All of us in the family loved the chai pao (steamed vegetable buns) from the old lady at the Sibu Central Market, selling for 70 sen each in 2019, dunno now. There are no parking spaces around the market so one can either park in the multi-story car park adjoining the market (which is often full or you may end up sky high and are forced to take one of the cranky lifts down) or park far far away and walk all the way there. Both do not appeal to me, thank you very much.

So the last time I had a very nice chai pao was this one…

here. I went back the following weekend to buy some for myself and some for my sister as well. Unfortunately, the filling was black/dark in colour looking like it was not fresh at all and it tasted horrible – I threw it all away and never went back again. My sister said that the markings on the buns looked different so probably, they came from some different people.

So far, I’ve tried the ones here and here and they were all pretty decent and the other day, when I went to pick up my girl after school, I decided to buy the ones from here

…to give them a try! These are made by a group of selfless ladies who volunteer to come together to make them for sale at ONLY RM1.00 each – others elsewhere are selling for RM1.50 each, if I am not wrong. The thing is they come and do it for free and all proceeds will go to the church, may God bless them all!

The skin is not the best around here but it is good enough and I wouldn’t mind more of the filling…

…but for RM1.oo, I really do not see any cause for complaint.

It is not the usual Sibu chai pao filling that is not very colourful with just the long beans and cabbage mostly – this one has a lot of carrot…

…and a lot more colour.

Since I am in the vicinity most every day, sending my girl to work and going to pick her when she’s done to bring her home, I certainly would buy these buns time and time again in appreciation of the ladies’ effort and to support the church. I think they also make those with coconut filling and yes, they have the meat ones too, sourced from some place else, not made themselves.

Actually, all those helping out at this canteen are volunteers, all the cooks, the servers, the cashiers…everybody! They go and help out there for free and since profit is not a priority, the things on their menu are all pretty decent and very cheap compared to elsewhere and for your information, this place is closed on Sundays.

Well, it so happened that the other day, my missus said she wanted to go out to buy some food for our meals as she was too lazy to cook that day. I told her she did not have to do that – I could just go here to buy when I went to pick up my girl after work. Incidentally, this is an environment friendly place so you have to bring your own food containers and Tupperware and (plastic) bags. They will not give you any when you buy anything here. That is not a problem for me as I always keep my tiffin carrier ready in the boot of my car.

When I walked into the place, I was shocked!!! The place was packed with students from the private Chinese school (Catholic High School) next door. There would be some there every day but not that many at any one time. They probably had something on so they all did not go home for lunch.

There wasn’t much food left in the display cabinet – most of the trays were empty. I asked for what was left of the lemon chicken…

…and a bit of the long beans fried with egg…

…and their pumpkin cooked with ikan bilis

…for 3 persons. The Iban women helping at the counter scooped the food for me and put everything nicely in my tiffin carrier. They jotted something on a slip of paper and I took that to pay the cashier for my purchases. I was shocked when told that the total was only RM9.30!!! That was dirt cheap and yes, the food was nice – there was enough for our lunch AND dinner that day.

Frankly, with the rising prices of virtually everything these days, it sure makes a lot of sense to just come here and have one’s lunch instead of going some place else and burning a hole in one’s pocket for stuff that may not even be all that nice.


…is located in what was previously known as the Catholic Centre in the compound of the Sacred Heart Cathedral, Jalan Lanang and St Rita’s Primary School, Jalan Bukit Assek.

Author: suituapui

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

10 thoughts on “Selfless…”

  1. I do love chai pao but I seldom buy as no one in the family loves it. Sometimes for a change from the usual bak pao or char siew pao, I will buy chai pao for myself. I do have nice ones from a kopitiam near my place. Have not had chai pao for a long time. Maybe one of these days will drop by to get some.

    Same here! Have not eaten for years and years. Now that meat is getting more and more expensive plus I am getting older, I thought I would try some that we have around here. Hopefully, I can find some really good ones.

  2. 3 dishes for less than RM10. That is cheap!!!

    Long time didn’t have chai pao

    VERY cheap!
    Dunno of any good chai pao anywhere, just the one in Sibu with the long beans and no carrot. Everywhere, they have carrot.

  3. really cheap for a tiffin carrier load of food.

    the chai pao, i rarely have it in paos like these.. usually the ones i have here are the ones in those gelatin outside. Forgot what its called, but they have the same fillings. 🙂

    Have an awesome weekend Arthur!

    You too! Regards to Janice and your two handsome boys!
    I think you are thinking of chai kueh…or what some people call soon kuih. My friend calls it lizard’s belly as it looks like that, the filling through the translucent skin. LOL!!!
    RM9.30, enough for 2 meals for 3 is indeed VERY cheap!

    1. Everything is free, even the premises. The building belongs to ther church and yes, people do donate the vegetables sometimes. Should be doing fine or it wouldn’t have lasted so many years.

  4. I am not really a fan of bao with fillings other than charsiu or sweet soy meat, the sweet filling is perfect with the fluffy buns unlike vegetables that does not make sense to me if used as a filling

    I’m not really into vegetable pao either but it is all right sometimes for a change. I do prefer nice bak pao, the ones with meat filling to the sweet char siew pao filling…and I like egg in the bun.

  5. Loving my veg and healthier options, steamed veg buns are up my alley too.

    Yes, better for me at my age and with the increasing meat prices these days, best to go for other options.

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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