Well, it was my birthday, 2nd December and this year, I celebrated my 67th. As they say, time and tide wait for no man and my 70th is slowly drawing near! Gee!!!

I told my missus not to cook mee sua (our Foochow longevity noodles) as she would always go and buy the bigger and more expensive “pua chai kay” because of its superior meat quality but everyone would finish off the “good meat” and the soup and I would need to struggle over the next few days to eat the rest of the chicken.

For a change this year, we went here for the mee sua

Niang Jia mee sua & egg and red wine

…for lunch and I invited my sis to come along too.

The soup was served separately in a gigantic bowl…

Niang Jia chicken soup

…and we were to add that to the noodles ourselves…

Niang Jia birthday mee sua

…and help ourselves to the chicken.

Yes, it was so nice and so very fragrant with their own-made traditional Foochow red wine and ginger that everyone dropping by would exclaim, “Wahhh!!! Hern siang! (So fragrant/smells so good!)” the moment they entered. It was VERY red though, quite unlike the clear orange/reddish ones that we are used to…and they got the mee sua by special order from Bintangor, double the price of the usual ones we get around here but we felt the taste and texture required a little bit of getting used to.

My missus went and ordered a cake from Marcus to be collected that evening and we took it…

Birthday cake from Marcus

…along with us to my birthday dinner at where else, if not here. No, it was not anything grand – I asked my sister and also my brother-in-law and his wife to join us, all in the family.

We had the green curry…

Payung Cafe green curry

After the disappointing one we had in Miri, we simply had to have that.

The kacang ma chicken…

Payung Cafe kacang ma chicken

…was especially nice that night, with a special request for extra white wine, of course and my girl’s favourite, the lamb masala

Payung Cafe lamb masala

…was so good and my brother-in-law sure enjoyed it a lot. I was thinking that perhaps my niece, the one working in Singapore, should bring her parents here everytime she comes home to celebrate somebody’s birthday instead of going to the same old run-of-the-mill Chinese chu-char (cook & fry) places.

It so happened that their new Indian chef arrived around noon that day, from a town 500 km north of New Delhi, he said, and he could not wait to get into the thick of things and he sure cooked up a storm that evening.

We were served this very nice palak paneer

Palak paneer

…on the house, an Indian vegetarian dish that I like a lot but it is not available here, and the kadai paneer

Kadai paneer

…too! Everyone enjoyed the latter even more. Hopefully, they will have these on their menu soon.

Now, one thing about celebrating your birthday here – if they know it is your birthday, that is – they will give you something special for dessert and that night, we were served these complimentary kahlua and durian ice cream…

Payung Cafe kahlua & durian ice cream

Now, isn’t that nice?

So, there you are, all in one day, my 67th birthday!

NIANG JIA, formerly LADOREE CAFE & EVENTS (2.302891, 111.842997), is located at Wisma Liberty, Lot 4047, Block 3, Jalan Pedada (now Jalan Dr. Wong Soon Kai) and PAYUNG CAFÉ (2.284049, 111.833014) is located at No.20F, Lanang Road, Sibu, Malaysia, back to back with the multi-storey car park of the Kingwood Hotel which faces the majestic Rejang River.