Lend a hand…

It was two Saturdays ago, the 11th of July, when my girl and the mum and her colleague/housemate and I dropped by here…

Agape Centre

My girl used to teach here voluntarily, for free, of course, to help out with the people there who are doing their bit for the children with special needs…

For children with special needs

Unfortunately, eventually, she was posted to a school in the Selangau district so far away and she only comes home on weekends so dropping by in the afternoon to help out is out of the question.

It is a very nice place…

Agape play area

…with offices, classrooms and even a nice play area that is a joint-contribution of the Japanese Chamber of Trade and Industry…

Jactim

Well, we were there that day for the fund-raising food fair…

Banner

…in aid of the Sibu Autistic Association. Sometime ago, I bought a few booklets of the coupons that could be used to buy whatever we would fancy at this fair.

There were many stalls and many people though I would say I was kind of disappointed that there wasn’t anything that really stood out. Perhaps they should rope in the big hotels or those very popular cafes and restaurants in town to come in and sell some really nice things and all the proceeds would go to the charitable cause. Day in day out, they are making a whole lot of money from the many customers that walk through their doors – it would be good if they could give back a little bit for a good cause in that just-one-morning affair.

There was this stall serving free samples and selling the drinks…

Drinks

…and stalls like this one…

Kim chi

– I think they were selling kim chi and there were others selling eggs, pineapples, salted vegetables and packets of bihun

Pineapples and so on

…and even potted plants…

Potted plants

This stall certainly enjoyed brisk business…

Burger stall

…but we did not get anything from there…

Burger

…and it was rather crowded and there was a long queue and we were told that we would have to wait for at least half an hour.

In the end, my missus used up all the coupons to buy one herbal roast chicken (which was really very nice) and some cakes and my girl bought some fish…

Fish

They also bought some acar (pickles) from this stall…

Acar stall

…not knowing that I had stopped there earlier and I had paid cash to buy that same thing…

Acar

…for my mum who seemed to enjoy eating that with her rice these days.

I would say that the fair was a huge success – the people selling the coupons must have done a really good job and I saw a lot of people going home with the cartons of eggs…or the packet drinks. Even those people selling the things were volunteers from some commercial firms, clubs and associations and others so kudos to all of them for chipping in and helping out. I told my girl that maybe if they have another one next year, I can volunteer too and set up a stall selling maybe…my pancakes…or popiah…or pies…or fried rice…or some special ethnic Melanau or Malay delights and she agreed that it was a great idea and it would be very nice if we could also go and in some small way, lend a hand…

Last stop, this town…

After that heavy lunch at Sg Tenggang, I really did not feel like going for the celebrated giant prawn noodles at Jakar or Glory Cafe in Sarikei, so I thought I would just drop by Aik Seng in Sarikei for their famous charcoal-toasted bun with butter, own-made pandan kaya and peanut butter too! Unfortunately, luck was not on my side – the shop was closed!!!

That was why I ended up here…

Medan Selera Sarikei

…and when I asked the man at the steamed pao stall…

Pao stall

…there why Aik Seng was closed and whether it was their usual practice to have a rest day on Wednesday, he said he did not know. He thought it would be open all the time. Sigh!!! I guess it was just not meant to be – my finally getting to try the toast that people have praised to the skies.

I seemed to recall hearing something about the steamed pao at this place too – some people said that they were nice so I bought two of their char siew pao

Sarikei char siew pao 1

…and sat down…

Medan Selera Sarikei inside

…to eat.

I can’t say that I’m all that fond of the slightly yellowish old-school steamed pao skin but the filling…

Sarikei char siew pao 2

…was very nice and there was a bit of egg in it too…

Sarikei char siew pao 3

I would say I enjoyed it but no, I would not come all the way just to eat this, that’s for sure.

After that brief tea break in Sarikei, I headed back to Sibu and reached home at 4 something, and thus ended my brief trip to Kuching.

Incidentally, I must thank my uncle and his family in Kuching for making this bak koi (Chinese steamed egg cake with minced meat and fragrant fried shallots)…

Bak koi 1

…for me to bring  back home and they were so thoughtful as to pack a few bite-size pieces for me to eat along the way…

Bak koi 2

…too and I must also thank my auntie in Kuching for that pack of Kelantan-made serunding (beef floss) and my cousin for the goodies from her school…

Serunding & St 3's goodies

…and thanks again, all – my cousins and the mum, for the delightful dinner that I have blogged about earlier.

