in salt water and after a few days, it would turn soft and red like this…

PD2

Having got what I wanted, I got the usual ingredients ready…

Ingredients 1

– some sliced shallots and garlic and finely chopped spring onion…as well as the preserved/salted dabai, seeds removed, some pounded chili that I had in the fridge and some leftover salted fish…

Ingredients 2

To start off, I fried the shallots and garlic in some oil till golden brown and then, I added the salted fish…

Fry 1

…after which, I threw in the bits of salted/preserved dabai

Fry 2

…followed by the rice, and after mixing everything together well…

Fry 3

…I added an egg and the spring onion and once I felt that it had been fried enough, I dished it all out…

DFR1

…and served. There wasn’t any need to add more salt as I had the salted fish already and of late, I had steadfastly refrained from adding any msg in my cooking.

It tasted great…

DFR2

…though I did not feel it was a lot different from my initial attempt when I used the fruit, fresh…and other than that, I thought the salted fish kind of overpowered the taste of the fruit. Maybe the next time I cook this again, I would just use the much milder ikan bilis (dried anchovies) instead.

Fingers crossed, I would get it just right next time…

Do it yourself…

My favourite Sarawak laksa in town is this one here and there are few others around that I quite like but if I am not wrong, the most popular one in town is this one here though I’m not all that crazy about it. The one here

MC

…used to be the best in town but for some reason or other, its popularity has been on the decline.

During those days when people were dropping by here by the droves, the guy at the stall was not very friendly, not in the least, to put in mildly and it was for that very reason that I did not bother to go there and eat. I, for one, strongly believe that no matter how good you may be, you should treat people with respect…at all times, never mind who they may be and if you do not have the simple decency to be nice to people, I can jolly well do without what you have to offer, regardless how nice it may be.

I parked my car at the far end of the block and even from all the way there, I could smell the laksa already. Wow!!! It must be really good, I thought to myself. Well, if you’re wondering why I went back there, it was because somebody said that the Sarawak laksa here would not be as rich as those elsewhere, meaning that it would not be so lemak with a lot of santan (coconut milk) added and thus, that would make it more authentic, more like the ones found in Kuching…and since Melissa said that she wanted that for brunch, there we were…

MC laksa stall

…that day to give it another try. I ordered the special and he told me quite rudely that there wasn’t anymore. Good grief!!! It certainly is true that a leopard cannot change its spots. He could have used a more pleasant tone than that. Tsk! Tsk! I quickly ordered the small for the three of us and took my seat…for fear of another round of shelling.

It certainly looked like he still had his fair share of the laksa business as there were quite a number of people around – not as many as before but there certainly were a fair number of customers. Soon, the our orders arrived (RM4.00)…

MC laksa 1

…and without further ado, we dived in!

Was it any good? For one thing, it was extremely salty…

MC laksa 2

…and long after we had left the place, I could still feel the lingering msg taste in my mouth. Even the nice sambal belacan (dried fermented prawn paste chili dip) that came with it…

MC laksa - sambal belacan

…could not save the day and if you’re guessing that I would not be heading back there again, you are absolutely right.

Now, after that somewhat disappointing outing, I thought I would just do it myself and cook my own as I still had the two packets of laksa paste that my friend, Philip, in the US, gave me when he came back home earlier this year. I’ve tried the Hj Manan’s laksa paste before and I did not think it was really great though my cousin in Kuching loved it a lot…so I decided to try the other one instead …

Laksa paste

Of course, I had to go to the market in the morning to buy the prawns, peel and de-vein them and I saved the heads and the shells to boil and keep the stock. I also boiled the prawns, tails still intact, and drained…

Prawns, boiled

…and used the water for stock.

I emptied the whole packet of laksa paste into the stock and brought it to boil…

Laksa broth

…before adding the santan (coconut milk) and some belacan and a cube of ikan bilis (dried anchovies) stock to boost up the taste a little bit.

