I love steamed paos like the ones from Tanjung Sepat in the peninsula or the ones here but the trouble is when you want to buy, you do not know how good they really are. You can’t judge the texture of the skin merely by looking at it…or by pressing and you can never tell whether the filling is nice or not. You will just have to buy one to try and that was exactly what I did the other day at a bakery/coffee shop at Rejang Park here

I ordered two – one meat and the other char siew at RM1.70 each.

Master Bakery pao

I’ve tried them before but I cannot exactly remember whether they were any good or if they were, to what extent.

The meat one was very nice…

Master Bakery bak pao

…with a bit of egg nestled among the minced pork filling. I love steamed paos with egg inside. However, I felt it was a bit strong on the ginger taste of which I am not quite fond of. Those who love xiao long paos would probably enjoy these as well.

The char siew one…

Master Bakery char siew pao

…was good too though it  was a tad too sweet for me. All in all, they were good enough and if I were to feel like eating steamed buns and I happened to be in the vicinity, I wouldn’t mind getting the ones here though I would not go out of my way to stop by here and buy. For one thing, they’re cheaper than what I bought from this bakery at RM2.00 each and they even charge 20 sen extra for the plastic bag that they seal the buns in. Tsk! Tsk!

And talking about that bakery, we did drop by last week to see what they might have that Melissa would enjoy. She picked up a few things that tickled her fancy and I bought a pack of these lung ngor/kay nerng kor (egg cake) to try…

Big Thumb lung ngor

Yes, they can do it very well – just like the original authentic ones that I grew up eating though I thought they could reduce the sugar as they were very good, just a bit too sweet for the likes of me. I can’t remember the price now but upon calculation, they’re a bit more expensive than the ones from Sarikei – my missus prefers those and would steadfastly insist that they’re the best.

I also bought their Portuguese egg tarts (RM2.00 each)…

Big Thumb Portuguese egg tart

…to see if they were any good and indeed, they were. I loved the fragrant crispy puff pastry and the egg custard filling was very well done too. Still, at RM2.00 each, I wouldn’t think I would be having them very often.

Sigh!!! Things certainly do not come cheap anymore these days and the sad fact is that at times, you may find that something does not meet your expectation after you have paid so much for it. Of course, it is not so bad if they’re really very nice, value for money – after all, there is no harm in pampering ourselves sometimes and I do mean sometimes!


If I remember correctly, the last time we were here was a year ago when we took Melissa’s friend and coursemate for dinner and he had the pecel lele. We had had dinner already earlier but we did try the bakso which was, at best, all right – not something that I would want to have again and I never did.

That would mean that it was way over a year ago since we last had the specialties of the house and that night, we dropped by for those. My missus had the ayam penyet (RM6.50)…

Ayam penyet Bandong

…which she enjoyed very much and they were really generous with the chicken, so much so that she could not finish and started distributing some to Melissa and me. I think they gave two slabs of the thigh but it did look like the bird was not all that big actually.

Melissa and I had the pecel lele (RM5.50)…

Pecel lele Bandong

…with its very nice ikan keli (catfish), deep fried and the rice wrapped in banana leaf…


…and its absolutely awesome sambal


Gosh! That was so so so nice!

That simple yet delightful dinner came up to only RM20.70, inclusive of drinks,  but of course, I could not resist ordering the satay…

Satay Bandong

…from the stall in the vicinity. The last time I had those, I thought they were good but there would be nicer ones elsewhere. This time around, I found that they had improved a lot and we enjoyed what we had that night a lot. I asked for 10 sticks of lamb and 10 of beef – they were all priced at 50 sen each, including the chicken, the same as the other places in town, if I am not mistaken…and they have lamb here. Most places around here do not have that and the last time I had that at Kajang a long long time ago, it was more expensive than the rest.  They also had ketupat or nasi impit here, something that I like very much but they do not seem to bother to make that available at the other satay stalls in town.

We enjoyed our dinner so much that you can be sure we would be heading back there again sometime soon…

Worth the wait…

This place has been around for quite a while now – almost a year, at least…

Junction 1

…but I had yet to set foot on the premises until the other morning.

