Take me back in time…

I dropped by here that morning as I wanted to check out the kampua noodles from this stall…

Stall No. 9

I had the Foochow fried mee from another stall once and from yet another stall the second time around and I thought they were both very good.

When I got there, as I was walking past the chicken rice stall (No. 4), I saw somebody buying the steamed Chinese kim kua (pumpkin) cake and it looked really good so I made up my mind to stop by before I left to buy some home to try. Unfortunately, it was all sold out by then. The guy said that his sister-in-law made those kuehs (cakes) for sale at his stall and there was or koi (steamed Chinese yam cake) too but it was all sold out too.

All that was left was this kao teng koi

Kao teng koi

…and because it looked very good, I bought all that he had and much to my delight, it was indeed very nice, lemak (rich with santan/coconut milk) enough and the texture was perfect, not hard and rubbery. It sure took me back in time as it was exactly like the ones we had way back in my growing up years and I really enjoyed eating them. I certainly would want to buy it again and whatever that is available to try should I happen to drop by there again.

Going back to the kampua noodles I had that morning from the aforementioned stall, I also ordered the pain sip (meat dumplings) soup (RM2.80)…

Pian sip soup

…to go with it (RM2.80)…

Kampua mee

…and yes, both were very nice but the coffee I had from the stall next to it was a little disappointing. Actually, I had it once before and I thought it was very good – perhaps they should look into their quality control because there are lots of drink stalls there and I can easily order from another one.

Talking about the stalls, I noticed, this time around, that most of the stalls were selling the same things. They may have a kampua mee stall in front but further in, they will be frying the Foochow fried noodles and all the other fried noodle dishes. I guess they all are pretty all right generally as from what I saw, they all seemed to be enjoying brisk business.

The guy that I bought the kao teng koi from at his chicken rice stall, probably the only one there, told me that there were two stalls selling porridge as well (together with the noodles) – I saw some people eating that with a plate of stewed soy sauce pork intestines and some other dishes. Perhaps I’d like to try that next time…

THE SUNGAI ANTU MARKET & HAWKER CENTRE/FOOD COURT (2.320030, 111.830741) is located along Jalan Sg Antu 2, on your right off Jalan Industri as you drive in from Jalan Kpg Nangka.

Papa…

For so many years now, we would celebrate Father’s Day a day earlier as on Sundays, we would have to make our way to my girl’s school in the jungle but of course, this year, it was different and we could celebrate the special occasion on the actual day itself.

My girl went and got me this lovely black forest cake…

Cake

…from this bakery round the corner from my house and she got me to cut it first thing in the morning and we had that for breakfast. 

After that, we went to pick my sister and we all went to our parents’ resting place…

Flowers and prayers for Father's Day

…to offer flowers and prayers to my dad especially, in conjunction with Father’s Day.

We got back into town at around 11.00 a.m. and we went for lunch at this Korean place here that we do like a lot – my girl’s special treat. Most places open at 12.00 noon and close at 2.00 p.m. and will reopen at 6.00 p.m. for dinner which makes me wonder why they bother to open for those two hours only. At least, they should open a bit early, at around 11.00 a.m. like this one and if they have to, they can close at 3.00 p.m.

We just ordered our favourites that day, dishes that we had had before and enjoyed a lot so of course, I insisted on having the galbi tang (갈비탕)…

Galbi tang

…the Korean beef short ribs soup.

As usual, we were served the complimentary refillable ban chan (반찬)…

Ban chan

…and my girl wanted the gun mandu (군만두)…

Gun mandu

…again and needless to say, the dolsot bibimbap (돌솥비빔밥)…

Bibimbap

…too.

We also had the moksal or neck meat…

Moksal

…and ate that wrapped in lettuce with garlic slices, Bombay onion, strips of spring onion with some special sauce and the spicy Korean tau cheo sauce…

Eat it this way

…and we also had this pork belly marinated with Korean red chili paste, the gochujang (고추장)…

Gochujang pork belly

…and ate it that same way too. I would say that it was just as nice and we sure would not mind ordering that again the next time we drop by here.

