ABC…

The other day, we had the ABC soup

Old Street Cafe's ABC soup

…here and we loved it so much!

Like what I said then, I had seen photos of it shared by blogger-mums and others but frankly, from the look of it, I did not think it was anything to get excited about. Of course, I did not know why it is thus called – I only knew of the other ABC, the air batu campur…and there came a whole lot of people telling me all about it. It seems that it is popularly known in Cantonese as lo song tong (羅宋湯), available in the menus at those Hong Kong franchise places over in the peninsula but nobody could explain the name.

One said that possibly, it was because one could add anything from A to Z and another said it was so easy to cook, as easy as ABC like this blogger here who also says it is the Chinese borscht soup. I went to look at some recipes and I saw one using beef and the person concerned grilled the slices of meat in butter first to brown it nicely before use. That reminded me of my late aunt’s soup – we used to enjoy hers very much and yes, I did try cooking it myself once a long time ago. It was very nice though it was not quite the same – you can click the link here to go and have a look at how I/she did it.

Maybe it is a Cantonese thing and Sibu being predominantly Foochow, we do not have it here…or not that I know of, at least. Well, seeing how it was so very nice, I decided to cook my own and I got these ingredients ready…

ABC soup, ingredients

– potatoes, tomatoes, carrot and Bombay onions. Other than those, I also crushed around a teaspoon of black pepper to add to the soup…

ABC soup, crushed pepper

I did not intend for it to be a meat soup so I just used the sides of the chicken parts that I bought, saving the drumsticks and thighs for something else on some other day. I only wanted to use it to make the stock and firstly, I grilled the pieces a bit in a non-stick pan, greased with butter…

Grill the chicken in butter

…and after that, I put them in a pot, filled it with water and turned on the heat. It started boiling soon enough but I just let it go on simmering. One recipe said that I would have to remove the “impurities” using a ladle but there wasn’t much of those flotsam and jetsam but still I did get rid of whatever little there was using a strainer.

After some time, I added everything…

All in

…and brought it back to boil and I let it go on simmering for quite a while before adding some salt according to taste.

Come lunchtime, I served the soup…

My ABC soup 1

…with a sprinkling of chopped spring onion from my garden.

It was very nice…

My ABC soup 2

…but not as nice as what we had at the shop. Maybe it was because we did not add any msg nor did I use any chicken stock or perhaps I would need to simmer it a lot longer. Never mind! We certainly did enjoy it so needless to say, I wouldn’t mind cooking it again sometime but perhaps, I could add more to it, say, some celery perhaps for the added taste and fragrance and I must remember to buy some daun sup (Chinese celery/parsley) the next time I cook this.

I prefer…

If you go and order a plate of fried noodles at the Chinese shops and stalls here, you will most likely get the wet one, the one with gravy…

Chinese/Foochow fried noodles, wet

…or the dry one…

Chinese fried noodles, dry

Of course, you will need to know where to go for the nice ones – some may not be all that great and the dry version may turn out to be just noodles fried with garlic and soy sauce with a few strands of taugeh (bean sprouts) and a bit of egg.

Generally, when it comes to noodles, fried dry, I do prefer the mee goreng (fried noodles) at the Malay shops and stalls like this one (RM4.00)…

Bandong Walk mee goreng 1

…from the lady at the stall beside the drink stall which is to the immediate right of the Bandong Walk Nasi Lemak stall.

I noticed that morning that the roti canai boys are back, a couple of stalls to the right of this noodle stall and were enjoying brisk business as well.

She also sells kampua mee and I saw a lot of people eating that but no, I did not feel like having that. Her mee goreng was very good…

Bandong Walk mee goreng 2

…with bits of chicken and everything else, not too oily like some and bursting with flavours. I sure would not mind going back for it again and perhaps the next time around, I will ask her if she has a “special” – they usually have that, a fried egg or a fried chicken wing perhaps.

