With you…

We had just finished breakfast that morning when I received an sms from my friend/ex-classmate, Robert, inviting me to join him for breakfast. He was with another ex-classmate of ours, Michael, who was home from Perth to attend a wedding. I could not make it as I had to go to my mum’s house to spend the morning with her and keep her company.

Later I got a call from Robert and he asked us to join them for lunch here. My girl and the mum was not all that keen as they were still very full from breakfast and besides, they had plans to do some baking that afternoon. In the end, I went on my own.

Michael had never had the chance to try the Thai starter, the miang kam

Flavours Thai Kitchen miang kam

…before so Robert ordered that and we also had the som tam, the papaya salad…

Flavours Thai Kitchen som tam

Robert insisted on ordering the Thai-style fried fish…

Flavours Thai Kitchen Thai style fried fish

…that he enjoys very much and yes, it was really very good but that was so so so huge! I cannot imagine ordering that for my small family of three – we will never be able to finish that, of that I’m quite sure…but believe it or not, we did manage to do that between the four of us that afternoon and actually, I was the one who ate most of it – it was so good that I just could not stop.

It sure was nice getting to see Michael again and as always, we had a great time chatting away and catching up with one another’s lives. We met again that night for dinner but that will be in the next post.

The next day, my girl wanted to treat us to this very nice, family-oriented movie so off we went to the trioplex together. I drove to the top of the complex thinking that we could go some place for lunch before the movie but it was full so we came all the way down again. I was in no mood to drive around in search of a vacant parking space and since they did not go with me to enjoy the awesome Thai lunch I had the previous day, I took them there. Parking here is always a breeze – one can park in the available spaces around the hotel and the restaurant or in the vicinity of the now-closed-down Ngiu Kee building right next door.

We shared the lovely Thai beef soup noodles (RM15.90)…

Flavours Thai Kitchen beef noodles, soup

…that went so well with the special chili dip…

Flavours Thai Kitchen chili dip

…that came with it.

They were so very generous with the meat, big steak-light slices, so very tender and juicy, and there was so much of it and as always, the servings here are all rather big so that would have been quite enough for the three of us to share but initially, my girl was not keen on it and wanted her favourite here, the pad Thai (RM16.90)…

Flavours Thai Kitchen pad Thai 1

…so I ordered that for her, the small.

When she tried the beef noodles, she liked it so much and had her fair share of it. That, of course, was not a problem – there was more than enough to go round and there was quite a lot of the pad Thai to share too even though it was supposed to be small…

Flavours Thai Kitchen pad Thai 2

After enjoying our sumptuous lunch, we went back to the trioplex and I drove to the top of the building again and thankfully, I did manage to get a parking space this time and off we went to enjoy the very delightful movie together.

FLAVOURS THAI KITCHEN is located on the ground floor of the ORCHID HOTEL, along Brooke Drive at its junction with Jalan Tunku Osman. You can use its main entrance at the back of the hotel building (facing Brooke Drive) or go through the lobby past the reception desk if you are using its hotel entrance.

Next of kin…

My missus’ 4th Uncle residing in Kuching came to Sibu on a visit and of course, we took him out for dinner with my brother-in-law and his wife here…

Nice House Restaurant

It was a simple dinner with the usual favourites like their fried midin with belacan (dried prawn paste)…

Nice House fried midin with belacan

…and it was very nicely done. Much to our delight, it was quite spicy so everyone enjoyed that.

We also had the fried cangkuk manis with egg…

Nice House fried cangkuk manis with egg

…and the Foochow-style tofu soup with canned oysters…

Nice Hosue Foochow tofu soup with canned oysters

…and of course, we did not miss out their own-made tofu

Nice House ang sio own-made tofu

– we insisted on having that as well even though the lady taking our orders said that we already had a tofu dish – the soup.