Back in Sibu, my good friend, Annie, in KL contacted me and asked me to get something from her mum who had just returned from a holiday there with her daughter and grandsons which I did…and guess what I got!

More serunding

Serunding!!! There is no label on that huge pack so my guess is that this would be a very special made-to-order one and my bet is that it is going to be really good!

Hmmmm!!! Now, let’s see what I can do with all that serunding. Yes, you guessed right – I’ve started off with this serunding fried rice…

Serunding fried rice

…and it turned out really very nice with the added Thai Basil leaves and chopped spring onions from my garden and my missus’ extra-hot pounded chili to complement all the flavours of the serunding. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that the next morning, I was delighted to find some more leftover rice in the fridge so I fried it again the exact same way…

Serunding fried rice, reprise

…and derived just as much pleasure from it the second time around!

Perhaps I can use it to make some serunding puffs…or some glutinous rice rolls with serunding filling too? We’ll see!

On my way…

After my brief stay in Kuching, I headed on home by road and stopped by this little place…

Sg Tenggang

…on my way. This small bazaar comprising those few blocks of shops, Sungai Tenggang, is actually located around 1-2 kilometres from the Kalimantan border. That would explain why, while I was there, I could hear some of the ethnic ladies by the pavement selling their agricultural and jungle produce speaking in a  language that sounded like Indonesian. It is in the Sri Aman Division, on the left before reaching Lachau and the junction of the road leading to Bandar Sri Aman, if you are heading from Kuching to Sibu.

Now if you are wondering why I would want to stop there, well, this was the reason – the lor ark (braised duck)…

Sg Tenggang lor ark

…served with kolo mee

Kolo mee

A cousin of mine bought me some once a long long time ago and I remember how much I enjoyed it then. I don’t remember anybody else doing that since so that was perhaps the one and only time when I ever tasted the celebrated Sungai Tenggang duck kolo mee.

If I am not mistaken, for the regular individual servings, one would get the kolo mee in a bowl and some pieces of the duck on top but my special order…

Sg Tenggang lor ark platter

…came in a big plate with the lor nui (stewed egg) by the side…

Sg Tenggang lor nui

…and a bowl of kolo mee kosong (no meat)…

Sg Tenggang kolo mee kosong

…to enjoy together with everything else and the nice chili dips provided…

Sg Tenggang chili dips

Yum yummmmm!!!! I would say that I seemed to have enjoyed it a lot more before probably because by the time it got to me, the flavours of everything had gone into the noodles  but this was good too.

Now, if anyone is wondering which shop this was, well, here it is…

Jang Hin Sg Tenggang

…somewhere in the middle. I did see some ducks hanging at a stall in the first shop on the extreme left but it was completely deserted so I did not go to that one to try and therefore, I would not know if that one was any good or not.

That handsome young man also sells chap fan (mixed rice)…

Jang Hin chap fan

…and a lot of other things as well…

Jang Hin menu

One thing that I noticed on every table as I entered the shop was this – a bowl of hard-boiled eggs…

Sg Tenggang hardboiled eggs

This was something quite typical of the old-school coffee shops in the old days. If I am not mistaken, people in the old days would just eat one egg and that would be able to keep them from going hungry at least till lunchtime. In the past, when the express boats were plying between Sibu and Kapit (and beyond), stopping at Kanowit and Song, or from Sibu to Bintangor and Sarikei, at every stop, there would be people, young and old, jumping on board with their baskets of hardboiled eggs, kampua noodles, steamed paos and so on plus a few different kinds of packet or canned drinks and the passengers on board would buy something from them to eat, something that would tide them over until they reached their destination and those eggs were no doubt a popular choice, being cheap and besides, they were known to be able to sustain one for a long time.

I did not stop long at Sungai Tenggang but I certainly was glad I did as I got to enjoy the noodles and the duck and the egg and I did get to buy some bananas (real cheap compared to Sibu), mini-brinjals (These were very small, maybe two to three inches long only – the ladies said that because of the heat and the current dry spell, they could not grow till much longer)…

Brinjals

…and some terung Dayak (Dayak brinjals) to bring home…or did I buy those at Lachau where I did make a brief stop as well, I don’t quite remember now!

