Old friend…

Well, he’s not old, just that we go back a long way to the days when we were very active on the radio and I had a few posts from way back in 2008 when we got to meet a number of times. Lately, with his family commitments and his work in Indonesia, we do not get to meet all that often but he did make it a point to drop by every year round Chinese New Year, except this year as I was not celebrating.

It so happened that he was in town and I saw the photograph on Facebook of the kampua mee he had…

Kampua mee
*Friend’s photo on Facebook*

here. That is exactly what every true blue local born and bred would do the instant they come back home, go and eat kampua mee. Of course, I got in touch with him right away and we agreed to meet for lunch the following day here

Le Cafe business card

I have not had their claypot rice…

Le Cafe claypot chicken rice
*Archive photo*

…for a very long time – we can’t order it when we drop by there now because it is not gluten-free – there is soy sauce in it and what we had had elsewhere may look nice, more or less the same but no, the taste just wasn’t there. It so happened that my friend went and googled to check out the place and he too saw the photo of their claypot rice and was looking forward to having that as well as he too was looking for THE right one.

Unfortunately, we were informed that it was not available and we would have to call a day earlier to place an order should we want to have that. WHAT? But all the times we had it, we never had to pre-order? I was quite put off by it but what to do? They were adamant that we could not have it so we had no choice but to order something else on their menu.

My friend’s wife had their pork chop with orange sauce rice…

Le Cafe pork chop with orange sauce rice

…that my missus had once and loved it a lot but we do not order that anymore as the meat would be coated with bread crumbs…

Le Cafe pork chop with orange sauce

…and would not be gluten-free as well. It was RM12.90  in 2016 – I dunno how much it is now.

My friend went for one of the lunch sets (RM9.90 each), the tomato pork chop with rice…

Le Cafe tomato pork chop rice

…and when it was served, I thought I could detect the bolognese smell but he said it was lighter, not as strong and yes, it was good.

I went for what they call the Mexican pancake lunch set…

Le Cafe Mexican pancake lunch set

…and it sure looked a lot more substantial in the blurry photograph in their menu – I was positive I saw a slab of chicken chop and a sausage and something else, probably coleslaw, other than the fries but the lady did ask me if I wanted the big or the small and I chose the latter.

I can’t say I am all that crazy about the name especially with all those modern-day connotations and I did read somewhere that Mexicans call their pancakes honcakes and this one that I had looked like a chicken quesadilla, probably using those tortilla wraps available at the supermarkets – I did not ask if they made their own but yes, it was very nice – I loved the very tasty chicken filling…

Le Cafe Mexican pancake

…inside and I would say that I did enjoy it a lot.

All in all, we did have a pretty nice lunch and it was great getting to meet an old friend and his missus and catching up with one another’s lives but it could have been better if we had had the elusive claypot rice.

LE CAFE (2.299452,111.830832) is located along Brooke Drive, on your left if you are driving from town, in a block of shops after you have gone past the building where the Sheraton Restaurant is…before you get to the traffic lights where you turn right to get to the Sibu Medical Centre.

Lot more…

We went to the early morning service on Sunday and after that, I asked my girl where she wanted to go for brunch. She wanted something soupy and had the bitter gourd bihun (RM4.50)…

Colourful Cafe bitter gourd bihun

here in mind so of course, that was where we headed to.

I’ve tried that before and yes, I thought it was very nice with its clear soup but I sure wouldn’t mind some minced pork like those elsewhere. You do not get that here, of course, as this is a pork-free place and all you will get are those thin shreds of chicken.

The mum stuck to her favourite, the fried kway teow (RM4.50)…

Colourful Cafe fried kway teow

…while I had the nasi lemak (RM4.50)…

Colourful Cafe nasi lemak 1

No, this is not my favourite in town – there is only a slight hint of the lemak-ness (richness owing to the santan/coconut milk added). However, I do enjoy the one here as I would usually request for the curry chicken/beef or masak hitam beef to go with it. Even without those, it is still very nice as they are very generous with the very nice sambal

Colourful Cafe nasi lemak 2

Here, you will get a lot more unlike at many of the Malay shops and stalls where all you will get is a tablespoon of it placed on top of a slice of cucumber and they will usually give two – you get three slices here. Even at my favourite in town, I will always have to nudge the guy a bit, “Tambah sikit (add a bit more)!”

