For a while…

I got a phone call one day from an ex-classmate of mine asking me and my family out for dinner as an old friend of ours, also an ex-classmate, would be home for a while from Australia and we took him here for the best exotic delights that would be hard to come by anywhere else.

They had something new on their menu – chicken curry…

Payung Cafe, Sibu chicken curry

…which I thought was not bad, different from what we would cook ourselves at home and from those I would find elsewhere but no, I did not think I liked it more than their Bangladeshi lamb curry…

Payung Cafe, Sibu Bangladeshi lamb curry

…which would be dry/thick with not much gravy but bursting with flavours and tasting absolutely out of this world. They really do it so very well that it certainly would difficult to top that.

It so happened that I went to Kanowit with my friend, Philip, home from the US, that morning and I bought a kilo of dabai (local back olives) so I brought them along with me and I told the boss to help prepare some for us to enjoy…

Dabai from Kanowit

…and keep the rest for himself and his staff. Gosh!!! These were so very good and even though they did not come cheap, RM20 a kilo, they were worth it as I had not had any so good probably since the time when I was much younger. The quality of the fruit varies from tree to tree and very often, the sellers would let you try the good ones but in actual fact, in their baskets, they have mixed the good ones with the not-so-good ones so when you buy some home, you would end up so very disappointed when you sit down to enjoy them. Thankfully, the Iban lady that I bought these from did nothing of the sort and without doubt, they were all from one very very good tree.

To reciprocate, the boss gave us this dessert…

Buah sukun dessert

..made from steaming buah sukun (breadfruit) and coating it with grated coconut and sugar. It was nice – I thought it tasted something like those Malay or nyonya kuihs.

Of course, we had their other favourites as well including these belimbing prawns…

Payung Cafe, Sibu belimbing prawns

…and their otak-otak

Payung Cafe, Sibu otak-otak

…and not forgetting their very special rojak, our Malaysian salad…

Payung Cafe, Sibu rojak

For dessert, they had the durian ice cream…

Payung Cafe, Sibu durian ice cream

…which our Aussie friend enjoyed to the max and he kept having photographs of it and also of him eating it taken to post on Facebook to tag and torture his friends Down Under. LOL!!!

My missus had their jelly pisang while my daughter ordered her favourite, their kahlua ice cream…

Payung Cafe, Sibu kahlua ice cream

I asked for their banana cake with ice cream to share…

Payung Cafe, Sibu banana cake with ice cream

…as my friend was telling us about how bananas there cost more than AUD$20 a kilo, almost AUD$30, so I thought he might want to have this to enjoy but no, it was quite obvious that it was the durian that made his day.

That certainly was a delightful dinner – great food, great company, thank you so much, Robert, for the invitation and it sure was nice seeing you again, Michael – you’d probably be back again next year for our biennial high school reunion so we’ll get together again then…

Author: suituapui

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

30 thoughts on “For a while…”

  1. Oh we usually deep fry the bread fruit and sprinkle with salt. Did not think of serving it as dessert, something new for me to learn 😀

    There are many more ways to cook the fruit other than just deep frying. When done that way, I love it with butter and peanut butter – eaten when hot. Yummmmmm!!!! Can use or-koi (yam cake) style too…or for bubur cacar. Very versatile.

  2. The durian ice cream ! Wow… I want !! The chicken curry seems like the dry type. I can have it with rice anytime ! Yums !

    The 2nd one is quite dry – my daughter;s favourite. Our own home-cooked curry is not so watery as the usual Malay ones either, the gravy’s a lot thicker and richer.

  3. heheh, i can imagine the photos of your friend enjoying the durian ice cream would be cute and hilarious! 😀

    Now he’s back in Oz so he’s in that same boat…and will always complain about being tortured by my food pics on Facebook. Hehehehehehe!!!

  4. When I see lamb curry, I thought of Mel.. Oohh dabai not cheap.. How they cook the dabai? I can see chilies inside the dish.. Like mun, I wonder how dabai tastes like.. Hmm, where’s the mushroom rolls this time, keke..

    Aiyor!!!!! People back from Oz and you want to order mushroom with CHEESE for him to eat??? They have all kinds there, wouldn’t want to give our miserable ones here a second glance.

    Chili with dabai? No, no such thing. How to cook? How to eat? Hard to explain lah. Just hop over when it is in season and try. (In fact, I am saving some in the freezer for my friends, coming over from Trengganu next month.) Just like how some people do not like avocado, some will not like dabai either and there are good ones, not so good ones and horrible ones – the ones we had that night was simply the best! Really enjoyed it.

  5. Those olives look really good. I haven’t had good quality olives in a few years. I must purchase some since I’m now craving them!

    I wonder what fresh olives at your end taste like. Here, I’ve only had the pickled ones and I did not like them. 😦

    1. I don’t like them either. I get mine from California. They grown them there. They are pricey but definitely worth the cost since they taste better than those nasty pickled ones.

      Ahhhhh!!!! I’m not alone then. These local ones, they pickle them too and no, I am not fond of them either. My parents love them, especially with plain porridge so we’d make a bottle and they’d eat them all by themselves.

  6. This place never fail to impress its patron. Like the look of the chicken curry as well as the lamb curry.

    Have you gone there to try yet? They have some non-spicy dishes and your kids can go for the pasta.