It was a Friday so I did not buy any chicken and I bought some made-in-Singapore fish cakes instead…

FC & TFP

…and sliced them thinly. Usually, you would not find tofu pok (fried bean curd) in Sarawak laksa, unlike the curry mee in the peninsula, but Melissa loves those so I had to buy some and sliced the cubes thinly as well.

Melissa helped fry some omelette and cut that into fine strips…

Egg

…and I blanched some taugeh (bean sprouts) and chopped some daun sup (Chinese celery)…

TG & DS

…and of course, we had to get ready the bihun, soaked in hot water to soften and drained…

Bihun

To serve, all that one would have to do is to put the bihun in a bowl, add all the condiments and pour the soup or broth over all of that…

Laksa 1

…and eat. Of course, there simply MUST be some sambal belacan to go with this so my missus pounded some of that much coveted stuff.

So, was it any good?

Laksa 2

I’m afraid that I would have to say that though it tasted very nice, somehow it lacked the nice fragrance and taste of the authentic Sarawak or Kuching laksa plus it was not spicy at all.

Of course, we enjoyed the fruit of our labour that day but no prize for guessing whether or not I would be buying this particular brand of laksa paste again…

The ballad of John and Yoko…

Unfortunately, there is no Yoko, just Toto…so this post is not going to be about John and Yoko but about John…

JP1

…and Toto…

TC

…instead. Muahahahahaha!!!!

They’ve set up a branch of this pie place in Kuching here recently…

JP2

– not a very big place, just half a shoplot (but it’s bigger than the one I went to in the state capital) with nothing too elaborate…

JP3

…as far as the decor is concerned but I would say it  is pleasant enough though I felt they could turn up the air-conditioning a little as it was a little bit too warm for comfort…or to me, at least.

I dropped by one afternoon with Melissa and the mum and like in the case of the one in Kuching, I can’t help wondering why they are using the singular form of the noun in the name too as it gives me the impression that they only have one pie there, take it or leave it….but as a matter of fact, even though they did have more than one, when we went that day, it seemed that most of those listed on their menu were not available.

We ordered the vegan pie (RM5.50)…

VP1

…to try but it was all pumpkin inside…

VP2

…and I thought I saw a slice of smoked cheese as well so that would not be suitable for vegetarians who are not into dairy products, I’m afraid. It was somewhat too strong on the spices and herbs so I can’t say that we liked it a lot.

We also ordered the signature steak beef pie (RM5.50)…

SSBP1

…and from the name, I was expected chunks of beef like the ones I had in New Zealand but let’s just say that I was kind of disappointed…

SSBP2

…as the filling was somewhat mushy and at best, all I could detect were some bits of meat that were so small that I would not even know they were there…

SSBP3

We all loved the chicken & mushroom quiche (RM7.50)…

CMQ

…though but I thought it was rather thin for a quiche and more like a pizza instead.

I noticed that they had an oven that they used for heating up the pies though…so that got my double thumbs up. I, for one, am not a fan of the microwave and as far as I know, there are places that use that to heat up pies and stuff which is a no-no for me.

The so-called John’s special coffee (RM3.80)…

JSC

…was good and all in all, I would say it is a jolly nice place for a cuppa to sit and chat and catch up with friends and maybe, grab a bite of something light as well. For one thing, it is definitely more comfortable than sweating it out at a coffee shop although the iced coffee aka kopi-o-peng (RM1.20)…

KOP

…would be a whole lot cheaper and perhaps, nicer as well.

Well, talking about coffee shops, actually, I’ve been to this one a couple of times before here and here…and lately, I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about the place about how crowded it would get and how one would have to stand by a table to wait for the people to finish and grab it as soon as they stand up so one morning, I was out pretty early and the crowd had yet to show up so I decided to stop by and see what the attraction was.

It turned out to be more or less the same – the way it was and I did not feel like having the bitter gourd bihun that everyone has been praising to the skies and settled for the mee sua in traditional Foochow red wine chicken soup (RM5.50)…

MS in FRWCS

…instead. If I’m not mistaken, this is Annie-Q‘s favourite in town and it is 50 sen cheaper than what I had here but I think I prefer the latter as the ginger taste in this one is a little too strong for me and I would not say that it was quite to my liking, not at all. Perhaps I should have gone for the bitter gourd bihun, after all.