Soon after having had our fill, we would have to go back to the house and get all the things, all the bottles of water, the food rations for the week and so on and so forth before we make our way to my girl’s school in the jungle. We would not be eating anything else for lunch so to make sure we would not go hungry, I ordered these sticks of chicken satay (RM2.00 per stick)…

Colourful Cafe chicken satay

…to share.

Gosh!!! The place was so very crowded, full house – it is pretty obvious that everyone likes what is served here, never mind that it may be a bit more expensive – the fried noodles, for instance, cost 50 sen more than most other places.

COLOURFUL CAFE (2.316673, 111.837539) is located in the Renew4U building at the junction of Brooke Drive and Lorong Kwong Ann 8, across the road from the Church of Jesus  Christ of the Latter Day Saints.

Before…

Last Saturday evening, the ladies went to see a special musical performance at the ballroom of a leading hotel in town but I did not go as we did not have enough of the complimentary tickets. It was scheduled to start at 8.30 p.m. so we decided to go for dinner first and of course, it was very convenient to go here as they are, in fact, located back to back to each other.

I spotted this…

Payung Cafe centrepiece

…as soon as I got there. It seemed that they had not had that for a while, probably because they had been rather busy with this and that going on over these past few months or they ran out of those simple local flowers and it appears to me that all the plants here seem to thrive in the current dry weather – you can get to see all kinds in a myriad of colours all over town.

We had the papaya salad…

Payung Cafe papaya salad

…but my sis could not eat that as there was udang kering (dried prawns) in it – we did not know when we decided to order that. The rest of us enjoyed it a lot, a welcome change from the pomelo salad that we would usually have or their very nice Payung rojak.

Owing to her allergy, my sister could not eat the lovely belimbing prawns…

Payung Cafe belimbing prawns

…that Peter, the boss, took upon himself to specially cook for us that night and it was really exceptionally good.

My girl wanted her favourite here, the lamb masala

Payung Cafe lamb masala

…and the mum wanted her kacangma chicken…

Payung Cafe kacangma chicken

…and I also ordered the Payung otak-otak fish…

Payung otak-otak fish

After having had their fill, the ladies went to see the show and they sure enjoyed it very much, very good for a local production, they said but even though the newspaper report said it was a full house, according to them, it wasn’t so and I could have tagged along as well. For one thing, in my humble opinion, the organisers should have made the tickets available at some place more convenient and less obscure/desolate such as the hotel lobby, for instance…or the café where we had dinner before the show.

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.

A stroke of luck…

Somebody had a stroke of good luck – no, it wasn’t me, the born loser – and my girl chose to drop by here again for lunch last Saturday afternoon.

I had the teh tarek (pulled tea) with cincao (black grass jelly)…

Cafe IND teh tarek with cincao

…and their chicken vindaloo

Cafe IND chicken vindaloo

…with rice ( we had their mutton vindaloo once)…

Cafe IND chicken vindaloo with rice

…while my girl had their ginger tea and her usual, her favourite mutton biryani

Cafe IND mutton biryani

The mum stuck faithfully to her favourite kalio ayam

Cafe IND kalio ayam

…from their Indonesian menu with a special request for it to be super extra spicy and as always, we enjoyed our lunch to the max and rest assured we shall be coming back here again and again and again…

CAFE IND (2.290813, 111.829294) is located along Laichee Lane, right behind one block of shops facing the main road (Jalan Kampung Nyabor) where the Bank Simpanan Nasional, Sibu branch (2.290561, 111.829071), is located.

Everybody says…

…that the noodles here…

Sg Antu market/hawker centre

…is nice so I just had to go and give it a try.

Actually, a long time ago, some friends of mine were telling me that a friend of theirs was praising the noodles there to the skies and the next day, she took them there to try but they were not impressed so I never bothered to go and check it out…or perhaps I did go once and one look at the place…

Before photo
*From Google Maps, street view*

…I changed my mind about having anything there.

