You treat me so good…

I sent word to Andy that we would be dropping by…

Payung Cafe centrepiece

…for lunch that day and when we got there, that nice guy had reserved a table specially for us with fresh flowers and the lovely pua kumbu tablecloth…

Payung Cafe fresh flowers & pua kumbu tablecloth

Of course we didn’t want to sit there as it wasn’t any special occasion and we did not want to dirty the tablecloth and they would have to wash it later so we took a table without any table cloth (they usually have that for dinner, not for lunch) but with those lovely fresh torch ginger flowers, no less…

Payung Cafe torch ginger flowers

…but of course, that special treatment did not go unnoticed – they sure treat me so good here.

They gave me these apple mangoes from Peter’s own garden…

Peter's apple mangoes

…but they’re not ripe yet so I have not eaten them at the time of writing.

In the meantime, they have made this fresh batch of their super-duper hot chili sauce…

Payung Cafe own-made chili sauce

…selling for RM15.00 now, up from RM12.00 that last time but of course, these bottles are bigger than the previous cylindrical plastic ones.

My girl wanted the chicken chop…

Payung Cafe chicken chop with mashed potato

…with the special chicken sauce and it was done perfectly well and we thought it was extra nice that day.

Like what we did a few times before, we requested for the two slices of their garlic bread to be left out as it is not gluten free and had it replaced by their mashed potato instead. It never occurred to me that it was not really a fair switch – the mashed potato probably cost around the same as their garlic bread dish…

Payung Cafe with chicken sauce

…with four or five slices plus the sauce…but they did not mind doing it upon our request – I heard that others had tried asking for the same but sorry, they were not accorded that same privilege. Still, I do not think it would not be so nice to do it all the time so perhaps the next time, we would just order the chicken chop as it is and we can eat the bread or just ask them to omit it…and we will have the mashed potato as a separate order to go with the meat.

I had their Bangladeshi lamb curry…

Payung Cafe Bangladeshi lamb curry

…that I had not ordered for a while because my girl has this preference for their lamb masala that is just as nice and not spicy at all. This curry may be spicy sometimes depending on the chili that they manage to get from the market – some days, the chili is not hot at all or as what one seller told me once, they would be good only for the colour and for decoration. Well, that day, it wasn’t spicy so Andy gave us a bit of their aforementioned chili sauce and they went so well together – it certainly was so good with it.

It looked like I was given a lot more than their regular serving with just three chunks of the meat – there were at least 4 or more that day plus some bite-sized boneless pieces as well…and there were quite a lot of the potatoes too. I so love potatoes in curry.

The green curry…

Payung Cafe green curry

…that my missus had was very nice as well and it was spicy! I asked Peter why the colour was not red and he said that they use green chili for the dish.

To go with our meat dishes and rice, I ordered their version of the Thai som tam – the papaya salad…

Payung Cafe papaya salad

– I saw Andy making it and the strips of the petals of the torch ginger flower that he added helped enhance the taste and bring it to a whole new level. We did enjoy it a lot, I must say.

That sure was a delightful lunch, as always and it so happened that my friend/ex-student, Alex, dropped by for lunch too with his missus and new-born baby girl and when I wanted to pay, I was informed that he had picked up the tab already – thank you so much, Alex! We gotta bump into each other a lot more often. LOL!!!

Incidentally, I have heard of people trying to locate this place but in vain even though I always give the address, the GPS and a description of the location…

Payung Cafe, Sibu
*Photo from Google Maps*

Yes, the shop sign is blocked by the thatched roof in front, part of the decor of the place but there is one at the back that you can see quite clearly if you are coming down the lane to the right of that leading hotel in town at the back and there is another sign by the side now – just that it is not lit so it may not be all that visible at night. Nonetheless, it is there to the extreme left of that block of shophouses (the one with what look like four Roman columns), right behind the hotel.

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.

We have it all…

Not too long ago, it was so difficult to get gluten-free stuff here in Sibu. We might stumble upon some but those would be few and far between and not all were necessarily nice but we were at their mercy, so to speak, take it or leave it! Most of the time, we were dependent on those given to us, family and friends from Kuching, KL or overseas.

My girl was so excited when she went to KL and there were so many there that she did not know what to pick and cart home so of course, she was so happy to see these…

YESYOUCAN gluten free pizza bread mix

– the same brand as the nice stuff she bought in KL at the supermarket in town that stocks up on all the imported stuff.

Yes, she bought two boxes of that as she missed eating pizza so much, never mind bread or thin crust – both are not gluten-free so now, she is going to use that to make her own to enjoy.

