Shangri La…

I knew of this place because I had seen friends sharing photographs of the food they ate there on Facebook but I did hear of the confusion some people had trying to locate it because they just assumed it was “Shangri La” instead of the Mandarin transcription, “Sianggelila“…

Sianggelila Xiqing Restaurant

…which was in fact, a very popular Chinese song in the 50’s or earlier.

That day, we decided to check the place out and dropped by for lunch and that little sign above the entrance got me wondering why they did not have something bigger and a lot more impressive as it certainly was a very nice place…

Stage

…and it was only when we had left the restaurant and were driving away that I turned round the corner when I saw the main entrance – you come in through here…

Main entrance, inside

…if you are entering through that side and it sure looked very grand. However, I did not bother to stop and take a photograph of that – another time, perhaps.

This was actually Furama, a restaurant in the next block of shops, but they have shifted here and renamed it, instead of sticking to the original. A friend who has a shop in that block kept telling me that the food was nice and I should go and try but I never did.

That day, we decided to go for the Marmite spare ribs…

Marmite pork 1

It seems kinda popular these days, Marmite crabs, Marmite prawns, Marmite chicken, Marmite whatever and yes, it was very very nice…

Marmite pork 2

…not too strong on the Marmite taste, lightly sweet, not really salty and we all loved it! We certainly would want to order it again should we come across any other place serving Marmite-anything.

The kiam sor (salty and crusty) fish fillet…

Kiam sor fish

…that my girl wanted was all right – it was the frozen fish fillet (dory) that I am never fond of. I enjoyed the fish, tapah probably…

Fish in the soup

…in the chao chai (preserved vegetable) soup…

Chao chai soup

…a lot more except that I had to be very careful with the bones.

The photograph of the Four Heavenly Kings came out blur and incidentally, they only have three here – brinjal, long bean and baby corn and we asked for it to be fried with sambal belacan (dried prawn paste) and yes, that was very good.

They certainly were very generous with the freshly-cut sliced chilies…

Sliced chili

…with soy sauce but unfortunately, they were not spicy/hot at all – the problem that we often encounter when we buy these peppers nowadays.

The peanuts…

Peanuts

…didn’t come free – that plate was RM4.00, I think. My girl used to enjoy it when going for Chinese sit-down dinners but she can’t eat that anymore, the coating is not gluten free. Well, if I am not wrong, I could have asked them to take it back and strike it off my bill but I did not bother.

We also had a 1.5 litre bottle of their own made lo han kuo (RM6.00) drink to share and I think the rice is a bit pricey here, RM2.00 a bowl. Having said that, the total for the food was only RM57.00…even though overall, it came up to RM75.00. All in all, we enjoyed the lunch – we liked the food though I would not mind a little less msg – I will have to tell them that the next time we come here…and perhaps, one meat dish, one vegetable and a soup would be enough for the three of us seeing how generally, the servings were kind of huge.

SIANGGELILIA XIQING RESTAURANT (2.306309, 111.848066) is located at No. 48, Lorong 7C, Jalan Pahlawan back to back with the wet market (and Baba & Siam) among the shops to the left of the Sibu Bus terminal. Somebody opened a big food court there a long time ago but it did not last very long and the place had been vacant since.

Presumptuous…

After the early morning church service last Sunday, we dropped by here for breakfast.

I spotted this (RM6.00)…

Fida Homemade

…on sale so I grabbed one to try – there was only one left at that point in time.

I thought it was all right…

Sambal ikan bilis

– it tasted something like our sambal udang kering except that ikan bilis (dried anchovies) was used instead, great with rice, bread or crackers. My missus loved it though, for the simple reason that it was very spicy.

She had her favourite sambal fried kway teow here…

Sambal fried kway teow with soy sauce

…with a special request for it to be extra spicy, of course and I ordered the same for my girl but I asked for it to be fried “white” or without soy sauce, that is…

Sambal fried kway teow without soy sauce

She did not seem to enjoy it so much though and was struggling with it and in the end, I think she barely finished half of it. I did try a bit and I thought it was all right just that it was not quite the same – I guess we are more used to having soy sauce in our char kway teow and would prefer it that way. She had the bihun fried this way once and she did enjoy it then.

