All day long…

This was when the ladies were out of town and I was on my own that night. I happened to be walking past the coffee shop and I noticed that the stall was open…

Kiong Chuong chu char stall

Gee!!! They sure keep very long hours, the people here – it looks like they are open all day long from around 8.00 a.m. in the morning till God-knows-what-time at night. If I am not mistaken, they are closed on Tuesdays, just one day in a week.

So far we had been here around lunchtime only and so far, we had had to stick to the dishes that were gluten-free. I had my eyes on their stewed pork…

Kiong Chuong stewed pork
*Archive photo*

…the first time I was here but I had never ordered it because of the soy sauce.

Well, since I was alone that night, I wasted no time in ordering that…

Stewed pork, sliced

…but I can’t say that it swept me off my feet. I was wishing they had given me a lot more of the fat…

Mostly lean

…instead of all that lean and taking into consideration the taste as well, I would much sooner go for the stewed pork leg here – I certainly would enjoy that a lot more.

I spotted the fried pork ribs…

Pork ribs

…in the cabinet and decided to give it a try. Well, it was all right – it sure did not get me jumping with delight and generally, I would prefer to order spare ribs or what they call in Hokkien, pai kut ong as that would be all meat, no bones.

The long beans fried with egg…

Long beans with egg

…was so very fragrant – how come we do not get that when we fry our own at home, I wonder. I would prefer slicing the vegetable more thinly though so it would be much easier to chew.

I don’t know if they thought the ladies would show up later or what but the servings were rather big for one person and they did give me two sets of the fork and spoon initially…or maybe, like some places, the smallest serving they would serve would be for two persons. That was why it came as no surprise at all that the total came up to a whooping RM20.00, inclusive of one plate of rice. I guess that was quite reasonable considering that there was enough food for two or three persons but since I was alone, I could not help thinking of some of the nice things I could go for elsewhere with that kind of money and enjoy a lot more.

SYARIKAT KIONG CHUONG CAFE (2.291062, 111.827381) is located along Jalan Kampung Nyabor at the bend where one turns left or right when coming from Brooke Drive, a stone’s throw from Malaysia Hotel in the next block.

For such a long time…

We did drop by here a couple of times, the first time in 2015 and again here but we had not gone back for such a long time for the simple reason that I did not quite like the themes they would have periodically. I guess the kids would be attracted by those but personally, I felt that it kind of spoiled the somewhat regal and rather classy ambiance of the place.

I remember once they had Frozen and there was Disney, Hello Kitty and so on and so forth – they just had Rilakkuma but that ended some two weeks ago and right now, they do not have any theme but that was not why we went – I saw photos on their Facebook page of the items that they currently have on their menu and they all looked so good and since my girl was keen, off we went…for lunch yesterday.

The mum had their mee mamak prawn deluxe (Rm17.90)…

LaDoree mee mamak prawn deluxe 1

…which was excellent, great in every way except that they were very generous with the ingredients and she kept trying to push this and that to us.  The prawns were huge and nice…

LaDoree mee mamak prawn deluxe 2

…and the chicken satay was surprisingly very much to everyone’s liking – I thought it looked inadequately marinated and could have been grilled a lot more but we actually liked it very much and the peanut sauce was good too.

My girl chose their grilled chicken chop rice (RM16.90)…

LaDoree grilled chicken chop rice 1

…and she enjoyed the chicken…

LaDoree grilled chicken chop rice 2

…and loved the fried rice. Of course, she didn’t complain about the fried egg – I certainly would be frowning if that had been in my order as it was not done the way I would like it. She didn’t mind the mini-keropok (prawn crackers) by the side either. Eyewww!!! Ah well! I guess not everyone is as fastidious as I am. Hehehehehe!!!!

My char-grilled lamb shoulder (RM35.90)…

LaDoree char-grilled lamb shoulder 1

…was all right. I actually ordered that knowing how my girl loves lamb and I was thinking perhaps she would like some of it along with her order but the serving was so huge that she could barely finish all of it…plus I did have some more side orders for her to enjoy.

