Everytime I hear your name…

This goes back all the way, if I remember correctly, to two Saturdays ago, at least. We dropped by this place for the nasi kerabu, now available on Saturdays only, but the place was full and everyone did not seem to be eating yet – perhaps, they had not been served and were still waiting. We wasted no time in making our exit and left the place.

We ended up here instead as my girl wanted the Sarawak laksa (RM5.70, small)…

Thomson Corner Sarawak laksa

…and my missus also had the same. Believe it or not, it was only RM4.00 in 2011! Thankfully, it is as nice as ever – without doubt, our favourite in town.

I also ordered the sotong kangkong (RM6.60, small)…

Thomson Corner sotong kangkong

…to share. From what we saw, they have upgraded the running of their business now and are using a computer system…

Thomson Corner computer system

…to keep tabs on everything but personally, I do not think it makes a difference as the service here is always very prompt and efficient – we never had a problem with it all these years.

No, I did not feel like having laksa that day and I ordered their Pattaya chicken rice (RM6.20) which is one of the items on their menu that I rather enjoy. In fact, before I retired and was teaching in the school across the road, I used to hop over to have this time and time again but I am quite sure that they would give a lot more chicken…

Thomson Corner Pattaya chicken rice, chicken

…at the time.

The chicken rice was still as nice…

Thomson Corner Pattaya chicken rice, rice

…with bits of sausage, wrapped in an omelette.

The nasi goreng Pattaya (Pattaya fried rice), fried rice wrapped in an omelette as well and served in this same way…

Thomson Corner Pattaya chicken rice

…is more easily available here – you will find it on the menu in most Malay coffee shops but everytime I hear or see the name, I would think of the seaside resort in Thailand though I never did bother to find out why these dishes are thus called.

Well, I went and googled and I found out that it did not originate in Pattaya or anywhere else in Thailand and it is believed to be Malaysian and is popular in Singapore and Indonesia as well but at the latter, they have their own what-they-call the nasi goreng amplop (enveloped fried rice). I wonder if the term amplop was derived from the English word, envelope.

There was a suggestion that the name evolved from the very popular pad Thai and they believed that they do have a version there where the noodles are wrapped in egg – that probably is similar to our Ah Tor fried kway teow named after the guy here who started cooking the dish that way back in the 60’s and to this day, it is the favourite of many except that he had passed on and the son is carrying on the business though I’ve heard that it is somewhat disappointing and these days, the one here is much nicer.

Unfortunately, that was all the information I could get so the reason why the dishes are called by the names, nasi ayam Pattaya (Pattaya chicken rice) or nasi goreng Pattaya (Pattaya fried rice), still remains a mystery. Can anybody shed some light on this, by any chance?

SIBU THOMSON CORNER (2.296517, 111.840710) is located at Pusat Tanahwang, opposite Sacred Heart Secondary School, Oya Road,  in the block of shops to the right of the SHELL petrol station along that road.

Nothing in particular…

…here got us all excited that day, nothing that would get us rushing back for more even though there was quite a crowd there and because it was such a small completely enclosed place, I was quite put off by the noise…or maybe it was because some people were somewhat loud, like they were giving a speech or something.

Actually, we had intended to go some place else for lunch last Saturday but they usually close at 1.30 p.m. and when we got there past 12.30 p.m., it looked like they were already calling it a day. That was why we adjourned here instead as it was along the way, not far up the road and if I am not wrong, here, they open at 11.00 a.m. and close at 3.00 p.m.

My missus had their set lunch (RM9.90 with a complimentary drink, iced teh-o, take it or leave it)…

Le Cafe Thai sauce chicken rice set

– their Thai-sauce fried chicken rice set. It was all right but for only RM9.00 here, you will get a much bigger slab of chicken and garlic rice plus a free drink from a choice of three.

My girl had the grilled lamb chop with mushroom sauce (RM20.90)…

Le Cafe grilled lamb chop with mushroom sauce

…that she said was o.k. – she did not mind that it had a somewhat strong lamb smell. I wished they had served the sauce by the side though instead of drowning the meat like that so at least, one could see how nicely it had been grilled. They certainly do it a lot better here…and it is cheaper there too!

I had their curry lamb rice (RM20.90)…

Le Cafe curry lamb rice

…which was all right as well. Their lamb curry…

Le Cafe curry lamb

…that took a long time coming, for reasons unknown, was nicer than what I had the other day but they certainly were not very generous with the meat and it was not spicy at all. I was thinking of the very much nicer authentic North Indian mutton biryani here the whole time for just 10 sen more, RM21.00 and the biryani rice is anytime a lot nicer than the plain rice with a sprinkling of fried shallots or whatever on top…or the just-as-nice Bangladeshi lamb curry (RM19.00 only with rice) here. The brinjal fritters and the onion rings failed to save the day – I remember enjoying the rice sets here (RM16.90) and what they have by the side there a whole lot more.

