As time passes by…

On our first morning in Kuching, I had gone out at the break of dawn for the kueh chap at Lao Ya Keng – I had blogged about that in yesterday’s post and when my girl was up around mid-morning, we walked all the way here…

Oriental Park Kuching

I was here once in 2011 and actually, my girl was with me at the time but it had completely slipped my mind.

Yes, the kolo mee stall was still around…

Oriental Park kolo mee stall

…enjoying really brisk business with a whole of of people stopping by for the noodles. It is a lot more expensive now though – the price had gone up from RM2.80 in 2011 to RM4.00 for a small bowl and RM5.00…

Oriental Park kolo mee

…for the large one.

I noticed that they served a complimentary bowl of clear soup now, something that they did not use to do before but I did not think it was all that nice this time around. The char siew was kind of dry and hard and though on the whole, it was quite all right with a very strong garlicky taste, it did not sweep me off my feet, unlike the first time we were here.

I asked my girl and she too felt that same way. I guess we shall not go through all that effort to make our way there anymore should we happen to hop over to Kuching again.

After we had had our fill, we walked back to India Street…

Inida Street, Kuching

…and browsed around the shops in the vicinity on our way back to the hotel.

I strolled over to my favourite pastry shop at Kai Joo Lane…

Chong Chon Biscuit Maker

…but I guess it was still early in the morning and they did not have everything in their list…

Chong Chon price list

I bought a few of their meat pastry or what they call siew pau

Chong Chon siew pau

…but no, sad to say, these too were not as nice as when the old folks were making them way back in the 70’s. Back then, the filling was a bit moist and one could see chunks of char siew and green peas but these days, it is all minced meat and rather dry but to give credit where credit is due, it still tasted quite good and the main draw, the pastry, is still as nice as I remember it to be.

The yam puffs…

Ching Chon yam puffs

…are more expensive by a ringgit but it is very much bigger and even though they do not seem to be able to make it like how people usually do it – with a nice fibrous exterior, I thought they were very nice, perhaps even nicer than the siew pau. I regretted not buying more – I only asked for three, one for each one of us, to eat in our hotel room.

ORIENTAL PARK CAFE 国泰东方古早味 (1.558891, 110.341900) is located at Market/Gertak Lane where the now-closed-down Cathay Cinema was and CHONG CHON BISCUIT MAKER (1.559214, 110.343394) is located at No. 6, Kai Joo Lane, off India Street, on the left in Kuching.

Perfect timing…

I celebrated my 67th birthday on the 2nd of December and it sure was a pleasant surprise when the POSLAJU van pulled up at my gate that very morning.

The delivery guy was absolutely apologetic and kept saying sorry for the late delivery. I checked the slip and saw that it was sent on the 18th of November and it actually took TWO WEEKS to arrive, as long as it would take to send something via snail mail. However, the timing couldn’t be more perfect since it was my birthday that day.

There was this lovely Scottish shortbread, M&S no less, in a really very nice British double decker tin…

M&S Scottish shortbread

…except that it was slightly dented. Thankfully, it was made of very soft tin so I was able to bend it gently to get it back into shape and there was also this Christmas pudding, M&S too, and a lovely Christmas card…

Christmas pudding & card

…all from zmun2 in KL, thank you so much, my friend!

This card from my maternal cousin in Cheras, KL

Card from KL

…came a day or two later but as they say, better late than never. Initially, I thought it was a Christmas card but actually, it was for my birthday…

Birthday card

Thanks for the card, Christina or Christie, for short!

Life sure is full of delightful surprises and talking about that, this came as a surprise as well. My ex-student from my English tuition class, now an English teacher in her own right, just got back from Kuching and she dropped by my house to pass me this very nice butter cake

Mita butter cake

…from there. Thank you so much, Christina. Gee!!! Two Christinas in a row! How about that! What a coincidence!

This came in at the same time as my cousin’s birthday card and yes, this is a Christmas card…

Christmas card

…from my dear paternal cousin all the way in Perth, Australia, thanks to you too, Yvette.

So how did I celebrate my birthday that day? That will be in tomorrow’s post so do come back for that!

Second choice…

I did mention in my previous post that I went out with a few of my cousins for brunch that morning when I was in Kuching. The initial suggestion was to go some place in Jalan Song for the Kuching laksa but when we got there, it was closed so we settled upon some place else instead and ended up here…

Number 6 Kopitiam, Kuching

I had the Kuching laksa but I seem to have deleted the photograph by mistake. Anyway, I did not think it was all that photogenic and though it was all right, nothing to shout about, I would say that there are a couple of places even here in Sibu where the laksa has an edge over that one there. The kolo mee that I had…

Number 6 Kopitiam kolo mee

…was fine but it did not sweep me off my feet – there would be some places in the city where the kolo mee would be a lot nicer.

