Don’t ask me why…

This is one place where the food is very nice and may have an edge over a lot of the rest in town and in my present health condition, we decided to drop by that day.

Like at that place the other day, they were running late here too. It was way past 11 and none of the fish dishes were out of the kitchen yet. In the end, both my missus and I had the shrimps…

Hari Hari Daun Pisang sambal udang

…and the sambal buah kedondong

Hari Hari Daun Pisang sambal buah kedondong

…and also the pumpkin and cangkuk manis

Hari Hari Daun Pisang labu cangkuk manis

I had the omelette…

Hari Hari Daun Pisang omelette

…as well but don’t ask me why when I went to settle the bill, we were charged the same, RM6.00 each, even though I did pick one extra item.

Maybe I was feeling a little better or the food was indeed better and I did enjoy what I had…to a certain extent. Having said that, it seems to me that generally, they have the same dishes every day or at least, those times when we dropped by here to eat so probably, if one comes very often, one may get tired of the same things day in day out. They certainly have a lot to pick and choose though so I guess one can change one’s selections from day to day.

Yes, nasi bryani is available on Fridays only and when we were here sometime in May, they had increased the price for the mutton by RM1.00…

Hari Hari Daun Pisang nasi bryani prices in May
*Archive photo*

…and you don’t have to ask me why the prices have increased even further now…

Hari Hari Daun Pisang new nasi bryani prices

I hear the price of (imported) lamb is rocketting sky high which certainly comes as no surprise considering our miserable ever-dwindling ringgit.

HARI HARI DAUN PISANG CURRY HOUSE (2.287364, 111.825614) is located at the hawker centre/food court along Jalan Temple (after the Tua Pek Kong Temple/7-storey Pagoda),  to the extreme left of the Sibu Trade and Exhibition Centre next to the Kedai 1Malaysia there.

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Everybody’s favourite…

If you drop by a grocery store or a supermarket in town, you will see all kinds of instant pastes for anything under the sun so much so that these days, to be able to cook merely means opening one of these packets and adding the meat or whatever and you’re done! See! Even Phong Hong had no problem cooking her own Sarawak laksa…or daging masak hitam! Kacang aje! LOL!!!

Of course, it would be nicer to cook from scratch but when it comes to cooking dishes like curry, there is so much to be done and it can be such a chore so of course, we were delighted to find one that was really very good – not quite as good as how mama did it but pretty close – and there has been no looking back since.

This is the A1 Mountain Globe brand…

A1 Mountain Globe Brand

…but be forewarned that so many of them has A1 on their packets too and some did end up buying the wrong brand that was not all that nice. I’ve tried others but this one remains my favourite and the favourite of everybody else who has tried it as well.

Usually, we would use evaporated milk these days as somehow or other, we all felt it had an edge over santan but it just slipped my mind that day and I ended up grabbing hold of a can of coconut milk and taking it home. Ah well! Since I had bought it, I might as well make use of it, I thought.

I fried the finely-chopped Bombay onion…

From my garden, except the onion

…in a bit of oil till soft and fragrant before throwing in the serai (lemon grass) and curry leaves from my garden, just a sprig or two to fry in the oil…and after adding the instant paste, I put in the organic chicken drumsticks that I bought and diluted it with some water before putting in the pandan leaf, also from my garden, knotted.

When it started simmering, I added the potatoes…

Potatoes

…peeled and cut into chunks and once the meat and the potatoes were cooked, I added the rest of the curry leaves and the santan and that was it. So easy! I did not add the santan earlier as with all that simmering while waiting for (the meat and) the potatoes to cook, it might keluar minyak, they call it in Malay, and one might get one kind of unpleasant smell that is not something to my liking.

Once ready, I dished everything…

Chicken curry

…out and that was it!

Now, don’t say you do not know how to cook curry and all the rest! If you can cut open a packet, you can!

Little bit late…

Initially, we went to check on the African guy to see if he had resumed his business but no, his stall was still closed. In fact, it was closed all throughout the fasting month and had stayed closed since, so much so that it made me wonder if he had called it quits or not.