I had the kopi-o-peng/iced black coffee (RM1.50)…

Bandong Walk kopi-o-peng

…and good grief! It came in such a huge glass and the best part was that it was so cheap. I prefer the kopi-o, no ice (RM1.00) that I had the previous time though.  This one was too sweet initially but it was ok after the ice melted a bit by which time, the coffee was kind of diluted.

Business certainly looked very good these days – there were so many people eating there or buying to take away and of course, that is a good thing.

This noodle stall is located at Bandong Walk, Jalan Bandong, beside the drinks stall to the immediate right of 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.

Meet me in the shade…

I was in the vicinity of the shops at Bandong Walk here and I noticed that the somewhat prolonged construction…

Bandong, new look

…going on there was more or less complete already. I guess that roof will provide some shade from the rain on wet nights – I do not think any of the shops open in the daytime so there isn’t any need for protection from the sun.

It looks pretty nice but it would be good if the owners of the shops could give their premises a nice new coat of paint, the same colour throughout perhaps and something pastel, light and soothing – that will make the place look a whole lot nicer than now, with the myriad of horrendously gaudy colours, some of which have seen better days, that’s for sure.

This shop…

Noor Satay Islamic Cafe

…is open now, it seems. I used to frequent their satay stall and when they set up shop here, we did go a few times. Eventually, they closed down owing to the high rental there but they could not open here for a long time because of the on-going construction. I certainly would drop by one of these days to check it out.

While I was there that morning, I dropped by the nasi lemak stall to buy a couple of packets home with the super-yummy and spicy sambal sotong for the ladies but my main intention in going there was to try the guy’s mee jawa (RM5.00)…

Bandong Walk Nasi Lemak mee jawa 1

…and I sure was glad I did!

It was very nice and had quite a bit of beef in it…

Bandong Walk Nasi Lemak mee jawa 2

…but what won me over was the gravy – it was absolutely delicious and bursting with its most delightful flavours…

Bandong Walk Nasi Lemak mee jawa 3

…and I would say it certainly was a head above most, if not all, of the mee jawa that I have had around town.

I’ve yet to give the guy’s mi sapi (beef noodles) a try – perhaps, I will go for that the next time I’m around those parts.

The NASI LEMAK BANDONG WALK stall (2.313869, 111.825808) is located at Bandong Walk, Jalan Bandong somewhere in front of the block of shops where Mastura Delite and the 1Malaysia clinic are.

Makin’ me look good again…

I sent my car for a thorough bodywork, a complete paint job and all.

It is 24 years old now and the paint was fading in patches, looking pathetically worn and weathered. The left side, at the back, was badly dented

2015

…in 2015 when I went to my girl’s school in the jungle on a Friday to pick her up and take her home – it was pretty obvious that a colleague was in a hurry to go for prayers and probably did not notice my car parked by the side and reversed right into it. To this day, I do not know who it was as nobody ever came to tell me.

The right side was not spared either. I was cruising along one day and decided to change lanes as I wanted to make a u-turn at the traffic lights ahead. Suddenly, somebody rammed me from behind, hitting the car at the side from the back till the passenger’s door, damaging it a lot more severely than what one can see in the above photograph.

It turned out to be the grand-daughter of a relative of mine, right after Form 5 and obviously, a newbie at driving. Never mind, I thought, since we’re family so I offered to pay for whatever repairs that needed to be done. What got me quite pissed me off was the grandma’s remark at that point in time. “Why did you drive so fast?” she said. Gee!!! I was flabbergasted! I could not be sure but I was positive I did not see any car coming and I always use the indicator without fail everytime – the grand-daughter probably stepped on the petrol in a panic instead of the brakes…and if there is a problem with my driving, it is the fact that I am too slow or in the town centre, at least. Old retirees like me are in no hurry to go anywhere…not just yet.