More recently, I shared on Facebook a series of photographs of the Foochow fried noodles that I had before and asked my friends where they had the one they liked the most – nobody bothered to respond except one and she mentioned this place and told me the stall number. I quickly went there but unfortunately, the place was closed for renovations.

The municipal council people sure have done a great job in upgrading the place…

Sg Antu hawker centre, stalls

…and when I dropped by early one morning, I sure was pleasantly surprised seeing the crowd there at the time – they certainly were enjoying brisk business in their nice new environment. They had a whole lot of fans lined up on the ceiling…

Sg Antu hawker centre, fans

…and being new, it was very clean, definitely a world of difference from how it used to be. I certainly hope that the tenants will cooperate and keep it that way.

An ex-colleague of mine shared this photograph of the fried kway teow

Sg Antu hawker centre, fried kway teow - friend's photo
*Ex-colleague’s photo on Facebook*

…that he had there and he was saying something about “Lau Peng Yau” (old friend) and a certain Stall No. 10.

It turned out to be a drinks stall so I was at a loss as to which stall the one with the nicest fried noodles was. While I was sitting there waiting for my orders, it looked like this guy at Stall No. 12…

Sg Antu hawker centre, Stall No. 12

…was the one as he seemed to get a lot of orders from the crowd.

I ordered this very nice kopi-o-peng (RM1.50)…

Sg Antu hawker centre, kopi o peng

…from Stall No. 15 and eventually, I decided to try the noodles from Stall No. 14…

Sg Antu hawker centre Stall No. 14

…because there was this very nice and friendly lady who probably noticed me in my predicament and she asked me what I wanted to eat. She said that they also served Foochow fried noodles (RM4.00)…

Stall No. 14 Foochow fried noodles 1

…and it turned out the be the so-called moon version that I like very much and yes, it was very very nice. I sure would not mind coming by this way for this again and I liked how they used those glass plates instead of the plastic one in that photo my ex-colleague took of his kway teow. Hot food served on plastic plates always get me worried.

Stall No. 14 also sells kampua mee and pian sip and I ordered a small bowl of the latter (RM2.00)…

Stall No. 14 pian sip soup

…to try and yes, I must say it was very good but somehow, the light clear soup tasted a little different from the usual, nicer! I wonder if this is one of those that they say they throw in one whole Chinese cabbage into the meat bone stock for the added sweetness.

I sure enjoyed my breakfast that morning and I most certainly would be back again sometime for the fried noodles that I enjoyed a lot…

Stall No. 14 Foochow fried noodles 2

…or maybe I shall try something else the next time around.

THE SUNGAI ANTU MARKET & HAWKER CENTRE/FOOD COURT (2.320030, 111.830741) is located along Jalan Sg Antu 2, on your right off Jalan Industri as you drive in from Jalan Kpg Nangka.

Style…

I dropped by here that morning to get these Saudi Arabian cheese wedges…

Saudi Arabian cheese wedges

…for my girl – she enjoys eating them so I would go and buy for her time and time again.

While I was there, I decided that I might as well drop by the stalls by the side of the road (Bandong Walk) and have a bite to eat. The nasi lemak guy, my favourite in town, was nowhere to be seen.

The guy at the drinks stall beside his…

Bandong Walk drinks stall

…said that he had taken a few days off after the Hari Raya Haji holiday – probably he had gone home to Sarikei or Daro or wherever and had not come back yet.

I noticed that the lady at the noodles stall had some helpers…

Bandong Walk noodles stall

…that morning, probably her children who would be on their one-week school break at that point in time.

I felt like having the roti canai (RM1.20)…

Bandong Walk roti canai

…so I went and placed my order at the stall next to the noodles stall

Bandong Walk roti canai stall

Business must be really good as the older guy had just come and he brought with him a whole lot of the pre-prepared soaked-in-oil dough.

These days, when I see people doing really well, I feel somewhat glad and also relieved as the economy is not all that great and the prices of anything and everything have been going up and up and many have called it a day, it seems. Hopefully, things will get better soonest.

I also had their roti telur (RM2.30)…

Bandong Walk roti telur

…which is basically roti canai as well but with egg added.

