Looking around…

At the end of my previous post, I mentioned that we took my two aunties to the market in Bintulu

Bintulu tamu 1

There wasn’t much in the market proper and neither was there anything to buy at the tamu, the native/ethnic side with their jungle produce and other stuff…

Bintulu tamu 2

We did not buy the belacan (dried prawn paste) here…

Bintulu tamu 3

…as my cousin told me of a house in the vicinity of Tanjung Batu where we could get very good belacan from a lady surnamed Sim. Following my cousin’s directions, I managed to locate the place and bought all that we wanted from her. Unfortunately, it was not the season so she did not have any more cincalukΒ (fermented shrimps) for sale. We did not want to buy those at the tamu as they looked kind of overly pinkish, probably the result of the use of colouring though some say they use ang chao (the residue obtained from the making of the traditional Foochow red wine).

After we had got our belacan, we stopped by this shopping mall…

Parkcity Mall, Bintulu 1

…as I heard they have a “New World” in Bintulu…

New World, Bintulu

…and I was expecting it to be affiliated to the ones in New Zealand. Unfortunately, I was rather disappointed that it was no different from any other supermarket around and in fact, some of ours can be a whole lot better in terms of the availability of imported stuff including those from New Zealand and also Australia.

There wasn’t much at the mall proper – it was a mall like any other anywhere else…

Parkcity Mall, Bintulu 2

…but I spotted this stall…

Twinkle Pan, Bintulu 1

…selling pretzels, popcorn and cream puffs…

Twinkle Pan, Bintulu 2

I have not come across any place in Sibu selling really good cream puffs so I decided to buy these and try even though they did not come cheap at RM1.70 each. Ouch!!! I asked for a box of 6, RM9.60, meaning that there would be a discount of 10 sen each and the girl took these empty cream puff shells…

Cream puff shells

…and pumped in the cream of my choice – I went for the vanilla, the only one that I like…

Pumping in the cream

…and goodness me! She actually weighed each puff shell and repeated the action each time she had pumped in a bit of the cream to make sure that she would get that exact same amount of cream in each puff, no more no less.

I tried one right away and thought it wasn’t too bad and I finished off the rest later in the hotel…but at RM1.70 each…or even at RM1.60 after the 10 sen discount, I don’t think I would want to buy anymore ever again, thank you very much.

After we had left this mall, we stopped by the Farley branch there…

Farley, Bintulu

– we have one in Sibu and each looks like a replica of the other, almost exactly the same. You can see the Promenade at the back – that’s a new hotel coming up in Bintulu but it isn’t completed yet at this point in time.

It was way past noon already so we decided to go for lunch and I took everybody here…

All Joy, Bintulu

…for the ethnic/Dayak cuisine.

This was what I had…

What I had

– the pansoh babi (pork cooked in bamboo) and the lumuk (aka as buah terap) muda, both of which were so very good…plus the bandong (tapioca) and cucumber leaves…

Bandong & timun leaves

I loved the bandong leaves – the cucumber was all right but they had a milder taste and were overshadowed by the former. The ikan patin masak asam

Patin masak asam

…was simply excellent – I truly liked it a lot!

That was indeed a delightful meal but I had to fork out RM8.00 for all that I had picked. It certainly was a lot more expensive than what I had in Kuching which was half the price and equally nice. I guess that’s to be expected in a town with all the highly-paid “gas people” walking around with wallets and pockets bursting at the seams. Anybody would like to raise an objection to that sweeping remark? Muahahahahahaha!!!!!


Author: suituapui

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

25 thoughts on “Looking around…”

  1. The market (first photo) looks very clean, bright and airy! I don’t think I have seen a market this clean, bright and airy here in the Klang valley.

    No photo of Lady Sim’s house where you bought the belacan from?

    The cream puffs seems expensive. I don’t know how much the famous Beard Papa’s cream puffs cost over here but I know it is expensive enough that I have not bought any till today. The ladies you were with did not want to eat any of the cream puffs that you have bought (since you ate all of them on your own)?

    RM8 for 1 fish, 1 meat and 2 vege dishes is a good price over here. I guess Bintulu and PJ price is about the same. I think I will like to eat the bandong leaves and assam fish.

    The market in Sibu is like this too…and a whole lot bigger. My friend from NZ enjoyed walking around there – spent almost an hour and I had to drag her away. Locals like us are bored to death – would just go and buy and leave – everything was so very interesting to her.