We did bring our own gluten-free pasta to the cafés and restaurants time and time again and asked them to use instead of the regular ones but except for here, all the rest would charge accordingly, the full price, never mind that we were not using their non-gluten-free pasta. However, we never had any gluten-free lasagna sheets and she sure missed eating that. Needless to say, she grabbed a box of these…

ORGRAN gluten fee lasagna sheets

…the instant she caught sight of it on the shelf.

She did try making her own bread – most were disastrous while some were ok, quite nice but none was anything like bread as we know it. This time around, she bought a box of this…

YESYOUCAN bread mix

…to try – hopefully, it will turn out o.k.

Her attempt at making corn bread came to naught so I bought her this box of crispy corn bread…

Corn bread & taco shells

…once but she had yet to give it a try. Of course, there are those taco shells that we enjoyed very much and I did buy a box to keep in the house to enjoy anytime we feel like it.

We have had quite a variety of gluten-free biscuits and cookies – some good, some not so and the bottom line is they are not quite the same, the texture and everything probably because of the flour used. So far, the best would be this Australian one…

Butterfingers gluten free pure butter shortbread

…which we thought was nicer than the regular ones, same brand.

Well, that day, my girl came home with these cookies…

Muesli cookies

…from that same supermarket but we have yet to try them. However, we’ve opened one of these two…

D'Lush gluten free biscuits

…, made in Australia, and much to our delight, we thought they were really very nice…

Gluten free double choc biscuits

Personally, I do think these could give those celebrated Tim Tams a run for the money!

And talking about money, it goes without saying that these things do not come cheap at all but at least, we can get them here now, no need to fly to Kuching or KL and wherever…and anyway, my girl does not spend on anything at all the whole week while she is confined to her school in the jungle so she can well afford to pamper herself and spend on these when she comes home on the weekends, something good for the body and the soul, this shopping therapy, they call it.

TA KIONG EMPORIUM (2.2933,111.82713,783) is located at No. 42-46, Jalan Tuanku Osman and opens daily from 8.00 a.m. to 9.00 p.m.

Heard ’em say…

Ooopsss!!! I woke up that morning and found out that we had run out of eggs. There was some leftover rice and I was thinking I could fry that for breakfast but everytime I fry rice, I will add an egg or two so I had to abandon the idea.

I went out right away to the shops at the next lane to grab some. It is so convenient really; they’re right behind my neighbours’ houses opposite actually…and since I was there, bright and early – around 6 something in the morning, I decided to just drop by the coffee shop there for breakfast. That would save me the trouble of having to cook my own, if only for just one day.

I ordered the char mee, tam (fried noodles, wet/with gravy) from the chu char (cook and fry) place at the back and sat at a table to wait. It so happened that the guy who does the cooking just came back from the butcher and I heard him saying to somebody at another table that he had managed to get hold of some liver. Liver!!!??? Now, I would want that so I told him to add that to the fried noodles that I had ordered.

The kopi-o-peng (RM1.70)…

Ah Kau Cafe kopi-o-peng

…was good and I was wondering why they had two of the tables covered with nice tablecloth, something quite unusual in a coffee shop. I was thinking that perhaps, one can have rice and dishes here in the evening but I did not bother to ask.

The fried noodles came…

Ah Kau Cafe Foochow fried noodles, special 1

…and boy, I certainly was impressed. That looked really good with not only the liver but there were intestines too and a number of slices of char siew (barbecued pork) and everything else for only RM6.00, their special. Elsewhere, for RM4.00, you would get bits of meat so small that you would need a magnifying glass to detect them.

I was somewhat disappointed though that there was no sign of any green vegetables in the plate but when I went rummaging through the noodles, I did find a few bits here and there…

Bits of green vegetables

…but I certainly would ask for more the next time I drop by here to eat.

It appeared to me that the guy there now is not the same as the ladies who were there when we dropped by to give it a try that time when it first opened. What the latter dished out were good too but we had to wait a mighty long time and that was why we were not all that keen on going back there again. I did not have a problem with the one there now that morning though – what I ordered sure was served pretty fast, no problem at all.

So, was it any good?

Ah Kau Cafe Foochow fried noodles, special 2

Well, I certainly thought so – in fact, I felt it was so good, so very generous with the ingredients and so cheap – it was RM7.00 a plate here and RM8.50 here (and I did not even think it was all that nice), dunno now – that I tapao-ed a plate home for my missus to enjoy for her breakfast.

From what I’ve noticed, the coffee shop seems to be enjoying brisk business – I see  a lot of people there very often but this area is not congested and parking is never a problem, plus it is free!

AH KAU CAFE (2.316346, 111.839861) is located along Jalan Ruby, off Jalan Lim Han Swee, in the same block as Kim Tak Mini Supermarket, to the extreme left.

Change my mind…

My girl wanted the sambal bihun that she enjoyed very much here that day so of course, I took her there.