There were, of course, bits of this and that here and there and how they got to be where they were, don’t ask me! I wouldn’t know! Anyway, though the engine was in tip-top shape and I only need to get it serviced regularly – no big problem, no headaches and heartaches, it certainly was not a pleasant sight. The problem was I sold off my other car, the 1st generation SAGA, so I needed this one to go here and there and for my weekend chauffeur duties and I just could not find the time to go and get it done.

Finally, at long last, my Ol’ Faithful went for a makeover and came home looking really good, like brand new…

Looking good again

I decided to stick this…

Wira

…back where it was but I left out the acronym for Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional – they do not have it in their latest models either and  it is not even in their logo…

Logo

…anymore.

This was why in the meantime, we did not go out much and spent most of the time at home. I did cook some dishes for my girl, what I felt she would enjoy, like this Sarawak laksa

Sarawak laksa

…on one of the days.

It has been really hot lately and it sure looks like the haze is coming back – hopefully, it will not be too serious. Well, I think there is this belief that green bean soup is cooling and I did cook this bubur kacang hijau (green bean porridge) with sweet potatoes and sago pearls…

Bubur kacang hijau with sweet potatoes & sago pearls

…to enjoy and also in the hope that it might help cool us off a bit.

My girl also did some cooking and made these gluten-free kuih keria

Melissa's kuih keria

…a local sweet potato delight *click link for recipe* and yes, it was very good.

She tried her hand at cooking the Spanish paella…

Melissa's prawn & chicken paella

…with prawns and chicken, substituting the saffron with serbuk kunyit (turmeric powder), and it turned out very nice. I guess one can’t go wrong with prawns but I thought it would be nice to have, instead of the chicken, more varieties of seafood in it, sotong (squid), mussels, clams and the like. I have never had this before so I am in no position to say whether it was anything like the real thing but we did enjoy it and I guess that was all that mattered.

For me…

My friend contacted me the other day asking for my address as she wanted to send me some things.

I remember teaching two or three of her sisters before and I even visited her family home across river in the 80’s with my students at the time but I do not recall teaching her – maybe I didn’t.

Anyway, she passed me this can of corned beef…

Papua New Guinea corned beef

…to try, made in Papua New Guinea…

Made in Papua New Guinea

Her hubby works there, she said.

I checked the ingredients and it did say that there would be “traces of wheat”…

Ingredients

…so I guess my girl would not be able to eat it and I would have to wait till when she’s not at home before cooking it to see if it’s any good.

My friend also gave me this plant…

Snake plant

…from her garden. I guess this one is related to what they call the mother-in-law’s tongue or snake plant. I did buy a pot once but it eventually withered away and died. No, not everything that I plant will flourish – I do have had quite a few disasters actually. It is claimed that this plant improves air quality. The optimal place to keep this relatively inexpensive and low-maintenance plant is the bedroom, because it converts CO2 into oxygen at night. I guess I will let it grow a bit bigger first before I do that – keep it in the bedroom or inside the house.

Thank you so much, Teresa – it is indeed most thoughtful and generous of you and thank you also for going through the trouble of sending them over to my house. I am indeed most obliged.

Share it…

We came across these…

A1 Ak Koh curry laksa noodles & vermicelli

…at a supermarket here the other day and my girl was delighted as vermicelli is gluten-free so she would be able to eat that. They were selling at RM5.00 per packet and I decided to get the one with noodles as well to try.

At that point in time, I thought they were products of Singapore because I noticed that “Singapore taste/Rasa Singapura” phrase. I was thinking that it was very cheap compared to the celebrated made-in-Singapore one which costs no less than RM10.00 A PACKET now and I truly am amazed that there is a supermarket here stocking up on those which obviously means that there is a market and there are people buying, even at that astronomical price. However, upon closer scrutiny, I found that they were made in Malaysia, Johore, to be exact.