On my last visit, we were told that we could not have their star attraction, their claypot chicken rice, unless we called a day earlier to book…and another dish of theirs that I quite enjoy, their lamb shank, is kinda big for one so if I want that, I will have to find somebody who wouldn’t mind having the same to go with me.

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.

Extra special…

Yesterday, the 27th of September, was Andy’s birthday and he invited us to the café…

Payung Cafe centrepiece

…for lunch.

Of course we had the Foochow longevity noodles in the super awesome traditional Foochow red wine chicken soup…

Mee sua in chicken soup

…and they specially reserved one of the drumsticks for me – the other one was for the birthday boy. The soup was simply out of this world and one contributing factor would be the wine, made by one of Peter’s aunties, and I heard they added dried longans to it, as well as the usual wolfberries and red dates too, thus contributing to the fragrance and the sweetness of the soup.

I, for one, was never particular about the thow (head) or the boi (tail) of the mee sua but this one…

Mee sua

…looked really very fine and I did think it was much nicer than the factory-made ones that I used to buy to enjoy. Oh dear!!! Now it sure looks like I will never look at mee sua that same way again.

Yes, there was an egg…

Traditional birthday mee sua in red wine chicken soup with egg

…too and that was already so very filling but no, that was not all!

Peter, the boss, insisted on cooking for us his most delightful belimbing prawns…

Payung Cafe belimbing prawns
*Archive photo*

…and because there were only my missus and I there, we said we would love it super spicy and yes, it was spicy and very very nice. Unfortunately, I was so busy enjoying the food that I forgot to snap a photograph of it so I have used one from a previous visit in this post.

We also had one of our favourites here, their pomelo salad…

Payung Cafe pomelo salad

…and Peter also prepared this ulam with his special sambal…

Ulam

…for us. My missus sure enjoyed it very much and it was gone in no time at all. LOL!!!

Andy insisted that we must have dessert even though we kept saying that we were already too full and in the end, he served us this durian ice cream…

Payung Cafe durian ice cream

…to share or to be exact, vanilla ice cream with their lovely fresh durian cream.

That was most undoubtedly an extra special birthday treat, thank you so much, Andy…and also Peter and all at Payung. All the best to the birthday boy, God bless always and may all your wishes come true. Cheers!!!…

Cheers! Andy's birthday, 2018

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

Raise the flag…

This goes back quite a bit, two Sundays ago, to be exact. We did not go to the sunset service on Saturday evening as we went out for dinner that night and after the one we went to instead on Sunday morning, they had a simple ceremony to commemorate Malaysia Day, the 16th of September, with the raising of the flags…

Malaysia Day 2018

…and the singing of the national and state anthems. I thought that was nice, brief and sweet and meaningfully significant.

Of course, we went in search of something for breakfast after that. My girl said she wanted porridge and I did not want to drive all the way for the nice one here and the stall here that had porridge and a lot of things that were pretty good had closed down – I was told that the son went for further studies in Kuching and the mum tagged along but I don’t know if she has set up her business there or not.

I decided to check out this place…

A One Cafe

…that used to be one of the few places that my late dad liked and yes, they had porridge on their menu…

A One Cafe menu

My girl got what she wanted…

A One Cafe porridge

…and she said it was good – she did enjoy it though I must say that it looked a whole lot nicer in the photograph.

There was quite a crowd and we had to wait for a long time. Meanwhile, I saw a number of people ordering their pao (steamed bun)…

A One Cafe char siew pao

…to eat there or to take home so I decided to ask for one (RM3.00)…

A One Cafe char siew pao, filling

…to try. The guy said it was from Kuching and yes, at that price, it sure was no surprise that it was very big and had a lot of the char siew filling and yes, it was good. The ones from here are nice too and they are RM2.00 each but of course, theirs are much smaller.

My missus had their kolo mee

A One Cafe kolo mee

…and she too liked it as much as I liked my version – with their own handmade noodles…

A one Cafe kolo mee, handmade noodles

I could taste the fried garlic oil with a hint of vinegar, probably a bit of what was used to pickle the sliced chili and yes, I did like it a lot. For one thing, it did not taste like kampua mee, unlike the ones at many places here.

I can’t remember the breakdown of the prices but the total for the porridge and the noodles was around RM15.00 (around SGD/AUD/NZD 5.00). Not all that cheap, eh? Nonetheless, considering that everything was really nice, I wouldn’t mind dropping by here again.

A One Cafe (2.297428, 111.824346) is located along Jalan Tun Abg Hj Openg, opposite the Kin Orient Plaza (aka old Sing Kwong) in the second block of shops. Coffee Court & Bateras Food Court are located in the first block, nearer to the main road.

