I keep coming back…

Actually, my intention was to take my girl here for lunch on Saturday when she was home for the weekend – I was there the day before, Friday – so she could enjoy all the ethnic culinary delights that they would have in store. However, she was not free as she had to conduct a course for teachers in the same district from 9.00 a.m. till 1.00 a.m. and lunch would be provided so I did the next best thing – I decided to drop by and tapao (take away) their pansoh babi (pork cooked in bamboo) and kacang ma chicken for her for dinner.

I was very early – it was just 9 something, not 10.00 a.m. yet so I thought I would try the chap fan from the chu char place at the back. It looked like those people would get their dishes served very much earlier so I was very sure there would be quite a lot for me to choose by then. However, when I got there, I saw that a few of the dishes were already available so I changed my mind right away about going for the Chinese mixed rice and had their kacang ma chicken…

Anak Borneo kacang ma chicken, dry

…again. They had the dry version that morning though. I know some people like it like that but I would love a little bit of sauce to mix with the rice.

This is the snapshot of the fish that I had the day before…

Anak Borneo terung Dayak fish

…but did not take a photograph of it and no, I did not have it again. I just had the chicken, one meat and two vegetables, this cangkuk manis with pumpkin…

Anak Borneo cangkuk manis with pumpkin

…and this paku (wild jungle fern)…

Anak Borneo paku with bamboo shoots

…with bamboo shoots. Bamboo shoots? Oh no!!! I did not notice they had that in it when I placed my order. In the end, I passed it all to my missus – she loves bamboo shoots…and she gave me a bit of her pork and pineapple curry…

Anak Borneo pork & pineapple curry
*Archive photo*

…which was very nice though personally, I would prefer our giant udang galah (freshwater prawns) cooked this way but don’t dream of ever getting those at a nasi campur place – they are worth their weight in gold and even if they had it, you would probably have to pay through your nose just to get one to enjoy like at this place here, RM20.00 each in 2014, dunno how much they are charging now.

This came out later, after we had finished eating – the kangkong with pig’s blood and intestines…

Anak Borneo kangkong with pig's blood and intestines

…so I did not get to try that though I sure would love to. I guess that will have to wait till the next time I spot it being served here.

On Sunday, we were out of town, sending my girl back to her school in the jungle and what a relief it was to find that there was electricity! When we sent her on Wednesday (2nd November) after the long Deepavali weekend, the supply was down and for the three nights she was back there, it was not restored. My sister-in-law tagged along and she was visibly upset to see what her dear niece had to put up with. We did not know how long there had not been any electricity but everything in the fridge was spoilt and the stink was horrible – we had to clear everything and throw it all away.

Anyway, I got word from the Anak Borneo people that they were closed for the day. It seems that they have picked Sunday as their day of rest every week so you can go on any other day but never on Sunday. They added that they would have tempoyak (fermented durian) the following day, Monday so there I was once again to see what they would cook with it. They had this tempoyak pork…

Anak Borneo tempoyak pork

…and yes, it was very nice indeed and a welcome change from the pansoh babi and the kacang ma chicken. I did not pick those this time around but I did ask for the tapioca leaves again and also this buah keluak with cincaluk (fermented shrimps)…

Anak Borneo buah keluak with cincaluk 1

They did not seem to have rubber seeds in it that day…

Anak Borneo buah keluak with cincaluk 2

– probably they had run out of those but nonetheless, it was very nice and I sure enjoyed it a lot.

Instead of the tapioca leaves that I had, my missus picked the cucumber leaves with salai ikan (smoked fish) and whatever else…

Anak Borneo cucumber leaves & salai ikan

…instead and we had this on the house to try – the ikan patin kerabu

Anak Borneo ikan patin kerabu

…and yes, it was really nice too.

Of course, lunch was great, both times after the first time but no, I will have to stop coming back for more or else I would not have anything new to blog about. Having said that, rest assured that they certainly would see me there again…sooner of later. LOL!!!

It’s not always true…

It’s the early bird that catches the worm, so they say, but I think it is not always true. For one thing, it is not good for the worm to venture out so early as it will be the first to end up caught…and eaten.

