Keep it quiet…

I mentioned in my previous post that I told my Trengganu friends to go on and have breakfast on their own as I had something on and I would only be picking them up a while later at 9.00 a.m. Well, the truth was that it was my girl‘s birthday that day and I had wanted to hold some kind of celebration for her but she did not want anything of the sort and said that she would prefer to just keep it quiet. Of course, we HAD to have the usual customary practice of eating our Foochow mee sua or longevity noodles…

Mee sua
*Archive photo*

…with eggs first thing in the morning before we went out.

That night, we went for dinner here together with my Trengganu friends and I asked the boss beforehand to prepare for us his very special made-to-orderΒ ulam

Payung ulam

…with the three kinds of sambal (dip). Needless to say, we enjoyed that so so much – I think my missus was the one who loved it the most especially as the dips were a little on the spicy side. The fried ikan bilis (dried anchovies) that came with it was really very good too – this is available on their menu but I think I only had that once before simply because there are too many nice things here that I would want to order and this has always been sidelined.

Since it was my girl’s birthday, I had to order her favourite – the Bangladeshi lamb curry (RM17.00)…

Payung Bangladeshi lamb curry

…and yes, it was absolutely superb as always.

My friends were impressed by the Payung rojak

Payung rojak

…and taken by surprise to learn that the leaves of the buah kedondongΒ (umbra) were, in fact, edible. Like everyone else before them, they tried…and they loved it too!

They liked the otak-otak

Payung otak-otak

– anytime better than the fish-cake textured Muar (or the Singapore nyonya) version, they said but it seemed that they had not tried Penang’s so they were not in any position to compare. They did insist, however, that we should visit them in Trengganu someday so we would be able to try their version with whole fish inside and they were pretty sure we would love theirs too.

We also had the Kuching Hakka specialty, a must for Chinese ladies in confinement, the kacang ma chicken (RM16.00)…

Payung kacang ma chicken

…with a special request for extra white wine. I don’t think they were overwhelmed by it – in fact, when I first tried the dish, I did not think it was all that great either but eventually, I grew to love it more and more and now, I truly enjoy it a lot! I suppose it is some kind of an acquired taste which probably explains why it is not all that popular in the predominantly-Foochow town of Sibu.

This was what they loved the most that night – the one and only Payung mushroom roll (RM8.00)…

Payung mushroom roll

…and while they were enjoying every bite of it and singing its praises, they were already making plans to try and make their own once they got back home to Trengganu. Yes, it IS that good!

We did get a cake for my girl for her birthday…

Melissa's birthday cake

…and we brought it along that night. I asked the staff to cut a slice for each of us for dessert and to enjoy the rest of it themselves.

Then, when I went to settle the bill for the delightful dinner, the boss told me that the ulam was on the house. Gee!!! Don’t you think that was so very nice of him? He said he enjoyed doing it and did not mind it one bit preparing that for us that evening.

Well, my only hope was that my friends, on their last night in Sibu, enjoyed that exotically-unique dinner that one would not be able to find anywhere else…and from the look of it, I do think I can safely say that they most certainly did and at the same time, we did get to celebrate my girl’s birthday as well…in a quiet kind of way, just as she had wanted it.

Author: suituapui

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

31 thoughts on “Keep it quiet…”

  1. The sambal dips look awesome! Spicy? A big YES from me πŸ˜€

    Best thing was they were different from the usual belacan dips and the rest. Can only get them here…

  2. the food looks good.. whereabout is this place in Sibu?
    And oh! happy birthday to your dear daughter.

    Thanks. Payung is along Lanang Road, back to back with the new Kingwood Hotel extension/multi-storey car park. If you’re driving round the front of the hotel and down the road at the far end to the right of the hotel, go straight ahead to Lanang Road straight ahead…and when you get to the junction, this place is to your left – small cosy place, not easy to spot the sign though.

