Think of me…

I had just had my lunch that day and had gone upstairs to have a nap when I heard a car at our gate. I was already horizontal so I did not bother to get up and see.

I checked my Messenger via Facebook and saw a message from Daisy, an ex-student of mine. She said that she was at the bakery in my neighbourhood when she thought of me so she picked up something for me for Chinese New Year from her, her hubby, also my ex-student and their son, Ian…and their mum, a retired teacher like me – she gave me the mint and oregano that are growing so well in my garden.

When I got up later, I went and had a look…

Louis Bakery

It sure looked like the people at the bakery had started stocking up on cakes and cookies for sale for Chinese New Year…

New Year 2021

Daisy had bought me a prune layer cake…

Prune layer cake

I have seen those pop-up ads on Facebook advertising the ones from Lavender in KL. My good friend, Mandy, bought me one once, without the prunes, and it was very nice.

I cut two thin slices from both ends and divided them into smaller slices so all of us in the house could try…

Louis Bakery kek lapis prune

Yes, it was very good – moist, not dry and hard and best of all, not sweet. We all loved it but I’m keeping the rest till Chinese New Year. At least, we’ll have cake, pineapple tarts, keropok and acar, come Chinese New Year.

Thank you so so so much, Daisy, and all in the family. That was so very sweet of you! May God bless you all abundantly in this coming Year of the Ox!

LOUIS BAKERY LW.Pattisserie (2.316411, 111.839847) is located along Jalan Ruby in the same block of shops as Kim Tak Co., right next to Ah Kau Cafe at the end of the block to the left.

Give it all to me…

I think I did mention in an earlier post that my missus tried her hand at making chai kueh

Own homemade chai kueh

She did not have any problem with the filling, largely made up of sengkuang/mangkuang (turnip/jicama) and carrot but her first attempt at making the skin failed. Thankfully, she tried again and it turned out really well. We sure enjoyed the fruit of her labour and I dare say that hers can give all those outside a run for their money. Unfortunately, she did not mince her words when she said that it was terribly work-intensive and she would never want to make them again.

It certainly looks like I would have no choice but to go back to that bakery again whenever we feel like eating chai kueh. Of course, it is easier said than done as it seems that they are always sold out! An ex-student/Facebook friend shared some photos of the rose-shaped ones (with meat) and was grumbling that they were in no way shaped like chai kueh as he would know them to be. I told him about the ones with hay bee (dried prawns)…

Big Thumb chai kueh, hay bee

…and he went back the very next day to buy those. He mentioned in his Facebook page that he went after 8.00 a.m. and there were only two packs left.

That was why I decided to go early on Saturday morning, way before 8. The bakery was open but the counter was bare. They did not have any at the time. I went for a bite to eat and came back one more time. Much to my delight, I saw two plastic bags on the counter, one with 5 packs of the hay bee chai kueh and the other with 5 of the ones with meat. Of course I told the girl to give it ALL to me, RM50.00 altogether! The ones with hay bee are RM4.50 a pack and the ones with meat, RM5.50.

We had some that day and yes, it…

Big Thumb chai kueh

…was very nice and I kept the rest in Tupperware containers to store in the fridge so we can easily heat up and enjoy some other day.

No wonder they are all sold out so quickly. Obviously, the lady making them only sends over a limited number of packs. I was told that she does not send any on Sundays as the bakery opens late and opens for half a day only and on Wednesdays as well. That means you can only get them on Mondays and Tuesdays and on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

BIG THUMB BAKERY (2.293889, 111.826492) is located at No.71-73, Jalan Tuanku Osman.

Doing well…

I dropped by this bakery one afternoon at around 3.00 p.m. and my attention was drawn to the chai kueh on the counter. There were two packs…

Big Thumb chai kueh 1

…left. I asked the lady (not the younger tanned one) manning the cashier’s till whether they were any good and she nonchalantly replied that they were all right. She sounded so unenthusiastic that I actually thought they were not nice but I went ahead and bought the two packs, anyway.

