Thumbs up…

Last Friday, we had to drive to my girl’s school in the jungle to fetch her and bring her home. Her colleague, originally from Kuching, hitched a ride from us as she was coming down to Sibu for the weekend. I asked her if she wanted some lei cha for lunch – it is a very common Hakka delight in Kuching, available at a lot of places and according to her, her mum used to cook their own but she has given up now as it entails a lot of work in the preparation.

Of course, she jumped at my suggestion…

Payung Cafe lei cha 1

…so there we were at the only place in town where one can get to eat this – only for lunch on Friday (RM6.00, usually with free dessert)…

Payung Cafe lei cha 2

…and yes, she was very impressed indeed and gave her double thumbs up! She said it was bitter, the way it should be, and very much to her liking – not like those watered-down versions, not (so) bitter ones in Kuching and elsewhere.

Well, since we were already there, we thought we might as well go along with her to keep her company and have our lunch there and since it was our no-meat Friday, we had the Payung fish, their ikan keli (RM15.00, with rice)…

Payung fish

…that my girl wanted though it is not exactly gluten-free as there is soy sauce in it but a little bit once in a long while is all right. She loved it, of course, and the tom yam prawns (RM17.00, with rice)…

Payung tom yam prawns

…was so very good too. As always, they gave us a lot more, probably two or three times their regular serving at no extra charge.

I ordered their ikan bilis special (RM8.00)…

Payung ikan bilis special

…and my girl sure enjoyed it a lot! Funny how she never seems all that keen when we fry out own at home but she loves the ones here – from what I gathered, they would dry the dried anchovies in the sun for an extended period of time so that when they fry them, they would be extra nice and crispy.

We also had their pomelo salad (RM8.00)…

Payung pomelo salad

…and Peter, the boss, treated us to their tomato salad…

Payung tomato salad

…on the house and of course, we all got the free dessert…

Payung complimentary dessert

…meant for those dropping by for the lei cha.

Incidentally, if you intend to stop by there for that on a Friday, perhaps it would be best to call first to reserve. Luckily, I did call to do that (016-8906061) before we left the school and by the time we got there past 1.00 p.m. they were all sold out already except for one other set that somebody had reserved to go and eat at 6 in the evening for dinner.

On the way to the school, we stopped by the market at Selangau and managed to get hold of some bua’ terbulus/buah engkala and I asked them to prepare for us to eat with our lunch. Well, not only did they do that but they even went through the trouble of presenting it nicely…

Bua' terbulus

…for us to enjoy. Aren’t they great, these wonderful people here?

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