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