Do what you like…

Everyone has his or her own likes and dislikes, his or her own preferences and idiosyncrasies and of course, one is free to do what one likes.

I have a toaster…

Toaster

– it was given to me by a dear friend as a wedding gift; he was my best man but sadly, he had passed away not too long ago, may he rest in peace.

Of course that was a long time ago but yes, it is still in very good working condition. For one thing, things made in those days are a lot more durable and lasting than what one can get from the shops these days. We had a sandwich and waffle maker that my missus got from some direct sales agency, using her bonus points – it was working all right but one fine day, when we turned it on, the electricity in the house went kaput! In the end, we just had to throw it away. Thankfully, it came for free and as they say, easy come, easy go!

Going back to the toaster, I am not fond of using it as if the toast is brown enough, the whole slice of bread will be crusty, inside out. Other than that, I am not all that crazy about going through the trouble of taking it out of the cabinet and after using it, when it has cooled, I would need to clean it before putting it back.

I guess it will be the same if I use my oven…

Oven

I got this free using my credit card points and yes, it has its uses, small and convenient so we will not use the big one that is part of our gas stove unless absolutely necessary. I’ve never tried using it to toast bread…

To toast bread

…though so I am not sure how it will turn out.

In the old days in the coffee shops, they would place the bread on the charcoal grill…

Charcoal grill

…to toast it. I had seen them scraping the black surfaces once it was done and they would generously apply their own-made kaya (coconut jam) and place a slice or two of butter on top and serve. Of course, that was so very nice unlike what we will get today. Firstly, nowadays, they will use an electric toaster or an oven toaster and then they will serve it with canned kaya and margarine.

As a matter of fact, they actually had one charcoal grill at a hotel in Kuching for guests to use to toast their bread if they were thus inclined…

Charcoal grill at Grand Margherita Kuching

…and yes, I did toast my bread on it when I was staying there once.

There is one very popular place in Sarikei where people will go for the toast. I think they give butter, not margarine so that is a bonus and other than the kaya, it looks like they add peanut butter as well but I have never been there so I have no idea how they toast the buns. I have also heard a lot of this place in Kuching that is famous for its toast – Rowena goes there sometimes, it seems…but I have never been there either so I do not know how they go about making theirs.

So how do I go about mine? I like to toast the bread on a non-stick pan…

Non-stick pan

…till it is nice and brown on the outside…

Brown on the outside

…but still soft like fresh bread inside.

Once done, I would apply a thick layer of kaya – I like the made-in-Singapore Glory Brand, just like homemade…and slices of butter…

With kaya and butter

That sure beats any loti kiap (sandwich toast) or roti bakar that we can get at the shops here…or if there is any that is better around town, I sure do not know of it.

Not my problem…

I don’t know why people would grumble in my face that the food at a certain place in particular is so expensive. I did blog about this before so I shall not speak on it any further. After all, it is not my problem – they are the one with the problem so they can go and deal with it and frankly, what the hell do I care! Tsk! Tsk!

Anyway, there was this somebody that day who said the same thing and no, I did not bother to respond at all – I already have it up to here with cheapskates like her. Well, she went on to sing praises of one Malay place here where they have this eat-all-you-can buffet lunch for RM7.90 with a free flow of drinks. Of course, I simply had to go and check it out.

We got there past noon at around 12.15, before 12.30 and because of where we parked the car, we went in from one side of the shop and the floor was soaking wet! “Hati hati, ya! Basah! Nanti jatuh!” the lady doing the washing at the sink there said laughingly, like she was poking fun at this fat old man. Now you know it was wet…and obviously, it was because of you so shouldn’t you go and get a mop to mop it dry? Tsk! Tsk!

We went to look at the food – there was so very little of everything left except one dish of not-so-very-nice-looking pumpkin. As for the rest, I did not think there was enough for the three of us if we were to take a spoonful each of each of the dishes…and we all agreed that they did not even look nice. Personally, we would rather go here for their RM6.00 eat-all-you-can buffet and spend the extra RM1.90 on a drink. After all, all they had in the drink dispensers were some pale-looking over-diluted cordials, nothing to get excited about.