Much to my delight, when I steamed them to eat, I found that they were really good…

Big Thumb chai kueh 2

Everyone loved them but we never did go back to buy more. My sis told me that she did go and buy, after hearing my fave review, and yes, she loved it too!

It so happened that we went for lunch one afternoon at a restaurant in the vicinity that day and since the bakery was around a hundred metres away, after we had had our fill, we stopped by there to see if we could grab hold of those most delightful chai kueh.

I waited in the car while my girl and the mum went in but when they came back, they bought a few things but no, they did not manage to get any chai kueh. The girl at the shop told them that she was puzzled as to why out of the blue, the hay bee (udang kering/dried prawns) ones started to sell so well. Just a few hours in the morning and they would all be sold out!

Anyway, the girl suggested buying these…

Big Thumb chai kueh, meat 1

– what she called “the meat ones“. They cost RM1.00 more and yes, I did see them the first time around – there were a few packs still on the counter but they did not look like anything I had eaten before so I did not bother to buy any.

The ladies bought two packs and we tried them…

Big Thumb chai kueh, meat 2

…for tea that afternoon and boy, oh boy!!! It was also very very very nice!!!

Inside, there was a bit of meat and some vegetables, including a bit of salted vegetables…

Big Thumb chai kueh, meat 3

…and we all agreed that the combination gave it a very delightful taste.

My girl is of the opinion that I should not blog about these as they may start selling like hot cakes as well and in the end, everytime we drop by, they would be all sold out! Ah well!!! Never mind! As they say, good things must be shared – we just have to drop by a whole lot earlier so as not to be disappointed.

In the meantime, she and the mum went and tried making their own…

Own-made chai kueh

…that day and much to their delight, they came out really good – they were absolutely delicious. The first attempt at making the skin did not turn out right so they had to do it another time. It was thinner, more translucent than most of those sold outside but it sure looked like a whole lot of work though – I think we would just go out and buy when we feel like eating this!

BIG THUMB BAKERY (2.293889, 111.826492) is located at No.71-73, Jalan Tuanku Osman.

Hot cakes

This place…

Plastic bag

…sure needs no introduction as it appears that everyone seems to know about it.

It is located right beside a budget hotel…

Huong Hiong Confectionary

…with all the big hotels all around in that same area and visitors to Sibu would always stop there to buy the lung ngor/kay nerng kor (egg cake) and declare that theirs are the best in town.

I’ve tried them before but no, I was not all that impressed – personally, I do prefer the ones…

Dewan Suarah shop lung ngor

here. Some people did say that I would have to eat them piping hot from the oven – only then would I be able to taste how nice theirs are.

I had the impression that they started off as a small shop (with a different name)…

Humble beginning?

…right beside the celebrated dianpianngu place in town and then they opened this branch here but some insist they are not the same people, I wouldn’t know. Not too long ago, I noticed that they had rented a small place beside the TOTO shop a stone’s throw away and there were some Muslim ladies there doing the baking and I did see them transporting the fruits of their labour to the shop on the other side.

Well, it so happened that somebody treated my sister to one of their paos (steamed buns) and she loved it so much that she rushed there to buy but unfortunately, they were all sold out. Yes, they have gone into making paos now, chicken ones as this is a pork-free place and many of their employees are Muslims – this way, they would be able to sell their stuff to everyone regardless of race or religion.

Finally, the other day, my sister stopped by at around 7.00 a.m. in the morning and managed to buy some from them – the char siew pao (RM2.00 each)…

Huong Hiong char siew pao

…and the bak pao (RM2.00 each)…

Huong Hiong bak pao

The latter had egg inside, one-eighth of it unlike others where they give one-sixteenth or sometimes, you only realise there is egg in the bun when you see traces of the yolk in the filling.

Yes, both were very nice and I liked how they had chunks of meat inside – I hate those made with minced meat and whatever else that they press into a ball or a patty and wrap that inside the pao. My missus, for one, would not eat those. The skin was very nice too so all things considered, I sure wouldn’t mind going there to buy sometimes…but of course, I would have to go real early. Word has it that they sell like hot cakes and will all be sold out in a couple of hours!