I would like the lamb to be a lot more charred, black at the edges for that extra fragrance and taste but it was not…

LaDoree char-grilled lamb shoulder

– just like the satay. Perhaps they are more into healthy eating here – I did hear people saying that one barbecued chicken wing, charred, is equivalent to 8 sticks of cigarettes. I did confirm with them what we suspected – no msg was used in the cooking and not much salt either, just the way we like it!

Talking about our side orders, the mushroom soup (RM10.90)…

LaDoree mushroon soup

…was very much to our liking. It was kind of black in the menu and my guess was they would use shitake but when it was served, it was white – much to my girl’s delight, they probably used those enoki mushrooms since we do not get buttons here. She is not a fan of shitake. I asked for the croutons to be left out and yes, they happily obliged. Of course, she could not eat the garlic bread either and no prize for guessing who ate both the slices by the side.

The cheese mayo baked mussels (RM21.90)…

LaDoree cheese mayo baked mussels

…were really good too and my girl sure had her fair share of those.

These chicken buns, fried chicken in fried mantao

LaDoree chicken buns 1

…were on the house,  a special treat from an ex-student of mine – isn’t that so very sweet and thoughtful of him? His family owns and runs this place and the brother-in-law is the chief chef in the kitchen.

They…

LaDoree chicken buns 2

…were great too but my girl could not eat those as the bun was not gluten-free and neither was the batter used to fry the chicken, I’m sure.

No, we did not manage to finish everything so we asked for this and that to be tapao-ed for us to take home. The bill came up to RM113.40 and much to my surprise, and a pleasant one at that, they gave me a very generous discount and I was charged RM100.00 only for all that we had, courtesy of my ex-student who was there at that point in time.

Service was great, the food came out very fast…and everyone was conversant in English unlike those at that place at the other end of the block where they seemed to struggle with the language when one asked one question too many and yes, they do accept credit cards here, no terms and conditions – at the aforementioned place, you need to spend more than RM200.00 or they will just use Paywave to charge you, without telling/asking you first.

They have not come out with their Christmas menu yet – I may want to go here for our Christmas lunch or dinner seeing how we all enjoyed our lunch yesterday…unless I have other invitations. Hint! Hint!!! LOL!!!

LADOREE CAFE & EVENTS (2.302891, 111.842997) is located at Wisma Liberty, Lot 4047, Block 3, Jalan Pedada (now Jalan Dr. Wong Soon Kai).

You are a winner…

Congratulations to Payung Café, Sibu

Payung Cafe Sibu
*Photo from their Facebook page*

…for winning the 8th Chief Minister’s Environmental Award (CMEA) 2017/2018 in its new category for eateries and food outlets…

Trophy
*Andy’s photo taken at the event*

The presentation ceremony of this special state-level award from the Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) was held last night in Kuching.

The café has won the Sarawak Hornbill Tourism Award twice, once in 2013/2015 and was the 1st runner-up in 2016/2017

Sarawak Hornbill Tourism Awards

For one thing, I am not sure what exactly the judges for this particular tourism award are looking for. It appeared to me that they were rather fastidious in picking the winners and would look critically at the food, the decor and the ambiance, the cleanliness and all that – in my humble opinion, they seemed to be missing the wood for the trees as personally, I do feel that for an award as such, they should consider as their top priority the appeal to tourists.

As far as I know, many tourists or visitors from abroad and other parts of the country do drop by Payung – its location right behind one of the leading hotels in town is an added advantage and many said they came because of its listing in websites such as Lonely Planet and Trip Advisor…

Trip Advisor

This hawker centre/food court in Kuching is truly deserving of the award, of course – the locals call it the “tourist trap” as many do go there and according to them, dining there isn’t exactly wallet-friendly…but I really wonder if it should be given to a steakhouse in a five-star hotel, for instance. Do tourists come to Sarawak and go for our steaks? I must say they have very much nicer, fresher and juicier…and thicker ones in their own countries like Australia and New Zealand, just to single out two. Instead, one thing they should also look at would be whether they serve any of our own local delights for the tourists to enjoy, dishes uniquely Sarawakian especially, or Malaysian at least, that they will not be able to find in their own country.

