Heard ’em say…

Ooopsss!!! I woke up that morning and found out that we had run out of eggs. There was some leftover rice and I was thinking I could fry that for breakfast but everytime I fry rice, I will add an egg or two so I had to abandon the idea.

I went out right away to the shops at the next lane to grab some. It is so convenient really; they’re right behind my neighbours’ houses opposite actually…and since I was there, bright and early – around 6 something in the morning, I decided to just drop by the coffee shop there for breakfast. That would save me the trouble of having to cook my own, if only for just one day.

I ordered the char mee, tam (fried noodles, wet/with gravy) from the chu char (cook and fry) place at the back and sat at a table to wait. It so happened that the guy who does the cooking just came back from the butcher and I heard him saying to somebody at another table that he had managed to get hold of some liver. Liver!!!??? Now, I would want that so I told him to add that to the fried noodles that I had ordered.

The kopi-o-peng (RM1.70)…

Ah Kau Cafe kopi-o-peng

…was good and I was wondering why they had two of the tables covered with nice tablecloth, something quite unusual in a coffee shop. I was thinking that perhaps, one can have rice and dishes here in the evening but I did not bother to ask.

The fried noodles came…

Ah Kau Cafe Foochow fried noodles, special 1

…and boy, I certainly was impressed. That looked really good with not only the liver but there were intestines too and a number of slices of char siew (barbecued pork) and everything else for only RM6.00, their special. Elsewhere, for RM4.00, you would get bits of meat so small that you would need a magnifying glass to detect them.

I was somewhat disappointed though that there was no sign of any green vegetables in the plate but when I went rummaging through the noodles, I did find a few bits here and there…

Bits of green vegetables

…but I certainly would ask for more the next time I drop by here to eat.

It appeared to me that the guy there now is not the same as the ladies who were there when we dropped by to give it a try that time when it first opened. What the latter dished out were good too but we had to wait a mighty long time and that was why we were not all that keen on going back there again. I did not have a problem with the one there now that morning though – what I ordered sure was served pretty fast, no problem at all.

So, was it any good?

Ah Kau Cafe Foochow fried noodles, special 2

Well, I certainly thought so – in fact, I felt it was so good, so very generous with the ingredients and so cheap – it was RM7.00 a plate here and RM8.50 here (and I did not even think it was all that nice), dunno now – that I tapao-ed a plate home for my missus to enjoy for her breakfast.

From what I’ve noticed, the coffee shop seems to be enjoying brisk business – I see  a lot of people there very often but this area is not congested and parking is never a problem, plus it is free!

AH KAU CAFE (2.316346, 111.839861) is located along Jalan Ruby, off Jalan Lim Han Swee, in the same block as Kim Tak Mini Supermarket, to the extreme left.

Change my mind…

My girl wanted the sambal bihun that she enjoyed very much here that day so of course, I took her there.

I went in search of the mee sua in traditional red wine chicken soup that I would rank among the best in town but it was all sold out.

In the meantime, my girl went with her mum to place their orders and I did not know what happened along the way but it seemed that she had changed her mind and she ended up having the tom yam hung ngang (big bihun) from one of the stalls instead (RM8.00)…

Happiness Cafe tom yam hung ngang 1

The mum declared that she had it before, praising it to the skies and insisted it was really very good and kept saying repeatedly that they made their own bay kar /ikan tenggiri (mackerel) fish balls and so on and so forth.

It did smell very good…

Happiness Cafe tom yam hung ngang 2

…but halfway through, I noticed that my girl was struggling away already – maybe it was because it was a rather huge serving for her to manage so I just asked her not to force herself and just finish off all the added ingredients and leave everything else behind.

The mum herself had the sambal kway teow (RM5.50)…

Happiness Cafe sambal kway teow 1

…from the fried bihun stall with a special request for it to be extra spicy…

Happiness Cafe sambal kway teow 2

…and it came with the wok-fried egg that sure looked perfectly done on top. It was quite obvious that the kway teow was indeed really spicy as while the boy was frying the dish, we could hear a lot of people in the coffee shop sneezing away. Of course it was very much to her liking and she enjoyed it to the max.