Huong Hiong Confectionary 芳香(詩巫)餅家 is located off Jalan Bengkel, beside Victoria Inn on one side and the circular building (the SEDC Medan Niaga Tanahmas) that houses all the Malay stalls on the other, to the right of the New Capital Restaurant.

The day after today…

Last Thursday, the 17th of September, was my girl’s actual birthday. I am quite sure I’ve mentioned it before that as a result of a blunder on the part of the registration people, when we got the birth certificate, it was stated in it that the following day, the 18th, was the date of birth. We just left it like that and did not bother to get it rectified.

For reasons unknown, my missus went and ordered a cake from Marcus…

Marcus' birthday cake for Melissa

…to be collected on Friday afternoon and because of that, we did not plan any kind of celebration for Thursday. After all, it was a working day and so was the day after.

Actually, a few of her colleagues invited her out for dinner on Tuesday night (Wednesday was a public holiday) and there was cake and they gave her a present too – that was really sweet, so very nice of them. That is one thing that I am not accustomed to these days. In my time, if it was my birthday, I would throw a party and invite my friends to come and celebrate. It seems that they do not do that anymore. They would just wait for somebody to arrange a celebration and invite the birthday celebrant…so if nobody does that, then the special day will just go by unnoticed. So sad and so strange!

Come Thursday, the actual day, in keeping with our tradition and to preserve our cultural heritage, I went and bought a “phua chai kay” (mixed breed chicken) which, I feel, tastes a whole lot nicer than the regular ones. My missus cooked it in the traditional Foochow red wine and ginger soup and we had mee sua (string or thread longevity noodles) for lunch that day, with hard boiled eggs, of course. We couldn’t have it first thing in the morning as she would have to be in school by 6.00 a.m. to help with the SOP and what not.

The day after that day, Friday, after my missus had collected the cake – my girl wanted the blueberry – we had the cake-cutting at home and had it for tea. Needless to say, it was very very nice, simply the best, second to none. I would say that his cakes can easily put all those from the new and trendy bakeries to shame.

My brother-in-law, her uncle, and his wife sent the curry puffs from Farley, our favourite in town…

Farley curry puff

…oven-baked, with the lovely shortcrust pastry and the very nice butter cake that can give the celebrated Mita ones from Kuching…

Mita Cake

…a run for the money except that theirs is smaller but they are only RM6.00 a loaf and my sister, her aunt and godmother, also sent presents to the house. Of course, we asked them to join us when we went out for dinner that night.

At the dinner, we brought along the cake that her good friend gave her…

Melissa's birthday cake from Dayang

from this bakery and we had another round of cake-cutting there.

I sure am glad to say that my girl’s birthday did not go by unnoticed – that would be very sad, wouldn’t it?. Do stick around – I shall be blogging about the dinner in tomorrow’s post.

You can order a special homemade MARCUS’ CAKE via telephone at 084-311333 and collect it on the day at the time agreed upon from his house at No. 6B. Lorong Delta 3, Delta Estate (2.305015, 111.826185).

Best in the west…

That morning, when I had the fried kway teow with prawns and cockles here, I saw some nice colourful boxes placed on a table by the side. When I was done, I walked over to have a look.

They turned out to be products from this place in the west of the country, Penang, to be exact. It is listed among the 5 recommended places in this website to get your Penang local products. I saw they had the celebrated tambun biscuits and something else, I can’t quite remember now, either tau sar peah or heong peah. I don’t think it’s the latter as those would usually come in big foil packs, not small dainty boxes.

However, it was this box that caught my attention, the only one left…

Ban Heang

– their box of mooncakes…

Ban Heang mooncakes

It seems you can buy direct online from them…

Ban Heang details

…or via those online shopping websites like Lazada and Shopee. The thing is I got that box for only RM20.00 but it costs more online and if I am not wrong, the prices stated do not include shopping/postal charges.

The lady rattled through all the six different flavours of the mooncakes and I only managed to catch three – the one in the middle on the left was lotus paste…

Ban Heang mooncake lotus paste

…and on the right, there was or tao sar (red bean paste) at the top and durian…

Ban Heang mooncake, durian

…at the bottom.

