Wasn’t it good…

Yes, it was good, our dinner last Sunday, Father’s Day, but of course, it would not be complete if we did not have any dessert.

My girl made me this very nice baked Japanese cheese cake…

Melissa's baked Jaapnese cheese cake

…with a hint of lime for me on Friday but it was not very big and there was nothing left of it by the following day so I decided to go out and buy something we could have for dessert instead.

I dropped by this bakery because I could remember they had tiramisu made in individual servings so it would be quite convenient for me to just buy 4. Unfortunately, when I got there, there was nothing in the display cabinet nor in the fridge – they were all filled with cakes, cakes and more cakes for Father’s Day. The trouble was they were not labelled and there wasn’t anybody I could ask.

Another thing that pissed me off was there were a lot of people and there was no effort whatsoever to observe the SOP. Yes, there were lines on the floor and arrows to tell you to go one way and out the other way for social distancing, not that anybody seemed bothered about it. There was this loud woman who cut in front of me in the queue at the cashier’s counter to ask about something and I glared angrily at her – alarmed, she stepped back a bit but kept on talking in her shrill, high-pitched voice to the staff from a distance. Some people are simply so uncouth, NCAA (no class at all)!

I wanted to buy some dinner rolls too as my girl said she would not be cooking any pasta but I did not feel like walking around the small shop to look for those, not with that kind of crowd around, so I just grabbed some croissants (RM3.00 each)…

C & C Gallery croissants

…instead. I did buy the ones from here a few times before and yes, they were very nice – very flaky and had that pleasant buttery fragrance.

I still had not bought anything for dessert so I went to the bakery opposite. There were not that many people inside, maybe two or three besides me, and there were a whole lot of cakes in the display cabinet and the fridge here too. One very nice lady came up to me and gave her suggestions as to which I could buy even though most of them, if not all, were labelled nicely.

They had one baked Japanese cheese cake, with icing, but I thought it was a too big and in the end, I picked this one, their tiramisu (RM48.00)…

WeLove Bakery tiramisu

…which much to our delight, turned out to be really very good, nicer than the vanilla blueberry that I bought from this same place for Mother’s Day.

Well, when my sister came that evening, she brought along some cut fruit – papaya and this tub of ice cream, their almond pecan passion…

La Cremeria almond pecan passion

…and yes, it was very nice! All of us loved it! We all enjoyed the summer berries yogurt a lot that day and that prompted my missus to grab two more flavours after that – their hazelnut chocolate fantasy and their vanilla cashew delight but unfortunately, we were not all that impressed by the two – nothing that would make them stand out above the rest. Now, there is just the mint temptation that I have not tried yet and word has it that it is very good – I’ll surely grab a tub if I happen to see it at the shops.

As they say, all’s well that ends well! We sure enjoyed the desserts that night and to wrap up the great celebration, my girl went to that supermarket here that imports stuff from countries all over the world and bought me these shortbread and made-in-Poland cookies…

Shortbread & cookies from my girl

…to enjoy. Walkers, of course, needs no introduction and is getting MIGHTY expensive these days, Butterfingers from Australia are more affordable and just as nice. Needless to say, I shall have to nibble slowly to stretch these for as long as I can – they’re too costly to eat the way I used to, finished in no time at all. LOL!!!

C&C Gallery (2.311247, 111.846177) is located at No.24, Lot 62, Jalan Dr Wong Soon Kai among the shops in Pusat Pedada at the extreme end of the block of shops to the right of Delta Mall, back entrance and WeLove BAKERY, Pedada outlet (2.311098, 111.846125) is located at the corner shoplot, back to back with the Sugar Bun outlet in that area to the left of Delta Mall, Jalan Pedada (now Jalan Dr Wong Soon Kai) while TA KIONG EMPORIUM (2.2933,111.82713,783) is located at No. 42-46, Jalan Tuanku Osman.

It’s not right for you…

I dropped by this bakery in town to buy their pineapple cookies…

Big Thumb ong lai ko

At one time, people coming back from Taiwan would cart boxes and boxes home to give to family and friends. I used to buy a lot of those too once, come every Chinese New Year, as it would be an auspicious gift for the occasion, ong meaning king or good luck in Hokkien and ong lai (pineapple) seems to denote that the (Heavenly) King  or good luck is coming. I guess that is why they call it…

Prosperity cookies

However, when I got home, I noticed that there was no halal logo on the box which would mean that it would not be right to give it to my Muslim relatives and friends for Hari Raya. In the end, I decided to just keep the boxes that I had bought to eat myself or give to some other people.