We were early that morning, just a little past 10.00 a.m. when we drove past here but unfortunately, they had not commenced business for the day…and even when we went almost just as early the following morning and the morning after that, not all the dishes were out of the kitchen so we did not get to eat some of what they might have to offer. That is usually the case also when we go too early to the Malay nasi campur stalls – we would just have to make do with whatever they have already got ready.

Anyway, we took my sister-in-law here instead and of course, we were way too early for their chap fan (mixed rice) so we had to order whatever they had on their menu.

I had the kolo mee

101 kolo mee

…which was very nice as usual though I can’t say I was all that fond of those frozen fish balls even though they did take the trouble to fry them first.

I ordered their liver soup…

101 liver soup

…that we liked a lot the last time we were here and had that and yes, it was very good, perhaps, not as good as the previous time as it was not so strong on the ginger and traditional Foochow red wine this time around but we did enjoy it.

My missus had their fried kway teow

101 fried kway teow

…and she liked it, no complaints there. I wish they would not use those plastic plates and bowls though – after all, considering the setting and decor AND the prices, they are not one those cheap regular coffee shops so I would expect them to be a class above those NCAA (no-class-at-all) eating places.

My sister-in-law had their chao chai hung ngang with fish (tapah)…

101 chao chai hung ngang with tapah 1

…and she enjoyed it to the max! Yes, it was sourish enough and had enough of the traditional Foochow red wine and the taste of the preserved vegetables…

101 chao chai hung ngang with tapah 2

…and was very much to her liking.

The bill came up to a little over RM40.00 for the three of us (inclusive of drinks) and after we had had our fill, we went driving around and sightseeing until it was getting near to the time for her flight and we headed to the airport to drop her off there.

It was our pleasure having you here with us, Margaret – we had a delightful time ourselves too. Do come again…anytime, we’ll be right here waiting to welcome you. God bless.

Brighter…

After our scrumptious and most delightful Thai dinner here, my brother-in-law wanted to give a return treat and at the same time, take my sister-in-law, his sister, out before she left town.

He wanted to come here as he had not been here before and he chose a table by the window where it was brighter owing to the light coming in from the coffee shop section next door which, of course, meant that I would be able to take nicer photographs of the dishes served.

We placed our orders and everything was served very promptly – we did not have to wait very long. My brother-in-law had the grilled chicken chop with mushroom sauce…

Eco Delite grilled chicken chop with mushroom sauce

– my missus’ favourite and yes, he thought it was very good.

His wife had the fish and chips…

Eco Delite fish and chips

…but she did not seem to enjoy it very much and she passed most of the bigger of the two chunks to the hubby and the other to my sister-in-law who was too full to handle that so she passed it to me. I thought it was quite nice actually – I don’t know what fish it was but if it was dory, it was not smelly nor did it have that jelly-like texture that I came across elsewhere and I would never want to order it since. For one thing, these people are related to those at the shop selling imported frozen seafood so they probably have access to some nicer fish compared to others who would just get their frozen fish fillet from any supermarket. The batter was slightly oily though – maybe they dropped it into the oil before it was hot enough.

They also ordered this bowl of Ceasar salad…

Eco Delite Ceasar salad

…to share.

My visiting sister-in-law had the creamy cheese chicken chop…

Eco Delite creamy cheese chicken chop

…which, to my surprise, had rice by the side, not quite usual for a western dish but I guess this being a fusion place, one can expect the unexpected.

No, it wasn’t plain rice but nasi lemak, the same as what my missus got with her ayam penyet

Eco Delite ayam penyet

…which did not look clobbered/smashed at all. I had the nasi lemak when we were here last and I did not like the rice – it was nothing like any nasi lemak anywhere but this time around, we all thought it wasn’t too bad, not the lemak-est I have had but the taste was there. As for the ayam penyet, yes, my missus enjoyed it even though it was not hot and spicy enough for her – perhaps they should give an option to anyone ordering that dish, to tambah pedas or not.