Next stop, Sarikei! Stick around, folks!!!

At least I’ve tried…

I heard that the satay at this place – the SaTay Ceko’ Cafe…

Satay Ceko

…in Kuching was pretty good so I tried googling to find out more about it but all I got was this one and even though that was last year, it appeared like they had done up the place nicely…

Satay Ceko decor

…so it certainly looked somewhat better…

Satay Ceko counter

…and a lot more presentable now.

Unfortunately, they were out of beef and all they had was chicken…

Satay

…and when it comes to satay, I am never fond of that. So I asked the young boy at the counter where I could find the best satay in the city and he replied, “Here!”  Ah well…I thought that since I was already there, I might as well give it a try, never mind that it had to be chicken.

When it was served (10 sticks for RM6.00)…

Satay Ceko satay

…I was kind of disappointed that the sticks of satay did not have the black charred bits and edges…

Satay Ceko satay & peanut sauce

…and was not expecting much from it. It turned out to be really very nice, whatever it was that they used to marinate the meat with. It did not quite taste like the usual kind of flavours that one would get from satay elsewhere. Never mind that it did not have the burnt parts – as they say, one barbecued chicken wing is equal to 8 sticks of cigarettes so I guess one would be better off without those. The peanut sauce that came with the satay and nasi impit was very good too.

I would not say the same about the nasi lemak ayam ngap sayot (RM5.00)…

Nasi lemak ngap sayot 1

…that I had though. Ngap sayot was the war cry of the Sarawak football team at one time way back in 1988 and I was intrigued by the name and was keen on finding out what that was. The boy said it was masak merah but no, it neither looked nor tasted like it but it would have been nice, just that it felt like it had been cooked too long, especially the meat…

Nasi lemak ngap sayot 2

Given a choice, I probably would go for something else like this same dish with the freshly barbecued ayam panggang (RM9.00)…

Nasi lemak ayam panggang

…instead. The rice was all right, pretty much the same as most that one would get elsewhere.

All in all, I would say it was all right and considering that the place is nicer than most, I sure would not mind dropping by again and hopefully, they have beef the next time around and yes, I would choose to try some of the other items that they have on their menu instead. Who knows I may stumble upon something that would keep me coming back for more…

She’s the one…

I loved the nyonya kueh (cakes) and the nyonya chang (meat dumplings) sold at a stall in front of the shops along Green Road in Kuching. However, they were only open for business in the afternoon and more often than not, I would be taking the morning or noon flights home so usually, I would not be able to grab all the nice stuff from there to bring back and enjoy. Besides, this was not in the city centre so unless one had transport, one would just have to give it a miss.

After the delightful lunch at Peterson Corner and the refreshing ang tao peng that I had at Swee Kang on the day I arrived in Kuching, I headed to the place but the stalls were nowhere to be seen. I stopped to ask a man standing by the road and he said that Monday was the old lady’s off day. Yes, we would refer to her as Ah Mu, meaning old lady and that would differentiate her from the other stall where there was a younger lady selling more or less the same things but hers were not as nice.

That was why I had to go back there again the following day and I found the exact location of her stall – right in front of this shop (1.543629,110.332481) …

Chen Hong Green Road

…and the folding table for her stall would be chained to the pipes at the pillar once she knocked off for the day. If it is of any help, that shop is the second one on the extreme left of the rows of shops along Green Road, the first one being a coffee shop, not including the block where Goh Say Lak is which is located a little bit to the inside, a little further up on the left.

Soon after I got there, she and one man, probably the husband, arrived and started setting up her stall, taking everything from the car and displaying them on the table…

Old lady's stall

There was a mind-boggling array of delights, so many that one would face much difficulty in trying to decide what to buy. There was this colourful kao-teng koi (9-layer cake)…

Kao teng koi

…and you can see the bee pao bee (rice-wrapped rice) to the right.