My friend, Merryn, shared some photos on Facebook of the roti canai she had that day and she asked how everyone would usually eat it – as roti celup (dip) or roti banjir (flooded). I saw a guy sitting at the next table having the latter and it sure looked rather messy. Besides, the roti would soak in the dip and end up less crispy and nice, I think.

Talking about the dhal dip, they sure have improved on it since the last time I tapao-ed some home (and that was a long time ago). It is now thick and creamy…

Bandong Walk roti canai dhal dip

…and I sure enjoyed it very much.

So how did I eat it? Well, I used the fork and spoon to tear the roti canai into smaller pieces and taking a bit of the dip, I would apply it to the roti and then roll it up nicely like what one does with a wrap, poke through the roll with the fork and place it my my mouth to eat, so elegant, so classy. I sure do it in style, don’t I, Merryn? LOL!!!

This roti canai stall is located at Bandong Walk, Jalan Bandong, beside the fried noodles stall to the immediate right of the drinks stall and The NASI LEMAK BANDONG WALK stall (2.313869, 111.825808) somewhere in front of the block of shops where Mastura Delite and the 1Malaysia clinic are.

No moon at all…

When I first caught a glimpse of this shop sign, I assumed it would be a place dealing in windows but upon closer scrutiny, there is an o in the name so obviously, it has got nothing to do with louvres

Louvores

It turned out to be another eatery, not anything like one of the many coffee shops we have here nor is it one of those upscale classy places but it is air-conditioned and I saw on their Facebook page that if you go upstairs…

Go upstairs

…you can dine on one of the low tables, sitting on the floor, Japanese style, not that there is anything Japanese on their menu. I sure would not want to do that as I am pretty sure than once I get down on the floor, I would need a forklift to get me back on my feet again. LOL!!!

You can go to their aforementioned page to look at the much nicer photographs of the things they serve here that include these…

Dinner menu

…and these…

Specials

…and they have their specials at RM8.90 each…

Lunch sets 1

…for lunch…

Lunch sets 2

There is a kampua mee stall in front…

Kampua stall

…so you can have that if you are thus inclined and Sarawak laksa too – I could detect the smell of the simmering broth and I thought it was good. Perhaps I will drop by and try that sometime.

It so happened that I met an ex-colleague of mine sometime ago and he told me that he had fried kway teow here with an egg on top and I imagined it to be something like the very nice one with a raw egg on top that they called “Moon River” (雲河)…

Dengkil's Moon River

…that I had on two occasions at a restaurant in Dengkil, Selangor – here and here and he said it was very cheap, RM3.50 only!

I went there but this was what I got…

Fried kway teow 1

…and I had to fork out RM4.00 for that! It did not have the wok hei fragrance but to give credit where credit is due, it tasted quite good with the bits of meat, slices of fish cake, egg and green vegetables…

Fried kway teow 2

…in it.

The egg was overdone though but even though the yolk was not runny, it was moist and soft…

Fried egg

…so I did not mind it so much.

At those prices, I sure would not mind dropping by again but no, not for the kway teow

Fried kway teow 3

Who knows they may have something really nice to offer, yet to be discovered?

LOUVORES (2.312758,111.8549007) is located along Jalan Deshon, right across the road from SMK Rosli Dhoby and the technical/vocational college beside it.

Another time perhaps…

The other morning, I was in the vicinity of this coffee shop and I was contemplating on dropping by here…

Sri Pelita Permai

– the branch of this place in the town centre that we used to frequent a lot.

However, I noticed that the one right beside it…

Sajian Ummi

…was just starting their business for the day and there was a stall in front…

Sajian Ummi, stall

…run by a nice and pleasant-looking old couple and I decided that I would give it a try instead and save the aforementioned place for another time, perhaps.

I think they would have nasi campur come lunch time but I was way too early and there was nothing in the cabinet at the other side of the shop.

I ordered their nasi lemak pandan with sambal sotong (RM6.00)…

Nasi lemak sambal sotong

…but no, it came nowhere near the very nice one here, my favourite in town.

Of course, I was most concerned about the rice and unfortunately, it was not lemak, maybe just a little bit – a very faint hint of some santan (coconut milk) in it but it was barely noticeable and it was the same as far as the fragrance of the pandan was concerned.