That was why I shared the photograph of the mooncakes on Facebook to seek the help of all and sundry. The response was swift and I got all the information I wanted in no time at all. At the top on the left was the coconut and at the bottom, pandan/jade. The one in the middle on the right was white coffee.

Thankfully, they were inexpensive, quite affordable unlike the others that we get from the peninsula but generally, we were not impressed as most were rather hard and dry except for the pandan/jade. Surprisingly, the one that I thought I would like the least – the coconut and left till last turned out to be the nicest of the lot. The pandan-flavoured (green colour) grated coconut inside was not hard, not dry and tasted very nice.

The lady said this box was the last one but if anyone is interested in the other products from this renowned bakery in Penang, there were some still available at the time, dunno now.

BAN HEANG (M) Sdn. Bhd. (萬香餅家) is located at No. 200, Macalister Road in Penang and you may get some of their products here at GRAND WONDERFUL FOOD COURT (2.309601, 111.845163) which is located along Jalan Pipit, off Jalan Dr Wong Soon Kai, on your left just before the Petronas petrol station a short distance from Delta Mall. You can also go in via Lorong Pipit 4, turning left into the lane at the junction where Starbucks Sibu is located and go straight ahead from there.

It’s so good…

I went to this bakery in the centre of town that day because I wanted to buy the mee sua.

Sure we have a lot at the shops round the corner from my house, factory packed in plastic with all kind of brands or those nameless ones sold in plastic bags. I usually buy one of those, some are good, some are all right and some may chao hoon – they have that stale smell of flour that has gone a bit off and of course, I would avoid those.

I never bought any from this bakery though and I did not know how it got into my pantry and I only saw it when it was about to expire at the end of the month. We probably got it from my sister for somebody’s birthday – they would give us the chicken soup plus the noodles and the eggs, uncooked and we probably had our own mee sua at the time so we just cooked our own.

I bought two big packs, expiring at the end of March next year – that should last for quite a while and at the same time, I grabbed two packs of these honey puffs…

Big Thumb Bakery honey puffs

…that my girl enjoys a lot. Oh? No butter in those? Never mind! They taste really great and are soft and cushiony…

Big Thumb Bakery honey puffs - inside

They should be a bit careful when placing them on the racks after baking though as those lines look rather unsightly…

Big Thumb Bakery honey puffs - lines

– they never had those before, always nice and smooth and round, absolutely perfect.

I also bought this flavour…

Big Thumb bakery mango chiffon

…and it was good too. They have durian as well but I don’t think anybody in the house would enjoy that.

I bought their bak pao (steamed meat bun) with egg (RM2.30)…

Big Thumb Bakery bak pao with egg

once at their branch in Ulu Sg Merah, RM2.00 each only at the time and the filling sure looked a whole lot nicer. It was all right, still, a little peppery but nice – the egg was definitely a lot bigger than what you can find in paos all around town but no, I did not think it was anything to get me going back for more.

The char siew pao (RM2.00)…

Big Thumb Bakery char siew pao

… was nicer but smaller and did not have any egg inside. Wowww!!! That was only RM1.40 ten years ago in 2010. Personally, if I were to pay the same, RM2.00 each, I would much sooner go for the dim sum-like char siew paos from here – same price and so much nicer!

I saw these packs of chai kueh (RM4.50 for a pack of 5, 90 sen each)…

Big Thumb Bakery chai kueh

…on the counter beside the cash register and I asked the old lady manning the counter if they made those themselves but she said no – they were homemade and left there for sale. I asked her if they were good and she unconvincingly replied that they were quite all right.

My girl loves these but we do not get very good ones here – the skin especially is not quite there and they are never generous with the filling. Anyway, I decided to buy and try and there were two packs left so I took both.

I tried one when I got home and was VERY impressed. My missus tried TWO and started praising them to the skies. My girl was going out with some friends for dinner and did not want to try so I put them in the fridge and steamed them…

Big Thumb Bakery chai kueh, steamed

…for breakfast the next morning. The skin was so soft and smooth, so translucent that one can see the filling inside so clearly and there was hay bee (udang kering/dried prawns) in the filling too, not too much and too over-powering like the ones my cousin brought for me me once from Kuching – more like those Lulu Nyonya Kueh ones in KL that I enjoyed very much too, definitely a whole lot nicer than these more expensive ones that I bought from another bakery here – those aren’t worth a try even, I assure you.