I don’t know why they see it fitting to share the limelight or credit or in Malay, tumpang glamor, when it is actually nyonya curry laksa which isn’t quite the same as the curry mee in the central and northern parts of the peninsula and Malacca/Melaka is as much a home to this peranakan culinary delight as Singapore even though I have not heard or read about any place there that is famous for it , only the one in Singapore which we had here and here before but both outlets have since closed down.

Anyway, I tried the one with the noodles…

Two sachets inside

…and inside, there were two sachets, one with the laksa paste (sambal) and the other with the seasoning – it appeared to me like the santan (coconut milk) powder was in the latter sachet.

I cooked the noodles and drained well before putting it in a bowl and then I boiled some more water and emptied the contents of the two sachets into it to cook the gravy. Once boiling, I turned off the heat and poured it over the noodles, served it, garnished with some greens, a few slices of char siew (barbecued meat), an egg and a sprinkling of chopped spring onions…

Cooked & served

…and sat down to enjoy the fruit of my labour.

Yes, I did boil an egg, hard on the outside and runny on the inside…

Egg by the side

…to go with it.

On the whole, I would say it was very nice…

A1 Ak Koh curry laksa moodles

– just like the nyonya curry laksa as I know it to be but considering that kampua mee is RM2.80-3.00 or less and a plate of Foochow fried noodles costs around RM4.00 and this is RM5.00 without the added ingredients and I would have to cook it myself, I certainly would think twice about buying it again.

Of course, it would come in handy for my girl in her school in the jungle for times when she runs out of things to eat or when she does not feel like having much else…and of course, at less than SGD2.00 a packet, this would probably be a steal for Singaporeans coming over across the Causeway.

The old and the young…

I guess everyone loves ice cream, never mind old or young but of course, like everything else, especially when one is getting on in age, one should go a little bit slow on things that are sweet.

These two food trucks…

Food trucks

…have been around the vicinity of the grocer & deli here for quite sometime now, even before the month of Ramadan but I had not seen them open, not even once.

The red one is an outlet of this cafe that I went to a couple of times to eat and also for the gula apong (nipah palm sugar) ice cream…

Gula apong ice cream, fresh

…but I never had the chance to enjoy it here. At one time, there was a sign stating that it was closed because the ice cream machine was out of order.

Of course I was delighted to see it open that day and yes, they do have the ice cream that I enjoy a lot here…

YS Cafe food truck menu

…at only RM3.00 – I remember it was RM3.50 at the shop.

We ordered two cups – my girl and her mum would be sharing one as we just had our lunch and were still full. Unfortunately, we were informed that the machine was still out of commission so we had to go for the pre-made and frozen ones…

Gula apong ice cream, frozen

…take it or leave it. The young boy said that if we wanted the freshly-made ones, we would have to go to the shop for that.

Yes, it was nice, a bit hard and not quite like fresh soft-serve and while we were sitting there eating, I saw this man and a kid on a rather odd shade of blue Dumbo…

The old and the young

The little girl, probably his grand-daughter, was enjoying the ride and he was feeding her the ice cream at the same time – one scoop for her and three scoops for himself. LOL!!! I think sometimes the elders would do that to finish it off quickly so the kid would not eat too much. Cold, they would say, nanti batuk! (You’ll end up with a cough later!) If there is still any in the cup, of course, the kid would want more and more and would not take no for an answer.

Somehow it made me feel warm inside watching the young kid mouth wide open and wanting more and the old man giving it to her so very affectionately.

THE YS CAFE FOOD TRUCK (2.307981,111.820533) is located in the open area in front of the Bisonte Grocer & Deli, to the left of Mia Cafe & Restaurant that faces Jalan Kuda, off Jalan Kpg Nangka, beside the Simpang Tiga roundabout.

Street of memories…

I blogged about Old Street here in Sibu before, now renamed Jalan Chew Geok Lin – after the founder of Wah Tat Bank, one of Sibu’s own banks at the time and it was located along this street…

Old photograph - Wah Tat Bank

…a few doors away from where my father’s shop (No. 8) was. Initially, my father was sharing with his father, my grandfather, who had his own business at the time and his shop had the same name as this coffee shop that I went to check out that day.