Another favourite of ours, their honey prawn balls…

Nice House honey prawn balls

…was well-received by one and all and this time around, since we had more people unlike those times when there were only the three of us, we asked for their steamed herbal chicken…

Nice House steamed herbal chicken

– just half as we did not think we could finish one whole chicken. That was really good and we sure would not mind ordering that again the next time we drop by here, provided we have enough people with us.

The total came up to  RM105.80, inclusive of rice and drinks for 6 people. That sure was very reasonable, don’t you think?

美味餐厅 NICE HOUSE RESTAURANT (2.29201,111.82739) is located along Jalan Bindang in the vicinity of the Tunku Osman shops, opposite Rejang Bookstore.

A familiar face…

When we were here that day, my missus spotted a familiar face – her mother used to babysit the lady’s daughter a long time ago. It turned out that her son is running this stall…

Grand Wonderful Food Court Stall 2

…at the food court and whenever she is free, she will be there to help out.

We went back a few days later to try some of the stuff at the stall but she was not around. Anyway, I just placed the orders and in the meantime, I went walking around to see what else they had and at this stall…

Grand Wonderful Food Court Stall 6

…the guy was enthusiastically recommending the sio bee (6 for RM10)…

Grand Wonderful Food Court Stall 6 sio bee

…that he said was all fish, no meat. I ordered them to try and yes, we thought they were quite nice, just that we could not tell as to whether it was a fact or not that there was no meat in the filling.

I ordered the coconut pudding like I said I would, and this time, with the fresh coconut flesh (RM3.00 a cup)…

Grand Wonderful Food Court coconut pudding with flesh

I wish they would be more careful in scraping the flesh as there were some bits of the shell in it…

Bits of shell

…and personally, I liked what I had the previous time more as in this one, there was a lot of the flesh and I felt like I was eating some young fresh coconut, not the pudding.

Our orders came and there were these sio bee, pork (RM5 for a basket)…

Grand Wonderful Food Court Stall 2 sio bee, pork

…and fish (RM5.00 for a basket of 3)…

Grand Wonderful Food Court Stall 2 sio bee, fish

The lady told my missus that these were from KL but while they were nicer than the ones we had earlier, I thought the ones I had here had an edge over these.

The po piah (RM3.00 each)…

Grand Wonderful Food Court Stall 2 po piah

…was not anything we would want to order again for the simple reason that they use the frozen skin sold in packs at the shops and supermarkets, not freshly-made skin plus even though the filling tasted nice, there was no chili (sauce) in it, no crushed groundnuts. I probably would like it a lot more if they could have those with the filling and deep-fry it till the skin is golden and crispy.

These mantao (steamed buns) stuffed with stewed pork and preserved vegetables (RM5.00 for 3)…

Grand Wonderful Food Court Stall 2 mantao 1

…were all right but they were rather small and there wasn’t all that much pork…

Grand Wonderful Food Court Stall 2 mantao 2

…unlike the very big and nice ones I had here but I only had the ones with stewed pork belly and had yet to try the ones with the preserved vegetables (mui choy) there. I would very much sooner go back to that place to enjoy theirs instead of the ones here.

Their own-made lor mai kai (RM5.00)…

Grand Wonderful Food Court Stall 2 lor mai kai

…on the other hand, was the clear winner among all our orders. It was very tasty and perfectly done and we sure enjoyed it very much.

GRAND WONDERFUL FOOD COURT (2.309601, 111.845163) is located along Jalan Pipit, off Jalan Pedada or Jalan Pahlawan, on your left just before the Petronas petrol station a short distance from Delta Mall. You can also go in via Lorong Pipit 4, turning left into the lane at the junction where Starbucks Sibu is located and go straight ahead from there.

I don’t mind at all…

Yesterday morning after the Sunday church service, I asked my girl what she wanted to eat for breakfast. Yes, the school holidays are here so we would not need to go to the sunset service on Saturday evenings anymore till school reopens in January.

