New arrival…

My ex-student, Kho Peng, and Hilda tied the knot in 2016 and the good news is that now, they have a new addition to the family, a baby girl, Abigail. He was so very nice as to remember me after all these years to invite me to their very lavish wedding banquet and this time around, he sent word to invite me to his house for what the Foochows call seng ngang.

Traditionally, the convalescing Foochow mum would have to stay in confinement for 30 days. In the old days, before there was air conditioning, she would have to stay in a hot and stuffy and very dark room – all the windows would be closed and the stench was unbearable. Yes, she would not be allowed to bathe for that whole month! In fact, she would not get to see the light of day at all.

There would be a confinement lady to do everything – slaughter the chicken, cook the soup and serve her mee sua with lots and lots of ginger to combat the “cold” in the body and lots and lots of wine to regain the blood lost during delivery. Of course, these days, anything alcoholic is to be strictly avoided as they say it will go through the breast milk to the baby. Hmmmm…no wonder we were all such good babies way back then, sleeping all the time. We were all drunk! LOL!!!

In the meantime, family and friends would drop by for this seng ngang tradition. They would bring ang paos (red packets containing money) or live chickens with a red strip of cloth tied to the ankles, trays of eggs or bottles of Wincarnis or boxes of chicken essence and the customary practice would be to stick a red paper square on them.

The well-wishers would be served mee sua

Mee sua

…and extra chicken…

Extra chicken

…and eggs too for them to help themselves if they so desired.

I remember the eggs were not pre-peeled – you will have to do it yourself and if it was a baby boy, the eggs would be dyed red and you would get the colour all over your fingers when you peeled them. They did not colour the eggs if it had been a baby girl but generally these days, they would do it for both, never mind boy or girl or they may not do it at all.

I do not recall eating anything else other than the mee sua and the chicken and the eggs but at these seng ngang sessions these days, they may serve a little bit more than those like these very nice homemade Foochow-style fish sio bee

Fish sio bee

…and these vegetable dishes…

Vegetable 1

…that we had as well…

Vegetable 2

…that day.

Upon leaving, everyone will be given some eggs to bring home. These days, many choose to give the eggs raw/uncooked so one would be able to take them home and use them in whichever way one chooses. Some may not be all that fond of eating eggs, hardboiled.

Thank you so much, Kho Peng, for the invitation and may God bless your baby girl, Abigail, and also Hilda and you with abundant happiness and all that is good in the years ahead. Cheers!!!

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Wrong move…

Last Friday, we dropped by here as it was our no-meat Friday, purely by choice, not owing to any kind of obligation and I wanted to come here for the fish curry.

No sooner had we arrived, a man came by our table with bags of the chay lenggeng/green matakucing (cat’s eyes)…

Green lenggeng

…or bua’ esau in Melanau – the yellow ones are called bua’ kurih.

My missus enjoys these green ones so I bought 1 kilo for her, RM20.00! These local fruits certainly cost an arm or a leg these days. Come to think of it, it may be cheaper to go for the used-to-be-more-expensive imported fruits instead. Of course, I would not touch the fruit – I was still having my cough though the vigorous bouts of coughing (till I go all red in the face) were getting fewer and far between.

The man was also selling these dabai (black olive)…

Dabai

They were very cheap now, only RM15.00 a kilo. When they first appeared this season, they were going for as much as RM50.00 a kilo. Goodness gracious me! I just can’t believe that there are people willing to fork out that kind of money for the fruit. My missus also loved eating them (and me too, but I was having my cough, remember?) so I bought a kilo for her.

Both of us had the nasi campur (mixed rice) and she had these…

Sri Pelita nasi campur

– their fish curry, ladies’ fingers and bitter gourd.

I had their fish curry too…

Sri Pelita fish curry

…and I did take a few more of the ladies’ fingers in it as well.

I thought this was pineapple…

Papaya

…but when I got down to eating it, I found that it wasn’t and I just could not tell what it was. In the end, I did ask them and it turned out to be unripe papaya. Hmmm…that was nice! I sure wouldn’t mind having a go at it again should I happen to see it here.

I also took this fried fish…

Sri Pelita fried fish

…and they had prepared this very nice sambal belacan (dried prawn paste dip)…

Sri Pelita sambal belacan

…to go with it. They placed the bottle strategically beside the fish in the display cabinet and one could help to as much as one desired at no extra charge, unlike here where you would have to fork out 50 sen for just a miserable tablespoon more of the sambal. Tsk! Tsk!

The nice and handsome young boy asked us if we would like any complimentary soup and we said no, we were fine without it but he insisted on serving it to us…

Sri Pelita complimentary soup

It was very nice, very strong on the beef flavour and I truly enjoyed it a lot.