As for me, I had the chicken parmigiana…

Eco Delite chicken parmigiana

…and I loved it…or initially, that is. It tasted really nice but with all the cloyingly rich cheese, there was this what I would call the law of diminishing returns so towards the end, I was feeling kind of jelak…but I am sure it was just me. Those who are more into this kind of stuff would probably love it all the way.

I am not sure of the specific prices since I was not the one to pick up the tab but these items were all on their special promotions list and may range from between RM9.90 and RM12.90, if I am not mistaken and the total on the bill was only RM66.90. Not bad, eh?

Pick & choose…

When my sister-in-law was in town, I took her here

Anak Borneo nasi campur stall

…at a little past 10.00 a.m. but we were too early. There was nobody around, none of the dishes were out yet so we went some place else.

They’ve just started this mixed rice or what we call chap fan in Chinese or nasi campur in Malay…

Anak Borneo nasi campur, price list

…and of course, I could not wait to drop by and try the irresistible ethnic delights.

The following day, I went again around the same time and yes, most of the dishes were ready. There was the babi pansoh, pork cooked in bamboo…

Anak Borneo babi pansoh

…and they had chicken too but it was this that caught my attention  – their kacang ma chicken with their two-year-old tuak (the ethnic rice wine)…

Anak Borneo kacang ma chicken with tuak

As for the vegetable dishes, only the daun ubi/bandong, tapioca leaves…

Anak Borneo daun bandong

…the mixed vegetables with midin (wild jungle fern) in it – I didn’t take a photograph of that – and this bottle gourd (I think that’s what it was) in sambal

Anak Borneo gourd with sambal

…were ready.

There were others choices such as what looked like fried chicken, salted eggs and so on but these were my picks…

Anak Borneo nasi campur

The kacang ma chicken was so very good – I loved it to bits and the tapioca leaves were very good too. I also chose the fish – oops…somehow, I missed snapping a shot of that as well – but I think mine would be nicer – with or without the terung Dayak (Dayak brinjal), a little stronger with the kunyit (turmeric) and with serai (lemon grass) added. It seemed that their terung was not sour at all. That is often the case these days so usually, I would add a few pieces of asam keping (dried tamarind) for that coveted sourish taste.

I also asked for a bowl of the babi pansoh (RM2.50)…

Anak Borneo babi pansoh, one serving

…to share and it was so very good, nicer than when we had it freshly-cooked those times when we dropped by here in the evenings. Maybe it had been cooked longer so it was a lot more flavourful and the meat was very much more tender…and we absolutely enjoyed it!

While we were eating, I noticed a few more dishes coming out of the kitchen like this dabai (local black olives) fried rice…

Anak Borneo dabai fried rice

…and long beans…

Anak Borneo long beans

…and pork curry with pineapples…

Anak Borneo pork curry with pineapples

This was on the house…

Anak Borneo buah keluak & rubber seeds with cincaluk

…for me to try, something I had never eaten before – the buah keluak (nuts from the Pangium edule or Kepayang tree) and rubber seeds with cincaluk (fermented shrimps). Ooooo…it was so very nice! I certainly would want to order that the next time we drop by here again.

Without doubt, it was the most satisfying and very delightful lunch and you can be pretty sure that we would be back again soon, very very soon!

Carried away…

Yes, I got carried away and ordered way too much for us to finish.

My sister-in-law was in town for All Souls’ Day so I took her out for dinner here and I invited my brother-in-law and his wife to join us as well, six of us including my girl, my missus and I.

I wanted them to try and enjoy all the nice dishes here starting with the appetiser, the miang kam

Flavours Thai Kitchen miang kam

…and yes, everybody enjoyed the one here to the max so much so that they kept going on and on, wrapping and eating one after another. It was that good which is more than what I can say about the one we had here, the second time around. At least, the leaves were big enough for wrapping everything and not so very small that I had to eat it with a spoon.

We managed to finish all the pad thai

Flavours Thai Kitchen pad thai

…but there was a bit of the pineapple fried rice…

Flavours Thai Kitchen pineapple fried rice

…left.