So there you have it, the ballad of John and Toto! LOL!!!

For you…

It was just for me and actually, I got it quite a while ago but I had to keep it in the freezer all this time as I had been pretty busy with people coming and going so I did not have time to cook it and besides, we had been eating out quite a lot lately. However, the first opportunity I got, I took the meat out and cooked soup with it the way we would do it in my family (but using the slow cooker, lazy me) and this was the end result…

WBS

Now, where did I get this very rare commodity from? An ex-student of mine is now serving at a school upriver as a teacher and he just received the Excellent Service Award. I saw the good news on Facebook and extended my heartiest congratulations and jokingly asked him for a treat to which he replied, “No problem!” A couple of days later , I got word from him that he had managed to get hold of some of this exotic meat and had bought some for me and he would pass it to me when he got back to town.

So was it any good? Ooooo…I must say it was superb, top quality and when you have the meat of this class, you can be sure that the soup would be so fragrant, so flavourful, so delicious! I did manage to get hold of some a few times at the market in Selangau but those had been quite disappointing so I never bothered buying from there again.

Incidentally, when we met at a coffee shop near my house for breakfast, I was pleasantly surprised to see another ex-student of mine with him, a sweet and very nice girl and a tall one too…like him and like him, she is a teacher too. They did say though that they would not be tying the knot just yet, maybe next year, so all the best to the two of you and hopefully, I will get your summons…to join in the happy occasion and thank you so much, Tham, for the meat and also for the breakfast treat. Do get me some more should you come across any that is nice – but of course, the next time around, I would insist on paying for it. It is so hard to get hold of such good ones so I would be most happy and thankful to be able to lay my hands on any at all.

Now, that same day when I cooked this delightful soup, I got word from my friend, Jimmy, in Kuching saying that he had something just for me and he would be sending it over by bus so I would have to go and collect it at the bus terminal the following morning which I did…and I got this…

From Jimmy 1

…very nicely packed item that resembled a tiffin carrier or a handbag perhaps. Good grief! I wonder how long he took to pack the thing so nicely…but that’s Jimmy for you! Always very meticulous, a perfectionist true and true.

Gosh! Opening that was such a task that I was thinking it probably would be much easier breaking into Fort Knox.  ROTFL!!! After cutting through the plastic wrapper, I got to a layer of cardboard and I thought that cutting through that, I would get to the thing inside but no, how wrong could I be! There were some more layers of plastic and newspapers…

From Jimmy 2

…that I had to go through before getting to the  much coveted treasure enclosed…

From Jimmy 3

No wonder there wasn’t any smell at all on the outside – it was so very tightly sealed that there was absolutely no way out!

So what was it that he sent me? This big tub of the most wonderful tempoyak (fermented durian)…

From Jimmy 4

…that he so painstakingly made himself…

From Jimmy 5

Ahhhhh!!!! Doesn’t that look soooooo good? Absolutely beautiful, don’t you agree? Hmmm…now I have tempoyak of the best quality to cook some of those very delightful tempoyak dishes. Perhaps I can serve them for my Chinese New Year open house this year – in case you do not realise it, it’s just a little bit more than a month away. Anybody would like to drop by? Wink! Wink!

Thank you, thank you, Jimmy!!! I really can’t thank you enough for this…and for everything!

To where you are…

This place has closed down now and that would mean that I would not be able to drop by to have their very nice fish bihun/hung ngang in the yummy milky soup any longer.