My girl insisted on picking up the tab and had to fork out over RM140.00, inclusive of drinks, for all that we had for 4 persons. If I remember correctly, the beef soup is already over RM40.00 and the two pork dishes add up to around RM50.00 but considering how much we enjoyed everything, value for money, we certainly would look forward to coming back here again. 

KIMCHEE KOREAN BAR.BQ (2.296883,111.825859) is located on the first floor in the block of shops to the right of the Old Sing Kwong Supermarket (Kin Orient Plaza) along Jalan Tun Abang Hj Openg.

Little bit too much…

This food court is just round the corner from the car wash that I frequent and the other day, after I had got my car sparkling clean, I decided to drop by and check the place out. We had gone there a few times before, here and also here, for instance but we did not think there was anything to get us coming back for more.

The iced coffee, black (RM1.70)…

Grand Wonderful Food Court, kopi o peng

…was good and so was the kampua noodles…

Grand Wonderful Food Court kampua mee

…that I ordered from Stall No.2…

Grand Wonderful Food Court, stall No. 2

…right next to the first one, the chicken rice stall. Hmmmm…usually, I would not cut my spring onions that long but I guess it does not make much of a difference.

The pork intestine soup…

Grand Wonderful Food Court, pork intestine soup

…that I had with the noodles was good too, very peppery and I enjoyed eating the innards with the own-made chili dip provided. However, there was just too much of it, enough to be shared by two. I sure would not mind a smaller serving for a little less than what I had to fork out for it, RM8.00 altogether!

Incidentally, while I was there, they started taking out the dishes for the chap fan (mixed rice) and they sure looked good. Perhaps I would drop by one of these days to give it a try.

GRAND WONDERFUL FOOD COURT (2.309601, 111.845163) is located along Jalan Pipit, off Jalan Pedada, on your left just before the Petronas petrol station a short distance from Delta Mall. You can also go in via Lorong Pipit 4, turning left into the lane at the junction where Starbucks Sibu is located and go straight ahead from there.

I’ll come back for you…

I was out real early that morning as I intended to stop by here on my way to town to try what I said I would go back and try, their beef tripe, liver and fish ball combo soup (RM10.00)…

Beef tripe liver fish ball combo soup

That was during the mid-year school break so the kids were able to help out at the shop…

Noodle Shop

I must say that is truly praiseworthy as that probably would be the last thing children nowadays would want to do especially when they will have to get up so very early after having stayed awake the whole night through playing online games on their smartphones.

The grandma asked me if I wanted noodles with my order and she did tell me that the serving would be quite big. Of course I told her no but when it…

Noodle Shop combo soup

…was served, it did not look that big after all or not to me, at least. There were quite a lot of the ingredients in the soup, that much I would say and I rather enjoyed eating everything dipped in the extra-spicy own-made chili dip.

Having said that, I would prefer liver in the traditional Foochow red wine soup and even though I did not think I would like it better with noodles, I sure would not mind some tang hoon (glass noodles) in it. All in all, I certainly would come back here again but not for this combo, not at RM10.00 a bowl, thank you very much.

NOODLE SHOP is located right next to BAKELICIOUS, a few doors to the left of LE CAFE(2.299452,111.830832) along Brooke Drive at the Brooke Business Centre, on your left if you are driving from town, in that block of shops past Jalan Kumpang 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 KPJ Sibu Medical Centre.

Lunch or dinner…

That day, on Wednesday, after bidding a tearful farewell to her loved and dear ones in her school in the jungle, her colleagues and her pupils, my girl left for home and it was way past 3.00 p.m. when we reached town…which was rather late for lunch and a little too early for dinner so we decided to stop by here and eat to our hearts’ content and that would be our lunch AND dinner for the day.

I don’t think I ever had ramen before or maybe I did a long long time ago (my girl wasn’t even born then) when I went to a small Japanese noodle shop in Tokyo where they could not utter a word of English and I ended up having a huge bowl of noodles in a whole lot of soup, no other ingredients whatsoever. Thankfully, it was very nice but even way back in those days, things there were not cheap – RM8.00 a bowl at a time when such prices were quite unheard of here.