She said she wanted thosai again but she was reluctant to suggest that as I might not want to go to the same place again and again and again. No, I do not mind at all – I can always order something different that they have on their menu or if it is something that I’ve blogged about often enough before, I can choose not to blog about it anymore, like the nasi kerabu ayam percik we had for lunch the previous day.

Yes, we went back here again in the end and she got to enjoy the thosai that she was thinking of having.

I ordered their nasi lamak ayam (RM7.00)…

Sri Pelita nasi lemak ayam

…and believe it or not, the last time I had it here was way back in 2014 and I was not all that impressed by what I had then. Why, it did not even look as nice at the time…

Sri Pelita nasi lemak 2014
*Archive photo – from 2014*

This time around, the rice was pretty good – there was the taste and fragrance of the santan (coconut milk) and the sambal was great plus they were quite generous with it. At some places I have been to, they were so very stingy and gave something like a teaspoonful of it only. Tsk! Tsk!

I do not like places where they fry their eggs using that metal ring and I mentioned that in my blogpost back in 2012 about the one I had here and it so happened that Guna, the boss, read that and he mentioned that to me when I went there again the following month…and he remembers it to this day, believe it or not. That morning, when he served me my plate of nasi lemak, he sad, “No ring!” and yes, the egg was perfectly done…

Sri Pelita fried egg

…golden on the outside, the yolk, still runny…

Sri Pelita runny yolk

…just the way I like it! Here’s a guy who actually cares about what his customers feel and tries his best to satisfy – way too often, we have people who are not open to criticisms and do not give a damn and will just tell you off when you pass a comment about what they dish out.

Actually, that morning, Guna was suggesting that I should try his mee rebus Ipoh special (RM7.00)…

Pelita Cafe mee rebus Ipoh 1

…but my missus wanted that so I just let her have it. She did let me try a bit and yes, I would say it was very nice…

Sri Pelita mee rebus Ipoh 2

something like the mee jawa I had here and I sure would not mind having that myself sometimes.

Guna also let us try his beef rendang

Sri Pelita beef rendang

…on the house and yes, it was so very good, bursting with flavours  with the daun kunyit and serai and what not in it. I was contemplating on tapao-ing some of that home for dinner but I decided not to as we might not be eating at home

Ooopsss!!! Guna was manning the counter when I went to pay the bill. I also ordered one nasi lemak ayam for my sis and their roti canai for my mum, take away and including all that we had plus our drinks, he just asked me for RM20.00!!! I told him, “Two nasi lemak and one mee rebus Ipoh at RM7.00 each is already RM21.00,” to which he replied, grinning from ear to ear, “It’s Sunday! Must do good things on Sundays!” Naughty! Naughty! But honestly, nice guys like that do deserve to be abundantly blessed – may he continue to do so very well in his business in the days ahead.

SRI PELITA CAFE (2.293579, 111.820700) is located along Lorong Kampung Datu 11, off Jalan Kampung Datu, the first shop in the block to the right of Paramount Hotel.

Don’t know where to go…

I guess everyone is familiar with my daily routine now – we would go to my mum’s place in the morning and spend time there with her till past 11 or around noon when we would go some place for lunch before coming home. That way, we would not need to cook lunch in the house, just dinner.

The problem arises when I really don’t know where to go especially when I try to avoid going to the same places and eating the same things all the time. If I do that, either I have nothing to blog about or I will be blogging about the same ol’ places and the same ol’ things. Having said that, if I am not wrong, this is the dilemma that many face even though they may not be bloggers – sometimes, one simply does not know where to go and what to eat.

Well, the other day, I had to buy something from the hardware store round the corner so we dropped by here, my favourite chicken rice place. Yes, I’ve blogged about this place many times already but thankfully, there are many stalls in that shop so I would be able to order something different some of the time.

I noticed that now, one would have to help oneself to the complimentary soup…

Chopsticks complimentary soup

…if one is having the chicken or barbecued/roast meat rice, not that their soup is anything to shout about. Usually, I would just leave it untouched so if this is the case, I probably would not bother to go and get it.