I asked the lady how many there were inside and she said they were 6, 6 big ones and she added that they do not make the small ones anymore…

Big and small

I was not sure how big the big ones were but since she said that, I guessed I had no choice and bought the number of boxes that I wanted. They are RM18.00 a box now – it used to be around RM10.00 when they first came into the scene. Obviously, good luck comes at a price, not something cheap and definitely not for free.

When I opened a box, much to my delight, there were these small ones…

Small ones

…inside and yes, they were still very nice but no, they looked very different from when they first started making them in 2014 or maybe, those were the big ones, I wouldn’t know.

The pastry was nice and crumbly and the pineapple jam filling was moist, not hard and dry…

Lovely pastry and jam filling

I suppose if I am not giving them to anybody, I can just enjoy these myself slowly – at that price, I don’t think I shall, for no obvious reason, be buying them again.

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

Like any other day…

Last Sunday, the 26th of April, was my brother-in-law’s 67th birthday.

Every year, without fail, his daughter, my niece, working in Singapore would come home and we would go out for dinner to celebrate his special day but of course, this was not possible with the MCO partial lockdown this year. His daughter could not come home and no, we did not go out for dinner – all the restaurants are closed while some may be open for takeaways only.

No, we did not let it go by unnoticed…like any other day. My missus cooked his favourite chicken curry…

Chicken curry

…for him to enjoy and she also fried another of his favourite, omelette with lap cheong (Chinese sausage)…

Omelette with Chinese sausage

…too and when she sent the stuff over, my girl and I asked her to pass our ang paos to the birthday boy.

Coincidentally, their younger brother, the youngest in the family of four children, also celebrated his birthday on that very same day but being so far away – all the way in Bintulu, there was nothing much we could do – my missus did give him a call to extend our birthday wishes, that was all.

A few days later, my brother-in-law dropped by our house to give us these curry puffs…

Curry puffs from Farley

our favourite from Farley and also their banana cake and butter cake…

Banana cake and butter cake from Farley

…to reciprocate for the birthday treats and the ang paos. We thought the puff were not as nice as the ones before – it did not even look as nice. Maybe the one who used to make them had left…or had not been able to go to work owing to the lockdown and somebody had taken his place.

Anyway, thank you so much, David and a Happy Birthday once again to you two, the Ho Brothers. God bless always, cheers!!!

FARLEY BAKERY (2.265953, 111.863621) is located at the back of their supermarket/departmental store complex at No. 11, Lor Salim 17 off Jalan Salim and Jalan Tun Ahmad Zaidi Adruce.

Ain’t doin’ too bad…

It’s already the 1st of May today – this MCO (Movement Control Order)/partial lockdown started in mid-March so soon it will be two months already.

How’s everyone coping? As for me here, I must say that I ain’t doing too badly, not at all. Sibu has been declared a green zone, not that it changes anything, of course. As far as possible, I still would not venture out – stay safe, stay home! And when I do, I would use a mask, practise social distancing, use santisers and alcohol pads and so on and so forth.

For one thing, I save quite a lot of money, at least RM1K a month, on lottery tickets, eating out and on petrol. That day, I went to the petrol station to top up – I guess they missed me as they had not seen me since the last time before the lockdown…and I only had to fork out less than RM30. In the past, it would be RM50-60 each time, once a week, more or less and double that when my girl was teaching in the school in the jungle. The price of petrol has tumbled but nobody ain’t going nowhere much these days – how ironic!

Sometimes I do wonder how everybody is doing and of course, I would be hoping and praying that all are well. There are the  regulars on Facebook, always active so I would know they are all right but there was one dear friend that I hardly get to see or hear from since she closed down her Thai restaurant, our favourite. It sure was a pleasant surprise when she messaged me the other day to tell me she was on my way to my house to pass me this beautiful gluten-free chocolate cake…

Gluten-free chocolate cake from Mary & daughter

…that her daughter, I think this one’s Axia, made. Two of them are here with her and one is in Adelaide, Australia. Isn’t that so sweet of her to remember me especially at a time like this?