Thankfully, the nasi lemak sambal

Nasi lemak sambal

…and the sambal sotong

Sambal sotong

…were both very nice except that they were not spicy at all and unlike the one at my favourite place, I could actually see the sotong (squid) in the one here – they were much bigger, it seemed.

Eaten together with these sambals and also the salted fish that I like very much and everything else, it wasn’t too bad, this much I would say, but no, this being located on the other side of town, not some place that I would frequent often, I certainly would not come all the way for this…plus it was more expensive than the one that I like the most. and should I happen to be around here again, I think I would want to check out the shop next door to see if what they have is any good.

SAJIAN UMMI (2.2960502,111.8938157) is located along Lorong Ulu Oya 11, off Jalan Oya among the “newer shops” in the Permai area across the road from the Sibu General Hospital, where Sugar Bun, Singapore Chicken Rice and 7 Eleven are situated.

One of those…

I guess everyone knows by now that I am not into those franchise places, never mind where they originate from but I do know of a lot of them including the ones from Hong Kong and Taiwan that had people queuing up by the mile when they first opened their doors in KL or somewhere. I did notice as I walked past one at a shopping mall in Penang that it would always be full of people – obviously, they do have their following but no, I did not bother to stop by to give it a try, thank you very much.

Not too long ago, one of those…

Hong Kong Sheng Kee Dessert Sibu 1

…appeared at a mall right here in our little town. I had seen zmun2‘s posts here and here on this place and soon after it started, an ex-colleague went and he shared a couple of photographs on Facebook. I quickly asked him for his opinion and he said that it was nice but expensive and a lot of things were still not available.

Well, on our way home after our brunch last Sunday, we passed by our electricity board’s sub-station right round the corner from our house and there were a lot of their vehicles there and people at work. When we got home, our worst fears were confirmed – there was no electricity…and my missus saw the announcement in the local papers that it would stretch from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. After a while, we decided that we might as well go and hang out at some mall instead of sitting around idling at home in the heat so off we went!

I noticed this nice arch at the back entrance of the mall…

Star Mega Mall back entrance

…at the staircase to what they call the Orange Zone. The ladies went off on their own – they never like me tagging along because I would spoil the mood, so to speak. Left to my own devices, I just loitered here and there, browsed around some of the shops, sat in one of the massage chairs and eventually, I decided to go and check out that Hong Kong franchise place so don’t say I never even gave it a try.

There was quite a crowd and I liked the use of those bamboo steamer baskets for their decor…

Hong Kong Sheng Kee Dessert Sibu 2

…on the wall.

I would agree with my ex-colleague about the things being rather expensive, to some extent, at least…

HK siew mai RM8.90 for 3

…and a lot of items were not available…

Coming soon 1

…even now after it has been operational here for quite a while…

Coming soon 2

I did see some stopping by to browse through their menu…

Menu

…at the entrance but they eventually left and went some place else. Either there was nothing that tickled their fancy or looking at the prices, they could feel the pinch.

The char siew (barbecued meat) in this one…

SK signature combination noodles

…caught my eye and of course, I just had to order it (RM18.90)…

SK signature combination noodles, served

It seems that they take pride in the QQ noodles used, imported all the way from Hong Kong, so much so that they even featured it on their Facebook page. Yes, I thought they were nice but at the end of the day, they were what they were – noodles.

I liked the wanton (dumplings) too. There were prawns/shrimps inside…

Wanton

…other than the minced meat but I wish I could say the same about the char siew, the very thing that made me order this dish…despite the somewhat shocking price.

I have said time and time again that we can’t get really good char siew here, nothing like the really nice ones that I had had before in KL and elsewhere. I used to stop by the Hong Kong Noodle House to the right of the Sungai Wang Plaza entrance for theirs and I had it at their outlet behind Mid Valley too a long time ago before there was Gardens – I think they have outlets in Kuching as well but not here.

Well, what I had here that day was completely out – it was bad enough that it did not have the texture of freshly-barbecued meat, something like that of ham or bacon but it was hard, very very hard…and it did not help one bit that I was given those slices with stripes of white like what one would find in pig’s ears and that was absolutely inedible…and it absolutely ruined my enjoyment of what I would think was not too bad a dish, not exceptionally good, but it was all right.