I went in search of the mee sua in traditional red wine chicken soup that I would rank among the best in town but it was all sold out.

In the meantime, my girl went with her mum to place their orders and I did not know what happened along the way but it seemed that she had changed her mind and she ended up having the tom yam hung ngang (big bihun) from one of the stalls instead (RM8.00)…

Happiness Cafe tom yam hung ngang 1

The mum declared that she had it before, praising it to the skies and insisted it was really very good and kept saying repeatedly that they made their own bay kar /ikan tenggiri (mackerel) fish balls and so on and so forth.

It did smell very good…

Happiness Cafe tom yam hung ngang 2

…but halfway through, I noticed that my girl was struggling away already – maybe it was because it was a rather huge serving for her to manage so I just asked her not to force herself and just finish off all the added ingredients and leave everything else behind.

The mum herself had the sambal kway teow (RM5.50)…

Happiness Cafe sambal kway teow 1

…from the fried bihun stall with a special request for it to be extra spicy…

Happiness Cafe sambal kway teow 2

…and it came with the wok-fried egg that sure looked perfectly done on top. It was quite obvious that the kway teow was indeed really spicy as while the boy was frying the dish, we could hear a lot of people in the coffee shop sneezing away. Of course it was very much to her liking and she enjoyed it to the max.

I also ended up ordering from that same stall, something new on their menu – the Happiness macaroni (RM5.00)…

Happiness macaroni 1

…they called it. I would say it was much nicer that the one I had here a long time ago and I do prefer this bigger version…

Happiness macaroni 2

…to those that look like the rubber tubes in bicycle tyres. On the whole, I would say it was all right – it had its own texture and I was thinking that I probably would enjoy it a lot more if there had been more added ingredients, prawns and squids perhaps – never mind that one would have to fork out more for it…or if I had requested for it to be extra spicy as well like my missus’ fried kway teow.

HAPPINESS CAFE (2.306608, 111.827179), formerly KONG MA MA, is located along Lorong Delta 4, off Jalan Delta. The left turn into Lorong Delta 9 will lead you straight to the Delta Public Swimming Pool.

It took a long time…

It sure took me a long time to go and check this place…

Sri Pelita Permai Islamic Cafe

…out – the other outlet of this place in the town area that we do frequent quite a lot.

Well, I was in the vicinity that morning so I decided I would do just that. I looked at the menu…

Menu

…and asked for the chapati but the girl said it was not available and neither was the tosai. I asked if they would be available in the afternoon and she said no, they were simply…not available anytime of day. I must say that Miss Congeniality she sure wasn’t and I was kind of pissed off by her attitude.

I looked around and saw most of the customers having their roti canai or their fried noodles. Somebody was having a bowl of noodles in some kind of soup and it looked quite good but I did not see anything of the sort on the menu on the wall. I asked the girl what would be good and she suggested their nasi lemak so nasi lemak it was, just so I would be done with the ordering and get her out of the way. Tsk! Tsk!

I asked for the special (RM7.00)…

Sri Pelita Permai nasi lemak special 1

…and looking at the price tag on their cabinet…

Food cabinet

…fried chicken was RM3.50 a piece so that was why the non-special nasi lemak would be RM3.50 a plate and RM8.00, if you chose the lamb curry.

Nope, the rice was disappointing, not lemak at all, the fried egg was all right though a bit under-done but the sambal was very nice and spicy…

Sri Pelita Permai nasi lemak special 2

…and the chicken, even though the piece that I got was breast, was very nicely marinated with whatever and I did enjoy it very much.

I saw this sambal egg (RM1.50)…

Sambal egg

…and I asked for one but though it was nice, it was not spicy, not even a little bit so it did not get me all excited, not at all.

Service was great and everything I ordered came in a jiffy and the kopi-o-peng I had was o.k. but at RM2.00 a glass, I thought it was a little bit overpriced compared to what they are charging at all the other coffee shops in town.

All in all, it was a good enough breakfast – I thought it was a bit better than what I had once at the coffee shop next door which incidentally was kind of quiet and empty that morning, not as crowded as this one which seemed to enjoy bustling business that time when I was there.

SRI PELITA PERMAI Islamic Cafe (2.2960502,111.8938157) is located along Lorong Ulu Oya 11, off Jalan Oya among the “newer shops” in the Permai area across the road from the Sibu General Hospital, where the outlets of Sugar Bun, Singapore Chicken Rice and 7 Eleven are situated.

Dim all the lights…

I guess most upscale cafés and restaurants would dim all the lights at night to create a more cosy and romantic atmosphere but that would be a nightmare for people like me with a cheap and simple digicam and an equally cheap handphone that do not take very flattering photographs of anything and everything if there is insufficient light. That is why I would opt to go to such places for lunch when it is very much brighter and yes, the photographs that I take do turn out much nicer in natural (sun)light.

