This was on the day of the Dongzhi (冬至) or the Winter Solstice Festival, 22nd December, 2019.

No, we did not go out to celebrate – all we did to observe the festival and preserve the tradition, our heritage was to cook those glutinous rice balls (湯圓) and coat them with crushed peanut and sugar to eat. We are not into those colourful ones served in sweet syrup.

We went out for lunch that day simply because we were feeling like going for what we enjoy here in Sibu after having been away in Kuching and before that, in Miri and my missus wanted to come here.

Gosh! The place was packed! Except for the few small(er) tables, all the big ones were taken. I did not know whether they were people celebrating the festival or those with folks coming back to Sibu for that, followed by the Christmas holidays.

Business must be really good as according to the lady boss, they had been real busy and had to resort to taking bookings by the hour starting at 5.30 p.m. If that one was taken, you would have to reserve the 6.30 p.m. “shift” or the 7.30 p.m. one. Luckily, that day, the smaller tables were available so we grabbed one for 4 – there were only 3 of us.

We had this claypot fish…

Ruby Restaurant claypot fish

…which was nice but I felt it was a bit on the mild side – it was nicer the last time we had this dish. They were very generous with the yam though and I enjoyed that.

My girl wanted their own-made tofu…

Ruby Restaurant tofu

…and what put theirs above the rest in town was the addition of hay bee (dried prawns). One would be able to detect a light hint of that when eating the tofu.

We had their cangkuk manis fried with egg…

Ruby Restaurant cangkuk manis

…too, easily among the best, if not THE best in town.

The lady boss taking our orders felt that was enough for the three of us but I insisted on ordering a pork dish and we had their deep fried pork ribs marinated in fermented tofu (豆乳/tāu-jú)…

Ruby Restaurant tauju pork ribs

…and yes, it was very good. I sure would want to order that again next time.The total for the food came up to only RM51.00 – perhaps that explains why there is always a crowd here. It is nice…and cheap too!

And talking about having to make prior reservation, there is another place here where you definitely have to do so too. Many have been turned away disappointed especially during the Christmas and New Year period including my cousin, home from Sydney, Australia – he loves this place!

Well, the other night, we had some leftovers for lunch and that night, my missus wanted to cook something for dinner and I told her not to bother – we would go out some place instead to eat and be done with it or for sure, the following day, we would be eating leftovers again.

We went here but it was closed! My missus saw a FOR RENT note on the entrance – they probably had called it a day which would be kind of sad as we did enjoy some of the dishes there…and it makes me even sadder that many have fallen along the way in the face of our dwindling economy. Times are hard, very hard!

In the end, we went to the aforementioned restaurant as my girl wanted her favoutite dish there, the sizzling beef (RM15.00)…

Nice House sizzling beef

…and to go with it, we asked for the midin fried with belacan (RM9.00)…

Nice House midin belacan

I wanted to try something else other than the usual and ordered this beef tendon hotpot (RM20.00)…

Nice House beef tendon hotpot

…which was kind of disappointing as I would prefer all tendon instead of a whole lot of beef, tofu and mushroom and not that much tendon, plus it did not taste all that spectacular. My girl’s sizzling beef was a whole lot nicer.

We did not have any problem getting a table that night – it was a weekday night and school had reopened but there were quite a lot of people and many of the tables were taken which came as no surprise as here too, the food is nice…and cheap.

RUBY RESTAURANT  is located at No. 71, Jalan Kampung Nyabor right next to HOME COOK CORNER  (2.292756, 111.825335) with the AmBank Tunku Osman branch in the very next block and NICE HOUSE RESTAURANT (2.29201,111.82739) is located in the vicinity of the Tunku Osman shops, opposite Rejang Bookstore.