That day, I decided to go back to the chu char (cook & fry) stall at the back but no, I did not feel like ordering the guy’s dishes to eat with rice. I did see some photographs of some vegetable dishes at the stall priced at only RM6.00. Now, that, I would say, is very cheap. Vegetables usually go for RM8.00-10.00 or more elsewhere.

We decided to just order the set rice dishes and my missus asked for the kung pao chicken with rice (RM6.00)…

Chopsticks kung pao chicken with rice

…and she did enjoy that. If only the guy would give a few thin slices of cucumber and/or tomatoes so it would not be an all-meat and rice dish.

I decided to try his ngor hiang (meat roll)…

Chopsticks ngor hiang 1

…and yes, it was really very good…

Chopsticks ngor hiang 2

–  very meaty inside, not a whole lot of onions or whatever like some that they are selling around town. It did not come cheap though, RM5.00 each so I guess I would not be going for it all that often, just once in a while perhaps.

For my set rice dish, I had the salted fish pork…

Chopsticks salted fish pork

…with rice (RM7.00)…

Chopsticks salted fish pork with rice

The guy said that he was charging RM1.00 more because of the salted fish but in actual fact, even though it was nice, I could hardly taste the salted fish. Ah well!!! For one thing, pork is more expensive than chicken so I guess an extra ringgit is fine.

After our lunch, we went to the hardware store and I got what I wanted before we made our way back home.

CHOPSTICKS CHICKEN & RICE (2.312434, 111.845917) is located in the Delta Mall, Jalan Pedada area of shops, facing the church along Lorong Taman Seduan 8, off Jalan Gambir.

Not bad at all…

Congratulations to the lovely people at Payung Café, Sibu…

Payung Cafe Sibu 1
*Archive photo*

…on their nomination as one of the finalists for the Sarawak Hornbill Tourism Award 2015/2016…

Andy & Peter at the Award Presentation Ceremony
*Andy’s photo on Facebook*

…for best kopitiamThey succeeded in grabbing the coveted award for Outstanding Food Outlet in the Kopitiam category in 2013/2014 but unfortunately, they are not that successful this time around.

As a matter of fact, their getting into the final three sure came as a surprise as even though I did know that the judges were in town (and as far as I knew, they were also in Sarikei, Mukah and Bintulu) not too long ago, I did not know that Payung Café was in the running again. I was the one chauffeuring them around the last time and from their reaction, I was pretty confident that Payung would win that time two years ago – it seemed to me that this time around, they drove all the way themselves so they had their own transport while they were in town.

zmun2 of muntalksfood.blogspot.my did ask me once which place I would suggest if one had only one night in town and could only go to just one place here and my answer was obvious. We have Japanese, Korean, Thai, Indonesian, Indian, western and Italian restaurants here but there are all these restaurants everywhere – whether they are better than the ones here or not is another story but Payung is in a class by itself altogether.

No, it does not fall into any specific category. What they serve here might be something Peter, the boss, had tried and enjoyed somewhere and he came out with his version of the dish even though the name may be the same like their butter chicken…

Payung butter chicken
*Archive photo*

…for instance, which is quite different from the curry one would find at some Indian restaurant and their beef spaghetti bolognese is unlike what everyone would be more familiar with, that’s for sure, and personally, I would much sooner go for what they serve here.

Their otak-otak (fish)…

Payung otak fish
*Archive photo*

…is one of its kind and the mushroom roll…

Payung mushroom roll
*Archive photo*

…is the favourite of many.

I can go on and on about the food here but that alone is not what makes this place special – after all, there are many other places in town where the food is also very good and some may even feel it is better elsewhere.