That was why for our individual orders that day, I asked for the shiro ramen (RM12.80)…

Shiro ramen

…and the instant it was served, I felt kind of disappointed at the sight of the hard-boiled egg. I always saw those onsen eggs in friends’ blogs, hard boiled on the outside, the yolk still runny…or soft and moist. Maybe they should invite me over to teach them how to cook eggs like that. Tsk! Tsk! I was also put off by how it reeked of sesame oil but thankfully, when I ate it, I could not detect the taste and much to my delight, I found the soup really nice…but I still could not get over that egg!

My girl had their tori katsu don (RM12.80)…

Tori katsu don

…which she felt was nothing to get excited about – after all, it was just fried chicken and in comparison, she thought the one that her mum had here not too long ago was very much nicer.

The mum had the tori teriyaki don (RM12.80)…

Tori teriyaki don

…and we did not hear her complain so I guess it was all right.

We had the tempura ebi maki (RM7.10)…

Tempura ebi maki

…for one of our side orders and yes, it was very good which was more than what I could say about our other side order, the shisamo (RM4.90)…

Shisamo

…something that I saw in other blogs and was dying to give it a try. They do sell those herring-like fish at some supermarkets here but I never dared to buy, not when I had never tried it before and now that I have, I don’t think I will ever bother – at best, it was just…fish and a not-very-tasty one at that. Give me my ikan kembong!!! I’d rather have that…anytime!

Other than the aforementioned, we helped ourselves to the sushis on the carousel – RM1.80 for the yellow plate, RM2.80 for the red and RM3.80 for the blue.

This one, the inari unagi (eel) sushi

Inari unagi sushi

…was just so-so and this one with the avocado…

Avocado

…did not get us all excited.

My girl had the takoyaki

Takoyaki

…but made no comment as to whether it was nice or otherwise but we agreed that this one…

Prawn and egg

…was very nice and so was this one with the raw salmon and prawn…

Salmon & prawn

…and we loved these inari (in tofu pouches) ones, both the one with prawn…

Inari prawn

…and the one with salmon…

Inari salmon

I don’t know if I missed out any that day as we really had quite a lot – generally, we shared the opinion that the sushis here are definitely nicer than those elsewhere in town.

The total, inclusive of drinks, came up to only RM78.40 but with the 6% SST and the 10% service charge, it all added up to RM90.95 so I just gave the cashier RM100.00 and told her to keep the change. After all, I was in a good mood – my girl had finally got her transfer to a school in town!

SUSHI MENTAI, Sibu (2.303279, 111.843161) is located at Wisma Sri Minyak, Lot 3065, S/L4, No. 23&25, Ground Floor, Pedada Lane 7 (Now Jalan Dr. Wong Soon Kai).

For the last time…

When the two-week mid-year break ended last Monday, we had to drive my girl back to her school in the jungle because at the time, she had not received the official letter yet. We left home early as we wanted to stop by the district education office in Selangau to see if the letter had arrived but unfortunately, we had to leave empty-handed.

We decided to have a bite to eat before proceeding to the school and we did not feel like having rice so we did not hop over to this shop a few doors away from the office in that same block. We felt like having noodles instead and I remembered we quite liked what we had once at this corner shop so we made our way there.

I wanted kampua noodles with pian sip (meat dumpling) soup but they had run out of the latter so I settled for the Foochow fried noodles (RM4.00)…

Selangau, Foochow fried noodles

…that I had on our previous visit and my missus also wanted the same. I could recall also that though it was nice, I felt it could do with a little less msg so I told them that and yes, it was much better this time around.

My girl wanted fried bihun, wet – with sauce/gravy, that is (RM4.00)…

Selangau, fried bihun

…and though it did not look like much, she liked it.

Seeing that she was formally dressed in her work attire, the lady at the shop asked if she was a new teacher reporting for duty. It turned out that she was a teacher too at the Chinese primary school a stone’s throw from the bazaar and she grumbled that their school was short of 6 teachers and it did not look like there was any forthcoming.

Of course, my girl told her happily that she had got her transfer and wanted to check if the official letter had arrived…and I guess since we would not be passing that way again, not in the near future, that probably would be the last time we would be dropping by there for a bite to eat.