In the end, we stopped by here and yes, the Indonesian guys were back in action and yes, they did have nasi campur (mixed rice) unlike when we came to check last week, just that they seemed to be running a little bit late that morning. It was way past 11 and only a few dishes were out at that point in time.

My missus had the perut (tripe)…

Mia perut

…and also the not very alluring green vegetables…

Mia green vegetables

Well, it was either this or some equally plain and dismal-looking cabbage. I decided I did not want either.

I took the sotong (squid)…

Mia sotong

…and so did my missus and there was kangkong in it. Maybe I took a bit more than I should and they counted that as a double serving. I should have settled for less actually as it did not taste all that great, not anything I would remember the very moment I stepped out of the shop.

The sweet and sour fish…

Mia sweet and sour fish

…was nicer though rather strong on the tomato sauce but eaten, mixed together with the rice, it was fine.

I wasn’t sure if it was because I was not feeling very well with a terrible sore throat that made swallowing so difficult and a bad cough, a running nose and all the mucus and I would feel feverish on and off…and because of that, I did not enjoy what I had that day – I did not think it was nice.

It was amazing that when my father was not doing too well, I could go on and on relentlessly right up the the last few days when I hardly slept a wink (sitting up) and I could still go on the next day and I had to keep a brave front for the sake of my mum – thank God she seemed to be taking it all right but when the seven-day prayers and rosary were over and the house became quiet again, dead quiet, there were days when she seemed a little down. Perhaps it was because I finally succumbed to the exhaustion and everything else that I came down quite ill in the end.

The other dishes came out gradually, the salted eggs and the fish…

Salted eggs and fish

…and the ketola

Ketola

…and also the lamb…

Lamb curry

…and fish curry…

Fish curry

…but no, even if these had been served earlier, I probably would not be helping myself to any – I just did not seen to have the appetite.

The bill for our plates of nasi campur totalled RM12.30 which to me, was not all that cheap, and I would not mind at all if what I had was so very nice – unfortunately, it wasn’t.

I just had bottled drinking water, no ice and my missus had the cendol

Mia cendol

…which she said was nice. No, I did not give it a try – all that ice would be bad for my health condition and I thought the colours looked quite horrifying!

MIA CAFE & RESTAURANT (2.308507, 111.820287) is located among the shops at Jalan Bunga Normah 4, around Simpang Tiga, Sibu, facing inwards overlooking the houses along Jalan Kuda, off Jalan Kampung Nangka.

Little mistake…

The other day, I dropped by here

Good Happiness Restaurant Sibu

…to tapao some dim sum and I told my missus that since we were already there, we might as well just go in and have some ourselves. After all, we have not had dim sum for a while since my girl started going on a gluten-free diet and we are not sure what has wheat (flour) or soy sauce and what not so we reckon it is best just to stay away.

I was intrigued by the name of a noodle dish on their menu…

Ants Up To The Tree

…and even though the sweet young thing taking my order did not seem that keen that I should order it, I went ahead anyway.

It turned out to be fried tang hoon (glass noodles) with bits of cangkuk manis (RM7.00)…

Ants Up To The Tree, the dish

…some fish balls and prawns…

Prawn

…and whatever else. On the whole, I would say it was nice but not anything to get really excited about.

We had these (RM5.00)…

Prawns wrapped in bean curd skin

…prawns wrapped in bean curd skin and yes, they were good and I so loved their har kao/prawn dumplings (RM6.00 for a basket of 3)…

Har kao 1

…which seemed a little bigger now, jam-packed with prawns inside…

Har kao 2

…and the skin was so fine and thin that I hardly noticed it was there.

I also enjoyed the century egg siew mai (RM5.50)…

Century egg siew mai 1

…very much, the meat filling and the 皮蛋 (pídàn) inside…

Century egg siew mai

We sure had a delightful breakfast, my missus and I, and together with one big pot of Chinese tea (RM8.00) and my takeaway order of 3 baskets of char siew pao (two in each), 3 baskets of assorted siew mai (three in each) and 3 baskets of har kao (3 in each), the total came up to RM84.80, inclusive of the 6% GST…

A little mistake

Now, wait a minute! We did not have any lemon drink, neither hot nor cold!!! I guess the cashier made a little mistake but it was all right – we’re only humans and we all make mistakes sometimes plus it was not all that much to make a fuss about. Somebody probably was very happy that morning that he was not charged for his drink.

GOOD HAPPINESS RESTAURANT (2.307304, 111.849154) is located at the junction of Jalan Cena and Lorong Pahlawan 7A/4, somewhere opposite SMK Deshon in the Sibu Bus Terminal commercial area.

Stay longer…

Well, I sure am glad that the nasi lemak guy is still around. Hopefully, he will stay a whole lot longer this time and will not disappear again. There were two days when the stall was not open and I did ask him why once and he said there was a large order for some kuehs that they were making at home so they did not have time to prepare the stuff he would need at his stall.

I noticed that he has a nice new sign at his stall now…

New sign

…but he is still using his previous menu…

Old menu
*Archive photo*

…though already weathered and faded. It looks like his stall is also open for business in the evening as well, from 4.00 p.m. until 6.30 p.m. for those of you who can’t drag yourselves out of your beds till the sun is already halfway across the sky.

Actually, I did tell him that he should just increase his prices as he sees fit. After all, everything is getting more and more expensive – grated coconut for squeezing santan (coconut milk) was RM4.00 a kg before Ramadan, RM5.00 during the fasting month and the Raya and now it is RM6.00 a kg. The most important thing, I told him,  is that he should never scrimp on the ingredients and compromise on the taste of what he sells. If we want cheap, we can just go and buy those RM1.50 packets wrapped in brown paper at all the Malay kueh stalls in town (they used to be RM1.00 each sometime ago) while those who are looking out for quality, value for money, would not mind paying a little bit more.  I guess at this point in time, he does not see the need to so he is still maintaining those same prices.

I did buy the regular sometime last week as it so happened that he did not have any chicken that morning, 8 packets altogether for my friends to try. Needless to say, this time around when I dropped by a couple of days ago, I wanted the one with the chicken and I was delighted that he was having ayam masak merah

Ayam masak merah

…for a change. I certainly would prefer that to the usual plain fried chicken.

Yes, the rice was as lemak (rich in santan/coconut milk) as ever and there were the usual condiments…

No peanuts

Wait a minute! What happened to the peanuts? He must have forgotten to include those – I certainly would ask him the next time I drop by his stall.

The one with chicken is just RM1.50 more…

Nasi lemak ayam

…which is pretty reasonable, considering that they are selling it at RM2.00 a piece, never mind whether it is drumstick, wing or any other part of the chicken, at my favourite Malay food stall a short distance down the road that opens around 10.00 a.m till past lunchtime on weekdays.

I did ask him if his business had picked up since I blogged about it and he said yes and thanked me for it. He also added that there were some former customers from years and years ago and they all came back after reading about it in my blog. Hopefully, he will do well enough to keep him going and make him stick around…

This NASI LEMAK STALL NO. 17 (2.313869, 111.825808) is located at Bandong Walk, Jalan Bandong a few stalls away from the roti canai stall, somewhere in front of this shop in the block where the 1Malaysia clinic is.

Way too soon…

After my success at planting ladies’ fingers, I decided that I would try my hand at planting brinjal/egg plant so I buried the seeds in the ground. Nothing appeared and in the end, I had no choice but to abandon the idea and assume that nothing would ever come out of it.

Then, I went on to try my luck with chilies. Yes, the seedlings sprouted out soon enough and the leaves grew really well but one fine morning, I went to have a look and there wasn’t a single one left. @#$%^&*!!!! Thankfully, new leaves eventually appeared out of those pathetic stalks and right now, though still small, one has started to flower…but no, I am not getting my hopes up too high. I’ll just wait and see what will eventually happen in the end.

My sister-in-law fared a little better. At least, she did get a lot of chilies from her plants but she has been forced to pluck them all way too soon. If she waits till they turn red, they would all be infested and would be rotting inside, no longer suitable for consumption.

That was why she gave my missus one bagful that day and I decided I would try and use some…

Green chilies from SIL

…to make my own version of the cabe ijo/cili hijau (green chili) sambal.

I sliced 5 big ones and 3 cili padi and added three shallots and 5-6 cloves of garlic, all sliced and a few slices of ginger…

Shallots, garlic & ginger

…and some ikan bilis (dried anchovies), rinsed and some hay bee/udang kering (dried prawns) pre-soaked in hot water to soften…

Ikan bilis and hay bee

…and I pounded all that before squeezing the juice of 2 calamansi limes and adding a teaspoon of sugar to counter the sourish taste and mixing everything together…

Sambal cabe ijo, my original recipe 1

I thought it was rather nice and went absolutely well with rice but my girl said it was rather dry. I guess one can always add more lime juice but I was quite happy with it that way.

I did google to have a look at some recipes and yes, they all fry theirs in oil, the Padang, Indonesian way like how they do it at one place here…

Cabeijo sambal cabe ijo
*Archive photo*

…and one recipe had it steamed but that was not what I had in mind.

Of course, there are so many other things that I can add to make my own version of the sambal. My friend, Peter, the boss of Payung Cafe, said that I should add  some Thai basil leaves to my sambal – they would bring the taste to a whole new level. I certainly would love to try that next time…and maybe, some langkuas (galangal) or serai (lemon grass) that I have growing in my garden. I probably would leave out the kunyit (turmeric) so as to maintain the green colour of the sambal.

As it was, the way I made it that day, I really enjoyed it…

Sambal cabe ijo, my original recipe 2

…especially when I wrapped a generous amount of it in some ulam raja leaves and popped into my mouth…

My sambal cabe ijo & ulam raja leaves

Yum yummm!!! I had to refrain from going for a second plate of rice that day!

Back on top…

We went back here again, on top of the Rejang Park wet market in search of the kacang ma at the chap fan (mixed rice) place there. We heard that she would have it on alternate Thursdays but we did not know exactly which Thursday that would be…and it turned out to be this coming Thursday this week.

Never mind! I did mention in my post that I would like to go back and try the stewed pork ribs noodles (RM5.00)…

Stewed pork rib noodles 1

…at Stall No. 7 and I did!

It was very nice, very tasty – I was pretty sure I could taste a bit of black vinegar and they certainly were very generous with the meat…

Stewed pork rib noodles 2

…but by the time we got there, they had run out of noodles so I had to settle for kway teow (flat rice noodles) instead.

Yes, it was good but at RM5.00 a plate, if it is just for breakfast or for brunch, I would much sooner settle for something that is cheaper but nice as well, like their Foochow fried noodles that my missus had that day, for instance…and may go for this again once in a long while for a change. At times like this, with the escalating prices of anything and everything, it would be best to be a little prudent and try and stretch the ringgit as best we can.

My missus wanted the fried tang hoon, the glass noodles (RM3.80)…

Fried tang hoon 1

…that she saw somebody eating the other day and yes, it was very good and she sure enjoyed it a lot.

One thing I’ve noticed is that generally, tang hoon is more expensive than the regular freshly-made noodles or bihun

Fried tang hoon 2

I guess since it is manufactured elsewhere and sent here, it is priced a little higher than the rest.

Hopefully, we would be able to drop by again this Thursday to give the lady’s kacang ma a try. The guy at Stall No. 7 said I would not need to ask if she is cooking it – I would be able to smell it from afar…and if that is how fragrant it is, I bet it is going to be good, fingers crossed.

STALL NO. 7 is located among THE REJANG PARK HAWKER STALLS, right on top of the (wet) market on the upper floor. The market is located among the shops in the commercial centre at that housing estate, along Jalan Teruntum.