She also gave me these fresh vegetables…

Fresh vegetables from Mary's garden

…from her garden. How I wish I had planted a lot more vegetables in my garden, other than my Brazilian spinach. I did have sweet potato leaves too before but eventually, I got rid of them as they were crawling all over the place. I have a lot of herbs and things we use for cooking but we can’t eat those, not on their own as a vegetable dish. Thank you so so much, Mary and also to your girl!

Well, I went out the other day to go to the bank and since this coffee shop was right across the road, I drove over and bought a dozen of their salted egg bak chang

Sin Kiaw salted egg bak chang

…to keep in the fridge and steam to enjoy for breakfast. For one thing, I am getting a bit tired of fried rice and noodles so this would be a welcome change and besides, after I saw zmun2 blogging about the ones she had that day and here too, I was already craving for them and when my friend, Louis, in Kuching, for reasons unknown, declared on Facebook that he was thinking of eating those dumplings, that was the last straw that broke the camel’s back – I simply HAD to get those enjoy and so I did (…and I was not the only one who did that!).

They are RM5.50 now though – when I had it the last time at the coffee shop, it was only RM5.00 each. I also bought a pack of their Foochow sio bee, frozen, to keep for days when we may feel like having them or when we have nothing to eat.

I also went next door, since I was there already, to buy 10 of their very nice char siew pao (RM2.00 each)…

Hong Kong Puff char siew pao

…to store in the fridge and eat slowly for breakfast as well.

My cousins in Kuching were sharing photographs on Facebook of the chicken pies their mum made and I was thinking that perhaps, I could make some too. It had been a while since I made any pies but in the end, on my way back home that morning, I stopped by this bakery here to buy the very nice ones…

Aroma Bakery chicken pie

…that they are selling. It’s RM4.20 now – a long long time ago, when they first started baking them, they were only RM2.80 each.

Now I have a lot of things in the fridge to last for quite a while, maybe even till after the 12th of May – hopefully, all this will end then and we can start picking up the pieces and get on with our lives once more. Enough is enough!

SIN KIAW CAFE (2.291287, 111.826611) is located along Ramin Way, the first shop on your right as you turn in from Jalan Kampung Nyabor, right behind the petrol station located at the bend and HONG KONG PUFF is right next door, to the left while AROMA BAKERY (2.311151, 111.831515) is located at No. 36 (G/F), Taman Damai along Jalan Dewan Suarah, the second shop in the block on your right as you enter from Jalan Melur, after the Maju Tyre shop.

Better than all the rest…

My favourite kaya (coconut jam) is the made-in-Singapore Glory Brand, the pandan flavour. Incidentally, kaya in Malay means rich so if you are a multi-millionaire, you are a very rich man, orang kaya. It seems that kaya is also used to describe food as in kaya dengan Vitamin C, rich in Vitamin C and in the case of our local coconut jam, it probably derived its name from its richness which depends on the amount of santan (coconut milk) used in the making.

It so happened that I wanted to buy some kaya the other day but I could not find any at the neighbourhood shop – usually, they would stock up on a lot of bottles of the brand I like there. I went around looking for some good kaya – there were some Singapore-made ones at the supermarket near my house, not cheap, of course but I did not feel like buying those and no, I would not give those made in some places in West Malaysia a second glance. For one thing, they are all so green so I wonder how much of that is artificial colouring.

I stopped by this bakery and I saw that they were selling their own-made kaya

C&C Gallery kaya

…at RM5.00 a tub.

Of course, I had to buy some bread to eat it with and these days, I love toasting my bread with those grill pans, the one with lines so the toast would have lines on them…

Toast

…nicely toasted but not all brown and hard, lightly crusty on the outside, still soft on the inside.

I applied some butter on the toast, followed a generous layer of the kaya

Kaya & butter on toast

Wowww!!! It was so so so nice!

It was like that extra-lemak green layer on the nyonya kuih, the serimuka – the special homemade ones that I had in Kuching that had so much coconut milk and egg that it was not hard, not so firm, very wobbly…but absolutely out of this world! You can tell from its light green colour that a lot of santan went into the making, no artificial colouring, just pandan and I could taste the egg custard in it. I don’t know how to make serimuka but one of these days, I am going to buy some pulut (glutinous rice) to cook and enjoy it with this kaya.

