Pretty close…

One can get to eat Kuching laksa, otherwise known as Sarawak laksa, most anywhere in the country and even overseas. I heard that they were selling it in Auckland, New Zealand for NZD15.00 a bowl! *faints* Of course, whether it is anything like the real thing is another question altogether.

Here in Sibu, there is no problem going for a bowl but as far as I know, there is only one here that is like the good ones in Kuching. There are some nice ones, some very popular even, but somehow, in my opinion, they are not quite the same, very nice but different.

When my girl was still in the school in the jungle, during that time when she had to abstain from anything not gluten-free, I bought her two packets of this…

Lee Fah Sarawak laksa

They had it in big packs of five before but it looks like they now have it individually though I would not say I liked their choice of colours or design. Surely they could employ somebody to design something a lot more attractive than that. She had not cooked them to eat by the time she got her transfer to a school in town so we took them home.

Inside the pack, you will find the bihun and three sachets – one containing the seasoning, another the coconut cream in powder form and the third one, the sambal laksa

Contents

I cooked a packet sometime ago, throwing everything into the pot once the water started boiling and it came out as one gooey mess, not a sight to behold even though it tasted all right. That was why when I cooked the second pack the other morning, I boiled the bihun first and drained it well before putting it in a bowl…

Bihun & omelette

I also fried an omelette and cut it into very thin strips to add to it.

Next, I boiled some prawns and once cooked, I fished them out to go into the bowl…

Prawns added

There is shredded chicken too in the real thing but it was my no-meat Friday and we did not have any taugeh (bean sprouts) in the fridge at that point in time.

I kept the water in which I had boiled the prawns to use as stock and I put in the contents of the three sachets. Once ready, I poured the broth/soup into the bowl…

Broth/soup added

…and garnished it with chopped daun sup (Chinese parsley) from my garden.  There is no need to sieve the broth but at the bottom, there will be a bit of the residue of the sambal.  What I did was I poured it slowly and carefully and once I had almost reached the bottom where the residue was, I just poured that away.

I would say that it was nice…

Lee Fah Sarawak laksa, served

…nicer than those at some of the shops here but the broth was a tad too salty for me. Perhaps, I should have used half of the seasoning or add more water and use my own bihun for another bowl.

I can’t remember how much I paid for them now and I would not say it was a must-buy and a must-eat but I guess if one is too lazy to go out to the shops or living some place where one cannot get to eat this easily or the ones available suck big time, then this is a pretty close substitute.

Small things…

Size doesn’t matter really for even if the prawns are small, just throw in a few into whatever you are cooking and they will add to the sweetness and bring the taste to a whole new level.

Well, I went back to this coffee shop here the other morning but no, I did not want the kolo mee that I had on my last two visits again, the special and the regular. In an even earlier visit, we had lunch from the chu char stall further in and I gathered then that it would go full swing around lunchtime and earlier in the day, they would be frying noodles and stuff at the stall next to it…

Fried noodles stall

…right beside the kolo mee stall.

I decided to try something from there that morning even though people have been telling me that the stuff from the Malay stall right in front is very good. Somehow, I did not feel like it at that point in time.

When I got to the stall, I saw that they had mee udang (prawn mee) for only RM9.00 and of course I had to order that even though I knew jolly well that at the price, the prawns would be rather small…

Prawn mee 1

It turned out that they were not that small after all – the ones at this size would be around RM30 a kg, smaller than the medium-sized ones that I would usually buy at RM50 a kg and there are the huge ones that would go up to as much as RM80 a kg.

They certainly were generous with the fresh cut chilies…

Cut chilies

These days, they are selling them at RM8-10.00 a kg and most places will not give you anymore and when you ask, they will give you grudgingly,  just a few miserable bits drowned in the soy sauce.

I was taken by surprise to find some slices of ginger…and chili…

Ginger and chili

…in the noodles. Usually we will add ginger to fish dishes to remove the fishy smell – I guess it serves that same purpose here but it was all right. There was just a hint of it in the gravy, the ginger…and no, despite the presence of the chili, it was not spicy at all.