This local franchise…

Zen Don Bin

…has taken over the roti canai stall – they serve burgers but instead of using buns, they use our Foochow chu nu miang, the sweet and soft version of the bagel-like kompia. I did not try that though as I had something else in mind – the mee sua

Mee sua

…from the stall somewhere in the middle.

I had it once and I liked it a lot and there I went praising it to the skies and an ex-student suggested that I went and tried the one here – I thought that was very good too but the one here was better. Well, the sad news is that the one there (the kampua mee and the pian sip were very good too, rather popular among the locals) had closed down and the shop will be taken over by this Kuching Indian/mamak franchise, scheduled to open in December.

I ordered what I wanted and sat there waiting and I observed that the ladies were busy with other things and were not getting down to cook what I had wanted. They noticed that and asked me what I wanted – that sure pissed me off. I had already placed my order and after all this while, you asked me again what I wanted. Still, I did not see them getting down to it.

After some time, I saw a not-very-young lady with a bowl of hung ngang (the big bihun) in a tray trying to serve it to the people at the table behind me and of course, those folks insisted they did not order that. The ladies from the aforementioned stall came over and said that I had ordered that but with mee sua…and by then, a young guy had come over and he looked kind of physically disabled but not very seriously. Seeing that and since the lady serving was no spring chicken either, I said that I would have that bowl of hung ngang

Hung ngang 1

…if it wasn’t anybody else’s order.

I was already fuming by then and the coffee shop owner attracted by the confusion and commotion had come over and he told me that those ladies were no longer selling mee sua as they could not cope and they had ordered from another stall in the coffee shop – the one right beside the kampua mee stall.  He added that he had tried it before and though the taste was not quite the same, it was pretty good as well.

Now, that sure was grossly presumptuous of them, I must say. They should have told me that they were not selling that anymore (and they should have taken down that photograph at their stall) and suggested that I ordered from this other stall. Yes, it did not taste quite the same and yes, it tasted all right but I did not want hung ngang

Hung ngang 2

– I wanted mee sua and besides. it was RM7.00 a bowl! The one I had before was RM6.00 a bowl only and there were two chunks of chicken, a shitake mushroom and one hard-boiled egg while this one had one drumstick, one shitake mushroom and a poached egg, that was all.

No, I did not make a scene – my girl would not like that but I guessed she knew I was upset and apparently, that affected her somewhat – she is always kind of emotional – and I think that was the real reason why she could barely finish half her plate of kway teow. After this kind of experience, I don’t think we will be in a hurry to go back to that coffee shop again…not for a long, long time.

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.

Private party…

This used to be here but they have renovated and refurbished the place, rebranding it and giving it a new name…

Simply Delicious

…so last Saturday evening, we decided to hop over and check it out – it is located at the mall round the corner from our house. Unfortunately, they were having a private party that night – their annual dinner for their staff and it looked like there was some kind of opening ceremony going on as well so it was not open to the public.

We did not have any other choice but to go elsewhere and my girl wanted to go here for her favourite mutton biryani (RM21.00)…

Cafe Ind mutton biryani

…so of course, her wish was my command. Needless to say, as always, she enjoyed it to the max and was obviously very happy after that scrumptious dinner.

The mum had the kalio ayam (RM14.50) again – no, I did not bother to snap a photo of it as the place was kind of dim at night and besides, that was what she would have every other time we were here and I have had a lot of photos of it already in my previous blogposts…and of course, as always, she could only manage one of the two huge chunks of chicken in the set so I had to help her with the other one.

I had the opor ayam (RM14.50)…

Cafe Ind opor ayam

…which was very good, something like our ayam masak kurma, and there were two huge chunks of chicken in the bowl as well as some potatoes and one hardboiled egg.