    Yes, I only realised when I came home and browsed through my photos taken in Bintulu that I forgot to take photographs of that Sim’s place. I would have loved to feature it here but I guess one can ask anybody in Bintulu – they will tell you where. My BIL buys for us regularly – they all look identical, must be from the same place (and I think he lives just across the road).

    Never tried Beard Papa’s but Kee’s are very good, big too…and lots of cream inside. Dunno how much they cost, people would buy for me everytime. I did tell the ladies what I bought – they did not seem interested. Seems they can get them easily in Kuching. My missus had one, back in the hotel – not too impressed by it…and no prize for guessing who had the rest. Hehehehehehe!!!!

    Hmmmm…not at those nasi kandar places – can’t remember having anything for less than RM10. Their knives are extremely sharp… 😦

  2. i purposely stayed up to post a comment here since tomorrow I don’t have to wake up early for work but this is the fastest I can read and type. Your post was up by 5 minutes after midnight but I take another 10 minutes to read your post and type my comment. That is the faster I can comment, hehehe.

    Hehehehehehe!!!! Others did comment before that I write such lengthy posts. I guess old people tend to be like this. πŸ˜‰ Much easier if it is just one photo and a few lines – just hit and run. Thanks for your dedication. πŸ˜‰

  3. Oh i think i’ve seen this market before on some random TV show, would love to visit the place πŸ˜€

    Warung Kita – they’re showing the repeats for the umpteenth time on Astro right now. Last week, they had Sibu. Old show – 2011. Next episode will be this one on Bintulu – they show the market in this one…

  4. There’s a shop here called Papa Beard in Midvalley shopping mall selling cream puffs and e-claires.. Lagi gila I tell you, 3 pieces for RM11+ or 12.90.. That was like 1 or 2 years ago.. Now not sure.. *faint*..

    Never tried those but I had Kee’s a couple of times – people bought for me when I went over. We had one place here – theirs were better but they’ve wrapped up their business and I have not found any place here that makes decent cream puffs since. I thought these were mighty pricey and I expected it to be so so so good – pretty much the same, ok, not bad, good enough…that’s about it, nothing sensational that would merit that price. At least, Kee’s are HUGE and have lots of cream inside. Dunno how much they cost though.

  5. twinklepan is a cute name! i wouldn’t mind trying their pretzels and popcorn if they came to KL πŸ˜€

    Oh? I thought it was some foreign franchise. Googled it and found they have outlets in Kuching. Probably it’s a Sarawak original franchise then. Yes, that’s a real nice name. Brings to mind…Peter Pan.

  6. Bintulu sure changed a lot.

    when think of Pretzel, Anne’s Pretzel comes to mind.

    Yes, had those in KL. Melissa’s favourite…and she likes the cinnamon rolls at the stall usually found next to it as well, can’t remember the name now. No cream puffs from either of these though.

  7. I hoped you would have a photo of the cream puff girl looking up at you XD
    I would’ve been one of those “gas people” if I had not trusted those managers who came to give us career talks in college when they said results are not important, and actually studied hard to get that first class degree. They do get well paid, don’t they, those “gas people”….

    I’m sure they do… πŸ˜‰

  8. I’m from Bintulu. The last time I brought my son back to Bintulu from KL to visit his grandma was in May this year. Too bad we didn’t have a car and ended up staying in the house only. Didn’t manage to go look see look see how Bintulu has developed.

    That’s why I decided to drive there. Hard without a car and nobody to take you around. I knew my cousin would be busy with all the things to do for her daughter’s wedding banquet and all.

  9. I think Bintulu looks nicer than many towns! Even the ceiling of the wet market looked interesting in your photography skills with all the produce below. Nice shot!
    I didn’t know that cincaluk needs the right season to make and sell. I thought it is all year round available like in Melaka.
    I would agree that a good belacan is the essential most important ingredient to make good meals esp many Thai dishes and sambal otherwise it would be disaster…… LOL

    Yes, I do think many of the towns here look better than some in the peninsula – the whole identity and feel is completely different.

    Cincaluk is easily available when the bubuk comes up on the beaches and everybody would make/buy and keep those fresh ones. May be available all year round – not so fresh already. The good ones would have been snapped up right away, no more left. Malacca ones? No, thank you – does not have the wangi…and so so so salty.