I also ended up ordering from that same stall, something new on their menu – the Happiness macaroni (RM5.00)…

Happiness macaroni 1

…they called it. I would say it was much nicer that the one I had here a long time ago and I do prefer this bigger version…

Happiness macaroni 2

…to those that look like the rubber tubes in bicycle tyres. On the whole, I would say it was all right – it had its own texture and I was thinking that I probably would enjoy it a lot more if there had been more added ingredients, prawns and squids perhaps – never mind that one would have to fork out more for it…or if I had requested for it to be extra spicy as well like my missus’ fried kway teow.

HAPPINESS CAFE (2.306608, 111.827179), formerly KONG MA MA, is located along Lorong Delta 4, off Jalan Delta. The left turn into Lorong Delta 9 will lead you straight to the Delta Public Swimming Pool.

It took a long time…

It sure took me a long time to go and check this place…

Sri Pelita Permai Islamic Cafe

…out – the other outlet of this place in the town area that we do frequent quite a lot.

Well, I was in the vicinity that morning so I decided I would do just that. I looked at the menu…


…and asked for the chapati but the girl said it was not available and neither was the tosai. I asked if they would be available in the afternoon and she said no, they were simply…not available anytime of day. I must say that Miss Congeniality she sure wasn’t and I was kind of pissed off by her attitude.

I looked around and saw most of the customers having their roti canai or their fried noodles. Somebody was having a bowl of noodles in some kind of soup and it looked quite good but I did not see anything of the sort on the menu on the wall. I asked the girl what would be good and she suggested their nasi lemak so nasi lemak it was, just so I would be done with the ordering and get her out of the way. Tsk! Tsk!

I asked for the special (RM7.00)…

Sri Pelita Permai nasi lemak special 1

…and looking at the price tag on their cabinet…

Food cabinet

…fried chicken was RM3.50 a piece so that was why the non-special nasi lemak would be RM3.50 a plate and RM8.00, if you chose the lamb curry.

Nope, the rice was disappointing, not lemak at all, the fried egg was all right though a bit under-done but the sambal was very nice and spicy…

Sri Pelita Permai nasi lemak special 2

…and the chicken, even though the piece that I got was breast, was very nicely marinated with whatever and I did enjoy it very much.

I saw this sambal egg (RM1.50)…

Sambal egg

…and I asked for one but though it was nice, it was not spicy, not even a little bit so it did not get me all excited, not at all.

Service was great and everything I ordered came in a jiffy and the kopi-o-peng I had was o.k. but at RM2.00 a glass, I thought it was a little bit overpriced compared to what they are charging at all the other coffee shops in town.

All in all, it was a good enough breakfast – I thought it was a bit better than what I had once at the coffee shop next door which incidentally was kind of quiet and empty that morning, not as crowded as this one which seemed to enjoy bustling business that time when I was there.

SRI PELITA PERMAI Islamic Cafe (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 the outlets of Sugar Bun, Singapore Chicken Rice and 7 Eleven are situated.

Dim all the lights…

I guess most upscale cafés and restaurants would dim all the lights at night to create a more cosy and romantic atmosphere but that would be a nightmare for people like me with a cheap and simple digicam and an equally cheap handphone that do not take very flattering photographs of anything and everything if there is insufficient light. That is why I would opt to go to such places for lunch when it is very much brighter and yes, the photographs that I take do turn out much nicer in natural (sun)light.

Well, we dropped by here…

The Cafe Ind, by night

…the other night for dinner and by some stroke of good luck, that shot that I took using my handphone camera did not turn out too badly.

Inside, it seemed a little brighter – perhaps the boss knew and he had turned up the lights a little unlike that time when we were there for dinner with my cousin and her hubby from the UK – the photos would not have turned out great, of course, so I did not bother taking any and just used some of the old snapshots from my previous posts when I blogged about it.

That night, the ladies wanted their teh tarek cincao (pulled tea with grass jelly)…

Cafe Ind teh tarek cincao

…while I just asked for a big glass of iced water.