It doesn’t matter anymore…

In the late 70’s, I was posted to teach in a school in Kanowit. I stayed in a small rented room above one of the shops with nothing else other than a bed and a writing table…and a small table fan. I was literally living out of a suitcase and no, I did not have a tv.

Those were the days of black and white tv and being musically-inclined, there was a weekly programme that I particularly liked at around 5.30 p.m. on Sundays, Ready To Roll, a top hits chart show from New Zealand, if I am not wrong, and I do recall that this song, the cover by some girly singer, was Number 1 for a few weeks.

In order that I could watch the show, I had to go to a coffee shop in that little town to join many others there and because this song was not the favourite of everybody else except me and it was very long, they would all moan and groan and declare that when the song came on, it would be a good time to go to the washroom.

Anyway, the title of the song that I have used for this post makes me think of what we had to go through week after week after week picking my girl from her school in the jungle and bringing her home on Fridays and sending her back on Sundays and to say that driving on the still-under-construction Pan-Borneo Highway, otherwise known as the Pain-Borneo Hellway, was a nightmare would be an understatement. Well, the good news is, as the song goes, it doesn’t matter anymore!

The official letter was released on Tuesday, 11th June, 2019 and my girl was supposed to report in her new school on that day itself. However, it so happened that even though a copy of the letter had arrived at the office in Selangau, there was nobody dropping by that day to collect the mail so she could not leave her station just yet.

That was why on Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, my missus and I made our way to the school, stopping by the office along the way to get the official copy of the letter, duly endorsed by the officer…and before school was dismissed that very day, there was a special assembly to bid farewell to their teacher and she would be walking along that wooden bridge from her quarters…

SK Sg Sepiring

…to the car one last time after over 6 years since the day she reported for duty in March 2013.

I did notice when we sent her back to her school on Monday, after the two-week mid-year break, that the road had greatly improved…

PBH 1

…unlike the horrendous conditions in the first half of the year and it was getting worse by the day.

Now, many parts have been completed…

PBH 2

…and are open for use…

PBH 3

…already and even though there are still those sections that are in a rather deplorable state, these good stretches…

PBH 4

…are indeed a welcome relief.

I don’t know if these are going to be part of THE highway eventually or only temporary but whatever it is, I will no longer be going that way again, praise the Lord, and I’ve said it already and I’ll say it again – it doesn’t matter anymore!

Wanted to want it too…

This was quite sometime ago when we dropped by here as I wanted to buy something from the supermarket at the mall and we thought we might as well just have our lunch there so we would not have to cook our own at home.

The Hari Raya decorations were very minimal, barely noticeable…

Cafe Cafe Swan Square Hari Raya decor

…I must say.

My girl wanted what I had the last time we were there, the very nice lamb chop that I felt was the best I had ever had too and that (RM26.90)…

Cafe Cafe Swan Square lamb chop

…was what she had and yes, she did enjoy it.

She had their iced honey lemon (RM6.50) while the mum and I decided to give their air bandung (RM5.50 each)…

Cafe Cafe Swan Square air bandung

…a try. I did not quite enjoy it – at best, I would say it was all right for it did not taste quite like what I used to enjoy during our school sports day in my younger days. They used rose syrup instead of grenadine and I have never been a fan of that cordial.

I did not enjoy the Penang char kway teow (RM13.90)…

Cafe Cafe Swan Square Penang ckt

…that I had either. It had nothing more than just a few teeny weeny shrimps in it and I barely finished half of it. I am pretty sure I can find others elsewhere here a whole lot nicer at around half the price but of course, those would be in less comfortable surroundings.

My missus had their stonebowl beef kway teow (RM18.90)…

Cafe Cafe Swan Square stinebowl beef kway teow

…which did not look like it would be any good but we all thought it was not too bad, just that they could have been a bit more generous with the beef and perhaps they should work on the presentation as well.

On the whole, except for the lamb chop, we did not think we would go for the other two that we had again the next time we drop by here.

CAFE CAFE, Swan Square outlet (2.325540, 111.853538), is located on the ground floor of the mega mall located to the left of SMK Bandar Sibu along Jalan Ling Kai Cheng.