I am not sure what these familiar-looking ones are…

Or koi

– probably or koi (yam cake) but I sure do know these chai koi

Chai koi

…only too well – the steamed kueh with vegetable (mostly sengkuang or mangkuang) filling wrapped in the thin translucent slightly-chewy skin. What draws the line between the boys and the men would be the texture of the skin – if it is tough or rubbery and difficult to bite and chew, that would be a double thumbs down. Of course, the filling must be nice as well and there must a reasonable amount of it in each of them.

I wish I could buy all but I just could not finish all of them in one sitting and I was afraid that they would not last the long drive home to Sibu the next day. That was why I only bought a packet of the tinggi salat/kueh salad aka the serimuka (RM3.00 per packet)…

Serimuka

…and it was so so so good! The layer of pulut (glutinous rice) at the bottom had a hint of saltiness to balance the sweetness of the green layer which was so lemak (rich with santan/coconut milk). Gosh!!! If only I could buy the whole tray back! I do think, however, that the ones I had before were slightly, but only slightly, nicer – I think I do recall it being a little bit more lemak than this at the time.

I did not see another favourite of mine – the kueh cangkeh (tea cup cake) which would have the same green layer on the top half and a brown layer at the bottom so I asked her and she said that being old, she could not stand making so many different types of kueh anymore. Sigh!!!

I bought two ang koo koi

ang koo koi

…as well and they were simply awesome with the absolutely perfect so-very-thin skin wrapped around a generous amount of the mung bean filling. If the timing is right the next time around, I certainly would want to buy a whole lot of those home!

Well, the only thing that I did buy to take home to Sibu were her nyonya chang

Nyonya chang 1

…RM4.00 each for the regular ones and RM5.00 each for the ones with or nee (sweet yam paste)…

Nyonya chang 2

…if I remember the prices correctly…

Nyonya chang 3

…and they were both so good!

There did not seem to be another stall anymore that day – probably the other one had given up in the face of such stiff competition from this old lady and incidentally, she did not seem as old and scruffy as before, if I can remember correctly. In fact, that day, I thought she was nice and friendly and was very well-dressed, make up and all, and her hair looked as if she had just been to the salon…so much so that I was wondering if this was the same Ah Mu that I knew before or her daughter who had grown older after all these years. Perhaps somebody in the know can enlighten me on this?

Next stop…

After my brief tour around the shops at Jalan Gambir in Kuching, I went back to India Street where I saw this interesting stall selling all kinds of curios…

Inida Street stall

…but because it was rather congested with people walking to and fro on the five-foot way, I did not linger to really look at what they had in store.

I stopped by the mamak makan shop there, the Jubilee Restaurant, for a cold drink of water and I saw that they had pasembur or what we call Indian rojak here…

Jubilee rojak tamby

…so I ordered a plate to try. It was all right, not something I would go out of my way for but I guess we are more accustomed to our own version of the Indian rojak, aka rojak Kassim after the guy who started it all (originally at Kok Cheng, directly opposite the one-time Cathay Cinema – the daughter-in-law is there now) which is more like gado gado than pasembur. I hear he is running his stall in Kuching now, somewhere around Palm Road but I did not have the chance to go and check it out.

I noticed that they were selling some pineapple jam tarts exactly like those that my cousin gave me once at RM20 for a plastic jar of those. There was no label though and the jam did look a little dry. I remember the ones my cousin gave me were from that lane on the other side of the road so I made my way there and found the place – the One Jade Bakery…

One Jade Bakery

…at Kai Joo Lane. I grabbed all that they had (RM18.00 a jar)…

Pineapple jam tarts

…so I could give to family and friends back in Sibu and after that, I headed to the Aloha delicatessen.bakery

Aloha Bakery 1

…at Jalan Song…

Aloha Bakery 2

…because once, a cousin of mine gave me the chicken quiche from here and my girl loved it to bits so my main intention in going there was to get those to cart home for her. Unfortunately, there were only two left (RM3.00 each)…

Aloha chicken quiche

…so in the end, I decided to buy the meat (beef) pies as well, three of them (Can’t remember the price but I vaguely remember seeing RM6.00 each on the price tag)…

Aloha meat pies

No, no, they were perfect but I had a hard time using the tongs provided to try and get the pies and put them on my plate and I ended scratching the “face” of one of them. In the end, I just had to use my hand! Tsk! Tsk!