The guy has decided to focus on the making of the Sibu instant kampua noodles that are presently selling like hot cakes and getting  a whole lot of publicity – if anyone is interested in getting hold of some, do drop by their new location right next to the UOB Bank branch  in the vicinity of the Sibu Bus Terminal here, on the right hand side of the bank premises. It’s on the top floor above Utama Parts, the second to be exact even though the guy said third – when they say third in Chinese, it is actually second…and the ground floor is their first floor. You can check out their new/edited Facebook page here. Please do NOT sms or call me or email me or leave a message in my inbox on Facebook either for information or asking me to go and buy for you – you can deal directly with the guy via Facebook or you can call him – the mobile phone contact is stated very clearly there! Some people seem to think that I have nothing else better to do with my time and I have had enough of people coming out of the blue and creeping out of the woodworks to seek my help like I’m their agent or retailer or something, thank you very much! Tsk! Tsk!

Anyway, back to their fish bihun/hung ngang, it seems that it is now available at this coffee shop…

KMM

…at Delta Estate, along that lane to the Sibu public swimming pool so soon after they had set up their business there, we went over to have a look at what they had in store.

I am not sure what the arrangement is but it seems to me that some other people are doing it at this stall…

Stall

…in the coffee shop.

Obviously, they do not have an elaborate menu like at the old place seeing that there are only three choices available…

Menu

Melissa had the fish bihun that she enjoys a lot…

FN

…and she said that it was as good as what she had at the old place. I thought it looked slightly reddish but that probably was due to the tomato in the soup.

I decided to try the last one on the list…

Mee 1

…and though it was nice, I certainly did not think it was anything uniquely special enough to get me going back there for more.

My missus had the one in the middle…

Mee 2

…and it looked quite identical except for the slight tint of red in the noodles. From how the man pronounced the name of this item, we had expected something like mee mamak…or some noodles, Malay-style. This one tasted a bit different though as it was quite spicy, like they had added chili oil to it or something.

Mee 3

The guy said that they had to use the mee pok as they had run out of the usual type of noodles they would use and if I understood him correctly, normally they would be using their own-made pan mien…but if it is pan mien, I would much sooner go here to enjoy what they have there. Considering the taste alone, I am of the opinion that the latter wins hands down…but some may beg to differ.

Ah well! At least, now there is a place that I can go to whenever I feel like having some fish bihun or hung ngang cooked and served in this manner…

Don’t let me down…

This is one place that I’ve always drawn people’s attention to, both the locals and anyone visiting from out of town, especially to some of the very delightful items on their menu. That was why on the last day Melissa’s friend was in town, before her mid-afternoon flight back to the peninsula, we brought her here for lunch.

Melissa feels that their chicken chop (RM18.80)…

CC with CMS

…is the best in town, the one with its creamy mushroom sauce, so she ordered that and despite the huge serving, she was able to finish all of it. Personally, I would prefer their sizzling roast pork spare ribs with honey but I thought that was a little to heavy for lunch so I opted for their nasi lemak special (RM7.20)…

NLS

…instead. I was looking for their new one, the one with a whole lot of specials by the side but I could not locate it in their order form. Halfway through what I had ordered, Melissa pointed out the photograph of the one I had wanted in the maze of photographs on the table. Never mind! I can always go back there for that another time.

My missus had the kway chap special (RM7.90)…

KCS

We had that a long time ago and were not very impressed by it but my missus said it was good and I would say it didn’t look too bad. Perhaps they’ve improved on it since, I wouldn’t know.

Melissa’s friend insisted on not having the sizzling black pepper beef kampua despite my pestering her to give it a try and she chose to have just the kampua mee instead, minus all the specials that they seem to have on their menu here to go with the noodles (RM4.50)…

KM

…but I, for one, would be the first to declare that what they have here is in no way among the best in town and I was not at all surprised that there were no oos and ahs or any other exclamations of delight.

The deep fried dumplings (RM6.20)…

DFD

…were very nicely done and well-liked by all.

The crème brûlée (RM7.00)…

CB

…was good, as usual, and to everyone’s satisfaction but though the vanilla mille crepe (RM6.50)…

VMC

…tasted great, probably the layers of crepe were a bit too hard, so hard that it was impossible to cut through them with a fork without demolishing the whole thing and ending up with one utter mess.