My girl wanted their authentic North Indian butter chicken curry with biryani rice…

Cafe Ind butter chicken curry with biryani rice

– the curry would usually come with basmati rice so we requested for a switch and they were fine with that, no problem at all…and yes, even though the servings were quite substantial, she did manage to finish all of it all by herself.

The mum stuck faithfully to her kalio ayam

Cafe Ind kalio ayam

…with a special request for it to be extra spicy and indeed, it was! She seemed to be making it a habit to just eat one of the chunks of chicken and push the other one to me. I used to do that all the time – finish off everything on everybody’s plates but I guess I should not be doing that, not at my age and my shape and size. On our last visit, we had that piece tapao-ed to be taken home. After all, I have my own order to finish and the servings here are, by no means, small. Well, she tried that again that night but I did not want it and in the end, she did manage to finish all that was in her plate…somehow.

I remember the beef rendang

Cafe Ind beef rendang

…that my cousin’s hubby from the UK, Phil, seemed to enjoy so much and my brother, home from Auckland, New Zealand, had that too and yes, he did seem to enjoy it too.

I felt like having it that night so that was what I ordered…

Cafe Ind beef rendang rice set

…and yes, it was very nice but it was not spicy. Nonetheless, with the help of the cili padi on top plus the one for presentation in my girl’s butter chicken curry, I did get to enjoy it very much indeed.

It certainly was a very delightful dinner – the bill came up to over RM67.00, inclusive of drinks but the nice boss just rounded it up to RM65.00 and thankfully, the photographs that I took that night did not turn out too shabbily after all.

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.

Eyes wide open…

I saw on their Facebook page that their new stock had arrived so I quickly made a beeline to the place to grab a couple of bottles of the fresh milk with kurma that my girl enjoys a lot and a couple of this…

Farm Fresh cafe latte

…for me to try.

When I blogged about it the other day, somebody mentioned that she liked the cafe latte very much except that it was too expensive. I did mention in that earlier post how my heart skipped a beat when the cashier keyed in the price for the one with kurma, over RM9.00, I think it was, and the price appeared on the monitor.  Well, if I had not been forewarned, I would probably have had a heart attack in the case of this one – it was priced at over RM11.00 a bottle!!! The yogurt were all over RM6.00…and despite the prices, when I got there that night, there were a whole lot of people and no price for guessing what they were all buying, like they were giving them away for free!

There is enough in one bottle…

100% genuine fresh milk and real coffee

…for two mugs so it works out to less than RM6.00 each – very much cheaper than what you may have to fork out at those coffee places but of course, there is no froth unless you have a hand-held whisk or you shake the bottle vigorously before pouring out the milk and there is no cute artwork for your amusement and admiration.

I had these digestive biscuits…

Gullong digestives

…in the house, bought from that same supermarket – Gullón brand – made in Spain which do not come anywhere near the original that I used to enjoy a lot but these came in value packs of two (tubes) for over RM7-8 and they are sugar free. They did not go too well with black coffee but I thought they were really nice dunked in fresh milk so I tried them with this kopi susu (coffee with milk)…

Cafe latte with digestives

…and yes, they did go quite well together.

This tagline on the bottle…

Eyes wide open

…caught my attention. Yes, it was very rich with the fresh milk and very strong on the coffee fragrance and taste, double expresso, it says there…but unfortunately, it did not manage to keep me awake. I had it for morning tea, around 10 a.m. and after lunch that day, I was no longer able to keep my eyes wide open and had to have my afternoon nap.

I guess it’s purely psychological but we seldom had milk in our younger days, only when we were sick and all we had was tinned condensed milk (Milkmaid) and later, I read somewhere that hot milk and honey would be a sure cure for insomnia so I would have that on nights when I found it difficult to sleep and that did seem to work. Perhaps that is the reason why without fail, at any time of day, milk makes me sleepy…

Right time of the night…

Yes, we had a very late dinner again last Saturday, past 8.00 p.m. after the novena and the sunset service in church and it did look like it was the right time of the night to drop by here to eat.