I thought the massaman beef curry…

Flavours Thai Kitchen massaman beef curry

…was nicer at the other place, the first time I had it there, but perhaps, it was because it was served a little later and we were already too full after enjoying all the very strong-tasting exotic Thai delights such as the awesome seafood tom yam

Flavours Thai Kitchen seafood tom yam

…that we finished right down to the very last drop.

We only had a bit of the kaprao chicken…

Flavours Thai Kitchen kaprao chicken

…and by the time the paku (wild jungle fern)…

Flavours Thai Kitchen

…was served, everyone was too full to take in anymore. I did have them for lunch the following day and both were really nice, just that the kaprao did not seem to have a lot of those fragrant Thai basil leaves like before. Hmmmm….I’ve a lot at in my garden at home, Mary. Shall I send some over?

We did manage to finish quite a bit of the seafood salad with glass noodles…

Flavours Thai Kitchen seafood salad

…and all of the very delightful fish, their crispy fried garlic barramundi…

Flavours Thai Kitchen crispy fried garlic barramundi

Everyone was in agreement that it was really very nicely done.

I forgot to order the oyster omelette and the fish cakes – I do like those too but I guess it was good that I did not remember as in the end, we did have quite a bit of leftovers and I had to request for everything to be tapao-ed home. For one thing, the servings were very big and we had 9 dishes altogether – I would prefer smaller portions so we would be able to order more to enjoy. As it is, for 6 persons, probably 4 or 5 dishes would be enough.

The overall total for that most delightful dinner came up to RM287.90, just a little over RM10.00 more than what we paid here for only 6 dishes but I must say that we enjoyed this one many many times more than what we had there…plus the dishes are not those run-of-the-mill stuff that we would get at most, if not all, Chinese restaurants around town and the people, the service and the place are a cut above that one and elsewhere too.

Tell me how…

In my previous post, I mentioned that I bought 1 kilo of buah emplam

Buah emplam

…a very sour fruit from the mango family, at the Sibu Jaya market, the ethnic section. I was grumbling all this while that the price kept going up, from RM10 a kg to RM12.00 and then, it went up to RM14.00. I could not believe my ears when the ladies told me that theirs were going for only RM6.00 a kg. and I wasted no time at all in buying the coveted fruit.

Some may prefer to eat it as an ulam,  raw with sambal belacan or with rojak sauce but in my family, we always use it to make this special sambal buah emplam

Sambal buah emplam
*Mary’s photo on Facebook*

…that goes so well with rice. My friend, Mary, had it as a sambal the first time at our dinner here and she loved it so much. That was why when I made some that day, I gave her some and she was so delighted and she asked me to tell her how to make it.

Well, it is actually so very easy to make the sambal. First and foremost, you would have to peel the fruit…

Buah emplam, peeled

I used to cut it into thin strips and pound a bit to make it just a little mushy so as to get the juices out but I saw my missus doing it using a grater…

Buah emplam, grated

…and that looked a whole lot easier. My missus complains that it can be such a strain on the muscles of the hand especially when the fruit is very small and I would say that I do agree but it was all right when I did it, slowly…one by one.

I added a tablespoon of sugar to counter the extremely sour taste of the fruit (you can add more if you like it sweeter and less sour) and once that was done, I had to get the pounded ingredients…

Pounded ingredients

…ready – chili and belacan (dried prawn paste) and I heard from my cousin that day that the ethnic folks would add a shallot so I decided to give it a try. I would want to add a bit more belacan but that was all there was in the fridge – my missus did get some new stock recently but don’t ask me to go and look for it! I probably would have to take everything out and there is the possibility that even so, I will not be able to find it. Sometimes, she can’t find things she has put away herself and she will ask me if I had thrown it away. Hehehehehehe!!!!

Anyway, other than the aforementioned ingredients, I also pounded a handful of udang kering (dried prawns), pre-soaked to soften, and finally, I added everything to the shredded buah emplam

Add pounded ingredients

…and mixed it altogether thoroughly…

Sambal buah emplam, ready to serve

There you are! It is so very easy, isn’t it? Once you’ve got it done, all that is left for you to do is to sit back and enjoy eating it. Bon apetit!!!

Killing time…

The next day, Sunday, after the service in church, we picked up my cousins at the hotel but their flight was around 6 in the evening so we had a lot of time to kill.