All this while, there are certain items on their menu that we like a lot, others that we feel we can live without but I would say that we have been very happy with what they serve here – the ones that we like and would order again and again, except for this one occasion when some of them were rather disappointing but talking about disappointment, this one definitely takes the cake!…

Kompia

It did not look any different when served but when Melissa’s friend took a bite, she started complaining that it was terribly oily and it wasn’t as good as the ones she had from the hawker stall at the park in town though she felt the minced meat filling in this one tasted a bit nicer.

I took one and bit into it and was really disgusted to find that she was not exaggerating! The oil actually soaked right through the whole kompia, right to the bottom and there was so much oil on the paper on which they were placed too…

OILY!!!

I took it to show the boss and he said that probably, the oil was not hot enough and added that he would get them to cook some more to replace this one. No way!!! I would not have any more of that, thank you very much, and insisted that it was struck off the bill and I told the guy that he should go and give the cook/chef a really good ticking off.

For a place like this and this kind of prices, there is no way that such sloppy work can be tolerated and I told him outright that I have always promoted this place and their kompia is among the highlights, the must-have on the menu…and if anybody gets to eat anything like this, they would surely come and scold me for saying that it is so good when it really is the pits!!! So what does that make me? A liar? Tsk! Tsk!

That certainly spoilt what would have been a perfect trip for Melissa’s friend. All the while, she was happy and liked what she had, some more than others, and there were a lot that swept her off her feet…and I thought that by bringing her here for lunch, there would be some kind of a grand finale – the perfect ending to a wonderful gastronomic visit to Sibu but unfortunately, it was such a let-down and a truly disastrous one at that! Now, I certainly would think twice about bringing anyone here again – not when there is no proper quality control and the assurance that what is good would always be good. Those people should know jolly well that business is more than just sitting there at the cashier’s counter, counting money…and customer satisfaction should be their top priority! Tsk! Tsk!

Well, what to do? What is done is done and cannot be undone and after that miserable setback, we made our way to the airport to send Melissa’s friend off…

Sibu airport

I certainly hope that she will remember all the good things here, the happy moments shared, and will forget about that horribly oily kompia that she had the displeasure of having before she left town…

Exceptional…

It was Melissa’s friend’s last night in Sibu and I had been saving the best…

P1

…for last and where else can anyone expect to see simple, ordinary flowers…

P2

…used so skilfully for their exceptional decor that is a class above the rest, if not here?…

Payung Cafe

Melissa’s friend was enthralled by the beauty of the place but the best was yet to come – their food that I would say is no less exceptional too!

We tried the papaya salad that was new on the menu (RM8.00)…

PS

…and though it was nice, nicer and a whole lot cheaper than what we had here, I still prefer their Payung rojak and would rather go for that anytime.

The Bangladesh lamb curry…

BLC

…was simply superb and won praises all round…and everyone loved the Payung chicken too…

PC

– one of their specialties for which they would use yogurt to cook. Personally, I thought it was overshadowed by the stronger tastes of the other dishes and came across as being rather mild. Actually, we had wanted their belimbing prawns but they were out of those crustaceans – in fact, that is a common problem here around the end of the year when the seas are rough and we get a lot of rain and there is flooding everywhere, making it rather difficult to get fresh prawns at the market.

The kacang ma chicken was so so good that night…

KMC

…especially as they made sure that my special request for extra wine was granted. Unfortunately, Melissa’s friend did not have the acquired taste for this local favourite and did not quite enjoy it.

Of course, she enjoyed their uniquely-delightful mushroom roll…

MR

…that has won the hearts of many with its rich cheesy taste, both inside and outside but it was the Payung otak-otak

O-O

that swept her off her feet! She was stunned speechless when she had the first bite – she said it was so good, nothing like anything that she had had before and definitely way nicer than the overrated Muar ones or those in Penang.