If you come around 6 or 7, the usual dinner time around here, it may be so very crowded and you may not be able to get a table unless you book ahead. That night, when we got there, many people had left or were leaving so there wasn’t a problem at all.

My girl ordered her favourite sizzling beef on a hot plate (RM15.00)…

Sizzling beef on a hot plate

– I am quite sure there is a bit of tomato sauce in that but lately, the mum has been saying that there is no wheat in that except for a certain popular (and more expensive) brand. Anyway, since it is not a tomato-based gravy, I guess they would not use that much and just a bit once in a long while should be all right.

The ang sio own-made tofu (RM9.00)…

Ang sio tofu

…used to be clear but it was served like this that night, quite obviously with tomato sauce so I asked my girl to just eat the tofu and not to take too much of the sauce, just in case.

The ladies loved the fish maw soup (RM10.00)…

Fish maw soup

…which I thought was just fish maw in egg drop soup with a bit of minced meat and whatever else. I still prefer my favourite here, their clear fish maw soup.

The fried midin (wild jungle fern) with belacan/dried prawn paste (RM9.00)…

Fried midin with belacan

…was very nice and the total for the food was just over RM40 (excluding the rice and drinks). That sure beats eating at those not-all-that-fancy-and-upscale restaurants and burning a hole in one’s pocket and it definitely does not mean that one would enjoy it a whole lot more at those places, not necessarily.

NICE HOUSE RESTAURANT (2.29201,111.82739) is located in the vicinity of the Tunku Osman shops, opposite Rejang Bookstore.

Not much has changed…

We had not been here for a long long time and it sure looked like not much had changed – the place was crowded as always but surprisingly, it was not full for a Saturday afternoon. Perhaps there would be more people on weekdays, the office people on their lunch breaks…and yes, it was  noisy so if you are more into dining in a peaceful and quiet environment, you’d better go some place else.

My girl wanted their sizzling barbecued honey spare ribs (RM25.20)…

Pork ribs

…so of course, whatever she wants, she gets!

It was as nice as before and had the very familiar corn-on-the-cob and sweet peas but instead of the wedges, they now served this bowl of potato gratin…

Potato gratin

…in a bowl separately alongside…and yes, my girl loved that too. She was worried initially that she would not be able to finish as the serving was huge and would probably have to enlist my help but her fears were absolutely unfounded – she licked everything clean! LOL!!!

The mum had the spicy sizzling seafood kampua (RM13.20)…

Seafood kampua

…which I had before a long long time ago but was not impressed as I thought the sambal and the noodles were not all that compatible – I prefer their kampua and masak hitam beef combination. Well, this dish was what the ladies from the UK had when they were here (2:30 on their video clip) and they loved it!

They had a whole lot of new things on their menu and I decided I would go for one of these…

Nasi biryani

…and I picked the one with the curry chicken (RM18.20)…

Complimentary soup

…which came with a bowl of very nice tofu egg drop soup.

You get a little bit of acar (pickles) and half a hardboiled egg by the side…


…and the curry…

Curry chicken

…was very nice, as nice as what we would cook at home using our favourite A1 Mountain Globe instant curry paste and the rice tasted all right too, just that for that kind of money, I would much sooner hop over to this place right round the corner for their authentic North Indian biryani rice with a piece of papadum and a small serving of raita and a much more generous serving of their very very nice mutton curry for RM21.00 while their equally nice butter curry chicken with basmati rice is 20 sen less than this one here, only RM18.00.

The bill came up to RM74.10…and yes, this much sure had not changed one bit – there would be no rounding up of the total and like it or not, they would wait for you to dig out that 10 sen to pay your bill…or alternatively, they would happily give you your 90 sen change.

NOODLE HOUSE (2.291406,111.829162) is located somewhere in the area immediately behind the Sibu Central Police Station at No. 2B, Ground Floor, Lorong Laichee 1, accessible either from Hua Kiew Road or Laichee Lane.