Anyway, back to the CMEA, the people at Payung do use a lot of natural stuff for their decor, all the natural plants around the place and the simple fresh flowers for their centrepiece…

Centrepiece

…and all over…

Fresh flowers

…and one can’t miss noticing these coconut palm leaves, sprayed blue…

Coconut leaves, blue

…or green…

Coconut leaves, green
*Photo from their Facebook page*

…so they will last like…forever.

Many complained about the thatched roof…

Thatched roof

…in front as it blocked the sign (see 1st pic) and as a result of that, they had to search high and low before they could find the place and some even gave up in the end.

They also use these dried palm leaves…

Palm leaves

…and rattan basket trays…

Basket trays

…and in some of the photographs, you can see the blue and green benches that they made from discarded wood – I must say that whatever wood that is, it is really good hardwood as those benches are real heavy.

I love this little hut, also made from the aforementioned wood…

Little hut

…and just look at the concrete construction blocks that they use to erect the heavy and sturdy shelves…

Shelves

…instead of going out to buy from the shops…and we all know that the ones these days do not last very long and will have to be thrown away pretty soon.

They do not have anything deep-fried on their menu so they do not use a lot of cooking oil…

Payung counter

…except perhaps for grilling their chicken chops and according to them, they will not reuse the oil…nor will they pour it all down the drain like what they do at many places. Instead, they will give it to the workers to take home and use for their own cooking.

Why, those creative people even made their own Christmas tree one year…

Christmas tree

…using some grass that they found by the roadside somewhere instead of buying the plastic or whatever artificial ones from the shops. They have not put up the decorations this year so I do not know what they have got up their sleeves this time around.

For one thing, the place is not air-conditioned so that is one plus point in their favour as far as being environment-friendly is concerned.

All things considered, I do think that they truly deserve this prestigious award, don’t you agree?

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.

Is it good to you…

My niece, the one working in Singapore, gave us this…

Prima Taste nyonya curry paste

…sometime ago and the other day, I decided to give it a try.

So far, I loved the mee siam from this company – the one in boxes, now selling for over RM20.00 here but I was not that impressed with the mee siam goreng paste in packets. The laksa, also in boxes, was good too – we had it with bihun and I also used it before to cook a very nice sayur lodeh or what we call sayur masak lemak.

It said MILD on the packet…

Mild

…so I thought it could do with a bit more chili…

Added ingredients 1

…and since I had to pound that, I threw in a bit of kunyit (turmeric) and lengkuas (galangal) as well.

I did hear that they add tomato puree in Indian curry and since I had this…

Tomatoes

…I decided to add a few.

So these were the added ingredients I prepared…

Added ingredients 2

…together with our usual chopped Bombay onion, serai (lemon grass) and curry leaves.

I marinated the thin slices of beef with the paste…

Beef

…and I also boiled some potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks…

Potatoes

…to add to the dish.

It looked all right…

Beef curry 1

…and tasted fine but no, it was not quite like the curry that I imagined it to be. I don’t know if I had gone a bit overboard in throwing in all the extras…

Beef curry 2

…but in comparison, I would say that our Malaysian own A1 Mountain Globe curry pastes for meat or for seafood would win hands down.

Ah well! As they say, you’ll never know unless you try…and to me, this isn’t that good…or to me, at least.

Is it still good to you…

It so happened that I was in the vicinity that morning as I wanted to drop by the supermarket (grocer & deli) there to pick up a few things. I noticed that there was quite a crowd at the shop by the side and when I was done, I decided to go over and have a look.

I noticed that the dishes for the nasi campur were ready and there were quite a few having that even though it was still early in the morning, before 10 o’ clock.  Well, with the ladies out of town at that point in time, I decided to just go ahead and have that as well for brunch and be done with it.