    1. Not yet 😦 but I will make sure I go there before I go back to Kuching. 😉 My kids dont really like pasta.

      Awwwwww!!!! The non-spicy dishes – the mushroom roll, kacang ma (ask for extra wine, say you’re my friend) and quite a few other dishes, non-spicy. We always order the spicy ones as we enjoy those, that’s why. Can ask them, they will tell you – nice people there and they know what is on the menu very well…especially the Indian guy, Andy.

  7. Food looks so tempting. They are so generous with the rojak sauce. I like the breadfruit either deep fruit or in bubur cha cha. That was indeed an awesome dinner.

    You can try using it to make Chinese cake like or koi (steamed yam cake). VERY nice also. Cam cook curry too, like potatoes.

  8. I wonder if I bring a bag of dabai to the restaurant here and ask them to cook for me, what will be their reaction. Never seen them here before hahaha. Actually, I only learned that you can bring your own ingredients and ask the restaurant to prepare for you when I came to Penang. In KL, they will usually tell you to f*** off 😦

    Oh dear!!! We have brought our own prawns, our own fish…not a problem – they will just charge for the service…but this particular one, maybe not – they’re more like friends already.

  9. oh the steamed buah sukun coated with grated coconut and sugar looks kind of nice.. and hmmm, at first i thought i have not known about or seen or tasted this buah sukun before, but i saw the center of the fruit, and remember this is something very common at those pisang goreng stall right?? those they slice into thin round pieces.. i like to eat that actually, have been thinking it’s some kind of yam but doesn’t really taste like one, and hence i have always been wondering what could it be~~ now, you enlightened me!! thanks.. 🙂

    Yup, they do fry those even here, in triangular slices at the pisang goreng stalls for sale, along with sweet potatoes, yam, all those. I would remove the core completely though – not really edible that part.

  10. Why the banana looks very expensive over there ya?

    They do not plant their own, I guess – temperate climate. May be from the tropical north or the Pacific/Fiji islands…and they’re not nice too, not like our local bananas.

  11. RM20 a kilo still cheap comparing to the ones you bought before..if not mistaken it was rm30 plus a kilo , right?

    Yes, I bought once at that price for my mum as she was asking for it and there was only one boy selling it – thankfully, it was good. It’s usually around RM20 here, sometimes more, sometimes less…depending on the supply but I thought it would be cheaper in Kanowit, being a small town…like it was only RM10 at Lachau and the ones I bought there were very good too!

  12. It was great catching up with all . Guess what,Gerald even drove me to Binatang for some rojak.. Thanks Robert. Catch up with you guys next year.

    The name’s Bintangor now, the rojak’s really good – I would always bring a bottle of the sauce home every time. See you again next year!

  13. In Payung cafe, one can never go wrong with the food, right!! All the food and desserts looks so delish!! I wanna try the ice cream with whatever…. the last time we went, I didn’t try any… maybe you didn’t recommend those to me last time.. how come ah?

    You all sneaked there when I was home having my afternoon nap, did not want to bring me along mah! 😛

  14. How was the dabai prepared? I may have forgotten what you shared about this fruit in your earlier posts. I forget things easily these days. I have not eaten breadfruit before. But I did remember my dad brought one home many years ago but we did not get to sample it. My mum must have made it disappear 🙂

    Dabai, we just soak in warm water – NOT hot or boiling (will turn as hard as stone) and not cold either, and wait till it has turned soft. It can be eaten like that, with fish sauce or air budu as a dip…but the Chinese will usually toss with soy sauce and sugar and eat like what we had in this blogpost that night. Can use to fry rice too…or use the pickled ones for that:

    Sukun, see my bubur cacar with it here:

  15. Those dabai (local back olives) really heavenly good from the way you described it. You know what to do.. di jamin sampai esok lah..

    To have these over there, they must be hand carried in an open bag. If you pack and seal it to send by post, they would be “cooked” by the heat and the stuffiness and by the time, you get them, they would not be edible anymore. Even when we buy home here, they are best eaten on the day itself as the skin would start to wrinkle and it will be come thick and hard by the third day on and would not be nice anymore.

  16. well, i like the preserved and sweteened Malaysian “olives” but never try the fresh ones…..
    the restaurant gor a comforting meals, the otak2 is slightly diffrent from what we had in Indonesia, we didn’t give spices especially chillis within it, instead we dip it in chilli and peanut sauce

    Different from the famous ones from Muar, Johore too (which is the same as the nyonya ones in Singapore – it’s in fish cake form, no chinks of fish)…and Penang would have its own version – fish chunks in egg custard, steamed. I like the one here best!

    Sweetened Malaysian olives??? I wonder where they’re from. For sure, there is none in mainland Malaysia…and I only know we will only have those if we make our own at home – salted, fermented though…not sweet.

  17. That annoying technique by fruit vendors. Tsk! We have such vendors here too. They let you taste the good ones and then give you the bad ones. I was tricked using this technique plenty of times. I never learn he he

    I hear they do that in China too. Trick you right under your very nose. Terrible, these people. May they burn in hell, cheating unsuspecting innocent customers!

  18. How generous of you to let the boss and staff keep the balance of the dabai…one good deed reciprocate another 🙂

    That’s what friends are for… 😉

  19. Hmm…is that buah sukun / breadfruit thing the same as the yuka stuff that old folks like to eat with a strong cup of coffee from Sungai Merah?

    I think yuca is tapioca, ubi kayu. I love that too…with attap sugar/gula apong.

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own. For food and other reviews, you may email me at

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: