Let’s get ready…

There certainly seems to be a whole lot of events going on in Sibu this year but I guess that’s to be expected considering that 2017 is Visit Sibu Year.

Not too long ago, there was the Sibu International Dance Festival and just last week, the Sibu International BASE Jump attracted jumpers from all over the world. According to the news report, there were enthusiasts from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Russia, United Kingdom, the United States and Malaysia.

Well, the Mooncake or Lantern Festival also known as the Mid-Autumn or Zhongqiu Festival falls on the 4th of October this year and preparations are on the way at the town square

Sibu Lantern Festival 2017 1

…for a grand celebration…

Sibu Lantern Festival 2

…starting on the 3rd until the 26th.

The 1Malaysia Food Fair will be held simultaneously at the Phase 2 section of the square, right across the road.

I dropped by the other evening…

Sibu Lantern Festival 2017 3

…to have a look and it being the Year of the Cockerel this year, this…

Sibu Lantern Festival 2017 4

…has been given centre stage.

There were still a lot of people working on them but that did not stop members of the public of all colour and creed  from crowding around and posing to have their snapshots taken…

Sibu Lantern Festival 2017 5

These are lanterns made of cloth…

Sibu Lantern Festival 2017 6

…and of course, our Sibu iconic symbol, the Swan…

Sibu Lantern Festival 2017 7

…has not been left out but my favourite would be these elegant-looking butterflies…

Sibu Lantern Festival 2017 8

I am very sure they would look very nice when lighted up at night…

Sibu Lantern Festival 2017 9

…but I guess the only way to find out would be to drop by when everything is ready.

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Nice guys…

They’re all very nice guys at Payung Café…

Payung Cafe decor

… including Peter, the boss and Chen, his business partner/co-owner and Andy, one of the boys there, is no exception.

Well, Andy celebrated his birthday…

Andy, the birthday boy

…two days ago on Wednesday and he sent me a message asking me to drop by for some long life noodles…

Birthday egg

…our longevity noodles, the mee sua served with the traditional Foochow red wine chicken soup…

Mee sua in traditional red wine chicken soup

The mee sua was under the chicken, not visible in the photograph and boy, it really was so so so very nice! I don’t know what went into the cooking of the soup – Peter just said there were “a lot of things” and I did spot some wolfberries and red dates in it.

I told him that if he had that on their menu, I would come back again and again just for this – it was that nice and I dare say I have not had any other that is of this same standard, none that can even come close. Perhaps he could have it as their Saturday special like how their lei cha is their Friday lunch special and I hear it is doing very well.

For our drinks, we were served this…

Anjung smoothie

– what they call anjung smoothie, a concoction made out of roselle, cucumber and lime and there was this birthday cake too…

Birthday cake from Marcus

There’s no mistaking who made that – the instant I shared the photograph on Facebook, somebody commented, “I see Marcus’ cake!” Yes, he’s that famous around here and even though he has been around for such a very long time (he made my wedding cake), he is still as popular today as he was way back then.

Andy did tell me that Peter would be cooking something special for the birthday celebration and for a start, we had this papaya salad…

Payung's papaya salad

…which was a whole lot nicer than the one we tried not too long ago. That time, I thought it was just all right and I would still prefer their pomelo salad but this time around, it could give the latter a really good fight plus Peter made it extra spicy so of course, my missus loved it to bits and enjoyed it so much!

There was this beef dish with kiwi fruit…

Beef with kiwi fruit

…that we also liked. I was thinking that perhaps, I could try cooking that at home and use pineapples instead. Other that the stronger taste, it is definitely a whole lot cheaper than those kiwis – they cost a bomb here, not something I would be buying to enjoy on a regular basis!

The ladies loved the sour chicken…

Payung's sour chicken
*Archive photo*

…a variation of the traditional Cantonese sour duck but the photograph I took was a little blur so I am using this one from sometime ago when I had it for lunch.

As for me, my vote went to this new creation by Peter, chicken with daun sireh (betel leaves)…

Daun sireh chicken

I thought that was very good and I was surprised for as far as I know, those leaves were bitter – Peter said that once cooked, the bitterness would be gone.

Gosh!!! We were so full after that scrumptious dinner – in fact, we were already very full after the awesomely nice mee sua but obviously, that was just the tip of the iceberg.

Thank you so very much for inviting us, Andy and to you too, Peter for this most delightful treat to celebrate Andy’s auspicious day. Happy birthday once again, Andy – hope your day was great and may you be blessed with a truly wonderful year ahead. Cheers!!!

PAYUNG CAFE (2.284049, 111.833014) is located at No.20F, Lanang Road, Sibu, Malaysia, back to back with the multi-storey car park of the Kingwood Hotel which faces the majestic Rejang River.

Nobody knows my name…

My girl wanted to have lunch here last Friday as she was thinking of having their kiam sor hu phee (salty crispy/crusty fish fillet) since she couldn’t have their sweet and sour – the one here is her favourite in town but tomato sauce is not gluten free.

Unfortunately, we were told that they had marinated all the fish fillet, ready for deep frying and for use to cook whatever dish the customers would order so we could not have it coated with tapioca flour. Well, it would be those frozen fish fillet sold at the supermarkets here anyway, Dory and I would not say it’s our favourite.

They suggested one type of fish called phak tee poh in Hokkien instead. They said they could coat a slice in tapioca flour and deep fry and serve. My missus is familiar with the fish and said it would be very nice so that was what we had (RM16.00)…

Y2K phak tee poh

Oooppsss!!! They drizzled some soy sauce on top so in my panic, I quickly turned it over for my girl to eat the soy sauce-free side of the fish and I forgot to take a photograph of it before I did that!

It was really very very nice and my girl loved it! She said that it reminded her of what she used to enjoy at her favourite fish and chips shop in Wellington, New Zealand and upon hearing that, I quickly ordered another slice, coated with tapioca flour and deep fried too but with no soy sauce added to take away and she could take it back with her to her school in the jungle come Sunday to eat and enjoy there.

I went and asked on Facebook what its name in English or Malay was and I got a whole lot of suggestions starting with grouper/garoupa or karupa in Malay…and all the rest. Well, I still don’t know the answer – my girl said it tasted something like what we call snowfish…

Snowfish
*Archive photo*

…or Alaskan fish here, something like cod, but this one is not so oily/fat. We’ve stopped eating snowfish ever since my girl discovered all the fish fat being discharged out of her body system after eating it. In the end, the closest I got was tee poh, dried flat sole fish.

Anyway, back to what we had for lunch that day, my girl stuck loyally to the salted vegetable and tofu soup…

Y2K salted vegetable and tofu soup

…that she enjoys a lot here and yes, it was good as always that day.

We also ordered the fried cangkuk manis with egg…

Y2K fried cangkuk manis with egg

…and we liked its wok hei fragrance and how it was dry and not swimming/drowning in the sauce/gravy like the one we had here and the midin (wild jungle fern), fried ching chao (clear fried)…

Y2K fried midin, ching chao

…was good as well.

The total for the food came up to RM46.00 and about a third of it was for the fish so I thought that was pretty reasonable.

I asked the lady boss how business was and she said it has not been good especially in the morning when they hardly have anybody dropping by. I did hear people saying that things here are more expensive but this is air-conditioned and a lot more comfortable (and less crowded) than your regular coffee shop…and looking at my more recent posts, I have had some not-necessarily-as-nice stuff in coffee shops here and there around town that are just as expensive or even more so.

Well, one thing’s for sure, we certainly would be coming back for more.

Y2K CAFE (2.294220, 111.825753) is located in the Tunku Osman area, round the corner from that block of shops where the branches of AmBank & RHB Bank are located. with its back entrance facing the side (right, not the main one) entrance/exit of Methodist Secondary School.

STOP PRESS: I just got a comment from a friend on my link on Facebook and I QUOTE, “The English name is tripletail fish. The Chinese name is 打铁婆,松鲷. The Malay name is patipok or kuku laut.  Funny that the Chinese name means blacksmith woman.” UNQUOTE

Extra day…

Last week, my girl’s school took an extra day off on Thursday, a cuti peristiwa (occasional holiday) and since Friday was a public holiday (Awal Muharram), she got to spend an extra long weekend at home.

She liked the chap fan (mixed rice) here but most of the time when she was home, they did not have it. I did mention in my previous posts that they do not have it every day, only on week days and not on weekends and public holidays nor during the school holidays – those times when my girl would be home.

That was why I jumped at the chance to take her there…

One O One spotted dick

…last Thursday even though we just went there ourselves quite recently.

Unfortunately, there did not seem to be a lot that she could eat so she took the batter-coated chicken drumstick, not gluten free, to give to me…

One O One chap fan - my girl's picks

…and she cast caution to the wind and took the pork with dried chili in soy sauce. The fried tofu with the white/green gourd and the fried long beans with egg were all right and so was the omelette.

I thought the steamed egg looked very nice…

One O One steamed egg

…so I asked for that and indeed it was, VERY nice and my girl liked it too so I let her have most of it.

I had the tofu that I had the last time again…

One O One chap fan - tofu & sesame seed chciken

…as I liked it a lot but no, there’s soy sauce in the dish as well as the sesame seed chicken that my missus had too…

One O One chap fan - missus' picks

…alongside the fried tofu with green/white gourd and the pork and dried chili in soy sauce and she also asked for a serving of taugeh (bean sprouts) and some green vegetable.

Like on our previous visit, I asked for the rather diluted chicken curry to be served on top of the rice…

One O One chap fan - chicken curry

…and seeing that in the end, the poor thing did really have much to eat, I gave most of the cabbage and long beans to my girl and some of the chicken too.

The cangkuk manis with egg and also the chives came out later otherwise she probably would want to have those but nonetheless, she did enjoy the lunch, RM7.00 per head for two meat and three vegetables with a free flow of complimentary soup (sweet corn) and iced orange cordial and/or tea.

ONE O ONE CAFE (2.305823,111.84837) is located in the Jaya Li Hua Commercial Centre along Lorong Pahlawan 7C, opposite the wet market, among the shops on the other side from the Sibu Bus Terminal area.

Same old places…

I have not been around much lately so as you can see in this post, I ended up going to the same old places to eat.

We stopped by here once and I had the nasi lemak with chicken drumstick curry (RM8.00)…

Colourful Cafe nasi lemak with chicken curry

…while my missus had their fried kway teow (RM4.50)…

Colourful Cafe fried kway teow

I think I did mention in a previous post that the prices here have gone up by around 50 sen but as long as the food is good, it does not really matter as its location is convenient for us to stop by on our way home and parking is a breeze plus it is free.

We were here not too long ago and I was quite upset by the fact that they did not seem to have a lot of the things on their elaborate menu but we were in the vicinity and I wanted my missus to try the nice nasi bryani (RM9.00)…

Sara Cafe nasi bryani ayam

…that I had and thought was really good. The chicken thigh seemed much smaller this time around and it did not look like my missus enjoyed it a lot – she just said it was not spicy. Period.

I ordered the roti canai (RM1.20)…

Sara Cafe roti canai

…and though I liked how it was kind of crispy in parts, I did not think I would want to order that again as I found it way too oily, so oily that I could not use my hands to tear it up and dip in the curry gravy and eat.

I liked the teh-c special (RM3.00)…

Sara Cafe teh-c special

…and I thought the mee jawa (RM6.00 for the special)…

Sara Cafe mee jawa special 1

…was very good too…

Sara Cafe mee jawa special 2

I loved the taste of the thick and rich gravy but for the special, one would get a piece of fried chicken, that’s all. I would prefer the fried prawn fritters than one would get for the mee jawa special here.

Then, on another morning, we stopped by here but it was a Wednesday and that stall with the nice own-made fish balls was having its day off so my missus went and ordered the seafood noodles (RM6.00)…

Happiness Cafe seafood noodles

…that she had once and liked a lot.

I tried the Foochow sio bee (90 sen each)…

Happiness Cafe Foochow sio bee

…from the mee sua stall and much to our delight, they were really very good!

I mentioned in that post that the Sarawak laksa stall had closed down – well, it has reopened, now run by a couple and no, I did not go for the laksa queen (RM28.00)…

Happiness Cafe laksa queen

…and no, I don’t think I would ever want to part with a whopping RM58.00 for the king – I guess the prawns would be extra huge if you order the latter. Instead, I just settled for their laksa special (RM7.00)…

Happiness Cafe laksa special

…RM5.00 for the regular.

It tasted nice, much nicer than what I had here but no, it did not have much of the Sarawak laksa fragrance and taste plus I would not recommend the special as the serving was so very huge, a whole lot of bihun, that it was quite a struggle for me to finish all of it.

So there you have it, something old and something new that I had over the past week or so at those same old places around here.

COLOURFUL CAFE (2.316673, 111.837539) is located in the Renew4U building at the junction of Brooke Drive and Lorong Kwong Ann 8, across the road from the Church of Jesus  Christ of the Latter Day Saints while SARA CAFE (2.307544, 111.820744) is located among the shops at Simpang Tiga, Sibu, where the Bisonte Grocer & Deli is, one of the two facing Jalan Bunga Normah 4 and HAPPINESS CAFE, (2.306608, 111.827179) formerly KONG MA MA, is located along Lorong Delta 4, off Jalan Delta. The left turn into Lorong Delta 9 will lead you straight to the Delta Public Swimming Pool.

Forgotten…

I’ve forgotten when I dropped by this coffee shop…

WANG SENG FOOD CENTRE

…but I do recall that I did and it was so very long ago, probably in the 80’s, if I’m not mistaken. I remember people telling me that the kolo mee was good so I went to try. I can’t remember exactly how good it was but I think I did like it. Nonetheless, I never went back again since then as parking in that part of town can be such a pain and the thought of parking further away and walking all the way there certainly would not appeal to me, thank you very much.

However, luck was on my side that day and I managed to grab a parking space in the area behind this shop as there was a car vacating one parking lot as I was just about to go past…and in the end, I decided to drop by and check the place out.

The kolo mee stall is still there…

WANG SENG FOOD CENTRE kolo mee stall

…but it was already closed. Perhaps everything was sold out or it was their off day.

The fried noodles and stuff stall was also closed but I did hear something like they were the same people running the chu char (cook & fry) stall…

WANG SENG FOOD CENTRE chu char stall

…at the back and they would close the stall early, past breakfast and the 10 o’ clock tea break time so as to concentrate on the latter as the customers would be coming in for lunch.

The coffee looked promising…

WANG SENG FOOD CENTRE kopi-o-peng

…but unfortunately, I found it disappointing. I certainly would not rate it among the best or the better ones in town.

We had their bitter gourd omelette…

WANG SENG FOOD CENTRE bitter gourd omelette

…and I could not believe my ears when I was told that it was only RM5.00! It was good and even if it wasn’t, I had no cause for complaint. That would be at least RM8.00 elsewhere.

I saw some people at a table eating their sweet and sour fish and it looked good so I wanted that too…

WANG SENG FOOD CENTRE sweet & sour fish

We had the sweet and sour or chio/ikan bawal hitam (black pomfret) and it was such a big one that I expected it to cost some RM25.00 or so. No, it was only RM18.00 and yes, it was very nicely done, I would say.

I found out that they are open every day from morning till around 2-3.00 p.m. when they would close for the day. At such prices, I sure would not mind going there again…provided I get to find a parking space not too far away, that is.

WANG SENG FOOD CENTRE (2.290256, 111.828019) is located along Jalan Wong Nai Siong right behind the Sibu Central Post Office. You can see the Sibu Central Police Station right ahead in the above photograph.

 

Lady of Spain…

My cousin flew into town on a lightning visit before heading to Miri to visit her brother and family there after which she would head home to Brisbane, Australia.