The way we live…

I heard that the people here…

Dapur Azra

…at the Simpang Tiga shops, facing the road leading to the ferry point…

Road to ferry point

…off Jalan Kampong Nangka, have a stall here which they still operate at night (that place is open only at night) and their sup tulang

Dapur Azra sup tulang

…is really very nice so of course, we made our way there one morning to give it a try.

They have eat-all-you-can porridge…

Eat-all-you-can porridge

…for only RM4.00 but when I had a look at the condiments, there wasn’t anything that tickled my fancy – maybe it was late morning already and at that point in time,  they were caught up with getting the dishes for their eat-all-you-can buffet at only RM6.00 per head.

I liked how they had all the food in those stainless steel serving trays with see-through/transparent plastic lids…

Eat-all-you-can buffet

…so that way, you would be able to see the dish inside without having to open everything up.

My missus and I went for the buffet and I had the lamb curry…

Lamb curry

…and the sotong (squid)…

Sotong

…which my missus also had and I think she had a piece of fried fish and no, we did not go for the fried chicken and fish curry…

Chicken & fish

There were a few vegetable dishes like this one…

Mixed vegetables

…or the bitter gourd…

Bitter gourd

…or the brinjal…

Brinjal

…but no, thank you! We headed straight for the ulam

Ulam

…with a choice of ulam raja, hati/jantung pisang (banana flower) and cucumber to go with the sambal belacan (dried prawn paste dip)…

Sambal belacan

The sambal was absolutely awesome, so very nice and very spicy – my missus loved it so much that she went back for more no less than three times, I think and I did notice that she had  a preference for the ulam raja.

I enjoyed the ulam too though I wouldn’t say that I was bowled over by the dishes they had in the buffet spread that day – they were good but I thought that I had had better at some other Malay shops in town but of course, especially when they charge by the item, the total may burn a hole in your pocket and spoil the initial enjoyment in some way. Here, for only RM6.00 per head and with so many dishes to choose from, I really see no cause for complaint.

I did not go for seconds as I wanted to try their kolo mee, daging (beef)…

Kolo mee daging

– if I remember correctly, that was RM5.00 and I would say it was nice, just that it tasted exactly like kampua mee. They certainly were very generous with the meat but I was kind of disappointed with the soup. No, I did not get the same soup from their sup tulang cauldron, unadulterated. Instead, I was given a watered-down version which I probably would have thought was nice had I not tried the “the real thing”, RM12.00 with rice…

Dapur Azra sup tulang with rice set

…that my girl had. It was so very nice and the meat was very tender too. You may choose to have it with noodles – mee or bihun for only RM7.00 but of course, you do not get that much meat (nor soup in whatever space that is left) in that same kind of bowl.

It so happened that a very old friend of mine, going back as far as the 80’s & the 90’s, whom I met at the hawker centre when we went there over a year ago, is working here in the morning – it opens from 7.00 a.m. till 11.00 p.m. – and at the aforementioned place at night. He did tell me then that he had cancer and had to go to Kuching for treatment – I was glad to hear from him that day that he was coping well but he still had to go to Kuching for chemotherapy once a year.

What impressed me most was how active, cheerful and jovial he was…and he told us his philosophy in life, that everyone will die eventually, sooner or later, and it is up to us to choose the way we live – whether to have a happy life and enjoy every moment we are alive or to lead a sad and miserable one before leaving this world for good. I do think that’s something everyone should ponder upon, don’t you?

DAPUR AZRA (2.308398, 111.819744) is located at the shops at Simpang Tiga, along Lorong Kuda 2, back to back with Bisonte Grocer & Deli, facing Jalan Kampung Nangka and the road leading to the one-time ferry point. 

Outright…

In my post a couple of days ago, I did say I would be blogging about this place…

Outright Coffee, this way

…again.

When we were there that morning, I saw in their display cabinet that they had beef pies priced at RM8.00 upwards but I was too full to eat anything at that point in time. My missus went to their bakery, back to back to this place with a hotel on top to look around and she came back with this beef and potato pie…

Outright Coffee beef & potato pie

…and another one with cheese. It seems that they would sell the unsold ones at the bakery at half the price. Now, that sure is a steal!

The pastry was very nice…

Outright Coffee beef & potato pie, inside

…and there was so much beef inside…

Outright Coffee beef & potato pie, filling

I enjoyed it very much and I would say that it’s value for money even at its original price. I have tried the other one with cheese, no potatoes – my missus said it was nicer but I prefer this one probably because I love those tubers with the beef.