I had another one that morning and I dunno how many the mum had but when my girl woke up and was through with it, there was none left. In her own words, “Now we know where to go and buy very nice chai kueh!”

BIG THUMB BAKERY (2.293889, 111.826492) is located at No.71-73, Jalan Tuanku Osman.

That day will come…

Yes, it will come in around two weeks’ time – the Mooncake Festival or the Mid-Autumn or Lantern Festival, on the 1st of October this year.

I guess everyone has been busy buying or making and enjoying eating those mooncakes for sometime now.  I did go out and buy those made-in-Sarikei pek guek tong chiew (8th Month Autumn) Foochow Mooncake Festival biscuits…

Foochow pek guek tong chiew pia

…and thankfully, my favourite brand still mengandungi lemak babi (contains pork fat/lard) even though one can hardly detect it in the biscuits these days and thankfully, the price has not gone up – it’s still the same as last year.

For one thing, without the fat, not only is it not fragrant but it will be kind of hard, probably because of the sugar. Other than that, it also lacks the fragrance and taste of kacang (peanut) and sesame but the consolation is it still tastes all right. Many have complained that their favourite brands, for reasons unknown, no longer contain lard so of course, they are all so disappointed. I hear there is a really good one in Miri but during these troubled days and times, I guess I will not get the chance to try those.

I have not seen these very nice affordable ones at my regular fruit and food shop in the next lane but my girl did buy me a pack of pretty nice ones, lotus paste, made in Johore. As a matter of fact, I have not gone out to look around at what is available this year and what the prices are like this time around.

In the meantime, my sister dropped by my house that day and gave me this…

Sweet Factory mooncake 1

…from this bakery here, selling at only RM3.80 each.

I don’t know what those Mandarin characters on the box say but it looked like those Shanghai mooncakes just that the pastry was not layered and flaky. Having said that, I must say that I did enjoy it a lot more with its delightful taste and it was crumbly, not hard, and inside, there were salted egg yolk and meat floss wrapped in red bean paste or at least, that was what I thought it was…

Sweet Factory mooncake 1, inside

…nothing like anything I’ve tried before and yes, it was really very nice. I sure would not mind dropping by there one of these days to buy some more.

This was another one…

Sweet Factory mooncake 2

…from that same bakery, also RM3.80 each and yes, it was nice too – pandan lotus paste with red bean paste and salted egg yolk inside…

Sweet Factory mooncake 2, inside

…but between the two, I think I liked the former more.

Well, there is still sometime left before the festival, still time to go around and see what they have this year. Who knows I may stumble upon some really nice and affordable ones.

SWEET FACTORY is located right next door to NIANG JIA, formerly LADOREE CAFE & EVENTS (2.302891, 111.842997), at Wisma Liberty, Lot 4047, Block 3, Jalan Pedada (now Jalan Dr. Wong Soon Kai). There are a few tables by the side for anyone thinking of having tea there.

Painted…

I was at this food court here…

Grand Wonderful Food Court

…that day for something else and while I was there, one particular stall caught my attention.

Instead of photographs like all the rest, they had hand-painted pictures…

Calvin's Bakery, Grand Wonderful Food Court

…of the buns they were selling. As a matter of fact, never before had I come across a stall in a coffee shop or a food court selling nothing but buns, baked on the spot…

Chocolate Bun, Calvin's Bakery

No, I did not buy that chocolate bun but I did ask for a few of their garlic bread (60 sen each)…

Calvin's Bakery garlic bread

…which looked and tasted like my favourite here which made me wonder whether these two young guys at this stall were the guy’s apprentices before or they worked at the hotel where he was before he branched out on his own…or they came from the same baking school.