In the meantime, I shall have kaya toast for tea or breakfast…

Traditional Malaysian breakfast

…the traditional Malaysian way, with two half-boiled eggs!

C&C Gallery (2.311247, 111.846177) is located at No.24, Lot 62, Jalan Dr Wong Soon Kai among the shops in Pusat Pedada at the extreme end of the block of shops to the right of Delta Mall, back entrance.

I can do too…

That morning, I was walking past this coffee shop and I decided to drop by to see if there was anything at the chu-char (cook and fry) stall inside that I could tapao home. Much to my surprise, the young boys were doing all the cooking and everything. The fat guy who used to sit be the side fiddling with his smartphone and would come over to cook once the boys had got all the ingredients ready was nowhere to be seen. I asked one of them and he said that the guy had called it quits and they had taken over the business.

Incidentally, some people have taken over the kampua mee stall in front too – the photo of their tomato kway teow looks good. Perhaps I will drop by and give it a try one of these days.

I saw an alluring slab of stewed pork…

Syariket Kiong Chuong Cafe stewed pork
*Archive photo*

…so I asked for it and I requested that they packed the sauce separately.

I also bought their siew yoke

Syariket Kiong Chuong Cafe siew yoke
*Archive photo*

…and when we had that for lunch that day, my girl remarked that anytime we want to buy this, we should go here – obviously she liked it very much and enjoyed it a lot.

On my way home, I stopped by my favourite kompia shop at Rejang Park to buy some home. The lady, the mother of the young boy, was so very nice. I bought RM6.00, now 50 sen each, and without my asking, she gave me 15 pieces instead of 12. I wanted to deep fry and eat them with the stewed pork.

At most places here, they would just have them oven-toasted and fill them with minced meat but I prefer them deep fried…

Kompia, deep fried

…till golden and crusty on the outside, still nice and soft on the inside, stuffed with stewed pork belly like the nice ones here except that once, they were soaked through with oil till they were not edible and of course, I took the whole basket back and gave them a piece of my mind. The oil must be very very hot before the kompia goes in – obviously the people in the kitchen there did not pay enough attention to what they were doing that day.

My friend, Annie, in KL loves the ones here, also deep fried but they have minced meat filling. I watched the lady doing it once and I was quite sure I could do it too. She actually sliced the kompia first before deep frying. Probably that would make it easier to handle and stuff the filling as it would be very hot, straight from the wok. That was why I did the exact same thing that morning and in no time at all, everything was ready…

Ready to serve

Yes, everybody enjoyed it very much including my girl who had two for breakfast…

Deep fried kompia with stewed pork belly filling

…and for one who is more into bagels than kompia, that sure is saying a lot! I certainly would want to do it again sometime.

SYARIKAT KIONG CHUONG CAFE (2.291062, 111.827381) is located along Jalan Kampung Nyabor at the bend where one turns right when coming from Brooke Drive, a stone’s throw from Malaysia Hotel in the next block and SENG WAN BAKERY (2.307484, 111.836558), the kompia shop, is located at the Rejang Park shops/commercial centre facing the Rejang Park Market, back to back with Quality Cake & Bread Factory .

The simple things…

It was Rudyard Kipling who wrote, “Teach us delight in simple things…,” and I would be one who would go for those instead of following trends and spending a fortune on what everyone seems to enjoy drinking or eating…and taking selfies of themselves doing that and sharing on social media, Facebook or Instagram, for instance.

Unlike today, we did not have much – I do not recall eating paos (steamed buns) as a child but I do remember the ones with red (coloured) meat at one coffee shop, Kiaw Siong, at the corner on the right opposite the fire station in Sibu, where we would go after the church service for our weekly kampua mee treat, not that we bought it very often to enjoy – kids way back then were not so fortunate as the ones today.