Next was a pit stop at what I think is called RH Plaza, the shops in front of the hotel where I had stayed a few times before. Unfortunately, almost all the stalls were closed – maybe they all close on Tuesdays, I wouldn’t know – except for a few isolated ones so in the end, I decided to just have something from this stall (RM1.40 for 2 pieces)…

Apam balik stall

– the very nice and very crispy apam balik with a special request for extra butter and peanut (add an additional 30 sen)…

Apam balik glass case

…to tide me over…

Apam balik

…till around 2.00 p.m. when I would go for something that I had in mind.

You’ll have to come back tomorrow to see what that is in my next post. Stick around!!!

I’ve passed this way before…

I was here

India Street

…that morning after the scrumptious kolo mee breakfast in Kuching but they are working on it at the moment. I understand they are going to put up a roof, probably something like what they have now at Petaling Street in Kuala Lumpur. Yes, it was business as usual but one could only walk along the very congested five-foot way outside the shops, not something one would enjoy so I went into this narrow passageway…

Passageway 1

…that I used to walk through a long long time ago, probably in the 70’s to Jalan Gambir at the other end or from that road to get to India Street.

I seem to recall that it was very much narrower, none of those shops along the way…

Passageway 2

…and at the time, I would walk very fast as I had that feeling, a kind of phobia, that the walls would close in on me. I guess that was the result of watching too many of those Hercules or Maciste or Goliath sword and sandal movies when I was younger.

There is a mosque midway, the oldest in the state capital…

Mosque Gambir-India Street

…probably for the many Muslim Indians in all the shops in the vicinity and hence, the old name, Masjid India. I understand that it has since been changed to Masjid Bandar Kuching. Well, it certainly looks very well-maintained which is a good thing – personally, I am strongly for restoring and preserving these heritage places, instead of demolishing them and replacing them with those ghastly modern monstrosities.

As I neared the end of the passageway, I saw this man…

Sifting curry powder

…sifting what appeared to me like curry powder, a foreshadowing in a way of what lay ahead.

In no time at all, I was out on the other side, the Jalan Gambir side…

Jalan Gambir entrance

…with a glimpse of the roof of the Dewan Undangan Negeri (State Legislative Assembly) building…

DUN Sarawak

…in the distance on the other side of the Sarawak River.

As the name implies, one would see lots of shops selling spices and all the stuff…

Spices 1

…used in the cooking of curries and those kinds of dishes…

Spices 2

…commonly found in Indian or Malay cuisines in general…

Spices 3

I am pretty sure my friend, Opal, in the US would be enthralled by the sight of all these and would love this place so much.

I spotted this old-school barber shop…

Gambir barber shop

…close by that seemed to be surviving despite the competition from all those classy salons all over the city.

After walking around a bit, I headed back to the passageway and walked back to India Street.

I will wait…

My cousins were horrified when I told them where I would be going for breakfast the following morning and tried to dissuade me, saying that I might have to wait for as long as two hours and I would be able to get something just as nice or even better elsewhere. However, my mind was made up so there I was at this place, Noodle Descendents

Kuching Descendents shop sign

…along Jalan Padungan, somewhere in the middle…

Jalan Padungan Kuching

…in Kuching. It did not matter much to me as I was in no hurry to go anywhere or do anything so I just told myself, “Yes, I will wait!”

I cannot remember exactly the last time I had it but it sure was a very very long time ago, back in those days when I was involved in doing some work for the then-called Curriculum Section in the state Education Department and the office was a stone’s throw away in the old Pavilion Building, opposite the Kuching General Office. That would probably be sometime in the early 90’s when I went with my friends/colleagues to this little coffee shop at the corner of Bishop Gate Street beside its junction with Carpenter Street. I can still recall how packed it was but we did manage to get a table and a little boy took our orders – we were amazed by how he could remember everything even though each of us wanted this or did not want that and when we were served, we got everything the way we wanted it!

Well, they have moved from there to the present location for quite a while now and have changed its name as well. This current place is very nice and very clean, not quite the regular coffee shop kind of place and the noodle stall was right in front…

Noodle Descendents kolo mee stall

…at the entrance. That guy sure does not look old so my guess would be that he’s one of the “descendents” who have taken over the family business.