Nobody said a word to us – we would have told them there wasn’t much of everything left and if there wasn’t going to be any refill, they could at least suggest that we took a seat and we could order from their regular menu. No, we came and we left – not a word was spoken…other than that lady and her cheeky remark about the wet floor.

In the end, we adjourned here…

Outright Coffee 1

…at the end of the block, some 50-100 metres away…

Outright Coffee 2

…and had our lunch there…

Outright Coffee 3

…in the nice ambiance with air-conditioned comfort (we opted to sit inside this time) and great friendly service.

My girl had the banana mango milkshake (RM15.50) that I had on one of our previous visits while I had their banana caramel milkshake (RM13.90)…

Banana caramel milkshake

…which according to the boss, was one of their best sellers. My missus said she did not want anything and she would be fine with the complimentary drinking water but anyway, we got this pink passion soda drink…

Pink passion soda drink

…on the house – for purchases over RM30.00. It certainly was A LOT bigger that last time around and despite our bill surpassing RM60, we did not get two – only one. Hmmm…perhaps the next time, we shall split our orders and pay separately.

I was still full from the breakfast I had that morning so I just had a beef and potato pie (RM9.00)…

Beef and potato pie

…which I did buy from their bakery at the back once and it was indeed very very nice…

Beef and potato pie

I noticed, however, that it was RM1.00 more expensive than at their bakery so I mentioned to the boss that they should at least do something about the presentation to merit that extra ringgit…instead of just serving it in a plate like that.

My missus had their barbecue chicken with rice (RM15.90)…

BBQ chicken with rice

…with mushroom sauce and though the meat looked a little charred, she loved it very much. I guess it would be something like satay – very much nicer when a bit burnt, just a bit.

My daughter’s  barbecued chicken with fruit salad and baked wedges (RM15.90)…

BBQ chicken with fruit salad and baked wedges 1

…with rosemary sauce was done to perfection…

BBQ chicken

…and yes, she too enjoyed her order in no small measure.

Well, if the aforementioned Ms Cheapskate had not had the shock of her life looking at the prices of our individual orders, the total came up to RM69.30 altogether…and no, I am not saying that was cheap but considering that we did derive so much pleasure from everything, I would say it was money well spent – value for money…and we went home completely satisfied and happy and no, we do not spend like this all that often, only once in a while , usually on weekends when my girl has come home after a dreary week at her school in the jungle. We probably would not have enjoyed our lunch half as much had we gone for the RM7.90 eat-all-you-can buffet lunch that Ms Cheapskate spoke so highly of.

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.

Break it to me gently…

I did say in an earlier post that I would drop by here…

Kiong Chuong Cafe

…again to check out the kampua mee stall…

Kiong Chuong Cafe kampua mee stall

…now run by a young guy, unlike before. It looks like the shop has a new sign now, no longer the old worn-out and faded one that they had before.

I ordered the dumpling soup (RM5.00)…

Kiong Chuong Cafe dumpling soup

…which turned out to be very much to my liking. I loved the very nice clear soup, no msg overload and I enjoyed the dumplings too which is actually saying a lot for someone who is not into those  睡觉 (shuijiao) or jiaozi (餃子) or whatever they are called.

I shared the photograph on Facebook and somebody instantly made a curt comment, “Too much meat!” Honestly, I really wonder why people want to do things like that – I see friends sharing photographs of food that do not appeal to me but I will never go and shoot them down like that. Usually I will not comment or I may just LIKE the photograph to give them a bit of encouragement especially if it is something they cooked themselves. Like what the old folks used to say, “If you have nothing nice to say, then it is time to keep quiet!”

I wonder what she meant by there being too much meat…

meat dumpling inside

Perhaps she did not even bother to look at the photograph properly and thought it was a bowl of piansip in which case there should not be too much meat as it is quintessentially a noodle dish to be enjoyed mainly for the skin but if she had taken a little bit of time to just look carefully, she would have realised that this was not piansip.