The lady did ask me if I wanted the shell removed but of course, I said no, I wanted everything intact for my photographs…

Prawn mee 2

…and yes, I thought it was very nice and for RM9.00 while others are going for RM15.00 and above for one not-all-that-big prawn (medium), some places RM45.00 for one and a half and others even more than that where you will get one giant prawn (RM60.00), just one, I sure would not mind coming back again for this when I feel like it.

WANG SENG FOOD CENTRE (2.290256, 111.828019) is located along Jalan Wong Nai Siong right behind the Sibu Central Post Office.

Clay…

We do enjoy claypot rice quite a lot but it is one thing that we do not get easily around here.

Way back in 2008, we stumbled upon a very nice one here and we went back for it again in 2011 but eventually, it called it a day. We also had it here but no, it was not quite the way it should be – more like rice in a claypot with stewed pork or chicken and the sauce poured all over it and served. I tried the one at a hotel coffee house and also at this wannabe-fine-dining place and both were disappointing.

We loved the one here but for reasons unknown, we were told that we could not just drop by and ask for it – orders would have to be made a day earlier and we would be informed whether they would be able to oblige or not. Well, eventually, they closed shop – talk about killing the golden goose. Their claypot rice was very nice and very popular and even though it was not on their menu, theirs had a following and people would make their way there just for it. I wouldn’t say the same about most of their other dishes.

Of course we were delighted when we heard that they had it here…

Wang Seng Food Street

…at this stall…

Claypot King

…run by two very nice and friendly and very enterprising young guys and the first opportunity we got, we made our way there to give theirs a try. It is open from 5.30 p.m. in the evening on weekdays and from 8.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. om weekends and public holidays.

Both the ladies wanted the pork (RM7.00)…

Claypot pork rice

…but I wanted that too and I did not want the chicken (RM8.00) so I asked for the chicken and pork combo (RM14.00)…

Claypot chicken & pork rice

…and yes, it was really very very good but oopsss!!! I think they forgot the green vegetable in mine.

The pork one was good too but it did not have the lap cheong (Chinese sausage) – next time I would bring my own and ask them to add and it did not have the salted fish either. That was why I would say that my order was a cut above what the ladies had.

We sure enjoyed our lunch there that day and one thing’s for sure, we would be back for more!

CLAYPOT KING is located at WANG SENG FOOD STREET (2.342889, 111.831740) in UniCity along Jalan Wawasan.

Mambo No. 5…

Ladies and gentlemen, this is Mango Number 5…

Mango No. 5 1

One, two, three, four, five…well, many not so many times, but three, at least – three times when my friend went to this hawker centre near my house and had this and shared the photographs on Facebook.

Since then, I had been wanting to go over and give it a try but I never got down to it. For one thing, this place is always very crowded and one may have to park one’s car far far away and walk all the way there. Walk? Now that’s one word that does not exist in my vocabulary! Hehehehehehe!!!

Well, after dinner the other night, my girl said that she would like to go to the mall at the other side of this commercial area of shops and I decided to walk to my bank right beside this place…and I made my mind there and then to grab the opportunity and go over and have that mango delight for dessert.

I could have gone to No. 2 – it also had this same thing, the one with the name like one of Jesus Christ’s Twelve Apostles, Simon Peter…

Simon Peter

…but my friend said Stall No. 5…

Stall No. 5

…so I went to that one. After all, if I had gone to the former, it would not be Mango No. 5, not anything like the name of the hit song. LOL!!! It was a good thing I did what I did because when I shared the photograph of it on Facebook, another friend, obviously more familiar with this place, commented that No. 5’s was the best.

Indeed, it was very very nice, a whole lot of mango, half a fruit at least, very fresh and sweet, with shaved ice drowned in lots of evaporated milk underneath…

Shaved ice and evaporated milk

…that blended nicely with the fruit and it was only RM10.00!  I had the mango bingsu here that was almost double the price and it did not get us all that excited, not at all…especially at that price! This one wins hands down, that’s for sure.

I sure enjoyed that and should I be around those parts in the evening again, you can bet I’ll stop by for more of this…Mango No. 5!

