Look who’s back…

Raphael, my ex-student residing in the US, was back in town for a few days after celebrating Chinese New Year with his mum and brothers in Kuching.

As always, that thoughtful and generous boy brought back some stuff all the way to give to me. I’m sure my girl would love these gluten-free cheese snacks…

From Raphael 1

…and I sure can’t wait to try these salad toppers…

From Raphael 2

I’ve seen sprinklings such as these on top of salads in blogs or elsewhere but I’ve never done that myself. Well, as they say, there’s always the first time!

We managed to go out for breakfast the other morning when he was here and we agreed on this place…

King Cafe
*Archive photo*

…as another ex-student of mine, Eddie, Raphael’s classmate, said that he would love to join us if we were going some place in the vicinity of his office and this coffee shop is in the block of shops right next door.

Both of them tried the kampua mee (RM3.00)…

King Cafe kampua mee

that I had before and I thought it was pretty good. As far as I know, it has its following – people who think it is among the best in town but Raphael felt it could do with a little bit more of the lard fragrance in the shallot oil used to toss the noodles. Personally, I thought it looked very much nicer when I had it in October, 2016 – perhaps they were so busy trying to cope with the crowd that morning so the quality went out the window. Raphael also wanted their pian sip soup but it was not available – post-Chinese New Year blues, I guess.

I went and ordered what they call their nyonya laksa (RM5.50)…

King Cafe Sarawak laksa

…from the other stall in the shop…

King Cafe laksa stall
*Archive photo*

…and no, it was, at best, just all right. It seemed a little sweet, not quite like our Sarawak/Kuching laksa and I was wondering if it was meant to be their version of the Singapore-style curry laksa even though it was not quite like it either. I did try that version at the outlets of the Katong 328 laksa franchise laksa here before but they have since closed down and personally, between the two, I think I would prefer this one as it was not overly lemak (rich with santan/coconut milk).

I saw that they also had fried kway teow with cockles (kerang) so I ordered that as well, only to be served this (RM6.00)…

King Cafe fried kwayteow with cockles

The guy said that they had run out of fresh cockles so they substituted those with the canned ones.  Of course, I was not too happy with that. They should at least have the decency to ask first if I would mind the switch.

To give credit where credit is due, I thought it tasted quite nice except that it was way too salty. I was very sure that it was due to the use of the canned cockles alongside the soy sauce – they would need to adjust the amount of the latter as the clams would be salty already but obviously, they did not.

It sure was nice seeing you again, Raphael and thanks for the things you brought. That was a great get-together, though a brief one, and it was good that Eddie was able to join us too that morning…and thank you both for picking up the tabs for our orders. Qong Xi Fa Cai to the two of you and your loved ones, God bless always in the Year of the Dog. Cheers!!!

KING CAFE (2.291589, 111.826200) is located right next to the RH Hotel, at the corner of the Jalan Kampung Nyabor and Jalan Sanyan/Causeway junction, across the road from the HSBC Building.

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Anything for you…

I do not drop by here all that often these days as by the time we venture out of the house at around 9 or 10.00 a.m., most of the things would have been sold out. I think they open very early to cater to those after their prayers at dawn at the surau a stone’s throw away and parents and children going to school before 7.00 a.m. and the office crowd before 8.00 a.m.

I did go over to have a look the other day though but I could not find anything that is gluten-free for my girl. She likes the laksa Penang…

Mak Met Bandong laksa Penang
*Archive photo*

…there but it was not available that morning.

There was the putu mayam

Mak Met Bandong putu mayam
*Archive photo*

…but she’s not into that and though she will eat those onde onde aka kueh Melaka

Nyonya Colours onde onde
*Archive photo*

…I do not see her getting excited about those.