Now, in that same vicinity, there is this coffee shop…

Old Street Cafe

…so of course, I was intrigued and kept on wanting to drop by to see why it was thus named and finally, I did.

I don’t think those pictures on the wall…

Pictures on the wall 1

…were of Old Street in the old days…

Picture on the wall 2

…and if they were, it sure did not look anything like what it looks like today…

Old Street today

I think the shop is Chinese-owned but I noticed that the employees were Malays – one of them told me that they only serve chicken there, nothing else…

Old Street Cafe, kitchen

My girl wanted their roasted chicken rice, drumstick (RM4.50)…

Old Street Cafe roasted chicken rice, drumstick

…and yes, it was good. I did try the rice and I thought it was much nicer than many around here where one might as well be eating plain rice and would not be able to tell the difference.

My missus ordered the fried noodles, wet (RM4.00)…

Old Street Cafe fried noodles, wet

…and she liked it. I must say that it had a lot more ingredients than many around here for that same price or sometimes, even more.

I had the nasi lemak, chicken curry (RM6.00)…

Old Street Cafe, nasi lemak, chicken curry

…and the rice was quite lemak, not lemak enough to get me all excited but a lot more lemak than many that I had had before including the one at the Malay/Muslim stall at that coffee shop round the corner. The sambal was great, a little spicy and the chicken curry was all right, a little sweet but all right.

The Malay girl who took our orders recommended their special for the day, the ABC soup (RM5.00)…

Old Street Cafe ABC soup 1

I’ve heard mummy-bloggers and friends blogging or talking about it but I really did not know what exactly it was. All I knew was the other ABC, the air batu campur.

In the end, we decided to give theirs a try so we ordered a bowl…

Old Street Cafe ABC soup 2

…to share and even though there weren’t all that many things inside – just quite a lot of chicken and potatoes, some tomatoes and bits of Bombay onion, we all agreed that it was really very nicely done and we all loved it very much. I sure would not mind ordering it should we happen to drop by here again.

Incidentally, this place, just two doors away, that we checked out earlier this year has closed down – either they have moved elsewhere or called it a day…and we did drive past this Korean place a few days earlier and my missus saw a FOR RENT sign on the wall – I guess that one too is in the same boat, so to speak. Sighhhhh!!! Things sure aren’t looking all that good these days, are they?

OLD STREET CAFE is located at UniCity (2.342337, 111.831781) is located along Jalan Wawasan, on your left if you are coming from Bulatan Teng Chin Hua in the vicinity of the University College of Technology, Sarawak, Kolej Laila Taib and Woodlands International School, heading towards the Batang Igan Bridge.

Hammer…

With a hammer at hand, I would have no problem at all eating crabs as I could hammer away to crack the hard shell and that is exactly what you will get…

Hai Bing Seafood Restaurant crabs and hammer

…when you drop by here…

Hai Bing Seafood

…for the crustaceans.

We happened to be in the vicinity that day and I asked my girl if she would like to have crabs for lunch. She was reluctant initially as she knew this place was never known to be cheap – they have the reputation of having the best crabs in town but at a price.

The last time we had it was when my brother in New Zealand was home in 2012 and I did have it again once with some relatives of mine in 2014! I told her not to worry as we seldom had crabs so we just threw caution to the wind and sat  down at a table…

Hai Bing Seafood table cloth

…and placed our orders and waited.

This plate of sweet potato leaves, ching chao (fried plain)…

Hai Bing Seafood sweet potato leaves

…came first and yes, it was very good, perfectly done with its nice wok hei fragrance.

We also ordered their deep-fried ikan bawal hitam/or chio (black pomfret)…

Hai Bing Seafood or chio

…and got a huge one but it did not matter one bit as it was very fresh and so very nice – we certainly enjoyed that very much! We asked for it plain so as to be sure it was gluten-free.