I enjoyed the dumplings with the Thai chili sauce that came with it…

Thai chili sauce

…and I would give the guy top marks for not using plastic or melamine plates and bowls, a practice that ought to be stopped at a lot of places around here as that may be hazardous to health. The chives lacked the much coveted fragrance though – it seems to be a problem these days whereby chives are not fragrant and quite tasteless, bitter gourd is not bitter, terung Dayak is not sour and chili is not spicy.

I also ordered a bowl of kampua mee, kosong (RM2.00)…

Kiong Chuong Cafe kampua mee kosong

…to go with the dumpling soup and here’s another bonus mark for the boy. Not only does he not use those horrible factory-produced fried shallots with the unpleasant smell, sold at the shops and supermarkets (they do that a lot at the Malay shops and stalls) but obviously, he slices them thinly manually, never mind that it can be quite tedious and time-consuming – many use a food processor these days so you will see unsightly bits of fried shallots all over your bowl of noodles, nothing like these whole slices in the one here. However, the mee was just so so – I could not detect any fragrance and taste of lard in it but it was all right and with the added chili sauce, I did enjoy it.

Going back to what I was ranting about, some people are really so full of themselves and more often than not, it is not what they say but how they say it. I just cannot understand why they cannot try and put their opinions across gently and in a much nicer way. Somehow or other, they do not seem to realise that they actually come across as snooty, high and mighty and somewhat offensive, not very pleasant at all and if I may quote this line from a favourite poem of mine, “Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit,” (Desiderata) so I just unfriended her – goodbye, bad rubbish. I do not need the likes of those lurking around my Facebook page just to find fault in everything I share and shoot me down, thank you very much. With friends like those, who needs enemies? Goodbye.

SYARIKAT KIONG CHUONG CAFE (2.291062, 111.827381) is located along Jalan Kampung Nyabor at the bend where one turns left or right when coming from Brooke Drive, a stone’s throw from Malaysia Hotel in the next block.

Something great…

The oregano that I got from my friend/ex-students’ mum/mum-in-law grew really well and was so very productive so I shared a photo on Facebook and asked if anybody would be interested. A friend said that she did not mind some so I repotted a few and sent them over to her house along with a little pot of dill – my dill is flourishing too. She had not got home from work so I passed them to her hubby.

A few days later, when we were in church that night, she passed me this…

Kelulut honey

the kelulut honey from those stingless bees that was the craze at one time – a lot of people were rearing them. It seems that she is keeping those bees as well so she has her own supply of the coveted stuff that is claimed to be even better than the celebrated New Zealand’s manuka honey which does not come cheap…and neither is this kelulut honey – somebody in Singapore said that he bought a 500 ml bottle for SGD50.00! I guess that is why there are people producing it commercially and marketing it now.

I did try a bit – it has its own taste that is not quite like our regular honey and yes, I did like it very much…and I saw in some websites that it has a lot of health benefits, thank you so much to my friend for that big bottle of the coveted stuff – I am sure that would cost a bundle.

In the meantime, one of the seedlings that my neighbour gave me had flowered…

Butterfly pea flower, 1st to bloom 1

the butterfly pea flower (the clitoria ternatea) and of course, that got me real excited and happy…

Butterfly pea flower 1st to bloom 2

It appeared that mine is a single-petal variety and there is also the double-petal one but they say they are the same as far as the health benefits go.

No, I did not pluck it…

Butterfly pea flower 1st to bloom 3

…to make tea right away. I guess I can wait till the plants have grown really big and are flowering in abundance. I noticed that the flower would have withered by the next day but to my delight, another one…

Butterfly pea flower 2nd to bloom

…bloomed.

At the time of writing, another one of the seedlings has flowered as well, just one – the third bloom so far. Fingers crossed, I will be seeing more and more over the next few days…and I can start brewing the tea to drink, great stuff – this flower and also the honey!

I hear them say…

They said that the satay here…

ARS satay

…was the best in town so of course, I wanted to give it  a try. However, we were too early the last time we dropped by here

MUC

…so we had the satay from another stall which turned out to be pretty good as well. We did not have our dinner after the heavy burger meal we had that day so after the 7.30 p.m. service in conjunction with All Saints’ Day, we stopped by there for supper.