The total came up to RM60.50 so I paid RM61.00, cash but the generous boss gave me back a RM5.00 note as a discount for the iced water that we had – he was not going to charge us for it. I must say that was a very nice gesture compared to those places where they would insist on you digging out all your small change to pay for what is on the bill…or they will willingly give you back RM49.90 for your RM100.00 (because you do not have anything smaller) when the bill is RM50.10…and especially when it is some poker-faced boss himself or herself that one is dealing with, I certainly would think twice about going back again, that’s for sure, never mind how good the food is.

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.

Same on the inside…

No, not really. Actually it was the same on the outside but different inside.

I bought two packets of the puff pastry, over RM6.00 each with 10 sheets inside one packet so it works out to over 60 sen per sheet. Personally, I thought that was inexpensive and the best part, of course, was that the pastry was really very flaky and very nice after baking. I used a packet to make the sardine rolls so I had one left and I decided to make some tuna curry puffs with it.

I went and bought a can of the tuna curry…

Tuna curry

…and prepared the ingredients – one Bombay onion chopped, curry leaves and chilies, sliced…

Ingredients

…and I also peeled some potatoes and cut them into tiny cubes…

Potatoes

…and once, that was done, I proceeded to fry the filling…

Filling

I also boiled some eggs and cut them into wedges…

Eggs

…and once everything was ready, I started to make the puffs…

Wrapping

…with the filling and the egg inside. I used a fork to press down the edges and to poke some holes on top to let the air out whilst baking…

Wrapped

…and of course, I egg-washed each of them on top before putting them into the oven…

Baking

It turned out really well…

Baked

…but unfortunately, unlike the sardine rolls, because the triangles occupied more space, I could only bake 5 at a time in the tray.

With the remaining pastry, I made three rolls and two regular curry puffs with the twisted edges…

Twisted edges

…just that I could not do that very well.

It turned out all right…

Done

…though and the pastry was great…

Not enough filling

…just that I wished I could stuff in a lot more filling. Maybe if I rolled the pastry, I could make the pieces bigger and thinner and then I would be able wrap more inside – I’ll try that the next time I buy another packet.

For Pete’s sake…

My good friend, Peter, the boss of Payung, mentioned to me before that he loved sardine rolls but they were not available anywhere in town so that day, I decided to make some to give to him.

I remember way back in the good ol’ days, the girl students were taught to make these in their Home or Domestic Science lessons, among a whole lot of other useful things but of course, they do not have that subject in school anymore and if I am not wrong, they would use shortcrust pastry to make the rolls.

I do not have a problem at all making shortcrust pastry but I do not want to buy a box or a bag of wheat flour and use about half and end up stuck with the rest – we would not be using that for anything these days as my girl is gluten intolerant. That was why I went to the supermarket and bought this frozen puff pastry…

Puff pastry

My girl bought and used it before and we all agreed that it was very good but of course, we cannot buy that and use anymore these days.

It is so very easy to use – you just take it out of the freeze and let it thaw…

Let it thaw

…and that does not take very long. In the meantime, you can work on the filling and that was exactly what I did.

I had these two small cans of mackerel…

Canned mackerel

…in the pantry so I decided to use those. I mashed the fish…

mashed

…keeping just a bit of the sauce in case if it was too wet, it might flow out of the rolls during the process of baking and make quite a mess.

These were the ingredients I prepared…

Ingredients

– one Bombay onion, chopped, sliced chilies and Thai Basil leaves and some spring onions (I just added these simply because I had a lot growing in my garden)…and after frying the onion in a bit of oil till softened and cooked, I added all the rest before adding the mackerel. Easy-peasy, done in no time at all…

Filling

Next came the process of wrapping the rolls. I egg-washed the sides and placed the filling in the middle of the pastry…

Wrapping 1

…and then I folded in one end like this…

Wrapping 2

…and rolled it over the other end. After that, I sealed the ends and pressed them down well using a fork and I cut slits on top…

Finishing touches

…using a knife to let the air escape whilst baking.

Of course, I had to egg-wash all the rolls on top as well…

Egg-washed

…so that once they were done, they would have the nice golden coating like this…

Done

As soon as they were done…

Mackerel rolls

…I quickly sent them over to the café for Peter and all the nice people there to enjoy. Of course I was delighted when everyone starting praising the rolls to the skies – they all loved them, it seemed.