One of my cousins had the nasi lemak

Number 6 Kopitiam nasi lemak

…and I did try a bit but no, the nasi was not really lemak and of course, with all those stuff by the side, it would definitely be quite nice.

Another cousin had the ark mee (duck noodles)…

Number 6 Kopitiam duck noodles

…and yes, that would get my double thumbs up! I certainly would not mind ordering that should I ever happen to drop by here again.

The kopi-o-peng (iced black coffee) here was pretty good, a far cry from the Nescafe-O that I had earlier that morning.

One of them went and bought this bingka sarang

Number 6 kopitiam bingka sarang

– a variation of the kek sarang semut (ant’s nest cake) or what is called honeycomb or beehive cake from this stall…

Number 6 Kopitiam kuih stall

…and it was so very nice that I had to go and buy a few pieces home.

I saw that she was also selling nyonya chang and I could not resist buying a few to try…

Number 6 Kopitiam nyonya chang

…but no, it was so very soft one could not even hold it and would have to eat it with a spoon plus there was hardly any hint of the ketumbar (coriander) and the only thing nyonya about it would be the blue bunga telang stains. Of course, it tasted all right but if it is nyonya chang that I am looking for, my vote would go to the ones at the Green Road old lady’s stall – those are really very nice.

After our brunch, we dropped by this bakery to collect my orders. I don’t recall them having these nice boxes of different shapes and sizes before…

Aloha Bakery boxes

It sure looks like they’ve upgraded a bit since the last time I was here last year.

My girl loves their pies so I got a few of the chicken ones…

Aloha Bakery chicken pie

…and also the beef…

Aloha Bakery beef pie

…to take home for her to enjoy. The beef pies are a lot thicker than the very nice chicken pies here, almost double, I think…and though they come pretty close where the taste is concerned, both pastry and filling, there is a whole lot more filling inside the ones from this bakery…

Aloha Bakery beef pie filling

…and even at RM5.00 each, RM3.50 for the ones in Sibu, I do think this is more value for money especially considering that they are a lot more substantial and beef is a whole lot more expensive here than chicken.

I did not manage to go round much this time around but I guess it is pretty obvious that I sure did not go home empty-handed.

Next stop…

After my brief tour around the shops at Jalan Gambir in Kuching, I went back to India Street where I saw this interesting stall selling all kinds of curios…

Inida Street stall

…but because it was rather congested with people walking to and fro on the five-foot way, I did not linger to really look at what they had in store.

I stopped by the mamak makan shop there, the Jubilee Restaurant, for a cold drink of water and I saw that they had pasembur or what we call Indian rojak here…

Jubilee rojak tamby

…so I ordered a plate to try. It was all right, not something I would go out of my way for but I guess we are more accustomed to our own version of the Indian rojak, aka rojak Kassim after the guy who started it all (originally at Kok Cheng, directly opposite the one-time Cathay Cinema – the daughter-in-law is there now) which is more like gado gado than pasembur. I hear he is running his stall in Kuching now, somewhere around Palm Road but I did not have the chance to go and check it out.

I noticed that they were selling some pineapple jam tarts exactly like those that my cousin gave me once at RM20 for a plastic jar of those. There was no label though and the jam did look a little dry. I remember the ones my cousin gave me were from that lane on the other side of the road so I made my way there and found the place – the One Jade Bakery…

One Jade Bakery

…at Kai Joo Lane. I grabbed all that they had (RM18.00 a jar)…

Pineapple jam tarts

…so I could give to family and friends back in Sibu and after that, I headed to the Aloha delicatessen.bakery

Aloha Bakery 1

…at Jalan Song…

Aloha Bakery 2

…because once, a cousin of mine gave me the chicken quiche from here and my girl loved it to bits so my main intention in going there was to get those to cart home for her. Unfortunately, there were only two left (RM3.00 each)…

Aloha chicken quiche

…so in the end, I decided to buy the meat (beef) pies as well, three of them (Can’t remember the price but I vaguely remember seeing RM6.00 each on the price tag)…

Aloha meat pies

No, no, they were perfect but I had a hard time using the tongs provided to try and get the pies and put them on my plate and I ended scratching the “face” of one of them. In the end, I just had to use my hand! Tsk! Tsk!

Next was a pit stop at what I think is called RH Plaza, the shops in front of the hotel where I had stayed a few times before. Unfortunately, almost all the stalls were closed – maybe they all close on Tuesdays, I wouldn’t know – except for a few isolated ones so in the end, I decided to just have something from this stall (RM1.40 for 2 pieces)…

Apam balik stall

– the very nice and very crispy apam balik with a special request for extra butter and peanut (add an additional 30 sen)…

Apam balik glass case

…to tide me over…

Apam balik

…till around 2.00 p.m. when I would go for something that I had in mind.

You’ll have to come back tomorrow to see what that is in my next post. Stick around!!!