  3. I guess more and more people prefer quiet birthdays nowadays, it is actually quite stressful when friends and family keep trying to “surprise” you with birthday celebrations.
    Kacang ma! I had it occasionally when I was staying with a housemate from Kuching. He loves those to bits, every time he balik kampung, he will bring back bags of those stuff and his girlfriend will cook it for dinner which I of course joined πŸ˜€ . Can’t say I like that thing though…

    You’re like me, didn’t like it at first…but then I started coming across the nicer versions and started loving it. Now, I would love to have it anytime. I guess like everything else – there are the good ones and there are the not-so-good ones…like in Penang, you need to know where to go for the nice char kway teow – not everyone can cook something well and not every place is good. Worse thing was the first time I tried, it was for some lady in confinement, no salt, no msg…and that was horrible! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

    Ya, now that you mentioned it. I was surprised to note that these days, on one’s birthday, you wait for somebody to throw a party and invite you to it and you do silly things like throwing cake on one another’s face (Tsk! Tsk! What a waste!!!) and all that…and you get so depressed when everyone “conveniently forgets” it is your birthday. It was not like that before – our time, we threw our own birthday parties and invited family and friends to come and celebrate together.

  4. I need to stop visiting your blog when I’m hungry! Those Foochow mee sua already did it for me, then the chocolate cake at the end of the post just made me drool! I love sweets xx

    LOL!!! Glad it has that effect on you. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

  5. Happy belated birthday to Melissa! This looks like a feast for a king!

    Thanks. Oh? My friends’ exact words in their Facebook status about their visit to our little town – they were treated like kings.

  6. Belated Happy Birthday to you! Look at that noodles very enticing

    Oops!!! Slow down, not me – my girl! Ya, these are our Sibu Foochow/Fuzhou longevity noodles. If you go to a Chinese restaurant where you are and ask for “longevity noodles”, you would get something different, probably the Cantonese version and theirs would not be the same. Don’t think you can get this type there, will have to come here to eat. πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€

  7. Happy belated birthday to baby darling Mel! I love that bowl of homecooked noodle soup with eggs.. I cook these noodles for the boys every weekend – noodles (yee mein/meesua/bihun) in ABC soup with eggs and assorted balls.. Ahhhh, Payung! I think of the mushroom rolls already, and yes! I see those mushroom rolls, yummmzzz!

    The mushroom roll sure stole everyone’s hearts when they tried it – love at first bite, without fail!

    Thanks for the birthday greeting. You can try cooking our Foochow-style chicken soup for your mee sua too, minus the red wine (and no need for the ang chao) – very nice too. I blogged about it here:

    1. Reading it now. Twice. Wow, thanks for sharing the post! I love love love your post.. I will cook just that, minus the red wine.. I didn’t know we can cook the chicken with just ginger.. Normally I add in oyster sauce and those stuff.. Ok, will try your soup, yummmzzzz!

      Foochow cooking is always very simple, no need to add this and that…and very nice! Got chicken already, the sweetness from the meat – what for add oyster sauce some more, the taste drowned out already.

  8. A great way to celebrate her birthday in her favourite eating place, enjoying her favourite dish as well as having other good dishes in a good company.

    Kacangma is mostly found in Kuching I think as it is Hakka-populated area. Indeed it is an acquired taste as one need to use to the bitter taste of the leaves and fragrant yet hot Hakka bitter and sweet white wine.

    Lots of ginger in it too – not to be eaten on hot days. πŸ˜€ Great with rice, so so nice. My mum never cooked this – my father is a true-blue Foochow, doesn’t eat this to this day. I only got to eat in Kuching in the 70’s. Used to tapao from the Palm Road roadside stalls – the lady would take out the white wine from under the counter to add. I think the stalls moved to Hui Sing, dunno if she’s there…and also the very nice Kuching fried mee & tomato kway teow stall. Never went to check the place out.

    1. My hubby and his sis now know how to eat and enjoy kacangma. So when I cook for them, I add salt and sugar to give it more taste. I usually add 2 cups of white wine. So my kacangma is bit of sweet, salty, and hot. Can add water if want more soup

      My missus used all my tuak that day – she ran out of white wine. Very nice also. Luckily, I managed to get myself another bottle when I went to the longhouse in Kanowit last week.