I also bought their polo buns (RM2.00)…

Calvin's Bakery polo bun

…to try. Believe you me, I did not know what that was but now I do – it is a type of sweet bread, very popular in Hong Kong, Macau and Japan. I asked the boys and one of them told me that it had milk butter filling inside…

Polo bun, filling

…and yes. I thought it was really nice.

I also grabbed two of their Mexican coffee buns (RM2.00 each)…

Calvin's Bakery Mexican coffee bun

…or what they call roti boy here in Malaysia. I used to love them so much and would buy on a regular basis but I had not done so for a long time now. Come to think of it, I do not see it much around these days – I guess it had done its time. Once it was so popular that everywhere you went, be it at a mall or some hawker centre, you would catch the fragrance of the coffee from the stall baking and selling them. I loved the coffee crust on top and inside the soft bun, there was that same milk butter filling as in the polo bun.

I certainly would want to go back again to see what else they have and I probably would want to try this next time, the one with all the melon seeds…

Calvin's Bakery melon seed bun

…that I did not buy that day.

STOP PRESS:
Oh dear! I went back to the food court the following day as I did not buy enough to go round and was hoping to grab some more of the delightful buns. Much to my surprise, the stall was closed!!! I asked the lady at the next stall and she said that they had moved back – they were here only temporarily while their actual place, somewhere in the Medan Mall area, was under renovation…wherever that may be. Sigh!!!!!

Some good…

I saw this tiramisu classique (RM9.90)…

C & C Gallery tiramisu classique

…at this bakery once but when I wanted to buy it for dessert for our Father’s Day dinner in June, they were not available when I dropped by.

I was in the vicinity that morning and I went in to see if I could get anything nice for afternoon tea that day and yes, I spotted it in the glass display cabinet. I think there was only one left so I grabbed it right away. It was very very nice…

C & C Gallery tiramisu classique, sliced

– I sure would want to buy it for dessert the next time we have dinner in the house again on some special occasion.

The mango Swiss roll (RM10.00)…

C & C Gallery mango Swiss roll

…however, was, at best, just all right – I’m afraid it did not sweep me off my feet. I did not quite like how the cake was so very fine and dense…

C & C Gallery mango Swiss roll, sliced

When it comes to Swiss rolls, I sure prefer the ones here plus they only cost RM6.80 each, so much cheaper.

I was quite sure I bought their Macau Portuguese egg tart (RM3.00)…

C & C Gallery Macau Portuguese egg tart

…before but I could not remember why I did not like it. My girl does not like egg tarts but she enjoys these Portuguese ones so I grabbed a few for her to try.

When I took one…

C & C Gallery Macau Portuguese egg tart, inside

…to eat, the reason came back to me as clear as day. I did not like the pastry which was like some kind of bread, croissant perhaps. The pastry for Portuguese egg tarts should be different from that in the regular egg tarts – it should be thin and crispy and flaky puff pastry like the ones here but unfortunately, for reasons unknown, that place has closed down for some time now. The people there did not seem all that keen to talk about it.

But to give credit where credit is due, the lightly-torched custard egg filling was very nice, very rich and creamy and much nicer than the ones in all the egg tarts I have had here.

They labelled these as their crystal skin something, shui jing cai (RM1.25 each, RM2.50 for a pack of two)…

C & C Gallery crystal skin chai kueh

…in their cashier’s receipt. I don’t know what crystal skin is but like snow skin (mooncakes), I did not quite like what they had for these chai kueh – they felt jelly-like and I would much sooner go for our old school traditional chai kueh skin…

old school chai kueh

…as long as it is not hard and rubbery.

The filling inside…

C & C Gallery chai kueh filling

…wasn’t anything to shout about either.

On the other hand, I sure enjoyed this pulut inti (RM1.20 each)…

Pulut inti, inside

…a lot! I like how they used half a toothpick to hold the banana leaf together…

Pulut inti, toothpick

…unlike those at the Malay kuih stalls where they would just use a stapler and if one is not careful, the staple might just fall in.

I sure would love to buy this…

Pulut inti

…should I happen to stop by the bakery again.

C & C GALLERY is located at Lot 62 at the extreme end of the block of shops to the right of Delta Mall, back entrance.