In the end, I did not manage to get anything for her but I did buy their roti jala (RM2.00)…

Mak Met Bandong roti jala 1

…to try and I thought at best, it was just all right, not anything I would be dying to have again…

Mak Met Bandong roti jala 2

…but the mee jawa (RM3.00)…

Mak Met Bandong mee jawa 1

…that I also bought was very nice. The gravy was not the usual pinkish and sweet type and it was very rich and thick – I did enjoy it, I must say but at that price, for nothing much else other than that half a hard-boiled egg…

Mak Met Bandong mee jawa 2

…I felt it was rather pricey though it was a lot cheaper than what one would have to fork out for the same at the shops, just that one would get a lot more toppings at the latter.

MAK MET’s BREAKFAST STATION (2.314192, 111.825581) is located at the shops along Jalan Bandong in Kpg Nangka here, facing Bandong Walk. It opens every day except Sundays but if you’re looking for those Malay kuehs and other delights, you’d only find those in the morning…while stocks last. 

Going home…

This was on the 3rd Day of Chinese New Year and after having had Malay and Indian food over the past few days, we agreed to go for some Chinese dishes and thankfully, some places were open that day – most were still closed, we noticed.

My girl wanted the own-made tofu

\Home Cook own-made tofu

here and yes, it was open, gaily decorated…

Home Cook Chinese New Year decor 1

…for the festive season…

Home Cook Chinese New Year decor 2

Other than the tofu, we also had the usual sweet potato leaves, ching chao (plain fried)…

Home Cook sweet potato leaves

…and we had their tofu & salted vegetable soup…

Home Cook tofu & salted vegetable soup

…as well.

We asked for the deep fried black pomfret/ikan bawal hitam

Home Cook deep-fried or chio

…and yes, the very nice boss did remember us and all the things that we could not eat so we did not have to tell him everything all over again – no soy sauce, no wheat flour, no tomato sauce.

Yes, we did enjoy all that we ordered but when I went to pay the bill, I was shocked that the total came up to RM62.00, inclusive of rice for 3 and drinks. I don’t know if those would be their regular prices these days – after all, everything is getting more and more expensive or whether this was because of Chinese New Year. The boss did say that presently, prawns and fish were had to come by and very expensive at this point in time – the one we had was RM28.00.

HOME COOK CORNER (2.292756, 111.825335) is located at No. 73, Jalan Kampung Nyabor right next to RUBY RESTAURANT with the AmBank Tunku Osman branch in the very next block.

I am king…

I remember there used to be an outlet of a food court chain here…

Food court, back of Sibu Heritage Centre

…at the back of the Sibu Heritage Centre with the entrance facing the side of the SMC multi-storey carpark – they also have one at what used to be the Kok Cheng coffee shop across the road from what once was the Cathay Cinema and later, the Star Cineplex, now closed down already and there is one at the Star Mega Mall as well and other than those, there is a sparkling new one at the Selangau Bazaar.

I heard of a Pakistani guy opening up this place…

Biryani King business card

…here but I had not stopped by to give it a try owing to the horrendous traffic congestion and the rampant illegal parking in that area.

On the second day of Chinese New Year, Saturday, however, many shops were closed and things were quite quiet around town so we ventured there and as they say, when in Rome, do as the Romans do and I parked my car illegally right in front of the entrance…

Biryani King side/back entrance

…which happened to be the back entrance and you would have to walk through the kitchen to get to the food court proper.

I liked the use of mirrors in the cabinet…

Biryani King food cabinet

…so one would be able to see from afar what they had in their selections for the day.

I saw their lamb shank curry…

Biryani King lamb shank curry

…and it did look very good. Believe it or not, it was going for just RM8.00 each! No, you do not get a teeny-weeny chunk of it like at some other places at that same price – you get the whole lamb shank…

Biryani King lamb shank biryani

…but the rice…

Biryani King biryani rice

…is RM6.50 per serving so the complete set would set you back by a total of RM14.50. Ouch!!!

The meat was nice and tender, the curry was slightly spicy, not all that spicy by our standard and the rice was bursting with all the exotic flavours and fragrances but I did feel it was kind of over-salty or maybe it was just me as we hardly have any salt and no msg in our own cooking at home. I noticed that they cooked the chicken thighs in the rice and they had those by the side but no, I did not want that – I already had my eyes on the lamb shank.