We were too full for the heavier desserts that they had here and opted for the Khalua ice cream…

KIC

…that Melissa loved her lot and insisted that we ordered it. The photo did not come out too good so I have used one from an earlier post instead. Her friend does not drink and is not into anything with liquor but she thought this was very nice and she liked it a lot but it was the durian ice cream…

DIC

…that stole the show. Of course, I asked for extra durian cream and though that made it look less photogenic, Melissa’s friend thought that the taste was simply out of this world.

After dinner, we stopped by a supermarket in town and she was flabbergasted by the sight of all those imported stuff that they have here. She thought they were all reasonably-priced and some may even be cheaper than what she was accustomed to when she was studying Down Under…and needless to say, she picked up a number of items that she would cart home for her family and friends.

We called it a day after that brief pit stop and headed on home…

We are young…

I guess what may be of interest to the older folks may not have that same appeal to the young so when Melissa’s friend was in town, I had that in mind and did not focus solely on what’s Sibu and Sibu alone and took her to try some of the other stuff that is available here. There was the Italian lunch that we went to and also the Korean fried chicken franchise place and on her 3rd (full) day here, we went Japanese and had these volcano maki (RM15.90)…

VM

…and sushi – the dragon roll (RM20.90) with avocado and everything else…

DR

She loved them both and other than that, we had the terayaki garlic steak (RM21.90)…

TGS

…that everyone thought was really good but I didn’t think it came anywhere near the beef that I had when I was in Auckland, New Zealand around this time last year.

The salmon fried rice (RM10.00)…

SFR

…did not look that much or the serving seemed smaller than what we had on our previous visit or perhaps it was how it was served as there was enough to go round among the four of us and this time around, they served it with potato salad and a slice of watermelon, a complete meal by itself.

We also ordered Melissa’s favourite – their pumpkin korokke (RM13.90)…

Pumpkin

…and I insisted on trying their potato korokke (RM5.90)…

Potato 1

…which was very nice too and it was different in that this was more towards savoury while its pumpkin counterpart was a bit sweet.

Potato 2

I certainly enjoyed the lunch and I guess everybody else did too and after that, we left the two girls in town to catch a movie and to walk around on their own, window shopping, drinking bubble tea (Yucks!!!) and doing all that stuff that young people would enjoy…until it was time for us to pick them up and go for dinner.

Feed the birds…

No, they did not feed the birds but instead, they went to feed the fish…

Feed the fish

…at the Bukit Aup Jubilee Park here. That was where we took Melissa’s friend after a brief rest that day when we got back from our brief tour of Kanowit and our lunch at the Korean franchise fried chicken restaurant. Unfortunately, it was raining so the girls had to abandon their plan to climb up the hill at the park.

Melissa’s friend had been in Sibu for three days already (or two full days, to be exact) and she had yet to taste our very own local Sibu kompia so we ordered a few from a stall at the park – deep-fried ones stuffed with minced meat filling…

Kompia

She took a bite and she exclaimed, “Wow!!!! This is so good!” She said that she has tried the ones at Sitiawan in Perak, including the ones with meat inside and they do not come anywhere near these, not at all. I tried one and though it was good, I thought there are at least two or three at other places in town that I think have an edge over these.

We stopped by the 1Malaysia Cultural Village across the road for a while before proceeding here for our dinner

Dinner at MMS

We had these very yummy creamy salted egg yolk prawns…

CSEYP

…and this pork dish…

PR

– I had gone to the washroom while they placed the orders and according to my missus, this was some red rice pork ribs or something and when I asked if it was ang chao (the residue left behind from making the traditional Foochow red wine), she said no. So I did not really know what it was and it sure did not taste like it but thankfully, it was quite good.

While I was attending my ex-student’s wedding dinner the previous might, my missus and Melissa took her friend here and they had midin and she was not exactly thrilled by it. Good grief! I wonder why of all the places, they took her there to eat that. I guess they did not have much choice as they said that a number of the stalls were not open, probably due to the heavy rain that night but if I were them, I would have adjourned elsewhere. Anyway, I insisted on ordering that for her again and this time, instead of the usual sambal belacan, we had it fried with the traditional Foochow red wine…

M with FRW

I’m sure my friend, Annie, in KL would approve – she loves midin cooked this way…and so did Melissa’s friend. She certainly enjoyed this a whole lot more than what she had the night before.