Stiff competition…

So far, my favourite or koi (Chinese yam cake) would be the ones here, big thick slices, pre-deep fried but the last time I bought some from there, they had jacked up the price to RM1.20 a slice, 20 sen more than what they were selling them for formerly…and I would not know if it was a case of poor quality control but it did seem a little bit more wobbly or jelly-like than before. Many of those sold around town are like that and I think it is an indication of their using more rice flour and less yam.

Well, I happened to buy a slab of it here, not very big for RM2.00 but yes, it was big enough for four slices so that would mean that it did not cost more than those small thin ones selling at stalls all over town for 50 sen each. It was so nice – not wobbly at all, with lots of yam in it plus it tasted great.

It so happened that I dropped by the shop again the other morning and saw this big one…

Swee Hung steamed or koi

…selling for RM6.00 which I thought was inexpensive considering that it was no less than four times the size of the one I had bought earlier.

The shop gets their supplies from people who make those kuihs (cakes) at home and send them over for sale and I’ve a feeling the one who makes this one in the morning is not the same person as the one in the afternoon. This one had bits of carrot in it (though I did not think that made any difference to the taste) and a whole lot more yam – you would be able to taste it in the texture and it had a very strong taste of the hay bee/udang kering (dried prawns) used in the making. The other one had bits of minced meat but I could not detect any in this one. I must say the competition is stiff between the two and personally, I would not mind buying one or the other. In the meantime, I am sorry to say that the one aforementioned, formerly my favourite, can just go and take a back seat now.

These are not deep fried though – I don’t mind eating it steamed just like that and I do recall the ones in Penang where they served them with some hay kor (prawn paste)/rojak sauce and a dash of chili sauce. My missus likes it deep fried so I cut it into bite-size slices and threw them into a pan of hot oil to fry lightly…

Swee Hung or koi, lightly deep-fried

…and yes, she enjoyed them very much and was full of praises.

In the meantime, the nice young boy at the shop asked me to buy this new variation of the yew char koi/youtiao (Chinese crullers)…

Swee Hung new-style yew char koi

…at 50 sen each. I did not really catch what he said, something about there being spring onion or fried shallot or meat in it but anyhow, I bought two to try.

No, it did not have the texture of the traditional yew char koi, soft and light and full of (air) holes nor was it thick and dense like doughnut…

New-style yew char koi, inside

– it’s just different, that much I can say but it tasted all right. I wouldn’t say it got me jumping with delight but it was good enough to buy once in a  while for something different for a change.

The eloquent boy, obviously a good salesperson, also persuaded me to buy the tee piang

Swee Hung tee piang with meat filling

…which did not look as nice as those at the handsome boy’s stall at the pasar malam (night market) but the ladies in the house liked them a lot. My girl said they were good and the mum insisted they had a stronger taste of the soya bean pulp used in the making.

I thought it was good and I liked the filling…

Tee piang with meat filling, inside

…more – both are priced the same, RM1.50 each with meat filling and of course, if I can grab these here, I would not have to go through the hassle of making my way through the crowd at the pasar malam and wait a long time for the tee piang to be fried and parking can be such a pain – I would have to park far away and walk all the way there!  So which one do you think I would much sooner go and buy now?

These and lots more are available at SWEE HUNG (2.316161, 111.840441), located along Jalan Ruby, in the block of shops on the right – next to a hair salon at the extreme end…and on the other end, to the left is the Kim Won Chinese Medical Store and Mini-supermarket. Kim Tak Co. and Ah Kau Cafe are located in the other block on the left.

Anything good…

I was in the vicinity of this coffee shop again the other morning so I decided to try the Malay/Muslim stall to see if there was anything good.

The nice lady has the usual fried stuff – mee (noodles), bihun (rice vermicelli) and kway teow (flat rice noodles), nasi lemak (coconut rice) and nasi ayam penyet (clobbered chicken rice)…and I think she has nasi campur (mixed rice) come lunchtime.

I remember the kway teow goreng (fried) we had from the Muslim stall here…

Choon Seng kway teow goreng

…was very nice so I ordered that to see if the one here was any good.