My missus had some minced meat thing…

Biryani King nasi campur

…that she liked a lot with plain rice and cangkuk manis and some acar (pickles) by the side and that was only RM4.50 altogether.

My girl had their mutton curry with the bryani rice and a bit of brinjal (RM9.50)…

Biryani King mutton curry biryani

…and yes, she did enjoy it.

We liked what we had that day and sure would not mind dropping by again sometime but of course, that would depend on whether we can manage to get a parking space or not, something that is virtually impossible to do on normal days in that area.

BIRYANI KING (2.289696, 111.828366) is located at the back section of the Sibu Heritage Centre, ground floor, along Central Road – its back/side entrance is beside the entrance into Daesim Mart in that back lane to the right of the centre and is not visible if you are going along or coming from Jalan Wong Nai Siong.

We were here…

…a number of times before but it was the first time for my girl.

This was on Chinese New Year’s Eve. After spending the morning with my mum, we went home to rest a while and then, do all the preparations necessary and go over to my mum’s house that same evening, bringing the ingredients and everything else needed for our steamboat dinner together.

We decided to stop by here on the way for lunch so my girl could give it a try but the nasi campur (mixed rice) selections were running out so they decided to go à la carte and order from their menu instead.

My missus had their seafood kway teow

La'zzaty Cuisine seafood kway teow

…which was very good, very very spicy even though she did not ask for it, but I thought it could have been a bit more substantial. I did check the price but somehow or other, I can’t seem to remember it right now.

Well, I definitely can remember only too well how much this, that my girl had that day, cost – a whooping RM13.00…

La'zzaty Cuisine corned beef fried rice & ayam bakar

I met some old friends of mine from the office, way back in those days before I retired, on one of our previous visits and the ladies were having their corned beef fried rice…

La'ssaty Cuisine corned beef fried rice

…which they praised to the skies and said that they kept coming back for more.

I did try a bit of the rice and thought it was all right, nothing sensational and the chicken, their ayam bakar, was good too but at that price, I would much sooner go for something else.

I saw they had liver…

Liver

…for their nasi campur and of course, I just could not resist it.

I also had their yam and yam shoots, masak lemak

Keladi & pucuk keladi, masak lemak

…that I had never tried before and yes, I loved it very much. I sure would have no second thought about going for it the next time I see it among the choices available.

Their daging masak hitam (black-cooked beef)…

Daging masak hitam

…was nice but I would not say it is the best I’ve had in town.

I guess my servings were XXL, a whole lot more than the regular servings one would get…

La'zzaty Cuisine nasi campur

…so I would consider the overall total of RM6.30 that I had to fork out for everything, inclusive of rice, quite reasonable actually…and I would give them a few bonus points for using those lovely old school plates, not the horrendously-colourful plastic ones elsewhere that I simply abhor.

LA’ZZATY CUISINE (2.307198, 111.828479) is located along Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg on the left if you are coming from town, right after the SHELL petrol station, at its junction with Jalan Nibong with the Sibu Buddhist Temple on your right on the other side of the road.

The price is right…

There used to be some other people at the chap fan (mixed rice) stall here

Diandianlai Cafe
*Archive photo*

…but they have moved next door.

I did go over to have  a look but there did not seem to be much of anything left even though it was not even noon yet. The guy there was busy cooking but I decided not to wait and went back next door instead to have a look at what the very young couple had at their stall…

Diandianlai Cafe chap fan stall

I was attracted by this steamed minced pork with salted egg yolk…

Diandianlai Cafe steamed minced pork with salted egg yolk

…and it turned out to be quite nice, just a little bit salty but my guess is that was because of the salted egg white in it.

I also helped myself to their very nice pork and their sweet and sour fish fillet…

Diandianlai Cafe chap fan 1

…that looked very much nicer, presented in the tray and both were good.

