I’ve always enjoyed the food here and in this month of Ramadan, they are having a buka puasa (breaking of fast) buffet…


…or iftar in standard Malay while we call it sungkei/sungkey here in Sarawak at only RM20.00 per head and the other night, we decided to go and join them.

I just heard a story, though I doubt there is any truth in it, of how the word came about in Sarawak Malay. In the time of James Brooke, the first White Rajah of Sarawak, everytime his kid asked him when they could eat, he would say, “Soon okay! Soon okay!” The locals picked that up and when their children asked when they could buka puasa, they also replied, “Soon okay! Soon okay!” and somewhere along the line, it became sungkei/sungkey, pronounced soon-kay. LOL!!!

That evening, when we got to the shop, all the tables were either occupied or booked in advance. They even laid out tables in the vacant parking spaces in front of the shop for this and at that point in time, there were two or three tables inside the shop left but it was too hot and stuffy so we did not want to sit there. Seeing that, the very nice guy quickly set up another table by the side on the pavement outside for the three of us – it certainly was so very sweet of him.

As the time drew near, they started queuing up to get the food…


…and of course, we did the same. After that, they took their places at their tables and waited. Out of due respect for them and their religion, we also did the same and did not start eating till it was time – 6.37 p.m. that day when they had said their prayers and commenced with their breaking of fast.

My girl is very familiar with it as when she was in Wellington, New Zealand she had some very nice Muslim coursemates who took good care of her all the time they were there and they would invite her to join their buka puasa and other dinners and she even went to lend a hand with the cooking.

On the contrary, I remember once, before I retired, the Muslim community in the school where I was teaching invited us for this buka puasa thing. We were told to get the food and sit and wait until it was time to start eating. I was really pissed off at the time when a few non-Muslims took the food and ate right away – one even declared he was very hungry and could not wait…and once they had finished, they left and went home! Such disgusting and disgraceful behaviour…and they were TEACHERS! Really, if you do not respect others,  surely you cannot expect them to respect you. Tsk! Tsk!

Anyway, back to our dinner that night, I saw that they took a whole lot of food from the buffet spread. I did not take any photographs as it was evening and too dim for any reasonably presentable shots. Should anyone be thinking of going for this, I suggest that you do the same as the food ran out pretty fast. It probably would be a good idea to take the dishes and the rice in separate plates to share instead of loading everything onto one plate like what I did…


I loved that not very attractive looking fish – I did not know what they marinated it with but it was so very nice. The sambal egg and the sotong kerabu were fine, as usual and needless to say, I enjoyed the chicken liver and the bean curd sticks masak lemak too…but the gulai siput sudut (balitongs) stole the show. I took my fair share of those and had a great time sucking away and eating the snails inside.

There were crabs too but they looked kind of small so I did not take any. I think my missus had a piece and she said there was not much inside. Probably it is that time of the month – people say that on certain days, crabs would not have much meat inside the shell so one should not buy to cook or order any to eat when dining out.

My missus took this plate of roast chicken…


…to share and my girl was praising it to the skies. She sure enjoyed that. The satay…


…was decent but nothing spectacular…and they enjoyed the ulam


…very much.

What we took was more than enough – we were already so very full after eating all that and there was a wide variety of drinks too, free flow. I liked their asamboi (sour plum) juice very much but out of curiosity, I did go back to the buffet spread to have a look. I spotted these doughnuts…


…earlier but of course, by then, they were all gone! Most of the things, the balitongs and the crabs, for instance, had all run out but they were not refilled. They did cook something else, just a few dishes, but I did not think they were anything to get excited about.

We enjoyed the experience and the nice and friendly people there sure made us feel very much at home.

LA’ZZATY CUISINE (2.307198, 111.828479) is located along Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg on the left if you are coming from town, right after the SHELL petrol station, at its junction with Jalan Nibong. The Sibu Buddhist Temple is on your right on the other side of the road.