Well, what was holding me back, you may ask? I’ve seen friends grumbling on Facebook about having to wait for ages for the food to be served, some around 45 minutes to an hour. So far, from their reviews, they were of the opinion that the food was all right though they would or could not pinpoint anything that would get them going back for more.

Anyway, we were in the vicinity that day but the other place that was supposed to serve breakfast on Saturday mornings was not open – probably they were not doing well and finally decided to concentrate on their dinner crowd only. We went around the coffee shops but most of the stalls were not open – looks like this is a place for night birds…and the early ones would most definitely not catch any worm here. Finally, as we were walking past this place, Melissa saw somebody eating tomato kway teow and she wanted that too…and so she did…

Tomato kway teow

As you can see, it’s a nice pleasant cafe’…

Junction 2

…nothing fancy…and yes, we were early. There was that table inside and another one opposite and there was another one outside but they were already eating when we arrived. Still, we had to wait quite long, no less than half an hour, before the food came.

Cili potong

The tomato kway teow with silky egg (RM7.90) was good though personally, I would prefer the gravy to be a little bit more diluted and not so strong on the tomato sauce. As it was, it would be perfect for sweet and sour fish, ikan bawal hitam (fried black pomfret) especially.

My missus had the stir-fried beef noodles (RM8.90)…

Fried beef noodles

…and she said there was too much msg and not really to her liking. I tried a bit and thought it was quite nice. Yes, it did seem kind of sweet but I think that was because they used the sweet version of the dark soy sauce…or they added a bit too much sugar.

I had their seafood tom yam bihun (RM12.00)…

Seafood tom yam bihun

…which was not very spicy, just right…and I would not think it was too expensive, considering that they had udang galah (freshwater prawns) in it…


All in all, we felt that what we had were all right except that the servings were rather huge. Perhaps it would be just nice if three persons order two dishes and share…or for small eaters, one shared by two. On the way out, I saw that the man outside, the one who was having the tomato kway teow, couldn’t finish his as well and since it was quite nice, it was probably due to the size of the serving…or the guy did not have much of an appetite so early in the morning. Some people are like that, not me! Hehehehehehe!!!!

We’d probably go back there again sometime to try some of the other items on their menu but of course, we’d have to go on a day when we’re very free and have a lot of time on our hands…

I’ve been busy these last few days sending things to friends here, there and everywhere. I don’t know exactly how many of them have received their respective mails but it does not really matter as the contents are non-perishable so it would be perfectly all right if there are any delays.

I, for one, do believe that as one gives, so shall one receive…or as the saying goes, what goes around comes around and true enough, yesterday I received this bag of goodies…

Goodies from Australia

…from a cousin of mine in Brisbane, Australia, thank you so much to her for them. I must say that this is indeed very timely as the school holidays are coming up at the end of this week and Melissa loves all these. I am sure she would have a great time cooking them…and no prize for guessing who would be enjoying eating them. Wink! Wink!

Throw it all away…

I don’t know if it’s the same over at your place but here, when we buy char siew (barbecued pork) or roast pork…

Roast pork
*Archive photo*

…home, they would give you the char siew sauce or the roast pork sauce respectively. Usually when you eat in, they may pour the sauces over the meat and serve. My daughter loves the one they have for roast duck – if I’m not mistaken, they have sour plum in that one.

Anyway, when we buy home the char siew or the roast pork, we would just eat the meat like that and never bother about the sauce and usually, my missus would just throw it all away. I have heard of people using the char siew sauce to fry meat for the filling in their own homemade steamed paos (buns) but whatever one does with it,- is fine by me – I think it is such a waste to simply discard it like that. Well, we bought some roast pork ourselves the other day and when I opened the little plastic bag of the sauce, I could smell its fragrance, bursting with flavours – if I’m not mistaken, I think I could detect the use of five-spice powder in it. I just chucked it in the fridge in the hope that I might put it to good use on a later date.

A couple of days later, we had some leftover rice and I decided to fry that using the sauce and this was what I dished out in the end…

Roast pork sauce fried rice

Nothing fancy, more or the less the usual – frying the sliced shallots and garlic in a little bit of oil, adding the slices of fish cake and chili followed by the rice and the thinly-sliced French beans, pouring in the sauce and mixing it altogether well and last but not least, throwing in the eggs and sprinkling the chopped spring onions all over it. It would be nice if we had some roast pork left but unfortunately, we had eaten all of it and that was why I used the fish cake instead…and normally, peas would be nice when frying rice this way but my daughter does not like green peas and anyway, I did not have those in the freezer so I added the French beans instead for a little bit of green.

