The dance…

Maha Shivaratri is a Hindu festival celebrated annually in honour of Lord Shiva. It marks the night of the heavenly marriage and consummation between Shiva and Parvati and it is also the night when Shiva performs the heavenly dance.

There is a Shivaratri in every luni-solar month of the Hindu calendar on the 13th night/14th day, but around February/March, they celebrate the Maha Shivaratri which means “the Great Night of Shiva”.

No, I did not know all this but that night I was invited by my Indian friends, Andy and Varun, at Payung to a special thali (a set Indian meal) they were hosting to celebrate this auspicious occasion. Unfortunately, all the photographs that I took did not come out well except this one of the poori


…that we had, a deep-fried bread made from unleavened whole-wheat flour. It went very well with everything that was served on a banana leaf…

Special thali dinner
*Andy’s photo*

…and I even asked for a second helping, another two or three pieces, I can’t remember now.

There seemed to be two main dishes, one that looked like minced meat but cooked using black chickpeas, probably the kala chana curry and the other, the potato bhaji – you can see a bit of that in the above photograph. The other one that you can see in the photograph, top right, is the gajar halwa, an Indian carrot pudding served as a dessert along with the Indian rice kheer, a rice and milk dessert – both of these were slightly sweet, very slightly and I enjoyed them very much.

Varun made a vadai too, not quite the same as the ones that I am accustomed to. He said that was his first attempt as that is a South Indian delicacy and he comes from the north and he did say that they do not serve meals on a banana leaf there either as the plant is not common in the colder climatic conditions unlike the places in the south.

There was a soup using red beans, the bigger version and also an Indian drink that reeked of spices and ginger.

That certainly was a delightful and most interesting evening – we enjoyed the exquisite dinner and the pleasant company…

Thali dinner at Payung
*Andy’s photo*

Thank you so much, Andy & Varun, for inviting us to your celebration of this very special Indian festival.

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.

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

6 thoughts on “The dance…”

  1. I would not know a thing about this Hindu festival till I read your blog. Always good to learn new things each day and glad you enjoy the food.

    I didn’t either. They say this festival is bigger than Deepavali and they fasted all day and feasted at this special thali dinner in the evening.

  2. My first time learning about Maha Shivaratri. The vegetarian food is sure to be tasty what with all the spices used. I am sure I would enjoy them very much.

    I thought you would know, so many Indians over at your side. Yes, it was really nice and I enjoyed the eating and the whole experience. Nice of Peter, the boss, to let them plan and do everything to host that special thali dinner at his restaurant that evening.

  3. Interesting meal. Something I never taste before. Thanks for sharing the story of Maha Shivaratri.

    Me neither, my first time and I loved it. 100% vegetarian, not quite like the regular banana leaf meals at those Indian places but I do love those too. None in Sibu…and two trips to Kuching already, did not have the chance to go for that.

  4. So nice of andy and varun to invite you to this exquisite indian dinner. I only ate indian vegetarian food once and i like it.

    Yes, so very nice! Hopefully they will do it again…but Deepavali is not till the end of the year. So long!!!

  5. We love Indian food. The past few weeks I made a lot of poori, however, I don’t deep fry mine. I prepare mine in a skillet with a tiny amount of oil. Very delicious. I usually add mashed potato, butternut squash, freshly ground herbs/spices to the bread dough.

    Not sure but if pan-fried, I think they call it chapatti or something and if baked in a traditional oven, it’s naan.

    Nice you see you around, Opal! Hope all’s good at your end!

  6. Woah, that looks like such an interesting feast. Would love to try it all.

    Not on their regular menu. Hopefully they will do it again when another festival comes around. I sure enjoyed it.

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own. For food and other reviews, you may email me at

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