It looked all right (RM3.50)…

Uncle Lau Corner kway teow goreng 1

…and tasted all right too but then again, the fried kway teow elsewhere, never mind if it is at a Chinese or a Muslim stall, is all right too…and for that same price, the one I mentioned earlier came with one fried egg but that was in 2016 – with the escalating prices of things these days, I would not be at all surprised if it costs more now.

I would give due credit to the lady for not using a plastic or melamine plate (though the complimentary chicken soup came in a striking pink plastic bowl) but what pushed the one here a cut above the rest was the sambal

Uncle Lau Corner Muslim stall, sambal

Boy! It was so very nice, spicy and nice and with that, I truly enjoyed my plate of kway teow

Uncle Lau Corner kway teow goreng 2

…to the max. I sure would not mind having that again the next time I drop by here and I certainly would ask for more of that so very delightful sambal!

UNCLE LAU CORNER (2.328131, 111.840397) is located back to back with Udak Kitchen which is to the left of Everwin, Sg Merah along Lorong Sungai Merah 2C, off Jalan Teng Chin Hua, across the road from the St Teresa’s Catholic Church and the SIB Church next to it.

Not what you think…

If you think this is Pattaya fried kway teow

Fried kway teow, Ah Tor style 1

…well, it isn’t.

Way back in my teenage days, there was a man named Ah Tor who would fry kway teow (flat rice noodles) this way, coated with egg and it was indeed very popular at the time and even to this day. Of course, Ah Tor had passed away and his son is carrying on his family trade here.

When my friends from Singapore came in 2015, I ordered a plate to share but I can’t remember whether I had any or not. Later that same year, my uncle and his family in Kuching came to town and they thought it was somewhat disappointing…and when they got to try the one here, they were praising it to the skies, declaring it to be so much nicer. I did have that one there a long time ago, 8 years to be exact in 2010, but it did not leave a lasting impression. As a matter of fact, a friend of mine was telling me about it too at one time and he said that I must ask the wife to cook – it would be very much nicer.

Anyway, the other morning, I thought I would just drop by there to refresh my memory. I liked  the mug that they used to provide the boiling water for sterilising the chopsticks and the spoon – I thought it was very cute…

Cute mug

The coffee had gone up in price, from RM1.50 in 2015 to RM1.70 now and the one I had that morning was very diluted, hardly any coffee fragrance and taste – I certainly would not order that should I happen to drop by here again. It certainly is a whole lot better at many places around town.

I ordered this bowl of beef soup…

Beef soup and chili dip

…to go with my fried kway teow and had a shock when told that it was RM8.00 a bowl but of course, beef does not come cheap here and they have access to fresh beef from the Malay butcher who used to run a stall selling the meat at the wet market in town but not anymore. They told me that they would book ahead of time and anytime they slaughter any, they would grab a whole lot to store in the freezer for their use.

Come to think of it, I should have asked for a smaller bowl, the size of the ones that they serve with their kampua mee…and yes, it was, as always, very nice and went well with their own-made chili dip.

The fried kway teow is different from those omelette-wrapped Pattaya dishes as it is done quite differently. Firstly, the kway teow is fried with garlic and soy sauce and bean sprouts, chives and egg plus some seasoning are added. Once done, it would be pushed aside and an egg is broken into the wok and is spread around thinly and when almost done, the kway teow is lifted and laid down on the layer of egg and it will be stuck to it, once done. I guess one must dish it out carefully so the egg that was at the bottom would end up on top, intact (RM4.00)…

Fried kway teow, Ah Tor style 2

I tried it and yes, I did like it a lot – it tasted really good but somehow, I don’t quite recall Ah Tor’s to be anything like it. No doubt his was simpler or at least, it tasted that way, but it was also nice in its own right. Sometimes, there is beauty in simplicity…

CHIP CHUNG CAFE (2.318239, 111.839305) is located along Jalan Gambir behind the premises of the Sibu Kidney Foundation (that faces Jalan Chong Jin Bock) just before the turning into Jalan Bunga Dahlia (if you are coming from Jalan Pedada).