The ladies ordered the teh tarik from the drinks stall beside the satay stall and I went to this one…

BRO aiskrim gula apong

…next to it to order the gula apong ice cream, large (RM5.00)…

MUC gula apong ice cream, large

…and yes, it was very nice…

MUC gula apong ice cream

…as nice as the one that I liked a lot here.

It was getting late, almost 9.00 p.m. and they had run out of lamb so we just settled for the beef (RM1.00 each) and the chicken (60 sen each)…

ARS beef & chicken satay with ketupat

Of course, they were cheaper than the very nice ones here but the sticks were very much smaller.

They…

ARS beef & chicken satay

…tasted great – different from the rest, probably due to the way they marinated the meat though to me, the beef was a little bit tough, not as tender as I would like it and what I liked was they were very generous with the peanut sauce – other than what came in the food tray, they gave us some more in a bowl and the nice lady said that we could ask for more should we so desire.

Well, it was a nice enough supper and having had our fill, we made our way home. It sure had been a long day from the time we left home in the morning to go all the way to get my girl from her school in the jungle.

The DEWAN MUC HAWKER STALLS (2.313658, 111.825056) are located along Jalan Jasmin, off Jalan Bandong, more or less opposite the primary school there, on your left if you turn left into that road from Bandong Walk.

Fuel to the flame…

It was already 3.00 p.m. when we got back into town that day after picking my girl from her school in the jungle and of course, she was famished by then and when I asked her what she wanted to eat, she said she would like the chili chicken cheese fries (RM9.00)…

Fuel Shack chili chicken cheese fries

…from here…

Fuel Shack inside entrance

This place has been around for quite sometime now and I do recall when it first opened, a friend went right away and he shared his version of their slogan…

Fuel Shack Come hungry, leave happy

…on Facebook – “Come hungry, leave angry!” It seemed that the service was really bad so he was quite pissed off by it.

In the meantime, my girl had been there a few times…

Fuel Shack scooter

…and she did buy some of the stuff from there for me to try.

Of course I had never been there myself as I am never into any of those franchise places but that day, I decided to stop by so my girl could enjoy eating the fries there – I am sure those would be a lot nicer eaten there, piping hot from the kitchen.

The members of the staff were very nice and friendly…

Fuel Shack counter

…though I was wishing they could be a bit better with their calculations. My girl went to place the orders and came to where we were sitting. Then they said that they had given her the wrong change and upon checking, yes, they had given her more than they should so she returned to them the excess.

They did not give her the cashier’s chit from the till so I went to ask for it – they had to key in everything again to print it out and they discovered that they had charged RM2.10 short. I quickly took the chit, gave them RM2.20 (I did not have a 10 sen coin) and told them to keep the change. I wouldn’t want to risk anything further lest I would have to fork out some more for our orders. Tsk! Tsk!

My girl also had their beef patty with buttered rice…

Fuel Shack beef patty with buttered rice

…and upon checking the chit, I noticed that they had keyed in “fried chicken w/buttered rice” (RM13.00) – I wonder if that was the reason why the second time around, the total was RM2.10 more but never mind.

I did tell my girl not to order that as in making patties and meat balls, one would usually add bread crumbs to hold the meat together but she insisted on taking the risk and threw caution to the wind and went ahead with her plan. After all, she had not had burgers for a long long time as they are not gluten free, the bread especially.

Halfway through, she found that a section of it was not well cooked, still red – there is every possibility that they did not defrost it properly and went ahead and fried it so the part that was still frozen did not cook so well. I told her to take it back and complain – after all, it was not all that cheap – but no, she’s never the type to do such a thing so she just ate it like that, medium rare. Luckily, nothing happened after that.

The mum had the original Shack beef burger (RM14.90)…

Original Shack beef burger

…and my girl got the lamb supreme (RM17.50)…

Fuel Shack lamb supreme and fries

…for me. Yes, it was very nice, the patty, that is…

Fuel Shack lamb supreme

…but I am not all that fond of the bun they used – I do not know which bakery they got them from or whether they came from the franchise owner but it would get sort of mushy or something like that upon eating and I am never fond of bread like that.