In the meantime, let’s take a tour of the place. I am very sure anyone dropping by would not fail to notice the greenery…

Outright Coffee, greenery

…all around. I heard that Dennis, the owner, bought the plants from Peter, the boss of Payung, and it is good that he takes good care of them. I’ve heard of people buying from Peter too but eventually, all the lovely plants withered away and died. As a matter of fact, Dennis was outside when we got there that day, busy with the watering.

I liked this one…

Outright Coffee, plant

…and this one with the little purple flowers…

Outright Coffee, plant with purple flowers

…too and this gave me an idea – perhaps I could plant some wild ferns…

Outright Coffee, ferns

…in pots as well as I do think they make really nice decorative plants that one would not need to spend a fortune to purchase.

You can choose to sit inside in the air-conditioned section or outside…

Outright Coffee, outside section - side

…by the side and also in front…

Outirght Coffee outside - front

…and there are other sections here and there as well with some very interesting furniture…

Outright Coffee, unique furniture

…and the chairs here…

Outright Coffee - old school chairs

…caught my attention. We had those sets at our house in the colonial days and my paternal grandparents and my maternal grandma had similar sets at theirs too. Of course, we no longer have them anymore.

I did drop by here once a long time ago for the coffee and cakes but all my photographs did not come out as it was way too dark. In the meantime, my girl does drop by sometimes with her friends in the evenings to linger around and sit and chat but now that they do have quite a lot of stuff to eat, they probably would see me there…

Outright Coffee, front

…a lot more often, most likely in the daytime so that I would be able to take more flattering snapshots of what they serve.

OUTRIGHT COFFEE (2.290978, 111.820996) is located at 24B , Jalan Lau King Howe, at the end of the first block of shops immediately behind the Lay King Howe Memorial Museum.

A million thanks to you…

Of course, we went out for dinner on the night of my girl’s birthday and she did ask a friend of hers to join us and I also got her to invite her aunt, my sis to come along as well…and of course, we picked one of our favourite places in town for this very special occasion.

When I was placing my orders for the dishes that night, my dear friend, Mary, kept telling me not to order this and not to order that for fear that we would not be able to finish. What I did not know then was that she had something up her sleeves…so imagine our very pleasant surprise when the crew came out with this…

Special birthday treat for Melissa

…and sang a few lines of the Happy Birthday song. We were stunned, absolutely speechless at the sight of the gorgeous and so very impressive platter!!!

This was a special treat for my girl from the ever so thoughtful and generous, Aunty Mary – the giant udang galah (freshwater prawns)…

Giant freshwater prawns

…that we also had on her birthday and I loved it so so much, a lot more than the lobster that we had that night and lining the side of the platter were these birthday eggs…

Birthday eggs

…served with some very nice special sauce.

They do not serve mee sua here so I asked for the Hing Hua bihun with specific instructions not to add any soy sauce but Thai fish sauce would be fine and we got this pale-looking plate of the noodles (RM28.90)…

Flavours Thai Kitchen fried bihun

My sister tried and commented that it looked rather plain and yet, it tasted so good and I certainly would agree with her on this. I thought it was very much nicer than the Hing Hua bihun we had here before – it did not have any cangkuk manis in it but I so loved the fragrance and the taste of the chives with the very nice extra-fine rice vermicelli.

My girl wanted the beef manao or beef with lime (RM37.50)…

Flavours Thai Kitchen beef manao

– one of her favourites here and despite all the protests from Mary, I insisted on ordering it and when I said that my girl wanted it, she relented and added it to the list.

I asked for the pla sam rod or the barramundi with three-flavours sauce (RM82.00)…

Flavours Thai Kitchen pla sam rod 1

…for a change from the pla tod samoon prai that we had had on several of our past visits for some time now…

Flavours Thai Kitchen pla sam rod 2

…and though we felt that between the two, we now liked the latter better, this was good too.

For our vegetable dishes, we had the som tam/papaya salad (RM17.50)…

Flavours Thai Kitchen som tam

…and also the sweet potato leaves fried with garlic (RM15.50)…

Flavours Thai Kitchen sweet potato leaves

We also ordered this tom khai kai (RM25.00)…

Flavours Thai Kitchen tom khai kai

…for a change from the very nice creamy and spicy tom yam soup we would order usually and we requested for fish instead of chicken.

Well, we did manage to finish all our orders and had the most delightful evening enjoying the food and the company – a million thanks to Mary for the special treat and to Joch & Su for all those scrumptious dishes and the wonderful crew for the unfailing excellent and efficient service. All of you sure made my girl so very especially happy on her special day!

FLAVOURS THAI KITCHEN (2.292836, 111.828287) is located on the ground floor of the ORCHID HOTEL, along Brooke Drive at its junction with Jalan Tunku Osman. You can use its main entrance at the back of the hotel building (facing Brooke Drive) or go through the lobby past the reception desk if you are using its hotel entrance.