I had the teh tarek, shaken not stirred…

Teh tarek

…and my missus had the iced lemon and the total for what we had, inclusive of drinks, was RM15.00. I thought that was quite reasonable – yes, I was glad that I was not given any more so-very-generous discounts like on so many of our previous visits. Business is business.

That night, for dinner, my missus prepared some of the dabai to eat and I did have a few seeds as well – yes, it was very very nice, so very rich and creamy but that certainly was a wrong move on my part, a really terrible mistake. My coughing the whole night through kept me awake till morning. I swore there and then that I would not eat any of these fruits ever again…till the next season.

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.

Biscuits…

It’s so complicated. Some call them biscuits, others call them cookies and biscuits refer to some other things, quite different altogether. Whatever it is, they all have one thing in common – they all end up in the same place!

Well, this came in the mail the other day, the lovely pistachio nut chocolate chip cookies

From Merryn

…from Merryn, William and the boys, thank you so so much for including me in your mailing list! She said that she would have liked to send me the cute doggie ones but she was afraid that they might not get to me in one piece. Thankfully, these survived the trip pretty well, they were all still intact unlike some that I had received before whereby I ended up eating everything using a spoon.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not celebrating this year but that does not mean that I will not be eating any of the usual stuff that people would normally associate with the festive season like these sago biscuits or kueh bangkit

Kueh bangkit 2018

…as they are called locally, for instance.

Yes, they are selling them at Payung again this year, the homemade ones sourced from somebody in Mukah and the good news is they are going for exactly that same price as in 2016 and last year…

Kueh bangkit 2017
*Archive photo*

…and if you buy 10, you will get one free. These are gluten-free being made from sago flour so my girl can eat them. That was why I bought one tub but before she came home for the weekend, I had finished it all up. Tsk! Tsk! I will just have to drop by again to get another one for her.

Well, these are neither cookies nor biscuits – they’re pancakes…

Pancakes 1

…and there is a joke going round that says that the ones with abs are called waffles.

I used to make them quite a lot but I’ve stopped completely for a long time now as they are not gluten-free. However, the other day, I asked my mum if she would like some and she said yes, so I went and bought the ingredients and made some for her. Thankfully, I could still do it and everything turned out all right…

Pancakes 2

While I was out shopping for the ingredients at a supermarket in Sg Merah, I saw these very nice made-in-Indonesia coconut biscuits…

Biskut kelapa 1

…selling for only RM2.70. I do buy them quite regularly from a grocery store near my mum’s house at RM3.00 a pack. I guess sensible buyers or consumers would usually shop around for the best prices but unfortunately, I am not one of them. After all, the 30 sen difference would probably not be enough to pay for the petrol for me to go out of my way to the supermarket I went to to buy these.

While I was at the aforementioned supermarket, I spotted these (RM3.80 a box)…

Oreo thins 1

No, I am not a fan of those celebrated biscuits but I just thought I would give them a try. With all the Thai characters all over the boxes, I thought they would be made in Thailand but upon close scrutiny…

Oreo thins 2

…it seemed that it wasn’t so.

There were two packs in one box…

Oreo thins 3

…with around 9 pieces…

Oreo thins 4

…in each of them. They were all right – no, they did not get me all excited and between the two, I prefer the vanilla. Personally, I would much sooner stick to my Indonesian coconut biscuits…

Biskut kelapa 2

…with its very nice santan/coconut milk fragrance.

Where we are…

I spotted this thing on the roof…

Penyet Delta Google Maps icon

…on an earlier visit but it was pouring cats and dogs so I did not bother going out in the rain to snap a photograph of it and on our subsequent visit the other day, I just forgot completely about it.

Well, I did remember this time…and initially, I thought that was a rather odd sign – if it had been the other way round, it could have been a drop of blood and become the symbol of a blood bank or a place where one could go for blood tests, things along those lines.

In West Malaysia, when you say PD, everyone would think of Port Dickson right away and I was wondering what would cross people’s minds when they saw that here. I shared the snapshot on Facebook and asked this question and an ex-student of mine, now a journalist with a local tabloid, responded, “Google maps!” Hey!!! Why didn’t I think of that? I drop by the website all the time to find the locations of the places that I blog about and get the GPS for those thus inclined and I would see this red icon all the time. Now that sure was a brilliant idea – kudos to whoever thought of putting it on top of the building to show the location of PD or Penyet Delta in full.

Well, we were there for lunch again that day and my missus had their nasi campur (mixed rice)…

Penyet Delta nasi campur

…again, RM5.50 and my guess was it was RM2.50 for the chicken curry and RM1.00 each for the two vegetables and the rice.

No, they were no longer using those very nice stainless food warmers…

Penyet Delta stainless steel food warmers
*Archive photo*

…anymore – I guess somebody got tired of opening and shutting the heavy lids all the time everytime somebody felt like having nasi campur so now they have those cabinets with mosquito netting-covered sliding doors that they use at most places elsewhere here.