The only cakes we got to enjoy were the ones my mum made come Christmas or Chinese New Year. No, we did not have birthday parties every year – I had one when I was small and another later when I was in primary school and one more when I was 20. My mum made the cake for that last one and a cousin of mine helped with the icing. I can remember the “cupcakes” at Kiaw Siong though – wrapped in red paper all around the sides and at the bottom.  It was very nice, something like what my friends got me from a bakery in Kapit but no, we did not get to enjoy that all that often, once in a blue moon, perhaps.

We had bread, the sandwich loaf, and buns with tau sar (red bean paste) filling. If I am not mistaken, there were those with coconut filling too. These days, I often buy the buns…

Buns

…from this bakery…

Lian Yu

…here, RM4.30 for 9 buns so that works out to less than 50 sen each. They do have red bean paste, butter, peanut, yam but I prefer their kaya (coconut jam)…

Kaya filling

…and they are very generous with it. The texture is not quite the same as the buns in the old days, finer and not as airy, but I guess we cannot expect everything to stay the same as time moves on.

I love their cupcakes too, only RM4.30 a pack…

Cupcakes

…with 6 inside so they are a little more than 70 sen each. I would say they are not that cheap actually but definitely a whole lot cheaper than those cakes from the modern bakeries and the ones served in the cafés here, there and everywhere.

The texture…

Texture

…is nice – soft and fine and not dry, which is more than what I would say about some trendy ones that I had had the displeasure of eating. I like the light buttery fragrance though chances are they would use some butter alternative, not real butter especially at that kind of price.

I do think this is good…

Served

…to serve as dessert at dinner parties or gatherings like the one that we had not too long ago.

I guess those more into those buns and cakes that are more fashionably acceptable, never mind that they cost a bomb, would frown on these but on my part, I am quite happy to have these simple delights in the house for tea.

LIAN YU BAKERY CAKE STORE, according to the wrapper, is located at 35A, Jalan Berjaya but I have not seen any bakery around the area of houses, houses and more houses, just a block with a shop making kway teow and somebody makes paos (steamed buns) somewhere there too, available in the mid-afternoon. However, you can easily get these buns and cakes from them as they are delivered regularly to most shops and supermarkets in town.

Always a first time…

I went back to this bakery again the other morning as when I shared the photograph of the Swiss roll on Facebook not too long ago, my foodie friend commented and said that their coconut roll was very nice.

It was just past 6.00 a.m. – VERY early but it was already open. When I went in, I spotted, among the others, one strawberry Swiss roll…

RM6.80

…so of course, I had to buy it because my girl really enjoyed it. It was a bit chilled so my guess was it was left over from the day before and they put it in the fridge overnight. That was perfectly all right by me as it was still good, still very nice though it got me wondering as to why there was a layer of white on the outside of the roll…

Strawberry with a layer of white

Perhaps that was the last one they made and there wasn’t enough of the strawberry batter and they used the vanilla one. Whatever the reason was, it did not matter one bit as it was just as good, the soft cake with the light strawberry essence fragrance, not very sweet and the salty butter cream…

Very nice

…in the middle. I could tell it was real salted butter as it had the taste and the fragrance plus it hardened when put in the fridge, not that we had to do that as it was all gone before the day was done!

I looked at what there was in the cabinets, nothing that tickled my fancy and then I saw the coconut rolls on the racks, piping hot from the oven. The baker was busy at the back but I think he noticed me and he quickly came out to see what I wanted. I asked for two of the coconut rolls (RM1.20 each)…

Coconut roll

…but I did not want any of the buns – he only had the pandan lotus, the butter and the red bean paste and I wanted the ones with the pek tao sar or mung bean paste.

Yes, the coconut roll was very nice – I could detect the nice buttery fragrance. Probably they brushed the bun batter with it before coating it with grated coconut and putting it into the oven to bake and I liked the toasted coconut and how the bun was very nice and soft.

I have seen these coconut rolls here, there and everywhere since God knows when but I never felt inclined to buy. Well, there is always a first time and I sure was glad I did.

YAT BAKERY (2.293035, 111.835887) is located along Lorong Chew Siik Hiong 1A, directly opposite Uncle Dom, at the other end of the block of shops where Sushi Tie is in the commercial centre behind the Rejang Medical Centre.

Silly…

My girl had something to send to the department’s office in Selangau so I went to the POSLAJU office near my house to do it for her. I do recall sending stuff there before and as far as I know, they did get everything in the end, no problem at all.