After we had had our fill, we left happily – well, my girl was happy and as long as she is happy, I am happy too…but considering that the total, inclusive of drinks and SST, came up to over RM70, I couldn’t help thinking of the many nice places around town that we could go to with that kind of money and have something more substantial and a whole lot more pleasurable than just burgers.

FUEL SHACK is located on the ground floor of the Sarawak House Shopping Complex (2.289573, 111.829893) at the traffic lights junction of Jalan Lanang/Jalan Kpg Nyabor and Jalan Central.

Just OK…

November 1st was All Saints’ Day, a Holy Day of Obligation and that day, we drove to get my girl from her school in the jungle so we could go to the evening service at the church we usually go to here in Sibu.

The following day, November 2nd, was All Souls’ Day so we stopped by the memorial park along the way to visit my parents’ resting place and offer flowers…

All Souls' Day 2018

…and prayers.

On the way to my girl’s school, we stopped by the coffee shop in Selangau Bazaar again for brunch. Yes, the coffee (RM1.80 per glass)…

Everfull Selangau kopi-o-peng

…was fine, just that there are some places in Sibu where one can get the same for a little less than that.

I decided to try the food at the Muslim/halal stall and I picked these – two meat and two veg for RM6.00…

Everfull Selangau nasi campur

…altogether.

The corned beef was kind of mushy, not as nice as what I cook – perhaps it was the brand they used (the lady said it wasn’t one of those made in China) and I missed the potatoes – I would usually add those when I cooked that.

The French beans and ladies’ fingers…

Vegetables

…were ok – I did not think they were all that nice but the fish…

Fish

…was good, just that they were so small so I asked for two. I don’t know if that was counted as one or two items but anyhow, considering the level of their cooking ability and at that price, I don’t think I would want to go for it again. I do think, however, that due credit must be given to the lady at the stall for her honesty. I asked her if her nasi lemak was lemak or not and she truthfully told me that it wasn’t really and that was why I did not order that.

My missus had the kolo mee (RM4.00)…

Everfull Selangau kolo mee

…from the kampua mee stall that we patronised on our previous visit and she said it wasn’t great either – she was of the opinion that the kampua mee we had was much nicer.

Personally, even in Sibu town proper, I would hesitate and think many times before ordering any kolo mee here after having had quite a number of disappointments as more often than not, they do not know how to go about cooking it like the real thing in Kuching – what I would get in the end would taste exactly like kampua mee disguised to look like kolo mee and no, they are not the same, not at all.

Coffee…

My good friend/ex-classmate, Robert, called me the other day and invited me to join him and everybody else for tea here

Uncle Dom Cafe menu

…as another ex-classmate of ours was in town.

When I got there, everyone had ordered their drinks and they all had a mango mochi…

Uncle Dom Cafe mango mochi

…each so they ordered another one for me. I had been here a few times before but so far, there wasn’t anything that would keep me coming back for more but the mochi…

Uncle Dom Cafe mango mochi, inside

…with chunks of fresh mango inside, was really very nice and I sure would not mind having that again or perhaps I can drop by and buy some home.

The iced coffee, black…

Uncle Dom Cafe kopi-o-peng & mango mochi

…that I had was really very good, the local coffee shop variety, not the kind you will find at those branded coffee places and of course, personally, I would prefer this one to any of those…anytime. I would say that it was a cut above those served at many of the coffee shops around town even.

We sure had a nice get-together, chatting away and I sure was surprised that even at that time of the day, mid-afternoon, there were quite a number of people there. I guess they have their following – started in 2009 and still going strong!

UNCLE DOM CAFE (2.2922555,111.835033) is located at No. 17, Lorong Chew Siik Hiong 1A, Lot No. 3565 & 3566, Block 7 in the Fortune Commercial Centre, the area of shops behind the Rejang Medical Centre. 

Return to you…

I was driving past this Malay food stall at Bandong Walk here…

Bandong Malay food stall

…and I decided to stop by and buy some things for Peter and the ever lovely Payung staff to enjoy. He gave me the pork ribs cooked Hakka/Cantonese sour duck style that day and we have this traditional practice whereby if somebody gives you something, you have to give something in return…and it is regarded as bad manners if you return the container empty.