We also had cangkuk manis fried with egg but the photo came out blur. Anyway, I have shared snapshots of that a thousand and one times before so we can give it a miss this time around and to wash everything down, we had the Foochow-style tofu soup (with canned oysters)…

TS with CO

All in all, it was a pleasant enough dinner though it did not come cheap – RM75.00, if I remember it correctly, inclusive of rice and drinks, for 4 persons but I guess that’s the way it is everywhere these days – the prices are going up…up…and up!

While I was settling the bill at the counter, I heard from the lady boss that they also make the Sibu Foochow-style sio bee

MMS FSSB

…and are selling them at RM1.00 each. Well, there are cheaper as well as more expensive ones around but regardless of the price, I had to get some to try. I found them to be pretty nice but I wouldn’t say they were so very good that I would be rushing back for more, no. Probably if I have visitors from elsewhere and we drop by here for a meal, I may order a few for them to try, that’s all.

After dinner, we headed on home to sleep so that we could rest and rejuvenate and get ready for another round of touring and eating the following day.

Can’t wait…

I was quite puzzled when I shared on Facebook an album of the photographs that I took when we took Melissa’s friend on a tour and went to this little town that I had grown to love so much…and a friend, currently working and residing in KL, said, “Cannot wait,” and I was thinking that he could not wait to come home to pay a visit as well but I was quite tickled when I realised that he was actually referring to the similar-sounding name of the town, Kanowit. Well, that isn’t so bad actually for when I was teaching there, 1978 to 1982, a letter from a friend in the US arrived some six months later – it seemed that it got sent to Kuwait and after being redirected here and there, it finally got to me safely. Amazing but true!

Of course, I had to take them to eat the kampua noodles…

Kanowit kampua

…my favourite since those days when I was there (it is slightly reddish probably due to the bit of char siew oil added and that makes it different from the usual that we would get elsewhere) and we went on a quick tour of the places of interest in the town (You can click the link above for a look or you can check out my album on Facebook) before proceeding to the longhouse at Rantau Kemiding. Melissa’s friend was stunned by the mere sight of the place – she had been to the one at The Sarawak Cultural Village in Kuching and she said it was short and nothing like this – THIS, she said, was the real thing and was definitely worth driving all the way from Sibu just to have a look.

When we got back to Sibu way past noon that day, we went for lunch here…

PC

the 1st-in-Malaysia Korean fried chicken franchise restaurant right here in good ol’ Sibu town.

I had the burger that Melissa had when we last were here

PCB1

…and she obviously enjoyed it a great deal as she wanted that again…

PCB2

…though I wasn’t exactly thrilled by it but then again, I am never a fan of the stuff at any franchise place so you need not take my word as gospel truth. You may just like it, I wouldn’t know.

My missus had this…

SCR

…but she did not say anything at all – I guess when anything is not hot and spicy, it will not get her jumping up and down with delight. Period.

Melissa’s friend had this set…

PC, spicy and crunchy

…with the two varieties of their chicken – crunchy and spicy and those came with this side dish of seaweed…

seaweed

…and some very nice chunky fries. In fact, they gave fries with the burgers too so we had a whole lot and were not able to finish it all even though we all enjoyed that a lot, dipped in the chili sauce provided.

She enjoyed the seaweed which she said had the fragrance of sesame oil in it and though she was not fond of the spicy chicken (as unlike my missus, she is not into anything spicy), she loved the crunchy one that went so well with the Korean yellow sauce…

Korean yellow sauce

…that she, like Melissa before, loved a lot.

On the whole, she enjoyed what she had and though she had been to Korean restaurants here, there and everywhere before, this was her first time trying out a Korean franchise one…and never in her wildest dreams did she ever expect that she could do that right here in Sibu.

After lunch, we went home to have a quick rest and soon after, we were out and about again. Hang around for more of all that we did when Melissa’s friend was in town…