I took them here for the old lady’s celebrated kampua noodles

Kampua mee

…and yes, there was a general consensus that it was much nicer than what they had here – somebody took them there for that soon after they had landed in Sibu…and yes, her very thick and rich meat ball soup…

Meat ball soup

…won their praises. They certainly enjoyed that!

There is a new Malay stall at that coffee shop now, right in front…

Diandianlai Cafe Malay stall

…and my missus had their nasi lemak special with chicken curry (RM5.00)…

Diandianlai Cafe nasi lemak special

…while my girl had their Sarawak laksa (RM4.00)…

Diandainlai Cafe Sarawak laksa

…which they said they did enjoy and were quite good…and yes, THIS is how we fry eggs…

Diandianlai Cafe fried egg

– that’s the way I like it!

After that, we drove here and there for this and that and yes, we did drop by here for the coffee

Choon Seng coffee
*Archive photo*

…and yes, they agreed that the coffee is nice again and is worth dropping by for when in town.

Before I dropped them off at the Sibu Airport, I took them a little further up the road to the Sibu Jaya township. They were impressed by how nice it looks now. We dropped by the ethnic section of the market there and I did manage to buy a kilo of buah emplam (more on that in tomorrow’s post), half a kilo of groundnuts – my girl loves those, boiled till soft with a little bit of salt added…and four not very big ikan buris for RM20.00. I cooked one in the oven this way…

Buris panggang daun kesum
*Archive photo*

– my girl loves it a lot and the rest, following our traditional masak kunyit recipe

Ikan buris masak kunyit

Yes, they were good – both ways!

After that brief but fruitful visit to the market, I dropped them off at the airport for their flight to Kuching. Bye bye, cousins – it was real lovely having you all here. I most certainly had a great time, so do come again!

Never been here before…

My cousins, who were in town over the weekend, had never been here before, not me. In fact, I’ve been here many times but it had been quite a while since I last dropped by, probably sometime in June, I think.

Of course I insisted that they should try the ngor bee th’ng

Tung Seng Restuarant ngor bee th'ng
*Archive photo*

– something that we enjoyed a lot at one stall here during our growing up years but it, and all the nice food stalls along the stream that flowed through the town centre, eventually gave way to the Sibu Central Market. I do think the one here is nicer though but then again, back in those days, life was so pure and simple and we found immense delight in all the simplest of things that the young ones today would scoff at and frown upon with a disgusted look of disdain.

I ordered our two favourite dishes here, the prawns with young coconut flesh served in a coconut…

Tung Seng Restaurant prawns with young coconut flesh served in a coconut

…and the pork that came with a special cincaluk (fermented shrimps) dip…

Tung Seng Restaurant pork with cincaluk dip

…both of which everyone gave the nod of approval.

The fried midin (wild jungle fern), ching chao (fried plain)…

Tung Seng Restaurant fried midin ching chao

…was well received too but I think the Four Heavenly Kings…

Tung Seng Restaurant Four Heavenly Kings

…won the day – they sure liked it a lot!

The steamed fish…

Tung Seng Restaurant steamed lajong

…was such a disappointment though. I really enjoyed the lajong here the first and the second time but when we dropped by here again soon after, they were out of that type of fish and replaced it with the tapah – which, though a popular fish for steaming around here, is not as smooth and as fine and it has a stronger smell and I am not particularly fond of that. I also had the lajong here and also here and on both occasions, we enjoyed it so much.

When I dropped by a day earlier to make the reservation and place the orders, I insisted that I would only want the lajong and the guy told me that he was expecting a delivery that evening and he would reserve it for me. Unfortunately, the skin which under normal circumstances I would enjoy a lot, was as hard as leather, impossible to bite and chew. Thankfully, the flesh of the fish was all right but no, it certainly was not as smooth and nice as all the lajong I had had before. I was kind of mood spoilt by this and you can be sure that if I ever come and have dinner here again, that would be one dish that I would not order.

The three-cup wine chicken…

Tung Seng Restaurant three cup wine chicken

…was something most of them had not had before and they thought it was very nice.