So was it nice?

Roast pork sauce fried rice 2

Well, I would say it tasted really great and I certainly would not mind frying rice with the sauce again should we happen to have any at hand…and I certainly would save a bit of the roast pork for that the next time around.

Moving away from the post proper, I stopped by one of my favourite bakeries in town and I could not resist getting one of these…

German pudding 1

…to try. They called it “German pudding” which I thought was a not-so-glamorous name and it looked like a cross between an egg tart and a Portuguese egg tart with the torched bits on top like that.

The filling turned out to be…

German pudding 2

…something like a cross between egg custard and cheesecake – the type that you chill to set. Probably there was cheese in it and hence, the name, “German”, I wouldn’t know. Well, I thought it was quite nice though personally, I would prefer plain ol’ egg custard…and anyway, at RM2.90 each, I would much sooner go for my plate of kampua noodles which would be a whole lot more filling and I probably would enjoy it a lot more.

I also bought their Japanese baked cotton cheesecake…

Wecare Japanese cotton cheesecake

…which was RM14.00 each when my blogger-friend from Malacca/Penang came to town and she bought one to try and she loved it a lot! I remember it was less sometime ago, around RM10.00…but now, it is RM15.00 each. A Bintangor friend, currently teaching in Banting, Selangor, bought one too when she was here and she said it was very nice, just as nice as those she could get in the peninsula…and a whole lot cheaper! In fact, Mamakucing and the rest had one when they were here and they thought it was really good too!

Well, Melissa loves it and even though she can bake her own, she would hardly have time for much else on working days as she is the type that is so very serious and conscientious in her work. So, I decided to get one for her to take to her jungle school to enjoy and to share with her friends there. Sigh!!! Which parent wouldn’t do the same? You would too, wouldn’t you?


In my younger days, I hardly ever got to go for any wedding luncheon or dinner unless it was somebody in the family who was getting married.

I do remember, however, how there would usually be two men seated at a table by the entrance or near it with a mini-suitcase by the side. In later years, that was replaced by the so-called “James Bond bag”. One of the men would collect the ang paos from the guests arriving and he would take out the money and count and then he would say the name of the guest out loud and the amount given. The man seated beside him would write it all down in  a thin exercise book and the money would be thrown into the suitcase, all of which would be handed over to the host at the end of the day.

That reminded me of the scribe and the tax collector in those Biblical days and I would not say that was a very good system, not that anyone gave two hoots and was in any way bothered about it, since it was the accepted practice at the time. However, there was one time when somebody gave RM100 in RM50 denomination and as he was walking away, he thought he heard RM50 only. So he went back and checked and true enough, only RM50 had been recorded in the exercise book. He demanded for the ang pao packet and the man took it out of his shirt pocket – the other RM50 note was inside. No one could tell whether it was accidental or intentional but obviously, this seemingly foolproof way of collecting ang paos may be abused by unscrupulous individuals if they were thus inclined.

I also remember one thing – the exercise book would have to be kept and when one was invited by one of those guests in the list, one would have to attend and give that same amount – you cannot give more nor less. Good grief! Way back then, people would usually give RM10.00 only per head. Imagine if I were to go to a wedding reception today and give, according to the past record, just RM10.00. That was quite a lot then but it is certainly too little by today’s standards.

People often lament when they get a string of those red “summonses”…

Wedding invitations

…as that would mean they would have to keep forking out the money for the ang paos.

However, things may be, at times, a little different here. I don’t know who started this trend but very often, one would get to see this…

No gifts

…in the invitation cards. Some would be more specific and state that gifts in cash or kind are respectfully declined…and some would also include congratulatory messages (in the newspapers).