When my mum was still around, my missus and I would go over to the house to keep her company all morning and come lunchtime, we would make our way home. This stall was on the way so it was very convenient for us to stop by and buy a few dishes for our lunch and dinner. We do not do that anymore these days so we had not been here ourselves for a very long time now.

I bought them the masak merah chicken and the ayam berlada

Ayam berlada 1

…but somehow or other, I did not see any of those thinly-sliced strips of daun kunyit (turmeric leaves)…

Ayam berlada 2

…that they would usually use as garnishing. Nonetheless, everyone said it was very nice so it did not really matter. I don’t know how nice the masak merah was as they were saving that for dinner that evening.

It so happened that Peter’s mum celebrated her birthday at the café on Saturday and the mee sua (longevity noodles) and the traditional Foochow red wine chicken soup…

Payung mee sua in traditional Foochow red wine chicken soup

…was a hit among all the family members that evening, around 80 of them altogether. Good grief!!! I wonder if I can get half the number if I were to throw a birthday party, family AND friends.

Well, they finished all the mee sua and the absolutely out-of-this-world soup, leaving behind all the meat so Peter took it and fried it with sesame oil, soy sauce and ginger…

Peter's soy sauce ginger chicken

…and when I was there, he gave me two drumsticks to enjoy – it was very nice, of course!

He also let me try his pickled jellyfish…

Peter's pickled jellyfish

…and since I loved it a lot, he let me take a tub home. Isn’t he nice, this Peter?

This time around, he just used one of those takeaway plastic containers – I guess I will not need to return that so I wouldn’t have to crack my head trying to think of what I can give to reciprocate.

Lying around…

I guess everybody knows that I can’t stand seeing things lying around and will get them out of the way at the earliest opportunity.

Well, sometime ago, my missus bought 3 packets of these Korean noodles…

Koreno instant noodles

…(probably it was on special offer, about to expire) or at least, that was what I thought at the time.

All the shops and supermarkets are flooded with these but upon closer scrutiny, it turned out to be a Vietnamese product…

Made In Vietnam

…manufactured using Korean technology…

Korean technology

…but don’t ask me what that is – I don’t know!

I had instant noodles made in Korea once a long long time ago. A student of mine – I had not retired yet then – told me that it was very nice and I simply must buy to try. Well, that was what I did – I remember it was around RM2.00 a packet and I assumed it was made in Korea. There was nothing I could decipher on the packet as everything was in some glyphs that I could not make head or tail of. It was very nice and yes, as what my student specifically pointed out, I could boil the noodles for as long as I liked and it will not be overcooked and turn soft and soggy. It tasted great too but at that price, I never bothered going back for more.

My missus ate one of the three that she bought and never touched the remaining two. Maybe it did not tickle her fancy so she just stopped at one. One of them was kim chi flavoured, thank you very much so I went for the spicy beef flavour, not that I had any choice. I was wondering why Vietnam would produce these pseudo-authentic Korean noodles when the country is world famous for their phở. I sure would prefer that to any Korean noodles with the exception of their mee sua in ginseng chicken soup and their traditional wine – I had that when I was there many years ago and it was so good on the freezing cold winter days.

I boiled the noodles separately…

Boil noodles separately

that is what people are saying we should do when cooking instant noodles. Then I boiled some more water and added the contents of the two sachets…

Two sachets

…into it, one containing the seasoning, the other some dried spring onions and carrot and whatever else and I also added some own-made fish balls for added sweetness and taste.

Once ready, I poured the soup into the bowl…

Koreno spicy beef noodles 1

…along with the fish balls and garnishing and I also added some fresh spring onions, finely-chopped and daun sup (Chinese celery/parsley) from my garden and to go with it, I had my not-so-successful miserable-looking poached egg…

Koreno spicy beef noodles 2

It was not really spicy nor could I detect any taste of beef in the soup but on the whole, I thought it was all right, not too bad and I particularly liked how there was no salt and msg-overload unlike many of the other brands, local and otherwise, so much so that everytime I would just use half the packet of seasoning and throw away the rest.

So that got rid of one of two and now, there is only one left. Ah well! We’ll just have to wait and see what happens to it eventually.