The sambal buah kedondong (ambarella)…

Sambal kedondong

…was good, a bit too sour but good and of course, I could not resist the liver, masak hitam

Liver

The cangkuk manis and pumpkin, masak lemak

Cangkuk manis & pumpkin

…was excellent – if I had known, I would probably have a double helping of that and skip the paku and baby corn…

Paku & baby corn

…which was actually quite all right as well but it paled in comparison.

The fish…

Fish & salted egg

…was so-so – it probably was one of those frozen ones sold at the supermarkets so let’s just say that I was not all that impressed but yes, the salted egg was fresh and not too salty, definitely a whole lot nicer than what I had here not too long ago.

Yes, I would say that the food here was still as good as it was before. My lunch that day…

Mia nasi campur lunch

…came up to around RM8.00, a bit more expensive than the RM6.00 eat-all-you-can buffet lunch here but I did not mind it one bit, considering the quality and it was also a nice change from all the rest.

While I was eating, this dish…

Stuffed chilies

…came out of the kitchen – the stuffed chili that one would get with one’s nasi kerabu – the real thing, the authentic stuff, not like some ciplak (imitation) wannabe that I had here…and also this plate of pandan chicken…

Pandan chicken

I certainly would pick those to try had they been available earlier – I guess they would just have to wait till the next time I drop by the shop again.

MIA CAFE & RESTAURANT (2.308507, 111.820287) is located at No.43, Lorong 2, Jalan Kuda among the shops at Simpang Tiga, Sibu, facing inwards overlooking the houses along Jalan Kuda, off Jalan Kampung Nangka whereas Sara Cafe is one of the two on the other side of that same area, facing Jalan Bunga Normah 4.

Come & go…

I did mention in an earlier post that Peter was not around when I dropped by the café…

Payung

…on the night of my birthday. Well, he called me the following day and invited me over the following evening…

Bunga kantan

…for a belated celebration.

Of course I could not go empty-handed – the Chinese have this phrase, “Oo lai oo khi!” (Got come, got go!) so on the way there, I dropped by here to buy their very nice durian cheesecake…

Durian cheesecake

…to bring along with me to enjoy with everybody else – my friends gave me a slice that day and I loved it so much!

Peter had this absolutely out-of-this-world chicken in traditional Foochow red wine soup specially cooked for me to enjoy with our Foochow longevity noodles, the mee sua

Birthday mee sua

– a must eat on birthdays and other special occasions and as if that huge bowl of the noodles, the meat and the eggs were not enough, he also served me a separate bowl of the awesome soup and some more of the meat!

Yes, everyone enjoyed the cake and it so happened that an ex-colleague of mine was there with her hubby for dinner (extreme left in the photograph below)…

Dining at Payung

– she said they love the rojak very much. I don’t know what else they had but I did cut two slices of the durian cheesecake, one each, for them to enjoy and yes, she said it was very nice.

Thank you so so much, Peter, for the very special and exclusive birthday treat – it certainly was so very nice of you to go through the trouble of doing that specially for my birthday…again this year!

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.

Black magic…

My sister dropped by my house that day to pass me this…

Box

…box of cream puffs…

Cream puffs

…from this place

Sticker

It has been around for a while now but I have never been there myself.

The vanilla ones (RM2.00 each)…

Vanilla

…were nice, not sweet – just right and the matcha ones (over RM2.00 each)…

Matcha

…were pretty good too and that sure is saying a lot for someone who is not a fan of anything green tea. Yes, it is not sweet as well and I liked how it is not so strong on the green tea taste and is just a little bit bitter so little that one would hardly notice.

I particularly loved the crusty top…

Crusty top

…which, to me,  is something very unique and makes their cream puffs different from all the rest that I had had before.

From what I heard, they specially picked a day last week to make these puffs, 200 only and within an hour, they were all sold out. I guess for reasons unknown, they do not make them all the time on a regular basis.

BLACK PASTRY (2.282100,111.842110) is located at Lot 44, Floor 1, Lorong 2A, Jalan Aman.