There are not all that many tables in that spacious shop so we had to share with one very friendly guy and it was a good thing that we did as he told us what we were supposed to do or not do. He said that we would just have to find a seat and sit down and wait. Somebody will come…eventually…to take our orders and yes, somebody did! It was way past 8.00 a.m. already and the guy making the drinks had not showed up for work yet so we could not order our drinks till he finally appeared. In the meantime, we sat and chatted…and waited for our noodles. The guy’s family who opted to eat at a coffee shop a short distance away came over as they had finished so he had to cancel his order and left with them but I did see him tapao-ing some of the noodles to take away with him.

This would be their regular kolo mee with meat (RM4.77)…

Noodle Descendents kolo mee, regular

…but I had their kosong (RM2.12)…

Noodle Descendents kolo mee, kosong

…no meat, and the mixed soup, small (RM6.36)…

Noodle Descendents, mixed soup

I don’t quite remember their noodles, how good they were that last time I had it so very long ago, but the fact that I truly loved their soup has always remained clear in my mind – that, to me then, was the main attraction…and yes, I must say that I enjoyed it very much that morning and the noodles as well.

I was kind of surprised though that they gave this with the orders…

Noodle Descendents chili dip

…as I am more accustomed with the usual sliced chili, red or green, dipped in vinegar at the kolo mee stalls that I have been to in Kuching but they do it a little differently here.

As for whether it was worth the wait – around one hour or so…

Worth its wait in gold

…I would agree with my cousins that one could have something just as nice elsewhere or settle for something that is second best without having to spend so much time sitting there before one would get served. In other words, if one is in a hurry and does not have all that time to spare, it would be best to head elsewhere but if one does not mind sticking around, chit-chatting…or reading the morning’s papers…or these days, many would be able to kill time easily browsing online on their smartphones, then this is a good place in the city to check out for kolo mee and the very nice soup.

This is their menu in front of the stall…

Noodle Descendents menu

…and if you look at the aforementioned prices, you do need to fork out a little bit more for the GST payable. Here, you pay for all your orders, food and drinks inclusive, at the counter a little to the back, beside the drink stall, after you have finished eating.

Incidentally, I did not know about this before but it seemed that parking would be for just half an hour per ticket. If you wish to park longer, you would need to come back every half an hour and put a new ticket each time – otherwise, the parking fee payable would be progressively more for the next half an hour and the next and the next. It is not like here in Sibu where it is 42 sen per half an hour, and if one would be gone for say, 2 hours, one can just leave 4 half-an-hour tickets or 2 one-hour tickets on the dashboard. You can’t do this in Kuching, it seems – the attendant will come round and issue tickets for over-parking and you would have to go to a booth some place to pay the surcharge.

Well, I came and I had what I had wanted – something that had been a lingering memory in my mind all this time…

Back to your roots…

This is the DBNA (Dayak Bidayuh National Association) Building…

DBNA Building

…at Jalan Kumpang, Taman Ridgeway (1.526511,110.347675) in Kuching. If you are unfamiliar with those names in the address, you can get there via Ong Tiang Swee Road – coming in either from Simpang Tiga or Rock Road till you get to the Sarawak Cheshire Home – that road to the right of the home is Jalan Kumpang and this place is just a short distance away on the left.

On my first night in Kuching, my cousins took me there for dinner, together with one auntie and the missus and children of one of them. The association has rented out a section of its premises to some people to run a restaurant serving their ethnic cuisine – the AwahCafe @DBNA…

Awah Cafe

– a simple, very spacious place, non-air conditioned and not very elaborately decorated though there are some evidences…

Awah Cafe stage

…of the cultural ethnicity…

Awah Cafe decor

…at this place including sections of their menu…

Awah Cafe menu

One of my cousins had called up to make the reservation and he had ordered all the dishes that he had tried before and enjoyed so that certainly saved us the trouble of having to go through the menu and trying to figure out what each  dish was and deciding on what we would want to have.

The lemon grass chicken…

Awah Cafe lemon grass chciken

…was very nice and I enjoyed this ethnic mixed vegetable dish…

Awah Cafe ethnic mixed vegetables

…very much.