I did not want my usual kopi-o-peng (iced black coffee) as I was recovering from my cough and instead of that, I asked for a glass of teh tarek which came looking like this (RM3.80)…

Penyet Delta teh tarek

Hmmmm…I thought like a martini, it should be shaken not stirred…

Penyet Delta teh tarek, stirred not shaken

…but it did taste great – strong on the taste of tea and rich with the milk added.

The sweet and friendly roti canai girl asked me if I would like to try her roti canai durian but I told her I was staying off the fruit for the time being as I had a cough. I saw on the sign at her stall that hers was only RM3.50 each, around half the price of the one I saw the other day, and RM3.70 with milk or RM4.00 with cheese added.

This time around, I had the nasi ayam penyet (RM7.50)…

Penyet Delta nasi ayam penyet

…more expensive than at their other place but cheaper than some of the rest around town. I did remember to ask about their very special banana leaf-wrapped rice and was told that they would cook the rice first and then wrap it in the leaf and steam it first before serving it piping hot.

I asked for some extra sambal

Penyet Delta extra sambal

…and I did get that, no problem at all but I had to fork out an extra 50 sen for that. Tsk! Tsk! Next time, I will just make do with what they give.

The slab of chicken thigh…

Penyet Delta ayam penyet

…appeared rather small but it was all right – very nicely done, not hard and dry and actually, that was quite enough for a very nice meal though personally, I do feel that I enjoy their pecel lele (ikan keli/catfish) more. I think I will just stick to that the next time I drop by here again.

PENYET DELTA (2.307969, 111.825223) is located at No.14, Lorong Delta 10, off Jalan Delta, right behind the Delta Swimming Pool, right beside the Delta Seafood & Cafe.

Too much time on my hands…

I guess those of you who are regular followers of my blog would know my daily routine – I would do the gardening till around 9 and then, we would go to my mum’s place to keep her company till around noon and we would go for lunch some place before coming home but of course, Sundays would be send-my-girl-to-her-school day so we would not be following this same routine on that day.

I have not been doing much gardening for some weeks now as I was busy plucking my rambutans, sawing the branches, cutting them into manageable lengths to fit into the boot of my car, packing the leaves in large plastic bags and taking them some place to throw away. No, I’m not done yet – there are still some of the fruits high up in the tree but I came down with a terrible cough as a result of which, I did not get to sleep much all night through and thus, I did not have much energy to do all that. I guess I will just have to leave those remaining fruits on the tree to wither and dry up and go to waste.

Well, since I was not doing all those things in the early morning, I had too much time on my hands…and I decided not to waste it but to put it to good use and cook something for our meals – that way, we could come straight home from my mum’s place for lunch instead of eating out and drinking some iced drink which would only aggravate my cough.

I cooked this meatball porridge…

Meatball porridge

…with our ethnic brown rice and I added some pandan leaves to it while cooking. Once done, I garnished it with fried finely-chopped garlic and spring onions from my garden and served.

I remember how when I was little, everytime I fell ill, my mum would cook porridge for me to eat with either Bovril…

Bovril
*Archive photo*

…or Marmite. We only had those two in those days.

She would deep-fry one or chio/ikan bawal hitam (black pomfret)…

Or chio
*Archive photo*

…and taking the meat of the fish, she would break it into bits and pieces and mix thoroughly with the porridge. I did not have any fish in the freezer that day but there was some long kiam hu (salted fish) so I fried two pieces…

Long kiam hu

…and it is always nice – salted fish with porridge.

My mum would have some salted eggs…

Salted eggs
*Archive photo*

…for me too.

No, nobody ate those century eggs then – I remember my dad was the only one who enjoyed those. I guess the rest of us were put off by the black colour and at times, there might be an unpleasant urine smell and rumour had it at the time that in China, where the eggs all came from at the time, they used horse urine to make them. Of course I wouldn’t know whether there was any truth in that or it was just an urban legend.

We do have some nice ones these days and it so happened that there were a few in the house and I had those…

Century eggs

…garnished with thinly-sliced ginger and dark soy sauce, instead of the salted ones.

I did not have a vegetable dish that day. Usually, my mum would fry thinly-sliced long beans omelette…

Long beans omelette
*Archive photo*

…to go with porridge. We kids were never into vegetables then so I guess with the eggs, it did not feel like we were eating vegetables so much.

The next morning, I took a slab of chicken thigh, chopped it up and cooked our Foochow traditional red wine chicken soup with lots of ginger that I pounded till real fine. I felt like having mee sua that day so mee sua it was…

Mee sua in Foochow red wine chciken soup

…with hard-boiled eggs by the side.