I did not take any of the vegetables and for my pick of three, I had to fork out RM5.00 only.

My missus, as always, had better self-control and was more well-disciplined. She just had two vegetables, their fried kangkong and fried chives with egg, and the pork that I had as well….

Diandianlai Cafe chap fan 2

…and that cost only RM3.50, a little more than a dollar, Australian.

I would give them my double thumbs up for the fact that what we had was not oily and there was no msg overdose, something that would put me off instantly at such chap fan places. We sure would not mind coming back again since we did enjoy what we had and…the price was right!

DIANDIANLAI CAFE (2.310079, 111.831103) is located in the block of shops facing the Sibu Civic Centre (car park) along Jalan Dewan Suarah that links Jalan Melur and Jalan Suarah.

On my way home…

I was passing by here that morning on my way home after collecting the parcel from my cousin in Kuching at the courier service office in Sungai Merah so I decided to stop by and give their kampua mee a try.

The stall…

Coffee & Tea kampua mee stall

…is right in front and you can see how the brick ones here look a whole look nicer than the regular ones one would get to see at the other coffee shops in town.

There is a dim sum stall…

Coffee & Tea dim sum stall

…in front now but looking at the photographs, it appeared to me that the lady was selling the exact same things as what one could get from the stall here. Yes, I’ve tried some of those at the latter and quite liked some of what I had but I found it kinda expensive – I only had a few items and the total went way over RM10.00 and the thing is I am not all that fond of dim sum to make me wanna fork out that kind of money. To me, it is just something that I don’t mind having once in a while sometimes for a change.

The kopi-o/black coffee (RM1.00)…

Coffee & Tea kopi-o

…that I had was very nice and I loved the table top – again, this is something you would not see in other coffee shops, the nice tables that they have here.

As for the kampua mee (RM2.80)…

Coffee & Tea kampua mee

…yes, they used the original traditional handmade noodles, straight and thicker than the machine-made thinner and curly ones that some would insist are like the ones they use for Kuching kolo mee, not kampua.

However, I thought it was kind of firm, not cooked long enough to get the noodles to be of the right soft texture so I can’t say that I enjoyed it plus it could use a little bit more shallot oil as it was a little on the dry side.

On the plus side, I liked how they sliced the shallots and fried it perfectly till nice and crispy and golden brown in colour – these days, most people will just use a blender so even though the flavour and fragrance are there, you will get minute bits of shallots in your noodles, some over-fried till black, and no, you will not get to enjoy biting into the crunchy slices like the ones here.

I also liked how they do not dye the boiled meat red like what they do at most other places which makes me wonder all the time what colouring they use to try and make the meat look like some pale imitation of the char siew (barbecued pork) which it definitely isn’t…and I also liked the fact that they were not using those colourful plastic or melamine plates and bowls that they use at a lot at places elsewhere around town – I understand they are not good for health when used to serve hot food.

At RM2.80 a plate, it is the same as many other places around town though some may go up to RM3.00 or more elsewhere but considering that one can get the same for only RM2.50 at this shop round the corner, if it is specifically kampua mee that I want, I would most likely go for the cheaper one…which I thought was nicer, that one time that I dropped by there to try it.

The pian sip, soup (RM3.00)…

Coffee & Tea piansip soup

…was very nice. The skin was very thin and the clear soup was just right on all counts and what I liked best about it was that there was no msg overdose. I don’t know why it is 20 sen more expensive than the kampua mee though – at all the other stalls, these two items are usually priced the same, no difference at all.

COFFEE & TEA (2.325932, 111.841566) is located at the junction of Jalan Teng Chin Hua and Jalan Ulu Sg Merah in the blocks of shops to the right of the traffic lights junction turning left into Lorong Sg Merah 2. if you are coming from town. On the other hand, if you are heading towards town, the blocks of shops are after St Teresa’s Catholic Church and the SIB Church on that same side of the road.