Yes, at any wedding in town, there would be those people from the local Chinese dailies hovering around like hawks, waiting to swoop down on you the moment you’re seated. It wouldn’t be so bad if there is just one or two but more often than not, there are a number of them and it can get somewhat irritating when they come round to ask you again and again and at times, the same one even – they certainly are quite persistent. I think it costs RM20.00 per head to add your name to a list of others in a congratulatory message in the paper the next day or so. Actually, I would rather give an ang pao even if it means I would need to give more for I do feel that in cases such as these, the only people laughing all the way to the bank would be those newspaper companies.

I guess if you’re one of those rich tycoons in town, you can easily afford to throw a grand and impressive party anytime but rich or poor, I am pretty sure that any parent and the newly-weds would have saved up more than enough for the special and happy occasion. Still. I do feel it is better to let people give an ang pao

Wedding ang pao

…as a token, more in appreciation of the invitation than anything else. Tradition has it that when people give you something, you have to give something in return and the same applies here. They have invited you so an ang pao would be in order and the best gesture to show that you appreciate it very much, much better than buying a gift. I was told once that in the past, in western societies where giving ang paos is not the norm, the intending bride and groom would pass a list of things that they would need or want for their relatives or friends to choose what to buy for them – that certainly was a good idea and one would not end up with a dozen tea sets and half a dozen toasters and rice cookers. I’m not sure if they still do that these days or not.

If I’m not wrong, this practice of not accepting gifts, cash or kind, is quite unheard of outside of Sibu…and I am glad that people have done away with the “scribe and tax collector” system of collecting ang paos these days. It seems that they would just prepare a box and you can just drop your ang pao inside…like depositing cheques at the bank. Whatever it is,  I don’t mind really as I love going for weddings, meeting friends and mingling with the other guests, basking in the joy all around and enjoying the food…


Yum! Yummmm!!!! What about you?

Whispering pines…

Do you buy the more expensive imported fragrant rice or worse, the ones from Bario? Of course, they’re nicer but unfortunately, they do not come cheap.

I have this pandan (screwpine) plant in my garden…

Pandan plant

…and usually, I would just cut a couple of the leaves, tie them in a knot and drop them into the rice…

Pandan leaves in rice

…when I’m cooking any.

Somebody commented to me once that when cooking, the fragrance would fill the whole kitchen but when eating, it did not seem to make much of a difference. I can’t say that I disagree – maybe if we eat both side by side – one with and one without, one may find that they’re not exactly the same, I wouldn’t know. For one thing, I found that the fragrant rice would only be fragrant when I opened a new bag of it but after a while, it did not seem all that fragrant anymore. Again, I could not be sure whether it was because I had got used to the smell so much so that I did not seem to detect it any longer or perhaps, it should not be kept for too long, I wouldn’t know either.

Whatever it is, word has it that the pandan leaves have health benefits for instance, they could be a natural remedy for gout and since I have a ready supply in my garden, it certainly would do no harm to just throw a few into the rice when cooking.

The leaves are used a lot in Thai cooking – the most popular being their pandan chicken…

Pandan chicken
*Archive photo*

…and I do know that they are used in the tying of nyonya bak chang (meat dumplings) as well. Even where those bamboo leaves are used, some will put a little piece of pandan inside or immerse the leaves in the water when boiling the dumplings for the very nice fragrance…and you can see the leaves used here in the very nice nyonya lor mai kai

Nyonya lor mai kai
*Archive photo*

…that used to be available here but unfortunately, they have taken it off their menu.

On my part, other than throwing them in the rice, I hardly use the leaves in cooking. I may have thrown in a few leaves as well when cooking my own satay beef or chicken, I can’t really remember now as I have not cooked that for a long time now but I definitely would have some when cooking let tao th’ng (green bean soup/porridge)…

Let tao th'ng

…which is said to have cooling properties and would be ideal for the current hot, dry and hazy weather that we are experiencing right now. The pandan leaves will  help give it a special fragrance and since they are claimed to have certain health benefits, this should be encouraged even more.

Likewise, adding pandan to your tong sui (sweet potato soup) or your homemade soya bean milk will enhance the taste and bring it to a whole new level and I know they use the colour for some Malay kuehs as well as in other ways, in the making of their delightful delicacies though I am not sure whether they will use the real thing or those available in bottles in the shops.