  9. As always, food looks great and in this post, I like 3 particular dishes. They are payung rojak, very generous with the paste, kacang ma, my forever favourite & mushroom roll. Last but not least, Happy Blessed Belated Birthday to Melissa.

    Everything’s nice at Payung…though not cheap and portions are not that big.

  10. Where food is concerned, I am sure your friends have many tasteful memories to take back to their hometown! Did they take any pictures of the food like what you did? I am sure they did! πŸ™‚

    Of course, they did. Food, on smartphone and shared on Facebook right away to torture their daughter-in-law – she’s from Sarawak. Was supposed to come with them but she got pregnant and had a baby, change of plans. Other photos, on their DSLR…but not uploaded and shared on Facebook yet – otherwise, I could go and steal from there. I did not take many shots of places…just the food mostly.

    And of course, they’re missing the food, not surprised – everyday, cooking one of the things they brought back and sharing the photos of Facebook and tagging me this time. πŸ˜€

  11. I know I will enjoy the dinner…all the dishes look so yummy. And indeed very kind of the boss to offer the ulam free of charge specially for suituapui and family/friends!

    Yes, he’s a very nice guy, and his staff too. They make you feel so much at home, love dining there.

  12. Happy Birthday to Melissa.

    Aha …Payung again. Hmmm they should treat you for free la. You have promote this place so much leh.

    Thanks. They did – once…and I even brought friends along for the dinner, all on the house. Cannot lah expect people to treat all the time. Face skin not so thick… People have a business to run, what.

  13. It’s fun to have rituals that are personalised for special occasions, such as your “must eat”.

    Good traditions and customs must be preserved and practised. They’re one’s roots, one’s culture and identity. Once, they die out, one would have lost one’s soul.

    One would no longer be able to call oneself a Chinese or a Malay or whatever when one has no idea whatsoever of one’s own culture…and practises all that is derived from other people’s cultures. In Malay, we call it “like a peanut that has forgotten its skin/shell”.

  14. Happy belated birthday to Melissa. It seems Payung is so going to be my target on my next trip to Sibu! :p

    Thanks. A must-visit. My ex-student and his wife from NZ, my cousin and her hubby from the UK – they all love this place!

  15. The ulam and payung mushroom look like MUST TRY dishes here !!!

    and the cake is so cute.. what’s on top on the cake? Buns??

    Icing. Looking horrendously like marshmallows. Yes, don’t miss the mushroom roll and the rojak too., The ulam has to be ordered in advance, available only upon request…not on the regular menu and of course, it depends on whether the boss is willing to make for you or not. Hehehehehe!!!!!

  16. I’m a huge otak otak fan, and I really want to try this version!

    I like the Muar/Singapore nyonya ones – after all, I do like plain fish balls & fish cake…and I like the Penang ones too but some people say geli, the wobbly egg custard…but I do feel this one stands out the most, best of the lot. Yet to try the Trengganu ones. You’ll have to hop over if you want to try these Payung ones.

  17. Happy belated birthday Melissa!! Lovely mee suah chicken soup, i should cook mine soon.

    I think i try that anchovies before, it is nice.

    Yes, you told me you had that – I think that was before I tried it myself once. Thanks for the birthday wish. Yours coming soon?

  18. Everything looks nice and I love spicy. I would have definitely been getting some of that. πŸ™‚

    Yes, this is my favourite place in town – nice food, nice ambiance and great service, nice people.

  19. Mmm, kacang ma chicken, I miss it so much!

    Oh? You have that in Taiping? Did you eat that during your confinement? Go, go…have another one and you can feast on it for one whole month. πŸ˜€

  20. Happy Belated Birthday to her! Sounds like a neat day! Were those flower petals on top of those few dishes!?

    Thanks. Yes, ginger torch flower petals. Very nice, can just eat them raw.

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

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