Prior to this, she went on a pilgrimage to Lourdes in France and also to Fatima in Portugal and she brought me this fridge magnet…

Gifts from cousin

…from Spain – a Spanish dancer doing the flamenco and also the holy water from Lourdes and the Sarawak kek lapis (layer cake) from Kuching where she stopped for a couple of days before coming to Sibu.

Unfortunately, she arrived late on Saturday night as her flight was delayed and the next day, Sunday, we had to send our girl back to her school in the jungle so we could not get to go and see her till evening that day to pass her the kampua survival kit that I got for her and also to take her out for dinner.

Well, she grew up here so she had no problem at all keeping herself occupied. She said that she managed to go and eat the kampua mee and piansip here and she even went to the Sibu Central Market for the Ah John rojak and she went all over town to stock up on her supplies to bring back to Australia, like the pek ting eyok (eight treasures), for instance…and she kept saying how cheap things are here. Hmmm!!!

We took her here for dinner that night and I ordered one of their signature dishes, the chicken satay (RM9.00, RM3 per stick)…

New Dragon Seafood Restaurant chicken satay

No, I did not order extra as since they were quite big, not the regular satay size, I reckoned just one stick for each of us would be enough.

I wanted the Foochow fried noodles but was duly informed that they did not serve it here or at least that was what I understood from the mono-lingual Mandarin-speaking waitress taking our orders. My cousin seemed very keen on having that and was rather disappointed – she probably had not had it for a while now. I did hear that they did have that when they were at their former location and theirs was very good but I never got to give it a try.

Other than the satay, we had this stewed pork belly with mui choy (梅菜/preserved mustard green), RM18.00…

New Dragon Restaurant stewed pork belly with mui choy

…which my girl loved a lot but no, she can’t eat that anymore as there is soy sauce in it so it is not gluten-free.

I asked for some mantao (steamed buns) to stuff the slices of meat in and eat but I was told that for that, I would have to order their regular stewed pork belly, not this version with the mui choy…and since I just had that two nights ago, I decided I could do without the mantao then and stuck to my original order.

Personally, I was of the opinion that the serving was rather huge for three persons – three slices would be enough but I think there were six at least and since my two lady companions had a slice each, no prize for guessing who had to eat all the rest! It wouldn’t have been so bad if we had not ordered anything else…or if everyone had two slices each.

The fried cangkok manis with egg (RM8.00)…

New Dragon Seafood Restaurant fried cangkok manis with egg

…was over-watery, swimming/drowning (*delete as applicable) in the sauce/gravy and not as dry as elsewhere, but it was nice and we enjoyed it.

We always liked their steamed lajong when they were at their former location so I ordered that for my cousin to enjoy, Teochew-style…

New Dragon Seafood Restaurant steamed lajong, Teochew style

…with the salted vegetables, sour plum, tofu and all. They sure would not be able to find this very nice fish Down Under, that’s for sure and yes, they did it really well.

However, it took a very long time coming, so long that I was wondering if they had missed it out or forgotten all about it and I was contemplating on cancelling the order as we were already so full. Finally, when it made its grand appearance, I was stunned – the slab of fish was gigantic.!!! I think that would be enough for a table of 10 at a regular Chinese banquet so it was a struggle for us to finish all of it.

Now, that, of course, did not come cheap and I had to fork out RM62.00 for it – they could have given us a slab half the size at half the price, like what we used to get and what I used to pay in the past. The bill in total just made it past RM100, inclusive of rice and drinks  so I guess that was why we got this complimentary plate of watermelon…

New Dragon Seafood Restaurant compliemntary fruit

No, we did not qualify for the free ice cream, not unless the bill had gone up to over RM200.00.

It was nice seeing my cousin again – I sure hope she enjoyed what I had ordered for our dinner that night and thank you so much for the gifts.

THE NEW DRAGON SEAFOOD RESTAURANT (2.291430, 111.828736) is located along Hua Kiew Road in the first block of shops on your right behind the Sibu Central Police Station.