My KK cousin picked up the tab for our dinner that night and the total came up to a whooping RM276.00 for eight persons, inclusive of rice and drinks for everybody. I thought that was on the high side…and not really worth it especially when the fish was not to our satisfaction.

Things that you love…

My two cousins were here for one night only so there wasn’t much time to go and eat and enjoy everything but we did the best we could.

We stopped by here for the jelly pisang

Payung Cafe jelly pisang
*Archive photo*

– they wanted that. It seemed that the glass this time around was a little lower, not as tall. I guess that would be better the way prices are increasing these days – give a little less instead…but no, we did not stop by here for the gula apong ice cream as one of them is not a fan of the palm sugar.

Instead, she wanted to stop by here for lunch as she wanted the fried bitter gourd with salted egg…

Ruby Restaurant bitter gourd with salted egg

– the only one anywhere that she would eat and enjoy and that certainly is saying a lot for someone who is not really a fan of the vegetable.

Of course we had the coffee that we enjoy a lot, something we would not want to miss here but I was quite pissed off by how the young girls working there kept getting our orders mixed up. It was worse on our last visit though I did not mention it in my post that day – we got tea instead of coffee! The boss said the one who would do it usually is away on maternity leave. I do hope things would be all right again when she comes back.

Well, other than the bitter gourd, we also had the cangkuk manis fried with egg…

Ruby Restaurant fried cangkuk manis with egg

…and the sizzling beef on a hot plate…

Ruby Restaurant sizzling beef on hot plate

It was nice, the latter, but I would very much prefer the one we would usually order here.

However, although the one we had there was also very nice, I do feel that the tofu with minced pork and salted fish…

Ruby Restaurant minced pork with salted fish tofu

…here had an edge over that other place.

The overall total for the food (exclusive of rice and drinks) came up to RM42.00 for five persons – I thought that was all right, quite reasonable…especially considering that beef is not all that cheap here, even the frozen imported ones. It was around 2.00 p.m. when I sent them to the hotel to check in and have a rest. Next stop, dinner…but that will be in tomorrow’s post.

Lucky day…

It certainly was one lucky day that day, I must say.

My friend was home from KL and she brought me these…

Lap cheong from Annie

– her hubby’s family’s very nice own-made wine-infused lap cheong (Chinese sausages). I am pretty sure you can jolly well guess who that was…and no, that wasn’t all that she brought me. I also got these lovely owl tea cups…

Owl tea cups from Annie

…from her. Ooooo…I have a soft spot for blue & whites…and she also gave me these Marks & Spencer’s all butter biscuits…

M & S all butter biscuits

…my favourite!

Talking about biscuits, my girl bought these…

Biscuits from Indonesia 1

…from a supermarket here for me to try, made in Indonesia…

Biscuits from Indonesia 2

When my cousins were here a week ago, the one from Bintulu was praising them to the skies and telling us how as soon as new stocks arrived, they would be sold out almost instantly.

There are 10 pieces inside a pack…

Biscuits from Indonesia 3

…and they look like cream crackers, sugar coated…

Biscuits from Indonesia 4

…on one side and the other side…

Biscuits from Indonesia 5

…is covered by this very nice cream cheese spread. Yes, I would say they are pretty good and since they are inexpensive, I sure would not mind buying them time and time again to enjoy.

And talking about cousins, two more came that day, a brother from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah and a sister from Kuching and the former brought me some oxtail stew but at this point in time, I have yet to eat it so that will come in a later post, I guess. The sister brought me this…

Salad cream

…and incidentally, their sister, one of the two who were here a week earlier – the one from Kuching, gave me this…

Rojak paste

…when she was in town and I’ve yet to try it as well.

Then, on that very same day in question, Stephanie‘s father dropped by to give me these gorgeous looking ang koo kueh

Ang koo kueh 1

…with mung bean filling. His missus made them…

Ang koo kueh 2

…and yes, they were very very nice. It certainly was so very sweet of them to spare me a few to enjoy.

Yes, I am indeed truly blessed with all these thoughtful and generous family members and friends here, there and everywhere. Thank you so much, all, for everything!