I’m not too sure whether it will make any difference in the rice that I fry for breakfast in the morning or not though. I guess everybody would know pretty well by now that I would do that whenever there is any leftover rice from the day before in the fridge. With all the fragrance and flavours of the ingredients used, I suppose it does not really matter what rice one uses…like my usual kampung-style fried rice that I cooked the other morning…

Kampung fried rice

…with prawns, belacan (dried prawn paste) and thinly-sliced French beans thrown in, no added salt and no msg. Yum! Yummmm!!!

What about you? Do you use pandan leaves in your cooking?

Some do, some don’t…

Have you tried the smelly tofu, the very popular street food in Taiwan? I understand that it is available at some places here too. Do you like it? I guess some do and some don’t and the same applies in the case of tau joo or fermented tofu…

Tau joo

We always have a bottle in the house and my missus is the one who would eat it whenever we have porridge but on my part, I would not touch it with a ten-foot pole.

Well, the other morning, I spotted some leftover bihun in the pantry so I decided to cook that for breakfast and soaked the remaining three pieces in hot water to soften…


I have heard of people marinating meat with tau joo (and ang chao)for deep frying…

Pork dish
*Archive photo*

…and I must say that I enjoyed it a lot. Well, people have used all sorts of things to cook their fried rice including the Korean kim chi which is another thing that does not tickle my fancy so I was thinking that it might be nice – frying bihun with tau joo. My missus, for one, would love it since she likes it a lot.

These were the ingredients that I used…


…and I only took two of the tau joo cubes for fear that it might be too salty.

As always, I fried the sliced shallots and garlic in a bit of oil till golden brown before adding the tau joo, mashed, followed by the sliced chili (good for colour as it was not hot at all) and the bihun, mixing everything together the best I could. Then I added a spoonful of my missus’ pounded chili (for that much-need spicy kick) and the egg.

There were some taugeh (bean sprouts) in the fridge so I threw a bit of that in as well. Once I felt it was cooked enough, I dished everything out…

Tau joo bihun 1

…onto a plate.

Well, I would say that it was nice, very nice – with all those ingredients, it could not possibly be not nice…but unfortunately, there wasn’t even the slightest hint of the tau joo. It certainly looks like I will have to use more the next time I cook bihun this way…

Tau joo bihun 2

I did get to taste a bit of it that probably was not mixed well with everything else and hey! It was very nice and I loved it!

Moving away from the post proper, I just thought I would share this here. My missus cooked this for lunch the other day with tau cheo (fermented beans) sauce…

Taucheo fish

…and it looked so good that I just had to share it on my Facebook page and now, here as well.

Of course, it tasted really nice as well…but it is pretty obvious that that was a lot of work. I would think it is perfect for serving on special occasions or when we have guests over for dinner. Otherwise, I would rather go for something a lot simpler. Anyway, as long as she enjoys it, I am certainly not complaining. After all, looking at some of the recipes available online, they all seem like a lot of work. Maybe some do enjoy it, some don’t…and I must say that I belong to the latter. What about you?

Time changes everything…

Nothing stays the same. Time changes everything though not necessarily for the worse. There are places selling kampua noodles that are not quite like what we used to eat when we were growing up – many will write them off straight away, others may actually prefer these to the old-school ones.

The other day, I had a photograph of some lung ngor in my post – they were from the stall selling local Foochow delights here but though they looked the same, I did not really think they were very nice – nothing like what we grew up eating.

There is another place in town that is very popular – two, in fact, and I hear they’re the same and one is actually a branch of the other. My missus did go and buy once and I thought that the smell of the essence was somewhat overpowering and we never bought any since. Well, not too long ago, I went and bought some to take to Kuching and I tried one. I could not detect any essence in it anymore – probably there have been others complaining about it or they have decided not to use it to cut down cost in view of the rising prices of everything these days. However, to me, it was a bit too sweet and the taste and the texture were not like the ones we had in the past. Maybe they use a blender – which would make a world of difference…and maybe they scrimp on the ingredients so somehow the kay nerng kor (egg cake) flavour just does not seem to be there, I don’t know but the bottom line is that I do not think they are like the ones before – some people may like them, not that they taste bad or anything…but I don’t.