    Indeed, must have good belacan even though so expensive – They’re RM55 a kilo, these Bintulu ones. A friend gave me a Penang one, smelled nice…but tasted different and so salty – everything I cooked using that did not turn out great at all. 😦

  10. Of all the abovementioned Dayak cuisine, I only like the ikan patin masak assam. The rest I don’t think I am fond of. Am a typical Chinese who is not adventurous into Dayak cuisine.

    To each his own. Like how many love Japanese or Italian so much – I don’t mind going for those sometimes for a change but can’t say I like them more than the rest. I’d prefer Thai, Indonesian, Indian, Malay (if not too oily which it usually is) – all the more exotic cuisines and the ethnic stuff but of course, it does not mean I like them all. Some, I like…some, I don’t and I would not know unless I try.

    Personally, I find Chinese rather unexciting – like the rest, some may be nice…provided there is no massive msg overload which is often the case when eating out and would put me off right away. That is why in tomorrow’s post, you will see me feasting on some of the dishes…and I did not bother to touch the rest.

  11. I always enjoy seeing how things are in other parts of the world, so thank you so much for sharing! The market certainly looks clean and well presented, and the shopping mall is cool. I love the fountain, too! πŸ™‚

    Dunno about where you are but it seemed when I was in Auckland, those huge malls that we have here were non-existent there but they’ve got really big supermarkets all over.

  12. Arthur, good post here…taking us to the market scene, the mall and their yummy snacks.. Now I’m wondering what is bandung leaves…..

    Tapioca. Bandong = tapioca, ubi kayu. The leaves are edible too…very nice.

  13. Mentioning about the girl weighing the puff shell makes me think of a stall selling fish soup, they also weigh the fish…

    Oh? I know some places sell seafood like crabs by the kilo…so they weigh and cook and charge accordingly

  14. Now that I can make my own sambal.. I don’t really buy paste that are ready made and being sold on the shelf. πŸ™Š

    We have twinkle pan in Kuching too but I have to try it…

    And… I always love lakia food….

    Have you tried Patz? Or LePau? Both very very nice. I would love to go again should I happen to hop over to Kuching anytime soon.

  15. RM 8 for that dish is a lot, even more expensive than KL/PJ standards for Chinese mix rice!

    Haha! I love how your described how the precise measurement went into making your cream puff. I guess they wanted to make each one (very) consistent in terms of weight and cream content.

    There used to be a chain here called Beard Papa’s Cream Puffs and I used to love them to bits but even though it’s a franchise, I somehow feel that the standards have dropped. The service has too, they used to be ultra welcoming as the Japanese are wont to do (it’s a Japanese chain).

    I guess they’re very calculative – must not give you more, they’ll make a loss…and can’t give you less or you’ll complain so they insist on the weighing, fair and square – all standardised…but at the prices, they’re selling them, I am sure they can give a little bit more cream. It was not quite enough, in my opinion.

    1. Yeah, that was my chief concern with Beard Papa too, they used to pipe a lot of cream into their cream puffs, and then it became less, like you said, maybe it cut into the profits.

      But they’re still selling it at the same price, albeit at reduced traffic since it wasn’t as popular as before so maybe it’s a cost saving measure.

      It’s called CREAM puff for a reason though, so I stopped going when they skimped on the cream. πŸ˜‰

      Precisely. I would like more cream too but not too much either. I think Kee’s are more cream than puff. Ling used to buy them for me when I went over.

  16. The market looks very clean and neat. Lots of things to look at. Goodness, the girl actually weighed the cream puffs! That would certainly slow things downs if she had many customers. I don’t think that is necessary at all. I mean how much cream can you actually pump into a tiny cream puff? It is quite hard to find good creams puffs. I have given up already. I am very interested in the Dayak cuisine. Something very different and hope some day I’ll have a chance to try it.

    Exactly. Had to wait for her to do that one by one, took quite a while. I would not want to buy if I was in a hurry. Come, hop over here and you can taste the ethnic cuisine – so different…and so very nice!

  17. There’s a famous Prawn noodles stall upstairs of the Wet Market, I wonder if it’s still there. New World is run by a friend who used to study in NZ (but I think he might have ventured into another F&B business).

    No wonder the name. I thought it was a branch and I could get all the NZ imports there. 😦

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