I guess once I get back to my old routine, I would not be cooking all that much so early in the morning – to the most, it would be something that I would be thinking of having for breakfast, that’s all.

Some things change…

It must have been years since the last time we dropped by here…

Yummy's Kafe
*Archive photo*

The stalls selling the beef noodles that we loved a lot and the kway chap are still there and the chu char place at the back is still around, the one with the seemingly very popular chap fan, come lunchtime. However, the kampua mee people did not look familiar – they’re probably new but I did not ask to find out and neither did I order anything from the stall to try.

This stall…

New stall

…is definitely new and my missus ordered the zhao chai hung ngang (RM6.00)…

Zhao chai hung ngang

…from there. She said it was salted vegetables, not zhao chai (preserved vegetables) but it was nice and she did enjoy it.

This Malay stall…

Malay stall

…used to be there and now they have moved to the other side and the roti canai stall has moved in a bit.

I saw this sign…

Durian canai

…above the latter but no, I was not tempted to give it a try, not when I’m down with a terrible cough from all the durians, dabai and rambutans.

I’ve tried some of the things that they had at the aforementioned Malay stall before and I thought they were all right, nothing really sensational but good enough should one feel thus inclined.

That morning, I had the nasi lemak special (RM5.00)…

Nasi lemak special

…which is cheaper than most other places but unfortunately, the rice was not lemak and kinda dry and hard. The sambal was good, spicy, and the egg was fine – they flipped it while frying and that was why it looked like that.

When using a pan, I would flip my fried egg too…

My fried egg, flipped

…but one would have to be fast – turn off the heat, flip the egg and let it cook lightly on the residual heat for a couple of seconds and flip it back again almost instantly and the egg yolk would be white on the outside, while still runny…

Runny yolk, fried egg - flipped

…on the inside and not looking so raw as in a sunny side up nor so overdone like the one here.

The Indian rojak (RM4.00 with egg)…

Indian rojak

…from that same stall was nice – ours here is more like the Indonesian gado-gado than the Indian pasembur in the peninsula.

There is a Malay nasi campur stall further in and I did go and have a look. There were a lot of people and it sure looked popular but I didn’t think there was anything there that would get me to come back here and try.

YUMMY’S KAFE is located along Jalan Bako in the same block as the Alliance Bank, Sibu branch, at the other end on the right, off Jalan Tuanku Osman or you can come in via Brooke Drive as well.

Go there with you…

My missus and I managed to drop by here for lunch one day while my girl had gone off with her friend/ex-coursemate from Sabah/Miri and the hubby to Sarikei and we thought the food was really good. That was why all this while, I was thinking of going there again with her.

Well, last Saturday, we did manage to grab a parking space close by – more often than not, it is virtually impossible to find one in that very congested part of town – so I suggested that we went there. My girl did not seem all that keen initially but I managed to convince her that the food was really good and worth a try.

We had the fried black pomfret (ikan bawal hitam)…

Fried or chio

…garnished with fried shallots and garlic and it was really good, so very fresh and nice. Actually, I wanted it sweet and sour, the white version but the boy said they only had that with tomato sauce. I had that somewhere else a long time ago. Probably they used vinegar and sugar with a whole lot of chopped Bombay onions, chili, garlic and whatever else to cook the gravy/sauce.

I ordered the bitter gourd omelette…

Bitter gourd omelette

…that we had the last time and I thought theirs was my favourite in town. My girl tried and agreed wholeheartedly that it was very nicely done.

We also had their Foochow-style tofu with canned oysters soup…

Foochow tofu soup with canned oysters

…which turned out rather different from the regular. I don’t know what else they added – it did seem that there was the traditional Foochow red wine in it – but all in all, it was very nice, different but nice.

I asked for the siew yoke (roast pork)…

Siew yoke

…too and when it came, my girl said that she had her eyes on the slab hanging in the cabinet at the stall and was glad that I ordered it. I knew she would love that and she sure was happy I had picked this place for our lunch that day!

I noticed a rather peculiar arrangement here on our previous visit and I saw it again that day. The boss would sit at a table fiddling with his smartphone while the young boys would be busy preparing all the ingredients and everything at the stall. When all was ready, the boss would go over and cook the dishes ordered and once he was done, he would go back to the table and his smartphone. The boys would serve, collect the money – in fact, they would do everything except cook!

The fish that day was RM18.00 and the total for all the dishes and three plates of rice was RM49.00 so I reckoned the other three dishes would be around RM10.00 each, more or less.

Incidentally, I noticed that the kampua mee stall was completely empty and clean – it looked like the lady/ladies there had called it quits or moved some place else.

SYARIKAT KIONG CHUONG CAFE (2.291062, 111.827381) is located along Jalan Kampung Nyabor at the bend where one turns into Brooke Drive, a stone’s throw from Malaysia Hotel in the next block.