I bought some in Bintangor once to try…

Bintangor lung ngor
*Archive photo*

…but I cannot say that it swept me off my feet. However, one point in their favour would be the fact that they actually looked like what lung ngor was like in the past. That was the original shape and size, as far as I can remember.

Personally, I prefer the ones from Sarikei

Sarikei lung ngor

We can get these at the shops around the corner from my house but they get sold out very quickly and it seems that those people will get fresh supplies on alternate days only so they are not always readily available. This particular “cake store” is also noted for its Foochow-style mooncake biscuits and their old-school cake.

You can see the glistening surface of their lung ngor

Sarikei lung ngor 2

If I’m not wrong, one would need to brush the surface with oil, probably margarine, while cooking – I guess they do not use butter these days as it is way too expensive…and this is something you do not get to see as far as the rest are concerned.

More importantly, of course, would be the taste and the texture…

Sarikei lung ngor 3

…and I find that these have maintained, more of less, those qualities that I used to enjoy in the ones I had before when I was young.

Some of you may just brush me off as being old and say that I am not receptive to change…but actually, I am. For instance, I do love the newer versions of our kampua noodles more than the old-school ones. Honestly, I certainly do not mind change – maybe others are of a different opinion but I do not think much of what we have around these days can be considered as an improvement of those before. Our kompias have grown smaller, are not always perfectly round and nicely browned on top and are so thin that it would be difficult to cut them to stuff some filling inside…and the sweeter version, our chu-nu-miangs, have suffered the same fate.

And talking about chu-nu-miang, my missus bought some the other day…and that same day, she made some prawn-vegetable (long beans) fritters and an idea struck my mind. If they can have chicken sandwiches and burgers and those with fried fish fillet in them, the two would probably go well together…

Chu-nu-miang burger 1

…and they did!

I sliced the chu-nu-miang, lined the bottom with some green veg and placed the prawn-vegetable fritter on top, added a dash of Thai chili sauce and ate…

Chu-nu-miang burger 2

Oooooo….it was so good that I made more and I ate and ate till I was bursting at the seams and I simply could not take in anymore.

There! Now, who says I am not open to changes and would not try anything new? I am all for change…not for the sake of changing, but only if change is for the better.

Deep purple…

My niece gave me these made-in-Singapore noodles sometime ago…

Purple wheat noodles

…and I loved the chili lime flavour…

Chili lime
*Archive photo*

…very much. Yes, they’re purple – after all, as you can see on the packet, they’re purple wheat noodles. She only gave me one packet of the aglio olio…and since my daughter’s a fan of pasta, I thought she might love that and gave it to her – and she did. That, of course, meant that I never got to try it.

Well, they are now available at a supermarket near my house – the Marketplace at the Delta Mall and the other day, my daughter bought me a pack each of both flavours. I think they’re over RM9.00 for a pack of 5 so it works out to around RM2.00 each. No, it’s not cheap but we do get some nice products from the island republic here and if we convert the prices back to their currency, somehow or other, it does seem that they cost more over there – not very much, but still, they’re cheaper here…and I don’t know why.

Anyway, I took a packet of the aglio olio flavour to try the other morning. Inside, there were the very fragrant canola oil and the seasoning powder…

Oil & seasoning 1

…which I placed on a plate…

Oil & seasoning 2

…following the instructions given. I only used half of the seasoning powder though in case it might be a bit too salty for me. Incidentally, I checked the fine print and I was delighted that there was no msg in the list of ingredients…or maybe, I need a pair of glasses, I wouldn’t know.

I boiled the noodles, drained and tossed them with the ingredients and served with a bit of green veg and one hard-boiled egg…

Aglio Olio purple wheat noodles

Yes, it was very nice but if I remember correctly, I prefer the chili lime flavour more but that was quite a while ago and I can’t really tell. I will have to cook that one of these days to confirm.

Oops!!! The yolk was not as soft and moist as I would like it to be…

Hardboiled eggs

That’s the thing about residual heat in cooking – whatever you cook, it will still go on cooking as there would be the heat all around till it has cooled down…and in boiling eggs, usually I would leave it in cold water while I go on to do some other things prior to peeling and serving. That morning, I forgot to do that and I took quite a while to cook the noodles and that was the result. Never mind! It was still good and that was all that mattered.

Anyone wants to try the noodles?