One thing that puts this place a head above the rest would be the decor…

Payung decor 1
*Archive photo*

– how they are able to use those very simple stuff such as ordinary flowers…

Payung Cafe decor 2
*Archive photo*

…that no one would give a second glance at and make them look so good…

Payung Cafe decor 3
*Archive photo*

…and of course, there is the ambiance as well, the whole package…

Payung Cafe Sibu 2
*Archive photo*

My late aunt loved coming here everytime she came over from Kuching – she said she felt like in Bali and my ex-student/godson, Andrew, currently residing in Christchurch, New Zealand, said that it was like being in a completely different world and once out of there, it would suddenly dawn upon him, “Oh! I’m in Sibu!!!”

All these, along with the very friendly and efficient staff makes dining here special, a real feel-good experience.

Congratulations also to the guys of Café Café – they were one of the finalists for Outstanding Food Outlet in the restaurant category but sadly, they did not win either. They have two outlets here in Sibu, the original one in the town centre where it all started …

Cafe Cafe Sibu

…and another one…

Cafe Cafe@Giant
*Archive photo*

…at the Giant Hypermart Mega Mall that we do go to time and time again as parking is a whole lot easier there. They now have two more outlets in Kuching, one at Rubber Road and the other at Song Plaza, four altogether.

An immensely popular coffee place here also got into the list of finalists, in the café/bistro category but like the aforementioned two, they did not manage to grab the coveted award as well.

Still, it was not bad at all, all three of them, don’t you think? Our own homegrown from our good ol’ little town! Keep up the good work, guys! Better luck next time…and to the rest, try harder – your turn may come in 2019 for 2017/2018.

PAYUNG CAFÉ (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 while Café Café, Sibu (2.287274, 111.826501) is along Jalan Chew Geok Lin in the middle of the block of shophouses on your right along that road – the Tua Pek Kong Temple with its 7-storey Pagoda is straight ahead and Café Café@Giant (2.325540, 111.853538), is located on the ground floor of the Giant Hypermart Megamall located to the left of SMK Bandar Sibu along Jalan Ling Kai Cheng

Downsizing…

This place was closed when we went there one day a couple of weeks back but when we tried again the other day, it was business as usual. We noticed they were doing some kind of renovation works that day and it seemed that they had downsized a little, letting go of one unit of the shops they were occupying so they had it walled up.

The fried kway teow stall that seems to be the favourite of some people I know has moved to the other side of that section and is now beside the mee sua and whatever stall – I had the black vinegar pork rice from there the other day. The stall where I had the very nice stewed pork rice is no longer there, its place occupied by the Malay stall that used to be beside the fried kway teow stall at the other end.

We were there around 11 something and there were just a sprinkling of customers around, a far cry when they initially opened and the place was so very crowded. Probably it is because times are hard and everyone is feeling the pinch or perhaps, we were a little early and it was not quite lunch time yet.

My missus ordered the pig’s intestine kway teow (RM8.00)…

Bateras Food Court pig's intestine kway teow

…from the aforementioned mee sua stall and she said it was all right but no, it was not anything she would want to order again and at that price, one can easily go for something a lot cheaper and nicer too.

I had the kampua mee pok (RM2.80)…

Bateras Food Court kampua mee pok

…from the people who had taken over from the beef noodles stall that was there before and yes, it was nice. Actually, I had wanted their fresh own-made fish balls but they were not available that morning.

I also had their liver soup, small (RM3.50)…

Bateras Food Court liver soup

…which was good too, very generous with the traditional Foochow red wine but there was very little of the taste of the liver in the clear soup.

The other stalls in the shop are the same ones that have been there all along, all at their original locations and I do hope business picks up soon or we may get to see them getting fewer and fewer in time to come.

BATERAS FOOD COURT (2.297349, 111.824644) is located among the shops opposite Kin Orient Plaza (where the “old’ Sing Kwong Supermarket is) along Jalan Tun Abg Hj Openg, right after Coffee Code and Gabriel’s Recipe, immediately before Kampung Grandma.