Well, we dropped by here…

The Cafe Ind, by night

…the other night for dinner and by some stroke of good luck, that shot that I took using my handphone camera did not turn out too badly.

Inside, it seemed a little brighter – perhaps the boss knew and he had turned up the lights a little unlike that time when we were there for dinner with my cousin and her hubby from the UK – the photos would not have turned out great, of course, so I did not bother taking any and just used some of the old snapshots from my previous posts when I blogged about it.

That night, the ladies wanted their teh tarek cincao (pulled tea with grass jelly)…

Cafe Ind teh tarek cincao

…while I just asked for a big glass of iced water.

My girl wanted their authentic North Indian butter chicken curry with biryani rice…

Cafe Ind butter chicken curry with biryani rice

– the curry would usually come with basmati rice so we requested for a switch and they were fine with that, no problem at all…and yes, even though the servings were quite substantial, she did manage to finish all of it all by herself.

The mum stuck faithfully to her kalio ayam

Cafe Ind kalio ayam

…with a special request for it to be extra spicy and indeed, it was! She seemed to be making it a habit to just eat one of the chunks of chicken and push the other one to me. I used to do that all the time – finish off everything on everybody’s plates but I guess I should not be doing that, not at my age and my shape and size. On our last visit, we had that piece tapao-ed to be taken home. After all, I have my own order to finish and the servings here are, by no means, small. Well, she tried that again that night but I did not want it and in the end, she did manage to finish all that was in her plate…somehow.

I remember the beef rendang

Cafe Ind beef rendang

…that my cousin’s hubby from the UK, Phil, seemed to enjoy so much and my brother, home from Auckland, New Zealand, had that too and yes, he did seem to enjoy it too.

I felt like having it that night so that was what I ordered…

Cafe Ind beef rendang rice set

…and yes, it was very nice but it was not spicy. Nonetheless, with the help of the cili padi on top plus the one for presentation in my girl’s butter chicken curry, I did get to enjoy it very much indeed.

It certainly was a very delightful dinner – the bill came up to over RM67.00, inclusive of drinks but the nice boss just rounded it up to RM65.00 and thankfully, the photographs that I took that night did not turn out too shabbily after all.

CAFE IND (2.290813, 111.829294) is located along Laichee Lane, right behind one block of shops facing the main road (Jalan Kampung Nyabor) where the Bank Simpanan Nasional, Sibu branch (2.290561, 111.829071), is located.

Eyes wide open…

I saw on their Facebook page that their new stock had arrived so I quickly made a beeline to the place to grab a couple of bottles of the fresh milk with kurma that my girl enjoys a lot and a couple of this…

Farm Fresh cafe latte

…for me to try.

When I blogged about it the other day, somebody mentioned that she liked the cafe latte very much except that it was too expensive. I did mention in that earlier post how my heart skipped a beat when the cashier keyed in the price for the one with kurma, over RM9.00, I think it was, and the price appeared on the monitor.  Well, if I had not been forewarned, I would probably have had a heart attack in the case of this one – it was priced at over RM11.00 a bottle!!! The yogurt were all over RM6.00…and despite the prices, when I got there that night, there were a whole lot of people and no price for guessing what they were all buying, like they were giving them away for free!

There is enough in one bottle…

100% genuine fresh milk and real coffee

…for two mugs so it works out to less than RM6.00 each – very much cheaper than what you may have to fork out at those coffee places but of course, there is no froth unless you have a hand-held whisk or you shake the bottle vigorously before pouring out the milk and there is no cute artwork for your amusement and admiration.

I had these digestive biscuits…

Gullong digestives

…in the house, bought from that same supermarket – Gullón brand – made in Spain which do not come anywhere near the original that I used to enjoy a lot but these came in value packs of two (tubes) for over RM7-8 and they are sugar free. They did not go too well with black coffee but I thought they were really nice dunked in fresh milk so I tried them with this kopi susu (coffee with milk)…

Cafe latte with digestives

…and yes, they did go quite well together.

This tagline on the bottle…

Eyes wide open

…caught my attention. Yes, it was very rich with the fresh milk and very strong on the coffee fragrance and taste, double expresso, it says there…but unfortunately, it did not manage to keep me awake. I had it for morning tea, around 10 a.m. and after lunch that day, I was no longer able to keep my eyes wide open and had to have my afternoon nap.

I guess it’s purely psychological but we seldom had milk in our younger days, only when we were sick and all we had was tinned condensed milk (Milkmaid) and later, I read somewhere that hot milk and honey would be a sure cure for insomnia so I would have that on nights when I found it difficult to sleep and that did seem to work. Perhaps that is the reason why without fail, at any time of day, milk makes me sleepy…