Mango No. 5 2

TAMAN SELERA MUHIBAH Hawker Centre (2.310492, 111.845999) is located at the Delta Commercial Centre, off Jalan Pedada (now Jalan Datuk Dr Wong Soon Kai), right beside the AmBank branch there. 

Full of it…

I dropped by here…

Golden Full Cafe

…in 2011 because my friend, Annie in KL, liked what she had and told me about it so I went to give it a try but I have not been there since.

Well, I went again the other morning because it is one of those few that opens at the break of dawn. The sign on the stall…

Kampua mee stall

…says 6.00 a.m. and yes, even at that hour, there were a number of people there already when I arrived.

I asked for the pian sip mee

Pian sip mee 1

…and that was what I had with a glass of kopi-o, RM4.20 in total. My guess is the coffee was RM1.20 and the noodles RM3.00.

The noodles were all right – I could taste the fragrance and the taste of lard but I think there was a hint of starchiness/stickiness in the noodles even though it was perfectly cooked, not over-cooked till too soft and soggy. Perhaps they should rinse it a bit more to get rid of the excess.

I can’t say that I liked the plastic bowl in which they served the complimentary soup which was, in fact, quite bland but unlike elsewhere, I could detect the daun sup (Chinese celery) in it. I just put a couple of the pian sip

Pian sip mee 2

…in it and after that, it was not too bad.

While I was there, another guy came and he took over from the guy in the above photograph which got me wondering as to whether that was the resident cook-in-charge while the other guy was just standing for him before he arrived. Perhaps that was why the noodles was a little, just a little, less than satisfactory.

Well, since it opens so early, chances are I shall be dropping by again or I may just go to this one at the end of the block, equally early and a lot busier than this one even at this time of day.

GOLDEN FULL CAFE (2.301668, 111.835315) is located at No. 6, Jalan Merdeka Barat, in the area of shops behind the Sibu Polyclinic, Jalan Oya.

The simple things…

It was Rudyard Kipling who wrote, “Teach us delight in simple things…,” and I would be one who would go for those instead of following trends and spending a fortune on what everyone seems to enjoy drinking or eating…and taking selfies of themselves doing that and sharing on social media, Facebook or Instagram, for instance.

Unlike today, we did not have much – I do not recall eating paos (steamed buns) as a child but I do remember the ones with red (coloured) meat at one coffee shop, Kiaw Siong, at the corner on the right opposite the fire station in Sibu, where we would go after the church service for our weekly kampua mee treat, not that we bought it very often to enjoy – kids way back then were not so fortunate as the ones today.

The only cakes we got to enjoy were the ones my mum made come Christmas or Chinese New Year. No, we did not have birthday parties every year – I had one when I was small and another later when I was in primary school and one more when I was 20. My mum made the cake for that last one and a cousin of mine helped with the icing. I can remember the “cupcakes” at Kiaw Siong though – wrapped in red paper all around the sides and at the bottom.  It was very nice, something like what my friends got me from a bakery in Kapit but no, we did not get to enjoy that all that often, once in a blue moon, perhaps.

We had bread, the sandwich loaf, and buns with tau sar (red bean paste) filling. If I am not mistaken, there were those with coconut filling too. These days, I often buy the buns…

Buns

…from this bakery…

Lian Yu

…here, RM4.30 for 9 buns so that works out to less than 50 sen each. They do have red bean paste, butter, peanut, yam but I prefer their kaya (coconut jam)…

Kaya filling

…and they are very generous with it. The texture is not quite the same as the buns in the old days, finer and not as airy, but I guess we cannot expect everything to stay the same as time moves on.

I love their cupcakes too, only RM4.30 a pack…

Cupcakes

…with 6 inside so they are a little more than 70 sen each. I would say they are not that cheap actually but definitely a whole lot cheaper than those cakes from the modern bakeries and the ones served in the cafés here, there and everywhere.

The texture…

Texture

…is nice – soft and fine and not dry, which is more than what I would say about some trendy ones that I had had the displeasure of eating. I like the light buttery fragrance though chances are they would use some butter alternative, not real butter especially at that kind of price.

