The good old days…

I came from the generation when our weekly 50 cents a plate of kampua mee, with meat – 30 cents without meat, was a luxury and the Sibu-made aerated water like the Ngo Kian brand, for instance, at 30 cents a bottle was something we could ill afford and we could only wait till Christmas or Chinese New Year before we could drink those – how we loved the ice cream soda and the sarsi – and we would end up with orange or red lips and teeth if we went for the orange or cherry respectively, the result of the colouring in the drinks. The CocaCola and Red Lion (F&N) orange were specially reserved for guests and we would stay away from those if we knew what was good for us.

We had a Lido Cinema once, now a hotel…

Lehdo Hotel, formerly Lido Cinema
*Archive photo*

…after it was burnt down and outside the cinema, in one corner, there was a little stall and we loved the yeu chang koi (fried shallot cake) in little bowls, for just 10 cents or was it 5, I can’t remember exactly now. This is some kind of steamed cake made from rice flour and back in those days, the seller would use a bamboo spatula to cut it up, sprinkle fried shallots on it and pour some very nice special black soy sauce on it and serve and we could add chili sauce if it so pleased us.

I had that (RM1.00)…

Sibu Pasar Malam yeu chang koi
*Archive photo*

…once at the pasar malam (night market) here at a stall run by one lady and yes, it was very nice except that it was no longer in a little bowl but in a wide but shallow stainless steel plate so it was not as thick as the ones before. My friends from Singapore tried and they liked it so much that when they went back the following night, they had it again.

Well, it so happened that the other day, I happened to walk past this coffee shop…

Hong Yuan Cafe
*Archive photo*

where they used to sell our favourite tee piang in town in the morning, while stock lasted and yes, they did get sold out very fast but they no longer do it there. You will have to go to the pasar malam if you want those – look out for the sign on top of the stall…

Sibu Pasar Malam tee piang stall
*Archive photo*

…but be forewarned that there will always be a crowd standing around the stall waiting to grab anything and everything that comes out of the wok so you may have to be prepared to wait for your turn.

That morning, I saw a man selling yeu chang koi

Hong Yuan Cafe yeu chang koi 1

…at the aforementioned coffee shop so of course, I simply had to stop by to give it a try…

Hong Yuan Cafe yeu chang koi 2

Yes, it was very nice…

Hong Yuan Cafe yeu chang koi 3

…and seeing how similar it was to the one at the pasar malam, I asked the man and he told me that was his sister and he learnt how to make it from her. He was gracious enough to admit that his sister could do it better but personally, I thought his was just as good.

It sure brought back pleasant memories of the very simple stuff that brought us so much joy in the good old days, way back then but no, it was no longer that cheap any longer – RM1.20 now, 20 sen more than that time when I had it at the sister’s stall at the pasar malam, a far cry from the pittance that we had to fork out for this a long, long time ago.

HONG YUAN CAFE (2.290323, 111.826358) is one of the many coffee shops on the right along Jalan Morshidi Sidek that leads straight to Wisma Sanyan, facing the Chung Hua Primary School on the left.

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

11 thoughts on “The good old days…”

  1. I like to eat this kind of steamed rice cake. I think it is quite similar to what we called put chai ko in cantonese here.

    I had to google to see what that is. I don’t think they’re the same – this one is much softer, silkier, you cannot take it out of the mould and eat it like that. Scoop and eat straight from the bowl.

    1. Thanks for the clarification. You mean the texture is more like tofu far? if yes I would like it even more.

      It is, minus the soya bean/tofu taste.

      1. Ah, just read your reply to Irene. So it is like tofu far. I will like it especially since it is purely made of rice so it will have the pure rice fragrance.

        Yes, just flour from ground rice…and I think the challenge is in getting it really smooth and silky. I did see some not that nicely done – I picked the best-looking one to photograph and try or rather, the guy picked for me. I guess that is why he said it was not that easy and his sister could do it better.

  2. I cam from the same level of generation as you. Yeah, I remember the bottle aerated drinks ( Aeroplane brand if I am not wrong). My favourite is the soda ice cream. I have never seen/ eaten yew chang koi in my old days. Is the texture the same as tau fu hua? It does look like tau fu hua.

    Kuching had different brands – I think there was one in the 70’s, the office at Carpenter Street, belonging to a Chong Family, staying at Rubber Road, dunno the brand. Here, the most popular was Ngo Kian, the Swan.

    The texture would be something like tofu fa, soft, silky, wobbly but it had no taste on its own, just rice flour…so it depends on the fried shallots and sauces added.

  3. The good old days. I remember those cinema shows (so many cinemas around Kuching then and Lido was one of them) and some nice roadside stalls.

    I still see those bottles drinks around. Don’t know the name but we called it “pop drink”. Less gassy. My pick would be ice cream soda and sarsi.

    Yes, we do have those drinks still and they now have them in cans too, ada progress sikit. I never tried drinking them anymore though – in fact, I’m off all fizzy drinks, will make me cough.

    Lido was in Sekama, right?

    1. Yes. In Sekama. Now a night club. Lido was nearer as we stayed somewhere there.

      I see. I was around Rubber Road/Green Road area. Nearest were Swee Hua and Miramar.

  4. I remember when I was a kid, the old Capitol cinema, where my late dad brought me to watch movie, now no more liao…

    Capitol no more? I enjoyed hanging out at the milk bar/coffee house by the side of the entrance, 1973. Lido in Singapore was at Scotts Road/Orchard Road junction, across the road from the then CK Tang, now Tangs.

  5. Never tried this before, i had something like this but with garlic but then again, it was sweet-savory, not with soy sauce

    Never seen it anywhere else. Dunno, maybe it is a Foochow thing, only in Sibu.

  6. During my time, KFC was a treat for really special occasions. Kids these days eat KFC or McD like every other day but not my kids lah. They are not that ‘lucky’.

    I agree certain food brings back fond memories of the yesteryears or decades. Precious memories.

    Your lucky kids! Not fed all those unhealthy stuff, all the oil and everything.

    Sad that many are disappearing – our heritage is dying or if some are still around, they are not as good anymore…and a whole lot more pricey too.

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