However, that morning, the young man at the counter told me that it would be outside their delivery area and they would redirect the mail to the General Post Office in town and the people from the office in Selangau would have to come all the way to Sibu to go there to collect. I don’t know if that was what had been happening all this while and this time around, it was addressed specifically to an officer at the office and the guy said that she would be contacted by phone and asked to collect the mail personally – somebody else from the office would not be able to get it for her.

I told him that would be so silly as if she had to come to town to get it, she could just go straight to my house and I could hand it to her, no need to pay them all that money for doing nothing. Over the years, driving to and fro between my house and my girl’s school in the jungle, I did see the POSLAJU van a few times but I did not know where it was heading, Bintulu perhaps…and as far as the van was concerned, it certainly was LAJU (fast) though I would not say the same about their service and their delivery.

Anyway, the wife of an officer at the Selangau office, an ex-student of mine, is my girl’s colleague so I asked my girl to ask her if she could pass the letter to pass to him to take to work and pass to the officer concerned…and of course, that was not a problem at all so things worked out o.k. in the end.

Well, it so happened that the other day, I decided to drop by this bakery…

Yat Bakery

…in town in the area of shops behind the medical centre where my mum used to be warded everytime she was unwell. My dad loved the buns…

Yat Bakery buns

…the ones with the pandan lotus paste filling…

Pandan lotus paste filling

…while I prefer the pek tau sar (white/mung bean paste) but these two were not easily available, always sold out.

That day, there wasn’t any of the latter left but there were two packets of the pandan lotus, RM2.20 each (probably RM2.00 only in the past), so I just grabbed them both. There were others like the red bean paste, the peanut and the butter but I was not interested in those.

In the meantime, I thought I would just buy their swiss roll for the aforementioned ex-student’s wife to show a bit of appreciation for her/their help. I remember we used to buy them before and they were very nice, RM6.80 each (maybe it was RM6.00 before) but they certainly were a lot bigger than the rest. I got her the vanilla and I decided to try the strawberry…

Yat Bakery swiss roll, strawberry

…which turned out really nice – so soft, very nice subtle fragrance of strawberry, definitely much nicer than the strawberry cakes that we bought before from the more upscale bakeries in town as far as the texture and taste went except that it did not have any fresh strawberries inside. I think should anybody’s birthday come around, I shall go here to order the cake…or I’d stick faithfully to Marcus’ – his cakes are, of course, second to none.

A friend on Facebook saw the above photograph of the swiss roll when I shared it on my timeline and he commented that their coconut roll bun was very good too – I think I did see that that day but I was never into that. Perhaps I’ll grab one to try the next time I drop by there.

YAT BAKERY (2.293035, 111.835887) is located along Lorong Chew Siik Hiong 1A, directly opposite Uncle Dom, at the other end of the block of shops where Sushi Tie is in the commercial centre behind the Rejang Medical Centre.

Serve…

Last Thursday night, we had prayers at the house in conjunction with the 2nd anniversary of my dad’s demise the following day – Friday, the 12th of July.

My sister went to this bakery…

Sweet Factory

…to order a few things for the light refreshment to serve to those who came.

Everyone gasped at the size of the curry puffs…

Sweet Factory curry puff

– they were huge and they could not believe their ears when told that they were only RM1.00 each.

The pastry was all right…

Curry puff, inside

and though we could hardly detect the curry in the filling, it tasted o.k. We really can’t complain when it was so cheap and it tasted pretty good too.

I just bought some curry puffs from this shop here a few days earlier and the pastry had that lovely buttery fragrance, much nicer and the filling too, though there was so little of it, an almost paper thin layer inside…and those were RM2.50 each!

The sio pao (RM1.70)…

Sweet Factory sio pao

…was very good, both the pastry and the filling…

Sio pao, inside

…and it had quite a lot of meat in it.

The filling…

Chicken pie, inside

…in the somewhat much smaller chicken pie (RM1.80)…

Sweet Factory chicken pie

…was nothing like that in the regular chicken pies that we are more accustomed to but it tasted great and of the three, I loved the pastry of the chicken pie the most.

Considering that everything was reasonably priced and seeing how everybody seemed to enjoy them all, we certainly wouldn’t mind going back to order more in future.

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.