Don’t be late, don’t come too soon…

I was early that morning, around 9.00 a.m. and I was thinking of having the sup tulang (beef bone soup) with noodles for breakfast but I guess that was way too soon and I was told that it was not available yet. It would be ready by around 11.00 a.m. but no, I did not want to go off some place and come back all the way again.

I could have the eat-all-you-can porridge (RM4.00)…

Eat all you can porridge

…but I did not feel like it plus the condiments did not look all that exciting.

They have a roti canai stall…

Roti canai stall

…in front now, run by the two ladies and I decided to order one (RM1.20)…

Roti canai 1

…to try.

It did not look all that great, something like those frozen homemade ones that we can buy and fry our own at home but I guess it was because they did not squeeze it from the sides like what I would see them doing at most, if not all, other stalls because it was perfectly all right…

Roti canai 2

…inside, exactly how a roti canai should be.

They gave this curry dip…

Curry dip

…with it, not the usual dhal one, and I just poured it all onto the roti…

Roti canai banjir

…and ate. I guess that would be what my blogger friend, Merryn, would do – she calls it roti canai banjir (flooded).

I asked what I could order at that time of day and was told that they had the usual halal kampua or kolo mee and the fried stuff and no, they do not have nasi lemak here. In the end, I settled for a plate of fried mee (RM5.00)…

Mee goreng 1

…which I thought was a bit pricey especially when it was not a very big plate and I did not think there was much in it, no sign of any chicken or beef…

Mee goreng 2

…but yes, it was all right, just that it was not anything to get me rushing back for more.

However, the complimentary beef soup…

Complimentary soup

…was so so good, really thick and rich and bursting with flavours. I sure enjoyed that a lot!

No, the nasi campur was not ready yet – that is the thing about this place, it seems. Do not come too soon…and don’t come too late either. We came a bit later that day and the dishes for the eat-all-you-can buffet lunch were running out and it did not look like there was going to be any refill. Those who came even later than us had to make do with whatever there was left.

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. 

A little differently…

I cannot for the life of me understand the current craze here for nasi kak wok – it seems to have popped up in the menu of the Malay/Muslim shops here, there and everywhere. Unlike its Kelantanese counterpart, the nasi kerabu which I like a lot, I have tried it a few times here…and here again…and also here but it did not tickle my fancy – not something I would want to order again.

Another popular Kelantanese dish is the nasi ulam which I would love to try but it is not available here or not that I know of. I tried cooking my own once but I did not think it was all that great – maybe I did not get it right, I wouldn’t know so that day, when I saw a whole lot of rice left in the fridge, I decided to try again but this time around, I went about it a little differently.

Instead of serving it cold, tossed with all the herbs and leaves and what not, I fried it so perhaps we should call it nasi ulam goreng instead. I started off cooking the sambal udang kering (dried prawns) by frying the pounded ingredients – shallots, garlic, kunyit (turmeric), lengkuas (galangal) and chili with stalks of serai (lemon grass) added…followed eventually by the pounded udang kering with belacan (dried prawn paste). Once that was done, I added some curry leaves and then, the rice and eggs and mixed everything well together.  Finally, I added some salt, chopped spring onions (since I have a lot in my garden) and Thai basil leaves before dishing everything out. I could have added some of my daun kesum and sawtooth coriander as well but I did not, in case my girl would get put off by the strong fragrances.

It turned out really nice – everyone enjoyed it but there was so much so I heated up the left over…

Nasi ulam goreng

…the next morning for breakfast.

I fried an omelette and wrapped the rice…

Nasi ulam goreng inside

…in it…

Nasi ulam goreng pattaya

…so it became what I would call nasi ulam goreng Pattaya…

Nasi ulam goreng pattaya & sambal udang petai

…and served it with the leftover sambal udang petai

Sambal udang petai

…that I bought home the previous day and yes, it was indeed very nice.

I would still want to try the nasi ulam though, should I happen to come across any, so I would be able to know for sure as to how good it actually is…and whether it is nicer than my nasi ulam goreng

Nasi ulam goreng pattaya, inside

…or not.