I do think this is good…

Served

…to serve as dessert at dinner parties or gatherings like the one that we had not too long ago.

I guess those more into those buns and cakes that are more fashionably acceptable, never mind that they cost a bomb, would frown on these but on my part, I am quite happy to have these simple delights in the house for tea.

LIAN YU BAKERY CAKE STORE, according to the wrapper, is located at 35A, Jalan Berjaya but I have not seen any bakery around the area of houses, houses and more houses, just a block with a shop making kway teow and somebody makes paos (steamed buns) somewhere there too, available in the mid-afternoon. However, you can easily get these buns and cakes from them as they are delivered regularly to most shops and supermarkets in town.

Yours, not mine…

This goes back a very long way to the time when somebody commented somewhere that she liked Ah Pui’s pao (steamed buns) the most. I asked her where I could get them and she said Lanang Road. I replied that it was a very long road so she would have to tell me exactly where but she never replied. Sighhhhh!!!

I have seen a lot of people posting photos of nice food on Facebook but they never mention where and when somebody asks, they would give the name of the place and when they ask where that is, they would give the location but I can never imagine how anyone can ever find the place when the directions are, more often than not, so vague or at times, even misleading. They might as well not bother sharing the photos at all – honestly, I cannot see why they do that!

It so happened that I saw a coffee shop with more or less that same name and I did go to check it out but, no, that wasn’t it! Well, finally, at long last, an ex-student said that he liked Ah Pui’s pao, the vegetable one especially and when I asked, the direction/location he gave was pretty clear and when I went to Google Maps to look and see, I managed to find it…

Kung Fung Food Industries

For one thing, there was no Ah Pui (Fatty) there, except for the guy in the logo, just a lady selling the paos in the steamer…

Steamer

…and it is a few metres from a roundabout so anyone driving past would have his or her eyes on the oncoming traffic from the right and will not be looking left to where the shop is.

It sure looked like they had a very large order…

Big box

…that morning and they had packed everything in a big box, awaiting collection or delivery.

The filling of the vegetable pao (70 sen each)…

Vegetable pao

…is similar to the ones the old lady at the market sells and is even nicer, I must say. It seems fresher or not so overcooked. However, I did not like the skin. It was so white, probably one of those bleached flour specially for paos that I’ve seen in the shops and supermarkets, and it is so fine and dense, obviously over-beaten by machine, nothing like the pao skin of those in the good old days.

The char siew pao (RM2.10)…

Char siew pao

…was not as nice as the ones here, as far as the filling goes and of course, the skin was not to my liking either and as for the filling in the bak pao (also RM2.10), the minced meat is pressed into a lump, something like a meat ball, just that it is not round…

Bak pao

I did not get my hopes up too high but when I bit into it…

Bak pao, filling

…I found that it was really very nice, tasted a bit like luncheon meat and there was a bit of an egg, hard-boiled, in it though barely noticeable. Too bad about the skin, otherwise I sure would not mind coming back here to buy this particular one again and maybe the vegetable pao as well.

In the meantime, I went and bought these (RM2.00 each)…

Swee Hung pao

…at the shop near my house. They have been selling these homemade paos for as long as I can remember but I never felt inclined to buy as I did buy some from the shop at the end of that same block and they did not get me all excited.

I was pleasantly delighted to find that the skin…

Texture

…was almost like what I had been looking for, not quite old school but pretty close. You can see that it is not so dense, more airy and cushiony and very much more to my liking.

The filling…

Filling

…is very nice too and there is a chunk of egg inside.

All in all, I must say that I was kind of disappointed with Ah Pui’s – after looking for it for so so long, it turned out that it may be the favourite of a lot of people but no, it isn’t mine! I would prefer the latter a whole lot more and it’s cheaper too!

KUNG FUNG FOOD INDUSTRIES (2.279053, 111.837881) is located along Jalan Lanang in the last block of shops on your left a few metres from the roundabout at the junction of that road and Jalan Aman and SWEE HUNG (2.316161, 111.840441) is 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.