I asked for the crabs and I did not know what the guy meant when he said that because I was my father’s son and because I wanted it, they would have to cook it for us. Maybe they do not usually have it for lunch, just for dinner but since he said we could have it, so we did…

Hai Bing Seafood - a feast of crabs

Oh my!!! There were TWO crabs, two BIG ones – I had expected just one to be shared among the three of us and I could not help thinking that this would cost quite a bit, over RM100, at least but never mind, we just ate and we really enjoyed ourselves to the fullest.

When we were done, absolutely satisfied and happy after that very delightful feast, I went to pay the bill…and I was so shocked when the old boss told me the total – only RM68.20 for all the dishes and three bowls of rice and our drinks. I paid him RM70.00 and he gave me RM3.00 back – never mind, he said. Goodness gracious me!!! That was so very cheap – almost as much as what I would have to pay at a lot of places elsewhere for nothing really special – no fish, no prawns, no crabs.

Looks like we will be back here again a lot more sooner now, not after around half a decade or so.

HAI BING SEAFOOD RESTAURANT is located right beside Eden Inn (2.285223, 111.831256), to the left, along Jalan Maju, right across the road from the Rejang Esplanade.

Perfect picture…

I mentioned this outlet of our very own Sarawak’s fast food franchise…

Sugar Bun Drive-thru 1

…in my blogpost a  long time ago, way back in early 2015 and yes, it is very much alive and kicking to this very day.

I had never dropped by there…

Sugar Bun Drive-thru 2

…before though – as a matter of fact, I hardly ever drop by those franchise places, never mind which one. The last time was at this one in May last year and from my personal point of view, that one looked like a much nicer place inside…

Sugar Bun Drive-thru 3

…than this one.

There is the regular Sugar Bun counter…

Sugar Bun counter

…and my missus went for their roasted chicken set…

Sugar Bun roasted chicken

…that came with a free drink. She was not all that impressed and I think she said that it all came to over RM12.00. I am sure she would derive a lot more satisfaction from her favourite – the grilled chicken chop here and that one is only RM9.50 a plate with all the sides.

Just like at that other place, there is also a pizza counter…

Pezzo Pizza counter

…here but we did not go for that – the crust is not gluten-free.

What took us there that day was this photograph…

Featured in Borneo Talk

…in a complimentary travel magazine distributed at airports and local bookstores here. My girl saw it and pointed it out to me and I could guess that she was keen on giving it a try.

We placed our orders at the counter…

Sabah Kertang counter

…and I was surprised that she wanted the tom yam bihun (RM12.60)…

Sabah Kertang tom yam bihun

…as she used to enjoy the milky one when she was in Sg. Petani and also the one here and the one here wasn’t too bad as well.

I ordered the one in a claypot with the milky soup with hung ngang, the big bihun (RM8.50)…

Sabah Kertang claypot fish hung ngang 1

…and because she said that hers was way too spicy for her to handle, we swapped so I had hers and she had mine. Both our orders sure did not look anywhere near as perfect as the one in the picture that we saw in the magazine.

I did try the milky one initially and I felt it was way too milky…

Sabah Kertang claypot fish hung ngang 2

…like drinking milk and in dire need of some more ingredients to make it a lot more tastier.

The fish was pre-fried…

Sabah Kertang fish, pre-fried

…and my girl liked it that way but yes, the fish on the whole was very nice – this giant garoupa or kerapu in Malay or as it is known by its local name, ikan kertang, anytime better than dory, so I gave most of what there was in my bowl of tom yam bihun to her to enjoy.

I would say it wasn’t too bad, definitely not anything to get us running back for more, just not too bad, that’s all I would say. Period.

SUGAR BUN DRIVE-THRU (2.301506, 111.850243) is located beside the traffic lights junction of Jalan Ulu Oya and Jalan Pahlawan, past SM St Elizabeth on your left if you are coming from the town centre.