Waiting for your letter…

Well, my girl got a transfer to her alma mater

SK St Rita

– she studied here for 6 years from Year/Primary One till Year/Primary Six and emerged as one of the top students in the UPSR Examination, straight A’s no less.

This time around, she would be going back there as a teacher – as a matter of fact, she would be taking the place of HER teacher who had just retired. However, she would not be able to leave the old station until she had received the official letter that would state in no uncertain terms in black and white that she had been successful in her application for a transfer and would move from there to here plus for reasons unknown, there seemed to be some degree of confidentiality surrounding the whole thing until the letter had come.

For inter-state transfers, they will only tell you via their website whether you are successful or not in your application and if you are, which state you are going to. Other than that, you will have to wait for the letter for further details. In the case of those within the state, for successful applicants, they will state the name of the school so I asked my girl to print screen the web page quickly so she would have on record the official result…just in case.

The school shares the same compound as the cathedral…

Sacred Heart Cathedral

…and also the Catholic Centre…

Catholic Centre

…where this church-run eatery is – I’ve been there twice, here and here and the food is decent and very cheap. I guess in time to come, my girl can hop over when she is free for a quick breakfast or on days when she has something on in the afternoon, she can go there for lunch.

That day, she dropped by the school to make an informal courtesy call on the headmistress – it was the school holidays then so there wasn’t anybody else around, other than her and the clerk in the office, and yes, they did have a very long chat.

After my girl came out, we went for brunch and perhaps, with all that excitement and everything, she just wanted porridge (RM5.50 with century egg)…

Porridge

…so we stopped by here, the stall where I had the very nice pork ribs noodles, for that.

The mum had the Foochow fried noodles (RM4.00)…

Foochow fried noodles

…from the very popular chu-char (cook and fry) place at the back and it sure took a very long time because they were busy cooking the orders for customers to take home and enjoy with their families in conjunction with the Duanwu or Dumpling Festival that day.

I decided to try the kampua noodles – they have some new people running the stall there now and I asked for the set with fish balls soup (RM6.00)…

Set

The noodles were great…

Kampua mee

…and so was the soup…

Soup

…with their own-made bay kar/ikan tenggiri (mackerel) fish balls though it was pretty obvious they would need to polish up their skill of making round fish balls. LOL!!!

Yes, I would give them a double thumbs up for not using those plastic plates and bowls but on the whole, I would not mind a little less msg.

MEI LE CAFE (2.313147, 111.846968) is located along Jalan Gambir, a stone’s throw away from the Delta Mall, straight ahead from the first turning to your left as soon as you turn into that road from Jalan Pedada, now Jalan Datuk Wong Soon Kai.

Be one…

It was Pentecost Sunday…

Pentecost at St Mary's

…and in an effort to bring the members of the church closer to one another, the parish priest announced the declaration of the 10th of June, the Feast of Our Lady, Mother of The Church, the following day, Monday, as our Parish Day beginning this year and there was a little celebration

Come Holy Spirit

…that day including a pot luck breakfast in the parish hall after the Sunday service that morning.

There was a big cake, a very nice one with the fragrance of coffee and chocolate but they had already started cutting it up before I could take  a photograph of it and because it would be the parish priest’s birthday the following Sunday, they got him another cake, a smaller one…

Birthday

…specially for the occasion.

There were lots of cakes, swiss rolls…

Swiss roll

…fruit cakes…

Fruit cake

…curry and sardine puffs…

Puffs

…egg tarts…

Egg tarts

…and Portuguese egg tarts…

Portuguese egg tarts

…and I enjoyed the beef satay that somebody cooked, eaten with bread.

I brought these Jakar sio bee (meat dumplings)…

Jakar sio bee

…as my contribution to the party – two whole trays like the one in the photograph and they were gone in no time at all. Everybody loved them, it seemed and the good thing is these days, we can get them very easily from this shop round the corner from my house. My missus made cups of fruit jelly (dadih) and they were a hot favorite as well.

We certainly had a great time at the gathering, enjoying what everyone had brought along to share and chit-chatting and getting to know one another better, a step forward from the usual hello and goodbye each time we meet when we go for the weekly Sunday service in the church.