The sambal sotong (squids)…

Sambal sotong

…was very well-received by all that night and the barbecued pork served with sambal belacan (dried prawn paste dip)…

Awah Cafe barbecued pork

…as well.

I was beginning to wonder why those dishes did not seem all that familiar to me, nothing like the ethnic dishes that I am well-acquainted with and my guess was that these were probably more towards the Bidayuh cuisine. the ethnic race found mostly to the western section of the state of Sarawak, more towards those parts where Kuching is…while I am more familiar with the Iban cuisine or that of the Melanaus in central Sarawak. For instance, I had not had terung Dayak (Dayak brinjal) cooked with chicken…

Awah Juwe terung dayak chicken

…before. Normally, in its simplest form, we would cook it in soup with ikan pusu/bilis (dried anchovies), belacan (dried prawn paste) and serai (lemon grass) or we may choose to add fish or prawns to it. Otherwise, we can replace the anchovies with salai (smoked) fish or prawns.

The keli (catfish) with tempoyak (fermented durian)…

Awah Cafe keli with tempoyak

…was all right but it was very very sour – usually, when the tempoyak is sour, we would say that it is not very nice so probably, this was what was used in the cooking.

The local ethnic rice…

Awah Cafe local rice

…that was served with all the aforementioned dishes was probably the only thing that night that I know only too well.

That certainly was a delightful dinner, thanks to my cousins for the treat…and of course, it sure was great to get together with everybody once again.

There no more…

The first time I had their ang tao peng was at the shop along Jalan Hj Taha (1.556393,110.338506) and the second time when I went back for more, I decided to try the one at the stall beside/in front of a house around 100 metres away. That day, after my arrival in Kuching, I was delighted to see that they now have a new outlet here (1.552234,110.336967)…

Chang Swee Kang

Chang Swee Kang, directly opposite that Peterson Corner that I went to for the lovely hay peah.

I shared the photograph on Facebook…

Swee Kang

…and I gathered from the comments that they have moved from the stall at the house – it seems that the city council has disallowed them from operating their business at the residential premises and the general opinion is that what they serve at this place, like when they were at the stall…

Swee Kang cendol

…is better than what one would get at the other shop, the first one I tried. I would agree with that as I had mentioned in my earlier blogpost and of course, I wasted no time at all in crossing over from the hay peah place to have one delightful bowl of ang tao peng

Ang tao peng 1

…here.

I don’t know what red beans they use here but they do not seem as red…

Ang tao peng 2

…as the ones I am more accustomed with but thankfully, they taste exactly the same and they are able to cook it perfectly here – soft and mushy and the beans are still whole. Personally, I am not all that fond of the type of red beans used for this in the peninsula especially those bigger ones that are not mushy, those that I had had, at least, and are a little bit salty so even the taste is not quite the same.

After the delightful lunch and the very satisfying cold dessert, I went to the hotel – the 360 Xpress Citycenter to check in. The previous time I was here, there was something wrong with the power – it would not come on when I slipped the key card into the slot. That was why they upgraded me to a bigger and nicer room but this time around, it was all right so there I was in their single room (RM49.90)…

360 Express single bedroom 1

There is free wifi in the rooms though I gathered that the connection is not so good. Well, I am not dependent on that as I have data on my mobile plus I did not bring along my laptop. Anyway, I prefer doing all those things that I usually do on PCs and they have two in the lobby, for in-house guests to use absolutely free of charge – just get the password from the receptionist or concierge on duty. At many bigger and classier hotels where I’ve stayed, one would have to pay to use their “Business Centre” or pay for internet connection in the rooms – RM100 for 12 hours or something like that which I feel, is absolutely ridiculous, especially when you are already paying so much for the room.

There was some water below the mini bar (small fridge) in the room – it seemed somebody had left the door ajar so there was some defrosting going on in it and the water flowed out. I got somebody to come and deal with it and they did so right away. Other than that, everything else was fine…

360 Express single bedroom 2

I sure would not mind staying here again should I hop over to the state capital anytime again…

360 Express single bedroom 3

…soon since it is nice and clean and comfortable enough and especially considering the location (1.554897,110.352832) and above all, the very affordable room rates payable.

Next stop, dinner!