I had this mango pudding and vanilla ice cream (RM9.90)…

Mango pudding with vanilla ice cream

…for dessert and yes, I liked it – I could taste something like freshly-made mango pudding or even if it wasn’t – being a franchise, they probably get their supplies for these things from one main source, it definitely was not anything like those off-the-shelf supermarket brands.

Service was prompt and efficient and very friendly – I like how they said thank you, bowing slightly as a gesture of appreciation, faces smiling, after I had paid and as I was walking out of the place. At some places here, you might as well be invisible – they are not in the least bothered with these little things that go a long way in making one feel good and like wanting to come back again.

I sure would not mind coming by again but I did not see much of anything that my girl would be able to eat and enjoy – there is either wheat (flour) or soy sauce in most everything. Perhaps she can go for their congee…

Hong Kong Sheng Kee dessert congee

…but I am not sure what the mock abalone is made of.

HONG KONG SHENG KEE DESSERT is located at the Star Mega Mall here, the first shop lot on your left as soon as you walk in through the main entrance.

Brunch…

Last Sunday, after the morning church service, we dropped by here again, this time for brunch – unlike most places here, they open early, at 9.00 a.m. which is indeed quite convenient for those keen on having breakfast there.

I was glad to note that they had decided to do away with those cheap no-class-at-all fake flowers that they had on every table the last time we were here but they still had the same system though – you go to the counter, place your orders with the cashier and pay before you proceed to your table carrying this card holder…

Card holder 1

…with a letter on it – ours was a T.

I thought the old-school telephone was kind of cute but too bad, the mouth piece had dropped off…

Card holder 2

…and they did not bother to glue it back using Super Glue or whatever.

Incidentally, some sections of their menu on the wall had been blurred as those items, according to what was indicated across those sections, would only be available after 11.00 a.m…

Available from 11.00 a.m.

It did not matter as what I wanted was in the Classic Breakfast section – the Benedict Egg & Bread (RM16.00) and this was what I got…

Caffeine Cafe Benedict Egg & Bread

Oh dear! Was that a poached egg? Whatever happened to all the white? Swimming around in the boiling water? I can do eggs in various forms very well but I am still quite hopeless when it comes to poached eggs – now do not tell me to add salt or vinegar or cooking oil or whatever, I’ve tried all those…and even though my poached eggs aren’t really how I would like them to be, I do think mine looks a little nicer than this one here…

Caffeine Cafe poached egg

– it looked kind of under-done and of course, the yolk was runny – it was raw, almost! The Hollandaise sauce was fine, the bread in the middle was kind of hard – I would be quite happy with just the toast under the egg…and the salad, like the last time I had it, was very much to my liking.

My missus has their mee mamak (RM16.00)…

Caffeine Cafe mee mamak

…and it was all right. I tried a bit and despite there being a whole lot of ingredients, really big prawns and all, I did not think it was anything exceptional, not something I would want to order for myself the next time we drop by here.

All our orders came with a complimentary drink and both of us had their black coffee…

Caffeine Cafe black coffee

…while my girl had their orange juice but no, it wasn’t freshly squeezed, just something out of those tetra pak cartons, Sunkist, to be exact.

She ordered their seafood hor fun (RM16.00)…

Caffeine Cafe seafood hor fun

…which turned out to be wat tan hor actually and they were quite generous with those big prawns and sotong (squid) and yes, she thought it was pretty nice. She particularly loved the fact that they used hor fun for the dish – yes, they had the somewhat thinner and translucent hor fun and they were using that, not our thick and white local kway teow.

Service was great, the girl waiting at our table was very efficient and friendly…and while we were there, I spotted the people at the next table having their club sandwich and also their focaccia sandwich and both looked very good – perhaps I will go for those the next time I drop by here.

CAFFEINE CAFE is located on the ground floor of Wisma Liberty, Block 3, Lorong Pedada 7, off Jalan Pedada – on your left, past the Jalan Ulu Oya Road traffic lights if you are coming from town, just a few doors away from Nica Gelateria (2.302620, 111.842988), to the left at the end of that same block.